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Guardsman sues over Army's new tattoo rules
Stars and Stripes ^ | May 1, 2014 | Brett Barrouquere

Posted on 05/01/2014 9:45:30 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar

A Kentucky National Guard soldier with aspirations of joining a U.S. Army special operations unit wants a federal judge to overturn the military's new regulations concerning soldiers with tattoos.

Staff Sgt. Adam C. Thorogood of Nashville, Tennessee, said the tattoos covering his left arm from the elbow to the wrist aren't harmful, but the Army is using the body art against him and stopping him from fulfilling a dream of joining "The Nightstalkers," the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Thorogood's attorneys said the new rules are preventing their client from seeking appointment as a warrant officer.

Thorogood, 28, sued Thursday in U.S. District Court in Paducah, Kentucky, seeking to have the new rules declared unconstitutional. He is seeking $100 million in damages.

The regulations went into effect in March cover a variety of appearance-related issues including hair styles, fingernails, glasses and jewelry. The rules ban tattoos below the knee or elbow. Soldiers who already have the ink are grandfathered in. Under the new regulations, any soldier with tattoos is barred from seeking a promotion to warrant officer or commissioning as an officer.

"You've got a soldier who is about as gung ho as you get ... then you've got this regulation you read about on Facebook and you don't have a career," said Robin May, a Kentucky-based attorney who represents Thorogood. "That would be a blow."

May said the new regulations violate a constitutional ban on laws that retroactively change the legal consequences or status of actions that were committed before the enactment of the law. The ban also infringes upon Thorogood's free speech rights, May said.

An Army spokesman did not immediately return a message Thursday. In an online video posted in March, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III addressed why the changes were made, saying appearance matters and should "be a matter of personal pride" to soldiers.

"The Army is a profession, and one of the ways our leaders and the American public measure our professionalism is by our appearance," Chandler said. "Every soldier has the responsibility to understand and follow these standards. Leaders at all levels also have a responsibility to interpret and enforce these standards, which begins by setting the example."

Tattoos have long been a part of military culture, but as they have become more popular, and more prominently displayed on the body, the various branches have been regulating them in to try to maintain a professional look. The Air Force bans tattoos covering more than a quarter of an exposed body part, under regulations revised in 2011. In 2006, the Navy announced that forearm tattoos could be no wider than a hand's breadth.

The Marine Corps has been cracking down on tattoos for years. In 2007, the Corps banned sleeve tattoos and those covering the leg below the knee.

Thorogood spent 10 years on active duty in the Army as a decorated soldier and sniper before switching to the Reserves, a move that allowed him to pursue a degree in aerospace at Middle Tennessee State University and pursue certifications in flying planes. Attorney Ken Humphries said Thorogood's goal was to submit an application for an appointment as a warrant officer, which are usually technical leaders and specialists, and become a helicopter pilot.

Thorogood has 11 tattoos, including three on his left arm featuring a three-member sniper team, a second of skulls and the sniper logo of a serpent and spear and an ambigram of the words "Fear Is the Mind Killer." After the tattoo regulations took effect, body art that Thorogood had before the regulations could get him charged with a military offense if he even applied for the position.

"It disqualifies a candidate for cosmetic reasons," Humphries said.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Foreign Affairs
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1 posted on 05/01/2014 9:45:30 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
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To: blueyon; KitJ; T Minus Four; xzins; CMS; The Sailor; ab01; txradioguy; Jet Jaguar; Defender2; ...

Active Duty ping.


2 posted on 05/01/2014 9:46:01 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Resist in place.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

All tattoos are a crime against decorum and civilization.


3 posted on 05/01/2014 9:49:10 PM PDT by eddie willers
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To: Jet Jaguar

Gangbangers love tattoos — and have no place in our military.


4 posted on 05/01/2014 9:50:32 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: Jet Jaguar
Queequeg no savvy.


5 posted on 05/01/2014 9:51:45 PM PDT by mylife
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To: mylife

Yep.
Facial tattos a nogo for many years now.


6 posted on 05/01/2014 9:56:22 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Resist in place.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

I have a good buddy that is a warrant officer in the reserves and an Apache pilot.

It is a damn shame the way they are being treated (and he has no tattoos)


7 posted on 05/01/2014 9:57:10 PM PDT by mylife
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To: mylife

Just more excuses for thinning the forces.

Unfortunatly.


8 posted on 05/01/2014 9:59:01 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Resist in place.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Actions have consequences


9 posted on 05/01/2014 10:01:43 PM PDT by easternsky
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To: Jet Jaguar

Guess we should just do away with rules altogether.

Juveniles hate ‘em.


10 posted on 05/01/2014 10:11:22 PM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: Jet Jaguar

Don’t you kinda give up a few rights when you enlist, agree to follow certain military codes and rules?


11 posted on 05/01/2014 10:21:25 PM PDT by Mastador1 (I'll take a bad dog over a good politician any day!)
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To: Mastador1

You do.

This guy was already serving.

They changed the rules without a grandfather clause.


12 posted on 05/01/2014 10:23:39 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Resist in place.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

No tats but its ok for queers to openly serve. This military is run by screws.


13 posted on 05/01/2014 10:35:33 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life's tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: Mastador1
Don’t you kinda give up a few rights when you enlist, agree to follow certain military codes and rules?

May I direct your attention to two pieces of information in the article?

You don't get to staff sergeant in three years, so the terms he agreed to were different.
The constitution places this regulation on Congress:
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
While the Supreme Court did carve out an exception for civil law, the possibility of retroactive rule-changes impacting punishments was their main argument — so if these revisions are applied to the staff sergeant then he has a pretty valid case. (Incidentally this shows why things likke military regulations, and 'normal' civil law should, at that high a level, be relatively stable.)
14 posted on 05/01/2014 10:46:09 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: eddie willers

Really? I was thinking of encouraging my son to enlist as a way to learn a trade. School is not his thing, but cooking is. He has a couple of tats so he should not be allowed?

And, mine are a crime against civilization? You do not know me.


15 posted on 05/01/2014 11:02:53 PM PDT by ozaukeemom (Is there even a republic left?)
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To: Jet Jaguar
The regulation is old--not new. No visible tattoos allowed. Tattoos can also spread AIDS, because equipment is sometimes not adequately sterilized.






16 posted on 05/01/2014 11:05:48 PM PDT by familyop
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To: Jet Jaguar



17 posted on 05/01/2014 11:08:29 PM PDT by familyop
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To: Jet Jaguar

The lack of a “grandfather” clause is questionable, but my understanding has been that military tattoos are supposed to be done in a way that they are not visible while in uniform (at least in the Army), and that the various Special Forces groups (SOCOM, Green Berets, Rangers, and the like) discouraged them in general because as “identifying marks” they made individual soldiers more readily recognizable. The article says this guy’s tattoos are down to his elbow, which would mean they’d be exposed in a sleeves-up situation.

Too, the military *is* trying to downsize, and when they get into that mode, they pull all kinds of chicken-s#it regulation rules-lawyering to find any excuse to drop people.


18 posted on 05/01/2014 11:29:58 PM PDT by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Yeah, cuz once he gets into training, they will make sure he gets a “fair” shot. This is so funny.

Roll Dow n your sleeve and move on son.


19 posted on 05/01/2014 11:31:17 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (If you want to keep your dignity, you can keep it. Period........ Just kidding, you can't keep it.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Nobody is allowed to have any standards at all these days


20 posted on 05/01/2014 11:37:45 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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Sodomy okay, tats bad.


21 posted on 05/01/2014 11:57:09 PM PDT by Gene Eric (Don't be a statist!)
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To: Gene Eric
Sodomy okay, tats bad.

I never saw any military career enhanced by getting tattooed.

22 posted on 05/02/2014 12:05:44 AM PDT by itsahoot (Voting for a Progressive RINO is the same as voting for any other Tyrant.)
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To: HANG THE EXPENSE

the military ain’t changing it b/c they want to. obama is changing it. hegot rid of opposing officers high up and they are doing what he tellsthem.


23 posted on 05/02/2014 12:39:32 AM PDT by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

I have never cared for tattoos except on trashy women, sorry appears I am being redundant.


24 posted on 05/02/2014 12:50:30 AM PDT by Foundahardheadedwoman (God don't have a statute of limitations)
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To: ozaukeemom

“I was thinking of encouraging my son to enlist...”

Today’s Army is not the army I belonged to nearly fifty years ago. I don’t think I would have encouraged my sons to join the army we have now. No slam intended against our troops. It’s the Pentagon and how things are run today, and the current administration with its PC ideas.


25 posted on 05/02/2014 12:57:03 AM PDT by beelzepug (You can't fix a broken washing machine by washing more expensive clothes in it.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

They allow dirty filthy diseased homosexuals, but they draw the line at Tattoos.


26 posted on 05/02/2014 1:01:36 AM PDT by MaxMax (Pay Attention and you'll be pissed off too! FIRE BOEHNER, NOW!)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Something doesn’t seem right with this story. When I was in...a long time ago...those of us above a certain clearance weren’t supposed to have identifying marks, as in, no tattoos. I never went and got the ones I had wanted because I couldn’t, at all, not even above the elbow, etc.

I was never a Nightstalker or anything similar but I find it hard to believe that those guys are allowed to have any tattoos.


27 posted on 05/02/2014 1:56:37 AM PDT by gnarledmaw (Obama: Evincing a Design since 2009)
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To: MaxMax
A syllogism by the Anti-Mahdi:

Not all people who have tattoos are evil, but, all evil people have tattoos.

28 posted on 05/02/2014 1:57:37 AM PDT by the anti-mahdi
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To: eddie willers

Right. We don’t want warriors but people who look pretty.


29 posted on 05/02/2014 2:57:38 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: Jet Jaguar; xzins; F15Eagle; ExTexasRedhead; pastorbillrandles

When you lower Biblical standards set forth by God, you very quickly learn there is no depravity too deep to sink, and no bottom of the pit too horrible for humanity to descend into.

The military came under assault for 2 reasons:

1. The public respected its traditions, service and sacrifice

2. The godless left figured that if it could manipulate THAT institution, then the public would accept all manner of manifest evil

30 posted on 05/02/2014 3:02:57 AM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: Jet Jaguar

“An Army spokesman did not immediately return a message Thursday. In an online video posted in March, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III addressed why the changes were made, saying appearance matters and should “be a matter of personal pride” to soldiers.”

Appearance matters huh? But yet they now allow gays in the military to march in gay parades in uniform with despicable displays of undress taking place and allow them to strut their stuff at events on base. So much for personal pride.


31 posted on 05/02/2014 3:12:55 AM PDT by ImNotLying (The Right To Bear Arms: Making good people helpless won't make bad people harmless!)
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To: SkyPilot; Jet Jaguar; P-Marlowe
Staff Sgt. Adam C. Thorogood of Nashville, Tennessee, said the tattoos covering his left arm from the elbow to the wrist aren't harmful, but the Army is using the body art against him and stopping him from fulfilling a dream of joining "The Nightstalkers," the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Thorogood's attorneys said the new rules are preventing their client from seeking appointment as a warrant officer

The Leviticus passage about tatoos was not extended into the Christian era in Acts 15. It could have been, but it wasn't. The only parts of the law still imposed on gentile Christians is: No meat offered to idols, no blood, no strangled meat, and no sexual immorality.

So, I'm not going to say this is a biblical issue for gentile Christians. And having a tattoo certainly shouldn't prevent an unbeliever from becoming a Christian.

This sergeant is exactly right. The new regulations allow him to continue as an NCO, but they won't permit him to become a warrant officer.

If they say to soldiers who join after the new regs come into force, "You are signing up under new rules. Tatoos are not allowable for those becoming warrant officers." I'm OK with that. Those soldiers join and sign on to those rules.

These soldiers were told, however, that they could have tattoos and that it wouldn't affect them.

So, they already have them. But now, the military is punishing them for the military's OWN old rules.

I think this is an 'ex post facto' law. I think that makes it unconstitutional.

32 posted on 05/02/2014 4:23:45 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: xzins

So he has tattoos? BIG DEAL! Does that make him less formidable as a “fighter” for our country? I think NOT!

While I agree facial tats are a “nono”, having arm or leg tats are obviously “distracting” but, IMO, don’t take away from ones ability to do their job.

I hope he wins his lawsuit.


33 posted on 05/02/2014 4:44:05 AM PDT by DaveA37
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To: Secret Agent Man

I stand by what I said. Remember what the senior NCO of the Marine Corps said with regards to pay. Most of the generals and admirals are libs and have been for some time.


34 posted on 05/02/2014 4:46:00 AM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life's tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: DaveA37

The Army can decide that soldiers cannot have tatoos. What they can’t do is say, “Yes they can.” and then with that same group of soldiers say about something that requires mutilation to remove “We’re punishing you for what we gave you permission to do in the past.”

If it was a beard, that would be different. A person doesn’t have to mutilate himself to remove a beard.


35 posted on 05/02/2014 4:55:01 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Good. They were good enough to die in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now they’re not good enough for a commission? I don’t think so.


36 posted on 05/02/2014 4:55:42 AM PDT by Future Snake Eater (CrossFit.com)
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To: familyop
The regulation is old--not new.

Wrong. It's new.

Tattoos can also spread AIDS, because equipment is sometimes not adequately sterilized.

I just did some research on that topic. No one has ever gotten AIDS from getting a tattoo. What else you got?

37 posted on 05/02/2014 5:00:36 AM PDT by Future Snake Eater (CrossFit.com)
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To: SkyPilot

And thus far, you number 2 has proven to be true.


38 posted on 05/02/2014 5:18:15 AM PDT by sport
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To: SkyPilot

So the combat vet with a tattoo of his KIA buddy’s ID tags is the same as that freakshow you posted? And he should be banned from career advancement or kicked out altogether if the tattoo is on his forearm?


39 posted on 05/02/2014 5:21:50 AM PDT by Future Snake Eater (CrossFit.com)
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To: ozaukeemom

You want him to enlist in obambi’s military?????


40 posted on 05/02/2014 5:57:20 AM PDT by Shimmer1 (They don't think think they are above the law. They think they are the law.)
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To: Future Snake Eater

What FEEEEELS good isn’t coming into play here.


41 posted on 05/02/2014 6:01:42 AM PDT by Shimmer1 (They don't think think they are above the law. They think they are the law.)
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To: familyop

Tattoos can spread AIDS? Maybe if you get one in the AIDS infirmary in a third world prison. Not in the US.


42 posted on 05/02/2014 8:50:09 AM PDT by coop71 (Being a redhead means never having to say you're sorry...)
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To: Shimmer1

That doesn’t remotely answer my question. Does that guy deserve the treatment he’s now getting? If so, why, and why was it OK to overlook the tattoos when we needed these people to act as IED bait? If they were fit to serve before, why aren’t they fit to serve now?


43 posted on 05/02/2014 8:59:41 AM PDT by Future Snake Eater (CrossFit.com)
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To: Jet Jaguar
Pay no attention to the last 200 years. Tattoos are completely incompatable with the military.
Pay no attention to the collapse of Rome. Illegal aliens in the military is a wonderful idea.
44 posted on 05/02/2014 9:03:49 AM PDT by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: OneWingedShark

Your ‘constitutional rights’ are limited under the military. There is no good reason why a mustache couldn’t go past the corner of your mouth in the military, but those are the rules.

Further, this rule applies to FUTURE promotions. The guy is not being demoted for the tattoos he has...but yeah, lots of tattoos can limit your upward mobility, even in the civilian world.

Heck, try getting a tattoo with the “N” word on your arm and owning an NBA team at the same time...


45 posted on 05/02/2014 9:07:25 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (I sooooo miss America!)
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To: Future Snake Eater

Right on. My tattoos had not one iota of effect on performing my duties as a grunt. And neither will this guys.


46 posted on 05/02/2014 9:08:39 AM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: xzins

“These soldiers were told, however, that they could have tattoos and that it wouldn’t affect them.”

And they won’t - at their current rank. But at least when I was in, tattoos were very strongly discouraged amongst officers, and anyone getting a lot of them would know it could limit how high one went.

Heck, the first time I was passed over for major, the SQ/CC said it was because my official photo had a wrinkle in the sleeve, and that would indicate sloppiness to a promotion board!


47 posted on 05/02/2014 9:12:11 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (I sooooo miss America!)
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To: Mr Rogers
Your ‘constitutional rights’ are limited under the military.

Then there is no Constitution — you see, the Constitution is about limiting the government, not granting rights.

There is no good reason why a mustache couldn’t go past the corner of your mouth in the military, but those are the rules.

If those were the rules you agreed to under your enlistment, then it's a matter of you violating your contract, no?

Further, this rule applies to FUTURE promotions. The guy is not being demoted for the tattoos he has...but yeah, lots of tattoos can limit your upward mobility, even in the civilian world.

Granted.

Heck, try getting a tattoo with the “N” word on your arm and owning an NBA team at the same time...

Nachos?
What do they have against cheese-covered chips?

48 posted on 05/02/2014 9:13:15 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Mr Rogers

If they hadn’t changed the rules, Mr Rogers, I’d have no problem with it. However, you can’t give someone permission to do something and then punish them for doing it.

Since it requires mutilation to remove these, it is not like approving of beards and then disapproving of beards.

The clear answer is to grandfather those who received tatoos during the time when it was permissible and deny them to all new recruits.


49 posted on 05/02/2014 9:14:38 AM PDT by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Those who truly support our troops pray for victory!)
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To: OneWingedShark

Grooming rules varied while I was in. But past actions can reduce the chance of future promotion because you have no “right” to be promoted.

They are not punishing the guy. They are not reducing his rank. But imprudent actions in the past can cause a person future problems. One of the reasons I dislike tattoos is that they are permanent, and what is considered ‘good’ today might be considered ‘bad’ tomorrow. Think about a tattoo proclaiming God, Mom & Apple Pie - it would now be considered religious bigotry, homophobic and insensitive to fat people...


50 posted on 05/02/2014 9:19:58 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (I sooooo miss America!)
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