A Central Florida war veteran faces a lawsuit for flying the American flag in his front yard.
"I don't understand why it would bring down the values of our homes by flying the American flag from a pole in my front yard," homeowner Jimmie Watkins said.
Watkins and his wife, Ria, received a final notices [sic] from the Sussex homeowners' association in Clermont that they must remove the flag or else face legal action.
This is clearly another story where someone moved into an area without bothering to find out if that area was governed by the rules of a "homeowners association." In an era where personal responsibility is a quaint and distant cousin of accountability and common sense, and none of them live around here anymore, there are countless examples where someones "lifestyle" has a conflict with the rules set by the people who got together and agreed upon them.
The former retired U.S. Navy communications officer said he refuses to back down for the American flag.
"Our people are serving today to give us freedom," Watkins said. "To do as we like here within the law of America. It is my right to fly my flag from my pole and until a court of law tells me to haul that down. I will not haul it down. I think about all of the people who have served our nation and all of the lives that it's costs and all of the friends that I've lost."
Actually, the "people who served this nation" also served the people who set the rules for the subdivision. Someone needs to sit down with Watkins and encourage him to grow up and live in the adult world. The explanation would probably go like this:
Your rights don't take precedence over the rights of someone else. They made a rule, and you accepted that rule along with many others when you freely moved in to that subdivision. Where the conflict happened is when you decided to do whatever you wanted to do. You went and bought a flagpole, a shovel, and a bag of quick-setting concrete. You threw your back out putting up a flagpole one day. And then you got a letter telling you to take it down. That's when you dug out that pile of papers that you never read in the first place and had your "oh shit!" moment.
The result was a temper tantrum over the rules. But because you didn't find out what those rules were, you're not expressing your freedom--you're showing everyone how ignorant you are. And when you get caught looking stupid, the easiest thing in the world to do is to pretend to be super-patriotic and indignant and talk about dead Veterans. Well, there isn't a single dead Veteran who died so you could get away with not understanding what your homeowners association rules state with regards to flagpoles and the like.
This association sent Watkins numerous notices and probably tried to work with him. But because Watkins can't live with other human beings, he is using patriotism to win an argument that he lost when he signed the papers accepting the rules of his subdivision.
The homeowners association is not commenting about their rules. But state law said anyone can display a flag in a "respectful manner" as long as it is removable, Local 6 reported.
Watkins, however, has a permanent flagpole in his front yard. So Watkins is not in going to find a solution to the problem by citing the Florida state law, either. The media, of course, loves non-stories like this. It drums up misplaced outrage and allows the mob to rule. The end result is that a hypocritical, immature asshole who can't understand the rules will probably get to keep his flagpole in his yard. And he gets away with it by throwing down the dead Veteran trump card, one that should never get played in the first place.