Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Sign of Distress, not Disrespect

In 2007, North Carolinians Mark and Deborah Kuhn decided to show their distress at the way our country had fallen into such terrible disrepair by flying the U.S. flag outside their home upside-down.

A local sheriff's deputy had just come back from Iraq, being a National Guardsman (whom I thought were supposed to stay home and guard the nation...), and was going to give a citation to the people flying the flag upside-down, because "somebody complained".

It is a lawful sign of distress, not disrespect, but having their patriotism questioned in a very confrontational manner by another Guardsman in full combat uniform at their doorstep, they attached two signs to their flag, seen in the above picture, explaining their reasons for flying it inverted.

The sheriff's deputy, Brian Scarborough, arrived at the Kuhn's home very early in the morning to talk to them about the flag.

They told him at the door that the inverted flag is an internationally recognized, accepted, and lawful show of distress; the officer informed them that it was not that the flag was upside-down, the problem was the signs attached to it, saying it was "desecration"!

Mark Kuhn then removed the flag from his porch, but that wasn't enough for the deputy, who then demanded ID; after refusing to produce ID, the deputy ordered that they put their hands behind their so he could arrest them. Again, they refused.

Being both angered and wary of the cop, they both went back into the house and locked the door.

A moment later, the deputy was kicking-in the door; after he shattered the glass with his bare fist, he reached in to unlock the deadbolt.

He proceeded into the kitchen where Mark and Deborah had run. Deborah called 911 while Mark kept the deputy sheriff at bay.

The deputy put Mark in a headlock while he pulled out his pepper-spray, but decided not to use it, instead reaching for his billy club; this gave both Deborah and Mark a chance to escape into the street where they shouted for help from their neighbors.

Apparently, it was a short time later that nine police cars showed up, with their drivers jumping out saying, "Get down we're gonna Taser you!"

They were both arrested, despite immediate protest from their neighbors who wanted to know why they were being taken, but they were ordered to leave.

Sheriff's deputy Brian Scarborough claims to have injured his hand when the Kuhns shut the door on it, though it was maintained by Deborah Kuhn and another neighbor who witnessed that he injured it when he shattered the glass on their front door.

There is no punishment for violating any part of the U.S. Flag Code, as there is no provision for law enforcement of the Code, and the Supreme Court has ruled many violations of the U.S. Flag Code to be protected under the First Amendment.

On a recent trip to southern Missouri, I spotted a house along the highway that had a stately flag pole with a large U.S. flag flying upside-down; I knew they meant no disrespect, they just wanted to outwardly show their lack of support for the policies of despots and of tyrants.

I believe it reasonable to fly a flag upside-down for political reasons, though I find it unreasonable to burn one, unless it is disrepair, in which case I advise burning.

I also find it revolting that a person would fly a flag of another country over, or instead of, the U.S. flag., the latter of which I have noticed in town.

The U.S. Flag Code's provision for flying an inverted flag is that one's safety or property must be in immediate peril, but I can't think of a single such scenario where one can find the time or necessity to invert the flag.

"My pants are on fire! Quick, turn the flag upside-down!"


AdamS said...

Well, what's more disrespectful to the flag: flying it upside down in a time of genuine distress, or in the process of "enforcing proper flag code", violating the principles the flag represents?

Hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Son3 said...

Thanks for the comment!

BTW, do you think anyone would notice if you flew the Union Jack upside-down?

NobodyofValue said...

Let me tell ya something even better. In the U.S. Army Infantry, when I was ACTIVE DUTY, a civilian contractor assumed control of several of the barracks while soldiers were living in them. U.S. Infantrymen, who have had several deployments, were FORCED (with help of Military Police) to remove the U.S. Flag from their room of quarters, due to a stipulation stating Nothing can be attached to the walls to keep uniformity. This was 2007, Fort Benning, Georgia.
I don't care who it is, police officer or not, I served my time on the front lines, twice, thus, I have earned the right to have a U.S. Flag displayed anywhere I like, rightside up or upside down.
Great post. That cop needs to tune it down about 10 notches.

Son3 said...

Thank you for the comment, and for your service. Sorry you had to go.

Terrible story, but I'm glad you told it!

Oath Keeper?

RightKlik said...

Scary story.

AdamS said...

Short answer: No, I doubt anyone would notice. :D

The only asymmetrical part of the Union Jack is the diagonal red cross within the white one, which is not quite the same when viewed upside down. lol

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