your outrage for the day.

A Homeowners Association in Virginia just ordered a ninety-year-old Medal of Honor winner to remove his flagpole from his yard, because they don’t think the look fits into the neighborhood.

I’m curious: Are all HOAs full of little vest pocket dictators? It seems that every time one makes the news, it’s because some aspiring Blockwart is riding high on a power trip.  The HOA in question doesn’t even prohibit free-standing flagpoles; they just made an arbitrary decision based on subjective aesthetics. (“I don’t like the way that looks, so take it down.”)

Colonel Barfoot is a veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, and one of only a hundred-odd living Medal of Honor recipients. He’s a national hero, and the schmucks running his HOA should be grateful to have such a man classing up their neighborhood by his mere presence. Sending him a lawyer-letter ordering him to take down his flag should result in public spankings at the very least. The man has earned the right to fly that flag any damn way he pleases.

Also, you have to question the smarts of a group of people who decided to boss around a man who took on three German Tiger tanks head-on armed with only a bazooka and a Thompson, and came out on top.  I want to bet that even at his age, Colonel Barfoot has more mojo in his pinky than that whole sad assembly of lawn & paint Mussolinis can scrounge up in their entire family trees counting two generations up and down.

For shame.

(Via John Scalzi.)

38 thoughts on “your outrage for the day.

  1. Unfortunately, a lot of HOAs seem to be populated by local busy-bodies with time on their hands and chips on their shoulders. “Arbitrary” and “overbearing” don’t even come close.

    It’s enough to give cause to those who like that local governance is the best to rethink their positions.

  2. Did you happen to hear Mark Levin go off on this (770 AM- 1800-2100)?

    I thought he was going to have a coronary right on the air.

    Some people just suck, I guess….

  3. I will personally volunteer to drive my happy butt to VA and bitch-slap these HOA morons right off their pedestals and onto the hero’s flagpole.

    I know you don’t typically advocate violence, and while my comment is toungue-in-cheek, I find myself having to suppress the urge to actually get in my truck and point it that direction…


  4. El Capitan says:

    I’ll live in a van down by the river before I’ll ever move into a neighborhood controlled by a HOA. One day I might want to build a Viking longboat in the backyard, and the neighbors can either pitch in or grow a nice tall hedge to block the view.

    • Black Ice says:

      Same here. When the wife and I get our finances in order, we will buy a house. I don’t care if it’s everything we ever wanted, the second the realtor mentions anything about a HOA–no deal.

      And if we buy a non-HOA house and someone comes around attempting to start one, their head will be mounted on a pike at the end of our drive as a warning to the others.

      I hate HOAs and the pseudo-Stalins they attract. Can you tell? 😉

  5. perlhaqr says:

    Well, yep. I’m outraged.

    • perlhaqr says:

      And, I’m not saying you should do anything in particular with this data, but…

      Sussex Square Service HOA president:

      (804) 741-9160

      • perlhaqr says:

        In other news–though I should be beyond surprise at this point–it’s really depressing how many people take the fascists’ side in the comments on these stories.

        They can’t seem to grasp the difference between the HOA having the legal right according to the CC&Rs to order Col. Barfoot to take down his flagpole, and the complete lack of ethical authority for the same.

  6. Kristopher says:

    Yes, HOA commitees attract petty little dictator-wannabes.

    Yard nazis.

    Only way to control them is to get some neighbors together and marginalize the retards. Democracy cuts both ways.

    That or get enough folks together to sell off the HOA common assets and dissolve the fucker permanently.

  7. Wai says:

    “Get off my lawn.”

  8. T.Stahl says:

    …is the only correct reply.

  9. Chris says:

    HOAs are what you make of them. Ours is pretty benign, only caring about the sort of thing that would make the neighborhood as a whole look bad (peeling paint, dead shrubbery, trashcans in the front yard, that sort of thing). They didn’t even care when I put a 20′ tall amateur radio antenna in my backyard.

    The key is getting involved and keeping them from becoming little dictators. Show up at meetings, talk to other people involved. They are a more pure form of democracy than most people realize.


    • I’ve found that most issues HOAs have with antenna/dish/etc. cannot legally be enforced. There are specific laws protecting the property owner where communications systems are concerned.

      I have personally installed large (6’x4′ on tall poles) long-range HD antenna systems in some pretty hoity-toity neighborhoods in Texas. I’ve heard of HOAs going nuts, but I’ve never seen one come down.

      In other news, there’s still an exception to every rule. That little old widow on a fixed income may not have the money to take care of that peeling paint. I’d say it’s far from okay to threaten her for it.


  10. “It’s enough to give cause to those who like that local governance is the best to rethink their positions.”

    Not really. In most places HOAs are very clearly structured to not be governments. Mine is a “maintenance corporation.” This means that many of the bedrock principles that government must abide by, like basic freedom of expression, do not apply to HOAs.

    Mine is fairly benign. Because I live in an unincorporated section of my county, it is also very useful for keeping the community playground maintained, the street lamps on, and the local streets plowed during the winter.

  11. […] orders 90 year old medal of honor winner to take down a flag pole. Says Marko: Also, you have to question the smarts of a group of people who decided to boss around a man who […]

  12. Caleb says:

    Are all HOAs full of little vest pocket dictators?

    Yes. Our HOA sent a letter around after Veteran’s Day saying that flags were considered “external decorations” and couldn’t be flown with a permission slip.

    The day after I got that letter, my Coast Guard Ensign somehow found it’s way onto a flagpole on my front porch. Gremlins musta dunnit.

  13. MarkHB says:

    What an unspeakable load of horseshit. Humans really are completely shite sometimes.

  14. Jay G. says:

    It’s really saying something when the Volksrepublik of MA is more permissive than a HOA…

    I fly a US flag and a Gadsden every single day. Not only have my neighbors *not* complained, I’ve even talked to a couple about what the Gadsden stands for…

  15. Matt says:

    I know a gentleman (Vietnam war vet) who used to spend a Saturday afternoon painstakingly cleaning his AK-47 on his front porch after receiving a complaint from the neighbor about something he didn’t like. Perfectly innocent and legal. Just spent a couple of hours in the warm summer sun doing gun maintenance and enjoying the day in Alexandria, VA.

    The issue quietly went away. Perhaps this gentlemen needs someone to loan him a semi-auto Thompson or Garand in need of a desperate cleaning? I can volunteer a 1942 M1 Carbine. Older fingers might take longer. I suspect by the time the rifle meets parade inspection requirements, the flagpole will remain in place and the matter will be resolved between the parties.

    • Jay G. says:


      Saw an interview with Colonel Barfoot on the news this morning.

      He has a Garand hanging in his living room.

      I would advise the HOA not to set foot on his lawn…

  16. Phil says:

    Our HOA does pretty much nothing. I never even got a copy of the bylaws when I moved in. We’re a small group on one street and all the neighbors get along- it’s a very peaceful place. The one a-hole on the street is the guy we bought the house from, and everybody was glad to see him on the way out.

    I wouldn’t expect any trouble from anybody putting in a flagpole, but we’re on a river bluff that sits directly on bedrock. If you can anchor a pole in only five inches of topsoil, I’d love to see you try.

  17. John A says:

    So it is a matter of aesthetics: I find this JOA to be aesthetically unpleasant, and call for its removal from the neighborhood.

    This flag-vs-HOA business seems to make headlines about four times a year. And then there was the one that required a certain type of grass seed be used, even if the supplier said the land in question could not grow that particular variant.

    And yes, many HOAs are OK – until you look at what they do that is so considered. Don’t keep dismantled cars on the lawn? Keep the grass below six inches? In my area, and I suspect many others, there are government laws and regulations for that sort of thing – which I think can be just as badly administered, but the extra level of HOA seems overkill. Ah, government: one place I lived considered sidewalks to be public property, not to be touched by the homeowners by whose property they ran – unless it snowed, in which case those homeowners were subject to a $600 fine if they did not clear the walks, or cleared them by pushing the snow into the street. Or that part of Washington DC which earlier this year declared that the portion of your driveway from the front of your house to the street was available as public parking – even if your house was set back, say, forty feet from the street.

  18. Marsh says:

    What a disgrace. One of my neighbors has a beautiful tall flag pole right in the middle of his front yard for all to see. It fills me with pride every time I see it and it makes the neighborhood nicer not worse. This country is hell bent on destroying itself it seems thanks to the leftist nut jobs.

  19. RevolverRob says:

    I think Col. Barfoot needs to not take down the flag. Since, according to official standards one needs to provide a spotlight on the flag during night time hours if one is not going to lower the flag at dusk, I propose the installation of a 250 watt spotlight. I will personally volunteer to go to Col. Barfoot’s home and install said spotlight so that his neighbors can enjoy his flag at ALL hours of the day.


  20. emdfl says:

    Heck, Rob, I’ll lend him my 1000w airport (don’t ask) spotlight. I usually only take it out to flash the batman-signal at holloween.

  21. Sigivald says:

    Phil: With only five inches of topsoil, you anchor the flagpole direct to the bedrock! Even sturdier.

  22. Rick R. says:

    Leave the colors flying.

    If the HOA wants the flagpole down — they can come by and try to take it down. On camera (newsies LOVE stories like this). While a 90 year old whups their ass.

    While I am adamantly opposed to HOAs in general (I have NEVER seen one that actually benefitted the community), the fact that this HOA doesn’t even have a rule against flagpoles means they don;t even have the flimsy excuse of, “Well you agreed to this rule before you moved in,” they normally whip out.

  23. thebastidge says:

    HOA’s are teh suck. Always. If your particular HOA neighbors get along, it’s not because of the HOA, it’s in spite of it.

    Reasonable people have a self-interest in using their own home in a way to maintain value. Not all value is monetary.

  24. Ziggy says:

    The kind of class act the Colonel is…

    ” The Barfoot family is accepting donations from supporters but wants the money to go to the USO, the military service organization.

    “We want the money to go the families of servicemen, not us,” said Margaret Nicholls, Col. Van T. Barfoot’s daughter.”

    Checks should be made out to the USO and sent to: Stand Tall for Colonel Barfoot, c/o The Hoople Group, 12105 Browning Court, Richmond, Va. 23233.

    In addition to the above, I found the following in the entry at wikipedia.

    “Barfoot was subsequently commissioned as a second lieutenant. His unit moved into France and by September was serving in the Rhone valley. It was there that Barfoot learned he would be awarded the Medal of Honor.

    ********He chose to have the presentation ceremony in the field, rather than in the United States, so that his soldiers could attend. ***********

    He was formally presented with the medal on September 28, 1944, in Épinal, France, by Lieutenant General Alexander Patch.[2]”

  25. AP/CP says:

    Did the retards at the HOA really think they could do something this egregious and petty and not garner a bunch of national exposure? It shows extraordinary bad judgment. With all the donations and pro bono legal representation the COL is receiving, they’re going to be wasting a bunch of the residents’ money in attorneys fees because they don’t want to let a bonafide American hero show proper respect to the colors. I predict the current board loses their positions come the next round of selections.

    On a more fundamental level, this reinforces the common libertarian/individualist theme that some (many) people cannot be trusted with any amount of authority without becoming petty tyrants.

    There are a number of mongoloids out there who are arguing that “he agreed to the rules when he moved into the neighborhood”, which ignores the fact that there is no specific rule against flag poles and that the HOA arbitrarily decided that the pole was a threat to “aesthetics”.

    • MarkHB says:

      Humph. It’s been my experience that groups of humans trend towards bastardry, and that power tends to suck the brain and heart clean out of a lot of people.

      It’s an observation that makes me wary of governments, churches, large corporations and even, yes, local social groups. Whether advancement is by backbiting, popularity contest or whatever, those who seek to command these things are generally not people whom I would want having power over me.

  26. Ride Fast says:

    […] I hope my HOA is listening […]

    Little minds, little Hitlers.

  27. Grandpa Bluewater says:

    1. Don’t have an HOA. Don’t like ’em.
    2. WRT the HOA in question, a properly displayed American Flag is the most beautiful sight in the world.
    Anyone who says anything else has no aesthetic judgement. HOA members should be required to write than on the blackboard 10000 times, then be sent to bed early with no supper.
    The Col. has full rights to fly his flag anywhere on his property any way he damn pleases.

  28. allan says:

    Barfoot was obviously pissed off about something… see his MOH citation here:

    Last line: Sgt. Barfoot’s extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of pointblank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers.

    Great man.

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  30. gedworts says:

    What do you expect from the neighbor hood nazi’s
    you pay them to tell youwhat to do!

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