It’s A Grand Old Flag
Richard Wentz is retired from the job. The former NYPD officer has been ordered several times to remove the American flag he flies in honor of the victims of 9/11. Wentz was a first responder at that time and states that he has cancer as a result of exposure to toxins at the site.
Wentz’ homeowners’ association at the Fairways at Heron Bay, in Parkland, Florida states that the flag violates “aesthetic concerns” at the community.
Where do LET members weigh in on this issue? Homeowners’ associations have standards to which residents agree to adhere when they purchase or rent homes. Police officers (and retired cops) who have enforced the rule of law for a living should understand that part of the social contract is obeying the rules. That’s one argument.
Another argument centers on the right to free speech. Wentz has the right to express his thoughts about his country as he would like. In his case, he expresses his remembrance as a 9/11 first responder by displaying this flag. This seems reasonable to a lot of people.
Think about this, though. What if Wentz’ free speech involved displaying a Nazi or KKK flag? What if his signs were racist or mentally unbalanced? What if he chose to put up a sign stating that all police were corrupt? Remember, free speech is free speech, not just free speech as long if we agree with it.
How would his personal viewpoints expressed on his property impact you if you were trying to sell your home next door in a depressed economy? Do Wentz’ personal rights over-ride your rights or the rights of a private homeowners’ association to set community standards? How do we work this out in the best interests of all in a free society?
These are my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours.
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