The Best Thing That Happened This Week: A Bird-Flipping Hero for Our Times

Debra L. Cruise-Gulyas, we salute you. And you too, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Debra L. Cruise-Gulyas was having a very bad day back in June of 2017 in Taylor, Michigan. She was driving — in fact, she was speeding. A cop pulled her over. In a stroke of luck, he wrote her up a ticket for a non-moving, rather than a moving, violation; the latter would have been a more serious breach. Cruise-Gulyas took the ticket, started to drive away — and then did what will forever endear her to us and all true Philadelphians everywhere: She flipped the cop the bird.

Let us just briefly recap here. You break the law. The law cuts you a break. And how do you respond? YOU TELL THE LAW TO STICK IT. Forget Gritty. Debra L. Cruise-Gulyas is the hero this city — and every city — desperately needs.

The cop, Matthew W. Minard, naturally pulled our hero over again. He wrote her up that speeding citation she’d just barely escaped. You’d think Ms. Cruise-Gulyas would have the good sense to drive off quietly into the night and pay the freaking fine.

Nah. Instead, she sued Minard, claiming that the middle finger is protected speech under the First Amendment. And now, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has agreed. In its opinion, Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton declared:

Fits of rudeness or lack of gratitude may violate the Golden Rule. But that doesn’t make them illegal or for that matter punishable.

Right on! And so, fellow Philadelphians, we invite you to go forth and freely exercise your First Amendment rights by telling the world: “Up yours!” Which, of course, you were already doing anyway.