Sunday, October 18, 2009
Firefighter suspended for refusing to remove American flag from locker
CHESTER, Pa. - A Chester City firefighter is taking heat after he refused to take the American flag off of his locker, Myfoxphilly.com reported, and was suspended without pay.
James Krapf allegedly violated a department policy that states personal items can only be posted inside employee lockers when he stuck the flag on the outside. According to Myfoxphilly.com, the firefighters' union warned 11 others to remove personal items or face similar suspensions, all without pay.
The firefighter is trying to go back to work Friday night after being suspended without pay Thursday for refusing to take the flag sticker off his locker, Fox 29's Sharon Crowley reported.
James Krapf took a photo of his locker with the sticker on it at the Chester Fire Department's station, and he said he doesn't understand why his supervisor wants him to take it off. Krapf said he's patriotic and many American flags hang around the firehouse.
Krapf was suspended Thursday, and so far he's the only one who has been suspended. Krapf said he hoped to meet with the fire commissioner and the mayor to resolve the issue, though he still wants to be able to display an American flag.
"I shouldn't have to remove the flag of the country I believe in. I love my country," Krapf said. "I love my job. I love helping people. I've been doing this 11 years in the City of Chester, so this is something I love to do."
Fox 29 News tried to get answers directly from the fire commissioner Friday. He told a local newspaper banning all materials from locker doors was the simplest way to avoid bickering among the staff. So, rather than take charge of the situation and take a fucking stand against bullshittery and ass-hattery, the commish did what desk-riding bureaucrats do and just blanket-policy screwed the troops and then barred the doors.
When Crowley asked to talk with him, she got the run around, being repeatedly told he would be out to talk with her. Then, she was told he changed his mind and had no comment.
"Commissioner, hi. Can you tell us why you won't talk to us, because we've been out here all day?" Crowley asked.
"Yes, m'am, and I appreciate that," the commissioner said, as he rose from his desk during a cell phone call. "Thank you very much. We have no comment, and I think it's very rude that you barge into my office in the middle of a conversation."
What a dick. And, you know, when you look deeper into things, I’m not sure I can consider the American flag a personal possession in the context that it is the symbol of the entire nation and thus belongs to the entire nation once on display. So since it belongs to all of us, I’ll step up & give permission for Mister Krapft to continue being a patriot and a hero.
Commissioner James Johnson says “We wear the American flag on our uniform…it’s flying outside that station,” he said. “It is not about the American flag or patriotism.”
Then what’s it about? Perhaps it’s about making a blanket policy without thinking of what all it entailed, and having no way to back out of the shitpile you stepped in, because as the videos point out, this all started when a black firefighter posted up a cartoon on his locker about "black man has no free speech". And if the bosses come down on the black guy who says he has no free speech, then that just proves his point, right? So let's just make everyone take down everything to avoid looking racist instead of just telling one dude to knock it off. And when one dude finds a loophole to your new flawed policy, you have a shit fit?
And in a show of solidarity for his fellow firefighter, the firefighter who had put that cartoon up on his locker, Robert Butler, wore a knit cap with an upside-down American flag on it. He said he was not protesting the federal government but wore it “as the common meaning” of distress.