Don't Tread On Me, Except In Connecticut

The last two times I passed through Washington, D.C.'s Union Station, my eyes were drawn to a flag dealer's display. "Don't Treat On Me," many of the flags say. In my mind's eye, I see the flag flying proudly in front of my home, or draped, dorm-like, from a wall somewhere in my office. I love the flag, and the sentiment it expresses.

So, too, do tea party activists. They planned to hoist the flag above the state capitol in Hartford, Connecticut, at a protest event. They even got approval from the state police to wave the protestor's flag.

But then the police changed its mind. Acting State Capitol Police Chief Walter Lee reports: “At this point the request was denied due to the fact the intent to fly the flag had changed.”

“It was apparent it was much more a flag raising with a political event to follow. At that point we denied the request,” Lee said.

Huh? Does the chief think this was the opening salvo of a political coup? Incipient treason? Some portent of violence?

The flag, known as the Gadsden Flag, has a long and venerable history. A coiled serpent warned tyrants even before the revolt against Britain: "Don't Tread On Me."

Shame on the Capitol Police in Hartford. Symbols are part and parcel of political speech. A group that wants to shake its fist in the very face of a government it believes to be losing touch with the people it represents should be free to fly the flag. But in this case, new tyrants say no.

I wish I had bought that flag on my last visit to Washington. I'd hoist it today, so that it would be unfurled in at least one location in the State of Connecticut.
Comments (4)
Posted on April 10, 2010 at 7:04 am by Brian Bertha
You can burn Old Glory but cant raise a flag that ...
You can burn Old Glory but cant raise a flag that supports it. What does that tell you?

Posted on April 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm by Monstrance228
Hello Norm,
Perhaps the Flag you might want to con...
Hello Norm,
Perhaps the Flag you might want to consider is the 'Whiskey Rebellion' flag. With your love of History and Books, I'm sure you are most familiar with this American 'event' of 1794. This is the flag we will be waving...

Posted on April 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm by Norm Pattis
Shades of Skokie? What would be the harm?
Great t...
Shades of Skokie? What would be the harm?

Great to hear from you, Larry.

Posted on April 9, 2010 at 11:50 am by Larry Williams
how about a flag with a swastika on it? that's pol...
how about a flag with a swastika on it? that's political speech of a sort. you're wrong on this, norm. wrong, wrong, wrong. a no-politics rule on flags is far preferable to "some politics but not ones we don't like."
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About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis


Nothing in this blog should be considered legal advice about your case. You need a lawyer who understands the context of your life and situation. What are offered here are merely suggested lines of inquiry you may explore with your lawyer.

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