Sign on Big Spring Business Causing Controversy

by Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - A controversial sign in Big Spring is stirring up debate. The message takes aim at President Obama and his policies.

Russ Rutledge owns the business R 2 Corp, and he said although some people may not agree with his sign, he's simply exercising his right to freedom of speech. But one veteran thinks Rutledge is pushing the limit.

"I don't keep it a secret that I don't support Obama and the way he's running our country," Rutledge said.

If you're driving on FM 700 in Big Spring, you can see what Rutledge is talking about. But that's not the sign that has one veteran so upset. It's this one: "If you support Obama and his regime, you're not welcome here."

Rutledge said the billboards outside his business have drawn backlash, so he posted the sign on the door to keep business inside and the political debates outside.

But veteran Josh Sigmon argues the sign on the door is offensive to anyone who goes to that business.

"If he didn't want anyone to be confrontational about it then he should've never done the billboards in the first place," Sigmon said. "We've been fighting racism and prejudice for hundreds of years now and it seems like it will always keep coming up."

Rutledge said the sign was never meant to offend anyone.

"That's not it, it's the political activists who want to come down and argue about Obama and his policies," he said. "I'd be happy to talk to them, just maybe not during business hours when I'm trying to do something else productive."

Sigmon said veterans have fought to make America a free place and it's the wording of the sign that bothers him.

"If you're a regime, to me, that's terroristic ideals and views so it's not a regime," Sigmon said. "He runs a place of business, keep it to himself."

Rutledge said one of the great things about our country is freedom of speech, and he'll continue that as long as its allowed.

"If I want to put a sign up, I think I can," he said. "Until the law tells me I can't, I guess I can."

"I believe everyone has the right to do what they want to do," Sigmon said. "Just don't push it down my throat."