75-Year-Old Facing Eviction for Displaying American Flags (Yes, IN America)

american flagI've heard some silly neighborhood rules in my day, but the one that could get a 75-year-old woman evicted from her home in a New Jersey senior complex is a doozy! It sees the three itty bitty American flags that Dawn Paulus hung from her balcony as a serious safety hazard. Just imagine if Old Glory fell and floated onto someone's head.

Oh geez. They might get ... I don't know, a light tap on the noggin? If that?

And just wait until you get a load of who made up this silly rule which I can only guess is made to ward off lawsuits. This isn't just any senior complex that Paulus is living in (and facing eviction from).


The facility is government run. Which means a municipal authority has put the kibosh on flags on balconies in the senior complex. In America.

That sounds pretty darn silly, doesn't it? But you know, the rule is the rule.

And we are a country that works because (most) people abide by the laws. I'm pretty much a "rules are rules" kind of gal myself. So I was actually going to give the folks at the Housing Authority a bit of a break here. That is until I saw the justification they have for telling an elderly patriot that the flags she put up to show her gratitude to the troops during her town's Memorial Day parade were an evictable offense. Here's what the executive director told the media:

Let's just say you let somebody have a flag and somebody puts a hanging basket up there that's filled with dirt that may weight five to ten pounds and comes crashing down on someone. It has a potential to hurt, then it's we didn't do enough to protect people.


Are we talking about flags or hanging baskets here, bud? Because I'm pretty sure most Americans can tell the difference. And most Americans are smart enough to know that the average flag on a stick is not a safety hazard (aka lawsuit) waiting to happen.

In fact, my 6-year-old volunteers at the local Memorial Day Parade. A few weeks ago, a woman on the parade committee handed her about 20 of the same type of flags Dawn Paulus has on her balcony -- so she could hand them out to folks along the parade route. Guess what. The 6-year-old was able to carry that many at once, and nothing untoward happened. Nada. Nunca. Apparently not that dangerous ...

I have to wonder: if we lived in a society that used a little common sense in crafting rules, would people use common sense when it comes to lawsuits? If someone is actually going to sue over the "hazard" of having their hair ruffled by a falling flag, this country might just be doomed.

What do you think should happen to Dawn Paulus and her flags?


Image via Thomas Beck Photo/Flickr

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