MESQUITE, Texas –
Free speech, art, or a neighborhood eyesore? Opinions are flying over what a Mesquite man is displaying in his front yard.
The trim brick home on in Mesquite has hanging plants, wind chimes and an inviting bench next to the neatly painted front door.
There’s also a large plywood sign that reads, “To the thief who stole my 2nd lawn decoration / FU Pig vomit / No trespassing! Violators will be shot! Survivors will be shot again!!!”
The man who lives here said the small tiki totem nicknamed “Tiki Barber” he put in the front yard was stolen, along with the cardboard “for sale” sign stating its price — $350,000.
After that happened, George Bannon grew angry and put up the hand-lettered announcement to the thief.
Some residents complained to the city about the display, and find his choice of flags offensive. One has the red and white stripes of an American flag, with a picture of President Obama’s head in the blue field. The homeowner put an “x” through Obama’s face and drew footprints on the flag, and is flying it upside down along with two other flags atop the plywood sign.
“A lot of people haven’t seen this Obama flag. The Democratic party had it outside its headquarters in Florida. I think it’s a disgrace,” Bannon said.
He marked it up so no one would steal it and use it, he said.
There’s also a Texas flag and an upside-down American flag flying from the porch.
“His disgraceful, appalling and tasteless ‘art work’ has been up in his front yard for about one month now,” one neighbor said in an email to FOX 4. “We (surrounding neighbors) are also disappointed with the City of Mesquite because they have not made him take it down.”
Others are concerned the language on the sign is not something children should see. However, Bannon told FOX 4 that it takes someone with a corrupted mind to see an expletive in the letters “FU.”
“That’s Fatties United. I don’t know why Fatties United is bad,” he said.
Bannon concedes he grew angry with the government when the economy crashed a few years ago and he lost his business. However, he says he has a right to free speech and is expressing his feelings through his art.
The city of Mesquite said it is aware of the signs and of the public complaints. It issued a notice of violation in March but after further review of city codes determined there was no violation.
“Because the sign structure/size/material and placement do not violate any codes. Furthermore, the City doesn’t regulate message content of this type of sign on private property. At this time, the City is not pursuing any further action on this issue,” the city said in a statement.