The finger. The bird. Flipping someone off. Whatever you call it, it’s a rude gesture meant to express disdain and provoke a reaction. So, if you flip off a cop, can you get arrested? In January 2013, a federal court said no. Hurrah for freedom of expression! But not so fast. Just because you can legally give a police officer the finger doesn’t mean you should.
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While flipping off a cop probably isn’t the best idea ever, many have questioned whether or not it’s legal to do so. Can a cop issue you a ticket or even throw you in jail for shooting the bird? Or would this be considered an abuse of power and a violation of your First Amendment rights?
Fraternities are not only frequently associated with sexual assaults, but many actively cultivate a “rape culture”—meaning that rape is not only tolerated, but encouraged. For example, in 2013, the Georgia Tech chapter of Phi Kappa Tau sent an e-mail advising its brothers how to “lure your rapebait.” Sure enough, that chapter was eventually suspended for multiple cases of sexual assault.
From police brutality to Wall Street excesses to obscene amounts of money in politics, we have much to protest in modern America. Demonstrations helped get women the right to vote, shamed the country into ending Jim Crow segregation laws, and brought about our withdrawal from the Vietnam War. Peaceful protests are a healthy expression of democracy.
Want to participate? Unsure about your rights and when to assert those rights? Please read on.
Both their tales of woe arguably stem from questionable decision-making on the part of their protagonists. But Walter Palmer and Rachel Dolezal are examples of ordinary people suddenly thrust into extraordinary situations by the internet’s constant need for stories, stimulus and, above all, outrage.