Firefighter Suspended for American Flag Sticker On His Locker

There was a story I wrote about earlier in the year about a woman who was asked to take down her American flag on Memorial Day because others in the office found it offensive. Most of the comments supporting the action said it was because the flag was a 3×5 foot flag, which was kind of large for an office area.

While I don’t agree with that, let’s go ahead and allow it. People weren’t upset about the flag, but about the size of the flag.

How about a little flag then? Should you be forced to take down a little flag?

If you are a firefighter who wears a flag on his uniform, drives a fire truck with one displayed on it and works in a building with a flag flying in front of it, you will be suspended for having a flag sticker on your locker.

It might offend someone.

A Chester City firefighter was suspended without pay yesterday for refusing to remove an American flag sticker from his locker.

James Krapf, an 11-year veteran of the department, could face more days of suspension if he does not remove the sticker, Fire Commissioner James Johnson said.

Johnson directed the force’s 61 members to remove all decorations from the outside of their lockers over the summer after a firefighter posted a cartoon that others found offensive. The drawing, which firefighters said was posted by a black colleague, showed two black men and included a racial slur.

Firefighters can post personal items inside the lockers, but the outside must remain “free of alteration,” according to the directive.

I can see one side of the argument being, “Just take the sticker off. Put a bigger one inside your locker. Policy is policy.” It makes sense.

Here’s the thing for me. This is lazy, knee jerk reaction to someone’s lack of intelligence.

Rather than handle issues as they happen, they simply punish everyone for one person’s stupidity. And why?

Banning all materials from locker doors was the simplest way to avoid bickering among the staff, Johnson said.

“How do we know what offends who?” he said. “I have to play Solomon here.”

Someone could be offended by the American flag.

Someone could be offended by anything. Political correctness destroys free expression again.

Where I work, we have lockers and are asked to keep the outside of them free from decorations. Not because they are afraid of offending someone, but because it simply looks more professional. I agree with that. (And if I find the person who put the “I love Obama” sicker on my locker, there will be a reckoning.) If someone were to have a flag on the outside of their locker and were told to remove it, I would support them being made to remove it, based on the policy of looking professional.

But removing a flag that as been there for years because someone might be offended by it is lazy and reactionary. Personally, I agree with Krapf when he says, “Anybody who finds the American flag offensive shouldn’t be working there.” I wouldn’t want to work with anyone who finds the American flag offensive.

Would you?

Cross posted at All American Blogger.

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