Free speech is teetering on the brink.
More and more people are quick to curtail rights in the name of “safety.”
Now one man just got an unbelievable sentence for burning a pride flag.
Flag burning is a controversial topic in the United States.
The landmark Supreme Court case of Texas v. Johnson ruled that burning the American flag is a form of protected speech.
Anti-American protesters like members of the domestic terrorist group Antifa commonly show their disdain for the country by setting the American flag on fire.
As repugnant as that may be, it’s important to protect speech, because the alternative would lead to an Orwellian nightmare.
But one troubled man burned a pride flag, and got a shocking sentence.
An Iowa man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday for stealing and burning a church’s rainbow LGBT pride flag.
No, Adolfo Martinez did not actually hurt or assault anybody in the process of stealing the flag off the front of the United Church of Christ in Ames and burning it in front of a bar he had been kicked out of last June. Though the 30-year-old did threaten to burn the bar down. And in an interview with Des Moines CBS affiliate KCCI he even confessed to the crime, making it clear (sort of; we’ll get to that) that it was motivated by disapproval of LGBT people.
Having been previously convicted of two non-violent felonies, Martinez got a harsher sentence because of “habitual offender” guidelines.
Martinez’s actions and motivations were despicable, but 15 years for burning a flag, even with his prior convictions, is more than excessive.
Authorities clearly wanted to make an example out of him.
Martinez’s sentence underscores the problem with hate speech laws pushed for by leftists.
It’s an end-run around the Constitution.
Burning the American flag is acceptable because it doesn’t involve “hate,” but burning the pride flag somehow isn’t protected speech.
That’s a dangerous precedent to set if the state gets to decide thought crimes based on political activism.
Should Martinez have received 15 years for his actions?
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