US man gets 16 years in prison for stealing, burning LGBT ‘pride’ flag
NEVADA, Iowa, December 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A man who was arrested this summer for stealing and then lighting a church’s LGBT rainbow “pride” flag on fire has been sentenced to prison for 16 years.
Adolfo Martinez, 30, of Ames, Iowa was found guilty last month of having committed a “hate crime” – arson – plus reckless use of explosives or fire.
According to the Des Moines Register, Martinez stole the flag, which had been hanging at Ames United Church of Christ. Then, using lighter fluid, he burned it early on June 11, 2019 outside a strip club called Dangerous Curves Gentleman’s Club.
Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds said in June that “hate crime” charges were added because Martinez “is suspected of criminal mischief against someone’s property because of ‘what it represents as far as sexual orientation.’”
Many responding to the news on Twitter thought the punishment was disproportionate to the crime.
“Would stealing an American flag and setting it on fire earn anyone prison time?” asked one user. “Absolutely not.”
Would stealing an American flag and setting it on fire earn anyone prison time?— FISA brings down the house ���� (@mogul_american) December 19, 2019
“Why does the left cheer when the American flag is burned?” wondered Shannon Ford. “No one goes to jail for that, but they do for burning an activist movement's flag?”
Why does the left cheer when the American flag is burned? No one goes to jail for that, but they do for burning an activist movement's flag?— Shannon Ford (@h0memadetweets) December 19, 2019
“He should have burned the American flag. Then, he would have been praised, statues dedicated,” quipped another Twitter user.
He should have burned the American flag. Then, he would have been praised, statues dedicated— Paul E F (@FerranteGiants) December 19, 2019
“Wow he got more years than murderers get in the Uk.. unbelievable!” said Kakushia F Fleming.
Wow he got more years than murderers get in the Uk.. unbelievable!— Kakushia F Fleming (@kakushian) December 19, 2019
So burning a rainbow flag is "hate speech", burning an American flag is "freedom of speech"! I see..— Ant-kneeML (@AKneeml) December 19, 2019