Ed.: I think everyone here might find this dustup between an anonymous homeowner and his town’s cops as amusing as I did. What follows is the homeowner’s own write-up of the controversy.

In Wickenburg, Arizona, a small town of less than 9,000 about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix, a homeowner erected a sign in his yard after checking with the town Public Services Manager who assured him any size sign was OK as long as it wasn’t vulgar. Based on that, the homeowner erected this sign which soon elicited a complaint from a party still unknown.

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That complaint prompted a visit from the town police department threatening arrest for displaying obscene material in a manner visible to minors. The homeowner was forced to improvise and placed a bit of gaffer tape over The Asshole’s asshole (ED.: facehole?). The officer agreed that was the minimum required to be acceptable.

A search of Arizona laws quickly turned up Arizona Criminal Code §13-3507 which states, “It is unlawful for any person knowingly to place explicit sexual material upon public display, or knowingly to fail to take prompt action to remove such a display from property in his possession, or under his control, after learning of its existence.”

What the town cop either failed to read or deliberately ignored is an exception to the law, “Explicit sexual material does not include any depiction or description which, taken in context, possesses serious educational value for minors or which possesses serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

This is known as the SLAPS prong of the three-part test for obscenity as set forth by Chief Justice Warren Burger. If anyone looks at this particular sign and becomes sexually aroused, they should be seeing a therapist, not filing police reports.

If a former president of the United States stealing American secrets and storing them in his walk-in closet and desk doesn’t have serious political value, this country is in deep doo-doo.

A local defense attorney said he had never heard of §13-3507 and speculated that the cop had to search really hard to find that statute. Beyond that, the attorney made it clear that he really didn’t want to get involved, even to the point of pointedly not recommending an attorney experienced in 1st Amendment freedom of speech cases.

After not hearing back from multiple attorneys and law firms, BlogForArizona.net was contacted and they
immediately expressed interest in the details of the situation. Here, a new concept was introduced, “significantly
diminished.” In other words, was the message changed and/or blocked to the extent that it was no longer meaningful.

Re-framed like that, it was obvious the piece of tape drew more attention to The Asshole’s asshole, possibly making the sign more effective.

Had BlogForArizona.net and its Editor Mike Bryan not taken an interest, the sign maker might have done something rash and legally dubious, giving the town and cops justification for further, more Draconian actions. Once authorities feel empowered, there’s no end to potential abuse, simply because they can.

Too often, life lessons are learned after the fact. For some reason, humans can’t seem to apply earlier lessons and “tweak” them to fit new conditions. In today’s hyper-partisan political environment filled with nutcases who are over-the-top crazy enough to want to “terminate” the US Constitution, it’s easy to dismiss a lot of the talk as just talk.

However, as Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller, a German theologian and Lutheran pastor said in 1946:

First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Ed.: I suppose the lesson herein is “Stand up for your rights, and keep your real goal in mind when doing so. Nolo lease bastardes carborundorum!”

The author decided that a few biographical details would be helpful in understanding his perspective:

“The author knows something about government overreach. His Dad, a WWII Bronze Star recipient, served in the 442nd RCT all Nisei regiment (Go for Broke.) Members included many whose families were incarcerated in American concentration camps in places like Poston, AZ. The author himself is a disabled Vietnam vet who firmly believes it is obscene to send young adults off to kill people without lifetime mental health support.

The author was a lifelong Republican until moving to Arizona in 2012 and recognizing the Arizona GOP as a completely different animal. He immediately changed affiliation to Independent and, after 2016, a full-fledged Democrat.”

Here’s the full display of our protagonist’s signage in all its gleefully pissed-off glory. We here at BlogForArizona hope he keeps the banner of freedome flying in Wickenburg:

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