Friday, May 8, 2009

Police Investigate Man With Civil Liberties Sticker As Possible “Extremist”

Background checked for displaying an image as old as America itself

Louisiana police pulled over and detained a man for half an hour, believing him to be a possible “extremist” because of a bumper sticker on his car that read “Don’t Tread On Me”.

The man, who’s identity is undisclosed for privacy reasons, was reportedly subjected to a thorough background check after he purchased the iconic sticker from The Patriot Depot.

The details were related to Conservative website by the man’s sister-in-law Rosemarie, a resident of Ball, Louisiana.

The deplorable irony of this incident is almost too much to stomach given the origins of the image seen above.

The coiled rattlesnake and the defiant “Don’t Tread on Me” motto are taken from the Gadsden flag, named after American patriot Colonel Christopher Gadsden. The flag dates from around 1775 and was used by The United States Marine Corps as an early motto flag.

The rattlesnake was used to signify the fact that it only strikes after giving warning and if it feels under threat of attack.

The image of the rattlesnake even pre-dates the flag, and was regularly used as a symbol for the American colonies after Benjamin Franklin sketched a picture of a dismembered snake to symbolize the need for unity in defending the colonies during the French and Indian War.

Today the flag has been embraced by civil liberties movements, and is even still used by the US Navy.

The image is supposed to represent a symbol of shared American values, in particular the highest common value of freedom.

Of course, none of this matters to police forces that are specifically trained to look for bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitution, Libertarianism and freedom, and treat those who display them as possible “extremists”.

The Department of Homeland Security’s definition of an “extremist” is now someone who is concerned about the erosion of U.S. sovereignty or someone who questions the mainstream media.

It is now to be expected that you will be pulled over by police if you display Ron Paul bumper stickers, you may even be visited by the secret service for exercising your first amendment right.



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