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Oct 15 2019

Red Flag Abuse: Stephen Nichols

You have to watch what you say in public in authoritarian countries — and in the USA, in light of the red flag concept. Even innocuous remarks, if misconstrued, can result in lost liberty. Eighty-four-year-old Korean War vet Stephen Nichols is a case in point.

From Taxachusetts:

A Tisbury School crossing guard has been relieved of duty and had his personal firearms confiscated for alleged threats to the Tisbury School overheard by a waitress at Linda Jean’s restaurant in Oak Bluffs.

After a career spanning 6 decades with the Tisbury Police, this is all it took to establish Nichols as a threat to society:

Nichols said he was unimpressed with the Tisbury School resource officer’s alleged trips to Xtra Mart to get coffee when children came to school in the morning. While dining at Linda Jean’s a couple of weeks ago, Nichols said he told a friend about this and suggested somebody could “shoot up the school” in that officer’s absence, which he described as “leaving his post.”

After the waitress ratted him out for these supposedly threatening comments, Nichols was relieved of his crossing guard duties while he was performing them. He was also relieved of his firearms and his license to carry. Authorities were nice though; they didn’t charge him with a felony, despite telling him they could.

His interlocutor at the restaurant confirms that he did not threaten anyone. Everyone except the waitress seems to agree that he is not the type who would. But it only takes one complaint to hoist the red flag.

Nichols lost his wife two years ago and values his crossing guard work as a connection to the outside world. “I just need something to do to get out of the house and I love the kids,” he said.

Fortunately, public pushback sometimes still works. A petition was circulated. Nichols has been reinstated as a crossing guard.

But what about his guns?

Lawyer Dan Larkosh represents Nichols. He…

…intends to file an appeal of the decision by Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio to seize guns owned by Nichols, as well as his license to carry.

Good luck to him. Whether Nichols will ever regain his constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms remains to be seen.

On a tip from Dragon’s Lair.

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