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Is the police symbolic depiction of the American Flag incorporating a thin blue line a violation of law?

color of law

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Is the police symbolic depiction of the American Flag incorporating a thin blue line a violation of law?

Over the years I would hear people say that the depiction of the American Flag incorporating a thin blue line denigrates the American flag and is unlawful. But is it?

In Pleasant Grove City, Utah v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460 (2009) the Supreme Court said:

“If [the government] were engaging in [its] own expressive conduct, then the Free Speech Clause has no application. The Free Speech Clause restricts government regulation of private speech; it does not regulate government speech…A government entity has the right to “speak for itself.”

Then in United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990) the Supreme Court quoted Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989) another Supreme Court case by saying:

“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

Additionally, the Eichman court also cited Spence v. Washington, 418 U. S. 405, 418 U. S. 414 (1974) which said: (State's interest in protecting flag's symbolic value is directly related to suppression of expression and thus O'Brien test is inapplicable even where statute declared "simply . . . that nothing may be affixed to or superimposed on a United States flag").

So basically, if a government entity allows that symbol to be used to express a government’s symbolic message, that message is protected speech, but not in a First Amendment sort of way. Governments don’t have rights; they only have force.
 

KBCraig

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I don't think the TBL flag should be illegal. I don't think "desecration" should be illegal at all--the very term is religious in nature, and I don't worship symbols of secular government.

But, TBL does violate the spirit of the Flag Code. No surprise there: some of the biggest flag wavers are the worst violators of the spirit and the letter of the law.

I always find it amusing when people threaten to kick anyone's ass for burning a flag, but take flags to a Scouting/Legion "retirement" and burn them.
 

mnrobitaille

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I don't think the TBL flag should be illegal. I don't think "desecration" should be illegal at all--the very term is religious in nature, and I don't worship symbols of secular government.

But, TBL does violate the spirit of the Flag Code. No surprise there: some of the biggest flag wavers are the worst violators of the spirit and the letter of the law.

I always find it amusing when people threaten to kick anyone's ass for burning a flag, but take flags to a Scouting/Legion "retirement" and burn them.

There is a slight difference between "retiring the colors" by burning a torn/tattered flag, & just out right burning a flag.
 

KBCraig

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There is a slight difference between "retiring the colors" by burning a torn/tattered flag, & just out right burning a flag.
Right. One involves burning a flag, and the other involves burning a flag.

The only way that one becomes "desecration" is by outlawing the intent of the political speech connected to the action.
 

Logan 5

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If they bought the flag, then it's theirs to do what they wish with. OTOH, if they steal one then burn it, now we're talking theft & arson. IMHO.
 

mnrobitaille

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If they bought the flag, then it's theirs to do what they wish with. OTOH, if they steal one then burn it, now we're talking theft & arson. IMHO.
Therein lies the question, of those who are burning the flag as "political speech", how many actually brought their own to do so??
 

Logan 5

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Soros bought it for them to abuse
I asked a serious question. Are we discussing a real issue or spouting off political opinions? I seriously doubt that George Soros went to the store and purchased the flag (or flags) himself and gave them to whoever. If they buy the flags themselves, no matter where they are made, then what is the complaint? Because someone is offended? I just recently fought a case the DA finally dismissed where some stupid 14 year old snot told his mommy I said something (still not sure what it is I allegedly said) and she whined to the police. The key being that your personal feelings are irrelevant in this situation. The freedom of speech surpasses feelings because we as Americans understand that the right to free speech is bigger than what actually is being said. We might not like it or we may find it outrageous or ridiculous or even ignorant...but the principal trumps all of it.
 

Doug_Nightmare

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The U. S. Flag Code codifies custom and tradition, anathema to progressives. Progressives argue that “no right is absolute” out of one side of their mouth while demanding to burn the National Flag of the United States of America.

Another case of a pinhead dumping on angels. Trump is my principle principal.
 

color of law

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I asked a serious question. Are we discussing a real issue or spouting off political opinions? I seriously doubt that George Soros went to the store and purchased the flag (or flags) himself and gave them to whoever. If they buy the flags themselves, no matter where they are made, then what is the complaint? Because someone is offended? I just recently fought a case the DA finally dismissed where some stupid 14 year old snot told his mommy I said something (still not sure what it is I allegedly said) and she whined to the police. The key being that your personal feelings are irrelevant in this situation. The freedom of speech surpasses feelings because we as Americans understand that the right to free speech is bigger than what actually is being said. We might not like it or we may find it outrageous or ridiculous or even ignorant...but the principal trumps all of it.
So, who are you mad at; the snotty 14 year-old, the mommy, the thought police or the prosecutor who thinks a thought is a crime?
 

JTHunter2

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Right. One involves burning a flag, and the other involves burning a flag.

The only way that one becomes "desecration" is by outlawing the intent of the political speech connected to the action.

Your first point is more akin to "cremation" as with human remains. The second may be political protest and 1st A. "protected" but not desired the way they do it.
 
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