A Blair County, Pennsylvania man was charged with desecration and insults to the flag after spray painting an American flag with the letters "AIM" and hanging it upside down outside his home. Neighbors and passersby were offended by the display, and contacted local police.
Allegheny Township police Assistant Chief L.J. Berg arrived to the scene, removed the flag, and commented, “I was offended by it when I first saw it. I had an individual stop here at the station, a female, who was in the military and she was very offended by it. I removed it from the building, folded it properly and seized it as evidence."
Flag owner Joshua Brubaker explained that he was standing up for his American Indian heritage, though was charged with two misdemeanors regardless. Brubacker defended his actions and maintained that he never meant to upset or offend anyone, and explained that he and his wife are of American Indian heritage and are passionate about the American Indian Movement, specifically in the Midwest.
Brubaker commented, “I found that Wounded Knee is up for sale. Not only privately, but commercially. It’s just not right, and simply because I express myself in a way that somebody else doesn’t like or agree with doesn’t mean I should be persecuted for having beliefs." Brubaker added, “If I don’t have a right to fly that flag upside down, which means a sign of distress, which this country is in so much distress right now, then what’s the point of having it?”
Flag desecration is a term applied to the mutilation of flags or flag protocol, a various set of acts that intentionally destroy a flag in public. The Flag Desecration Amendment is an ongoing proposed constitutional amendment to the United States Constitution that would allow Congress to statutorily prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States. The most recent attempt to adopt the amendment failed in the United States Senate by one vote in June, 2006.
Here performance artist Brian Hugh Warner, a.k.a Marilyn Manson, desecrates an American flag during a live show:
Brubaker hopes the police reconsider the criminal charges, while Berg commented, “People have made too many sacrifices to protect the flag and to have this happen in my community, I’m not happy with that."
Image via YouTube