Iowa Veteran Arrested for Upside Down Flag


Upside down flag — A veteran in Iowa claims his constitutional right to freedom of expression was violated when he was arrested for displaying his American Flag upside down underneath a flag of China.

Homer Martz, the veteran from Iowa, propped up the flag in protest to a pipeline being built without his consent, right next to a well that provides his home water.

Homer Martz was taken into custody by Calhoun Country Police Department, on charges of flag desecration, and was charged with a misdemeanor and potentially serve 30 days in a county jail.

Though the Constitution protects freedom of expression and speech, it is still frowned upon to hang the flag upside down. According to the United States Flag Codes, Title 4, Chapter 1 states: 8(a)The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

You can argue that Martz’s property was in extreme danger, but the method of relaying that information was extreme in itself; Burning a flag is also a destructive way of expressing yourself.

In the Supreme Court case of Texas v. Johnson it was ruled that burning the American flag is protected under the 1st Amendment with a heavily contested ruling, nearly 5-4, obviously this does not make it okay, but this veteran had respect for the flag, but people who burn the flag do not. This is not to say that retiring a flag through burning is also disrespectful.

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