Shane Boor, who faced harassment charges for flipping off a state trooper, is free to let his finger fly again. The Colorado State Patrol requested that the matter be dropped after the ACLU let it be known the organization would defend Boor's right to express himself digitally -- just like the folks in our top 10 list of all-time bird flippers, assembled in his honor. See photos below.
Regarding the state patrol's decision to back off, here's a take by Erik Maulbetsch, campaign director for the ACLU of Colorado. "We're glad that cooler heads prevailed and decided not to charge Mr. Boor for what was clearly protected speech," he writes via e-mail. "It's only a shame that the State Patrol wasn't able to train its troopers to ignore minor gestures before they spent patrol time and taxpayer dollars on this misguided overreaction to a driver whose expression of disapproval, though impolite, simply didn't break the law."
The same goes for the following people, who shared their feelings with admirable verbal restraint.
10: Justin Bieber In March, the Bieb-ster apologized for showing his middle finger to a photographer horning in on his action with Disney darling Selena Gomez. But never say never! 9. Jose Maria Aznar In February 2010, former Spanish Prime MInister Aznar was trying to deliver an economics lecture at the University of Oviedo when some protesters insisted on harshing his vibe. Take that, troglodytes! 8. Ashton Kutcher This is one of the most cheerful flip offs we've ever seen. And no wonder, since Kutcher, the only man in the world bold enough to step into Charlie Sheen's shoes, was at this July 2009 fashion show alongside wife Demi Moore and international hottie Penelope Cruz. Wouldn't you be happy, too? 7. Harry Reid Somehow, Reid became the Senate Majority Leader despite being one of the more boring men on the planet -- an inspirational example of overcoming a handicap. Then again, maybe he's more lively than people think, given this image, which began to circulate in November 2009, as the health-care debate was really heating up. Maybe he's offering to give the country a prostate check... 6. Stan Lee The marvelous man from Marvel may be pushing ninety, but he knows how to relate to the kids, as witnessed by this flip, offered at a Spiderman premiere. 5. Nelson Rockefeller While campaigning for Senator Bob Dole in 1976, vice president Nelson Rockefeller faced down hecklers with this fearsome weapon. 4. Shia Lebeouf Like Justin Bieber, Shia Lebeouf remains a frequent paparazzi target, so he can be forgiven for giving the finger to a shutterbug back in 2009. But maybe not for Transformers 3... 3. Lady Gaga Gaga didn't act like a lady at a 2010 Mets game, flipping off fans who thought her outfit was made for a different kind of balling. 2. George Bush When he was still governor of Texas, George W. Bush fueled presidential ambitions that would be satisfied just a couple of years later with one of the most iconic birds ever. Aside from the American Eagle, that is! 1. Johnny Cash Even a former prez must take a backseat to the Man in Black. This photo's got everything -- not just a perfectly executed flip, framed front and center, but also Johnny's expression, which is so amazingly venomous that it's still popping up on T-shirts, posters and computer wallpaper decades after he first expressed his feelings in a constitutionally protected way. Mr. Cash, we (one-finger) salute you!
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Chris 'Birdman' Andersen's amazing neck tattoo & more: Photo gallery of returning Nugget."
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