The Arizona Republic ran a story this morning that caught my eye. Dan Frazier, of Flagstaff, Arizona is selling anti-Bush t-shirts that says Bush Lied, They Died, printed on top of the names of 2,800 soldiers killed fighting the Iraq war. Protests by some of the families of servicemen listed on the shirt has brought about legislation in Arizona to make it a crime to use the names, or photos, of servicemen for commercial purposes.
Louisiana and Oklahoma have already passed similar laws brought about by the t-shirt. Dan Frazier has stopped selling shirts in those states. Texas and Arizona now have legistration on the books to try and do the same. Dan Frazier is quoted as saying, “It’s protected Speech. It’s political speech and there’s no bones about it.”
Moral and Ethical Issues
Aside from any legal issues at hand, the shirt will certainly will stir up some strong feelings over whether or not it is in good taste. Does it honor these soldiers? Do that fact that their names are printed over anti-bush statements affect whether it’s an appropriate use of their names?
Individuals do have civil protection against the use of their names or images. As you can imagine you can’t simply put Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton’s name on a shirt and sell it without their permission. But does the same rule apply to dead soldiers? Do those rules of protection inhibit the freedom of political speech? The proposed Arizona legislation would change the usage of their names from a civil offense to a misdemeanor criminal offense.
What Do You Think?
Let us know what you think. Vote below, or feel free to post a comment.