And now, the Griffin

From Rebel News (Toronto):

A police department in Iowa is accepting submissions to change its logo because it allegedly “heavily resembles the KKK dragon.”

The Waterloo Police Griffin logo was adopted in 1964, and reportedly “leaves many citizens and residents feeling uncomfortable and distrustful when dealing with the Waterloo Police Department.”

The City’s Commission on Human Rights has launched a petition calling for the unreserved retirement of the eagle-lion mythical hybrid Griffin by tying it to the history of the KKK through its dragon logo:

“Although Black Americans have typically been the Klan’s primary target, it also has attacked Jews, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community and, until recently, Catholics.

“In addition, the undersigned absolutely resist any alteration of the Griffin and remain committed to organize until any trace of this Griffin is removed from any active paraphernalia utilized by Waterloo law enforcement.”

Griffins and dragons do share a superficial resemblance, in that both have wings and neither exist.

Wikipedia.

Here is an image of the Waterloo Police Department shoulder flash, taken from Wikipedia. The Department’s website says that:

In 1964 Former Police Chief Robert Wright conducted research in an effort to devise a patch to replace the old triangular patch that displayed only the lettering “Waterloo Police Department”. Chief Wright wanted to find a patch that would be unique and symbolic of police work.

During his search, Chief Wright came across the Griffin, an animal with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. The Griffin is a Greek Mythological animal symbolizing vigilance, which means to act as a guardian to our priceless possessions.

Chief Wright enlisted the aid of Waterloo Daily Courier Artist Jack Bender in designing the patch to include the Griffin. The design was a bright gold background to set off a green eyed red Griffin with black lettering and border. That same patch has been part of the Waterloo Police Department uniform ever since.

I had never heard of the KKK Dragon but apparently the original iteration of that loathsome group really did have a dragon banner:

Flags of the World.

Flags of the World claims that “in the Klan’s Prescripts of 1867 the official banner of the KKK was carefully described. It was a triangular shaped flag (3×5 feet). It was made of yellow material with a red scalloped border about three inches in width. A black European flying dragon (dracovolans) was hand-painted on it along with the motto Quod Semper, Quod Ubique, Quod Ab Omnibus in Latin. (What always, what everywhere, what by all is held to be true.)”

My comments:

• There does seem to be a disquieting graphical similarity between the KKK banner and the Waterloo police badge, largely due to the gold background and the heraldic pose of the animal (“passant” in the lingo). It’s true that dragons and griffins are different animals, but they appear similar here.

• But I do hope that dragons (and/or griffins) have not been canceled, even passant creatures on a gold field. I would say the same thing about the fleur-de-lys, the mounted knight, and the Thor’s Hammer. If extremists decide to appropriate some symbol, the proper response is to take it back! Not allow them to ruin it for all time. 

• And does anyone really know about the dragon pennant? Hooded robes, burning crosses, and that blood-drop cross are all much better known symbols of the KKK. It seems a little pedantic to bring up this rather obscure item.

• It’s a shame that something so striking and unique should come under attack. One hopes that any secondary patch (which is what the department is soliciting) will be just as striking, although some of the proposals thus far aren’t very promising…

1 thought on “And now, the Griffin

  1. Wow. The Welsh had better get ready for a new flag . And the University
    of Guelph – Gryphons all over the place – will be compelled to do major
    soul searching. Ugh. How about adopting a pure white (unadorned)
    banner like France used at some point in the early 19th century? It fits
    the current handwringing mode and is quite suitable as it now represents
    abject surrender

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