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Upside-Down Flag for Shooting Victims Sparks Controversy

While the tenant of a Waukesha apartment building is flying the flag upside down to honor the Newtown, CT, shooting victims, others view the display as disrespectful.

WAUKESHA, WI -- An American flag that is flying upside down at an apartment at Blackhawk Trail and Fleetfoot Drive has sparked some controversy, but it appears the intent of the display isn’t malicious.

According to the apartment manager, a tenant said, “it is the proper thing to do for mourning.” An apartment manager told Waukesha Patch the tenant was unable to fly the flag at half-staff because it wasn’t on a flagpole so he decided to fly it upside down to honor the children killed in the Newtown, CT, shooting.

Flying an American flag upside down is a sign of distress. But lately, some people have flown the inverted flag as a sign of political dismay. In Illinois, a conservative veteran upset about President Barack Obama’s re-election created controversy last month with people who felt the display was disrespectful. In November, a Racine man also caused a stir when he flew his American flag upside down for political reasons.

Readers on Waukesha Patch’s Facebook page don’t like the explanation that the flag is upside down for the school shooting victims. Some called the display “a sign of disrespect.”

Kay Baker January 19, 2013 at 09:07 PM
It's a matter of respect for our colors.
VT4theRidges January 19, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Right to peaceful protest. It's one of the rights our honorable veterans served, fought for. Further, I am thinking it was Thomas Jefferson himself who said: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."
Steven D. Hartman January 20, 2013 at 01:26 AM
I think it's very similar to yelling "Hi Jack!" on an airplane. Or, perhaps, yelling "fire" in a theater. Speech does have its limits and a symbol for national distress, as used in this case is like crying "wolf" as well. After all, there are so many appropriate ways to get your point across.
Jeff Chavez January 20, 2013 at 01:52 AM
I really wish I coud see what "Our" President has done so bad. Let us compare to the 43rd president who went to war to show he could do what his daddy couldn't do. Dumbfounded look when his country was struck terrorist and natural catastrophies. Went to war in the wrong country and is the adult Alfred E Neuman. All of this blatant negativity can only be view as bigotry. Our society is not being ripped at the seams anymore, the complete fabric is falling apart.
Richard Oh January 20, 2013 at 02:26 AM
If you can't follow the rules to fly a flag correctly, it's a sign of great disrespect to all those who died defending that flag and our country. Please respect our flag and what it stands for.
Robert Wayne Henry January 20, 2013 at 03:30 AM
its because of people like you this country is in the state its in. you need to look at whos been in office the last term not two terms ago.and hold him accountable for his own actions.
al schroeder January 20, 2013 at 03:31 AM
What the hell is a "leftie"? Someone that believes that Roe v wade is for FEMALES to decide? Someone that believes many aliens WANT to become American citizens? Someone that believes the tax rate/loopholes for American billionaires has been out-of-line for MANY years? Someone that believes universal health care should have been enacted a long time ago, and that Pres. Obama is the first one with the guts to push it through? Someone that believes strict background checks for gun purchasers should have been on the books YEARS ago? Yeah--I'm a leftie all right!
ron depolo January 20, 2013 at 05:42 AM
flying the flag upside down signifies distress,,,and how much more distressful can it be when the president ,KNOWINGLY ,POURPOSELY ,DELIBERATELY ,LIED ,TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ,about the shooting . msnbc has now come out with the FACTS that NO ASSUALT TYPE WEAPONS were used in the shootings . the medical examiner AND LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONELL have confirmed that the shooter used 4 hand guns and the bush master was left in the vehicle. it is apparent that obama and his administration knew this and yet he went and told everyone it was an attack with AN ASSUALT WEAPON WITH HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINES ,,,deliberately lying and using the tragedy for political pourposes to further his agenda to disarm the american people ,,,,,WHERE TH E HELL IS THE RETRACTION AND APOLOGY ? also it was reported that the current gun control worked to prevent the shooter from buying any weapons which made him result to stealing them as most criminals do .
dorahermann@aol.com January 20, 2013 at 11:56 AM
Gail I am with you as well as the comment above! Kay it would be very true IF & that is a big IF the president had a respect for our colors as well as our flag but..... If you are following the man has neither & is now in the process of using propaganda & media as a way of disarming America, for further plans! Read Kay because this is truly scary stuff we are talking about! o's plans don't stop with just the disarming!
dorahermann@aol.com January 20, 2013 at 12:01 PM
It's not to late customCarry, just seems like it is! obama is moving at an incredible speed to get where he needs to be before there is a final takeover! Keep up with, not main stream media, but other. This will tell you alot & follow. I am Latin & am now grouping w/ black conservatives for the fight that needs to take place & there is definately going to be a fight! The man does not belong there!
Tom Cottrell January 20, 2013 at 12:18 PM
What the hell is a "leftie", al...seems ya "left" a few things out. Lets look at your 1st statement: "someone that beieves that Roe v Wade is for FEMALES to decide" is what you said, but you "left" out the fact that their decision over rules the male's wishes in that matter (maybe he wants the kid, but that's not important right?), and the fact that if she DOES decide to have the kid, THEN it becomes the man's financial problem (even though he didn't get a choice there either)...So let's review: the "lefties" view is that it is the women's choice whether or not to have the kid, but if she Does decide to have it, then "it takes 2 to tango" and the man has to pay for it to be raised as well...nice. How about universal health care...well let's see, that socialist mind set doesn't even work in a socialist country, and will NOT possibly work in a capitolist society unless those that HAVE jobs are FORCED to pay form the health care of those who don't have jobs....no thanks!! And by the way, more aliens that my check has to pay for is NOT the answer!! Yeah--you're a leftie alright!
Howard A. Elgart January 20, 2013 at 02:41 PM
I agree with you 100 percent but have to take into account that we also fought for them to be abl to express their views--but iin my opinion I still believe that flyng the flag upside down or burning it are way out of line usmc 1953 -57
dmac January 20, 2013 at 03:08 PM
My GOD there are 700,50 thousand American boys rolling over in there graves that died for that FLAG! How dare anyone deface it! Turning it upside down is only used during war and I thought was to indicate great distress for an army. No one (NO ONE) in the civilian sector should ever disrespect the flag for any reason.
Carol A. Booth January 20, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Unless you have at some point in your life been involed with the military and been exposed to or taught the "Flag Rules", which for the sake of argument your average person has not, you don't necessarily know them. I would not have known them if my son had not been in JROTC in High School (2005 -2008). This not something is taught in the elementary years of grade school or even younger by the parents and grandparents. I agree that some recent displays of the flag have been inappropriate to the point of disrespectful, but I also can understand thier reasoning behind it.
Carol A. Booth January 20, 2013 at 03:13 PM
Very nicely stated. Thank you for the link, it has some very valid information.
David Vincent January 20, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Maybe he should learn how to fly a flag. When flag is to be flown at half staff, and you can't, you must attach a black streamer the same length and width of said flags stripes. With computers today, not hard to find these things out.
Clint January 20, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Bullcrap. This guy can find another way or form to mourn the Newtown tragedy. You don't hang the flag upside down, to many people over 200 plus years have fought and died to keep it flying right. This is really a sly form of "emotional seduction" since the person is suffering he gets to fly our flag upside down. He doesn't. Go Cry. Go to Newtown and lay down teddybears but don't be a jackass and fly Old Glory upside down.
Bob B January 20, 2013 at 03:50 PM
That's what I do. (I thought I was the only one). I've had my present flag so long it is looking a bit worn (a couple of rips in it) - I'm going to Wal Mart today to by a new one, made in China. lol
Bob B January 20, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Ooops, to 'buy' a new one - fingers aren't warmed up enough yet.
Judith January 20, 2013 at 04:22 PM
I guess by al schroeder's description, I'm also a leftie - and proud of it!
Elizabeth January 20, 2013 at 04:50 PM
OUR American Flags are NOT from China. Go to any Veterans place and they WILL GLADLY sell you a Bonifide American Flag. OR go to any Exposition and you will see Veterans there with Real American Flags. Geez ! I have three American-made flags and take good care of them. Being a Daughter of the American Revolution, I salute my flag everyday.
Terry Parker January 20, 2013 at 05:46 PM
obama is THE WORST THING to happen to this country. It has nothing to do with the color of his skin... IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THE DARKNESS OF HIS HEART. He is out to destroy America ... plain and simple. If you "lefty numnuts" don't see that ...then you are as ignorant as everyone claims you to be.
Terry Parker January 20, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Amen to that brother!!
dorahermann@aol.com January 20, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Jeff, have you ever heard of executive order? Have you read up on it? The executive orders that "Your" president has started on just guns is not going to stop at guns! If you do your research you will find that it will all end up to him eventually being a dictator of "Our" Country! I'm not O.K. with that! I am self employed, hispanic, female (no government help). That was one of the beauties of America, The America of Dreams! Where all you needed was the will to fight for your dreams & make them happen. Of course God was always with me to give me the strength to follow those dreams! I do agree that our 43rd president did wrong but he is now pass tense! Have you followed where we are now & where we are headed. Don't be a fool Jeff & just take the main stream media at it's word! Do your own research (fact check's) & find out for your self. I am not negative about any of this because with each fight there are lessons to be learned & until you learn these lessons you will eventually find growth! We can never stop learning! Yes, our fabric is falling apart but now to sew it back together! I am a concerned American FIRST & self employed 2nd. One has not to do with the other!
Thomas Luparello January 20, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Adam, a war vet with no clue huh? It is flag and military protocol that the flag be flown as a sign of distress. If you don't know that, they please get the information you need so as a war veteran you don't come off sounding uninformed. Our country is clearly in distress and if the apathy that has a strangle hold on the nation continues, we will lose what you fought for. That someone had the knowledge and courage to fly the flag upside down to bring attention to the distress our country is in, is commendable and is not disrespectful. This incident is clearly not political, left or right, but for the survival of our Constitutional Republic and if we The People do not step up to protect it at home and participate, it and we are lost. Just my observations and opinion.
Paaula-Stovall Tilley January 20, 2013 at 06:31 PM
I agree with you. My husband is from Lousiana & his brother before the previous election had his flag upside down & at his4 businesses. I am not saying all people from Louisiana are racists but we even were to talking to told me to be real careful because the "blacks" are dangerous. I don't want to be there anymore. Adam THANK YOU for your service to this country. You are a hero.
Thomas Luparello January 20, 2013 at 07:19 PM
agirlwithaview, you need to read your own post. Rule 8 (a) clearly states that the flag can be flown as a sign of distress. Read your own post before you post mis-information such as you did. Your link states otherwise. I find it amazing that people are so blind and uninformed. Flying the flag with the star field is not a sign of disrespect for the flag or the country. The country is in distress and many citizen's see that so flying the flag upside down is not a political statement. So go read your own link http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagtiq.html and scroll down to 8 (a), read it for yourself, it is in plain English. Enough said on this.
Howard January 20, 2013 at 07:31 PM
The flag upside down is a sign of distress for military or civilian. We are in distress as a nation and the person actions are perfectly acceptableas a form of public statement or his beliefs. This president has written 923 executive orders more than were issued in the previous 100 yrs. His distain for our Republic- no we are not a democracy- is appearant in everything he says and does. Yes we are in distress and we will decide in the next few months wiether we are citizens or subjects. I wonder which we will chose .
Thomas Luparello January 20, 2013 at 09:37 PM
United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 — The Flag; §8. Respect for flag No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor. 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. This is the United States Code, Title 4, Chapter 1. It is the "Law" of the land people. Either read it and understand it or please do not mis-represent what the Law of the land says. It is not disrespect to fly the flag down in what the citizen deems to be a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property. All of you who don't understand, especially service members is a real shame as you are to be honored for your service, but not your ignorance. The flying of the flag upside down in the face of our country being assaulted from within, should be a thing that service members, former service members and public servants should know well as the oath you swore was to defend the Republic from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Please, please get your information straight before you continue to embarass yourselves further on this subject. And if you don't believe what I have posted, then take the time and look it up for yourselves. Not my opinion, it is fact and law.
agirlwithaview January 21, 2013 at 07:43 PM
THOMAS LUPARELLO - I did read all of the information regarding topic of distress found on the link that I included in my original commentary. Perhaps you did not. The Flag Code states, "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." Flying your flag in this manner is to be a signal to others that you need help, because your life or your property is in danger. An illustration is even included showing two people on a boat, waving for help. While I agree that these mass shootings, and the political and economical state of our union is distressful, they do not meet the criteria to hang your flag upside down as a signal of distress - plain & simple. Be clear, I read and state EVERYTHING carefully and I choose to not twist guidelines passed down by our forefathers in order to make political statements or to inspire controversy around one of our nations's treasures - The Flag.

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