To begin, I want to make crystal clear that I’m opposed to the burning of flags as a means of making a statement. It’s childish, not to mention pointless. I’m even less of a fan of burning flags that don’t belong to you. That’s beyond pointless—it actually harms your cause and it is a crime. I support property rights, after all. That being said, charging someone with a hate crime for burning a flag is a bit much. But that’s exactly what may happen to idiot arsonist Tyresse Singleton.
The New York City Police Department broke the news on Twitter that they had arrested Singleton for burning three gay pride flags flown outside of the Alibi Lounge, a gay bar in Harlem. To be more specific, the arrest was announced by the NYC Police Hate Crimes Task Force’s Twitter page.
ARRESTED!! Thank you to calls from the community to @NYPDTips and the work of the Detectives in Hate Crime Task Force, this individual has been arrested and charged for both incidents of flag burning at @lounge_alibi #stophate pic.twitter.com/mGZ5hwtzio
— NYPD Hate Crimes (@NYPDHateCrimes) July 9, 2019
Look, arrest the idiot and throw the book at him. But elevating it to a hate crime takes away from actual hate crimes. Years ago, a gay friend of mine was a victim of gay-bashing. He spent a few days in the hospital. I’m sorry, but a few torched flags are not equal to someone taking a brick to the face.
I get that we live in overly-sensitive times where every single action requires being ramped up to an earth-shattering level of tragedy. And I get that political correctness requires the authorities to treat certain forms of vandalism as extra heinous. But, ask yourself, what do you think someone would be charged with if they burned the Betsy Ross flag proudly waving from your front porch?
If you guessed that the individual would be charged with a “hate crime,” you’d be wrong. Never mind that the arsonist most likely would have been motivated by a hatred for you and your patriotism. In that scenario, though, there’s a better chance that the person would earn a fat contract to help Nike sell their shoes made by slave labor. And there’s an almost 100% chance that burning a Betsy Ross flag that doesn’t belong to him would earn him the support and adulation of leftist heroes like Kamala Harris and AOC. It sure wouldn’t have earned this statement from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who, according to NBC News, said of the burning of the pride flags: “I am appalled by the burning of yet another pride flag outside an LGBTQ bar in Harlem. This act of hate is repugnant to our values of equality and inclusion, and we will not stand by and allow these cowardly acts to continue in New York.”
Again, to be clear, I am thankful that the New York City Police have done their job and taken an idiot vandal off the streets. Tyresse Singleton deserved to be arrested and deserves to be charged with a series of crimes that correspond with his arson. What we don’t need is to elevate every instance of stupidity to the level of terrorism.