Army Pfc. Tariqka Sheffey has made at least two major choices in her life. One was to volunteer for the United States Army. That’s a brave choice that could cost her her life. Joining the Army is very serious business.
The second is her decision to publicly disrespect the flag that represents the United States. This was a foolish choice that could cost her dearly.
A soldier who hid in her car to avoid saluting the flag — and then flaunted it on Instagram — is the latest service member to come under attack via social media and be accused of dishonoring her service.
Pfc. Tariqka Sheffey, whose Instagram handle is “sheffeynation,” posted a selfie with a caption that reads:
“This is me laying back in my car hiding so I don’t have to salute the 1700 flag, KEEP ALL YOUR ‘THATS SO DISRESPECTFUL/HOWRUDE/ETC.’ COMMENTS TO YOURSELF cuz, right now, IDGAFFFF.”
The image was distributed via Facebook and also sent to Army Times. Angry service members, Gold Star mothers and spouses have called for the soldier’s removal from service.
The IDGAFFFF is profane slang for “I don’t care what you think about me or my actions at all.” A person with that attitude is a discipline problem. A person who puts that attitude out on social media is begging for trouble. This is not a free speech issue.
Sheffey is not a civilian. She is a member of a unit at Ft. Carson, Colorado. Her commanders will care about what she has done, and she will have to care about what they think. When she volunteered for the Army, Sheffey voluntarily put herself under their authority. She is subject to discipline under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. She has yet to apologize for her actions, but apologies may not even matter. Her actions threaten her unit’s and the Army’s good order and discipline. Commanders will take the good of the unit into account as they decide what discipline Sheffey faces. That doesn’t automatically mean that she will be ejected. Commanders can be pretty creative about maintaining order. Her punishment will depend on her prior discipline record and how she treats this issue, and could be as simple as ordering her to report to the flag lowering every day to stand apart from the ranks and salute for an extra amount of time. Or she could be booted if she sticks to that IDGAFFFF attitude. Being booted may be what she wants. People have done all kinds of things to shirk the duty they have volunteered for.
Exit question: What are the odds that Sheffey’s actions make her a cause célèbre to some on the left?