The small town of Statesville, NC became the center of nationwide attention in May when they sued a local sporting company to remove their extra large American flag. The Charlotte Observer reported “Just in time for Memorial Day, one North Carolina city has filed a lawsuit to force an RV store to pull down a 40-foot by 80-foot U.S. flag because it’s too large, reports WBTV and other news outlets. To put the 3,200-square-foot size in perspective, that’s about 1,000 square feet bigger than the average Starbucks. Statesville, N.C., officials say the U.S. flag at Gander RV is nearly twice the size of what is specified in city codes for “signs and other outdoor marketing devices,” says WBTV.
The company had received a permit to fly a 40 foot by 25-foot flag, however they raised a much larger one. After multiple requests for the appropriate size flag to be flown, the city fined the company $50.00 a day. This news led to a social media backlash that quickly became ugly. A petition was started to have the law changed, and images such as the one below because common place on Facebook. Those social media discussions became ultrapatriotic. When one commentator asked if citizens should be required to follow the law, they were told to “just move to Iraq.” Even Veterans who pointed out that the flag could not be lowered to half-mast or lowered and raised each morning or evening were challenged. Others who asked what would happen if the flag broke loose were shamed for being concerned about safety.
As the issue went viral, the CEO visited Statesville and hit the airways. Watch the events unfold below as the city caves to pressure. The entire event creates great classroom discussion about the power of social media, ultra-patriotism and social deviance. But the question remains, is it really okay to knowingly break a law? This time the discussion is over a flag, but next time?
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