One of the most disturbing trends to emerge in recent years has been the utter lack of respect and disdain that a growing number of Americans have shown for the American flag.
The trend began in earnest in 2016 when then-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick made the decision to kneel during the national anthem prior to his team’s games.
Since then, the idea that the American flag somehow stands for oppression and racism has, sadly, proliferated.
The disrespect for the American flag took a turn for the worse recently, when a Texas man allegedly damaged nine American flags outside of a Denton courthouse just one day before the 17th anniversary of 9/11, according to KDFW-TV in Dallas.
Police sought the man, identified as 29-year-old Matthew Emerson Reynolds, after cameras in Denton square caught Reynolds riding a bike and ripping out the flags.
In fairness, there’s absolutely zero evidence suggesting Reynolds was protesting anything and may have just been a disturbed individual. But it’s hard to imagine this type of act wasn’t at least spurred, in part, by the cultural climate of today’s America.
Many of the people who were around to witness Reynolds’ brazen actions said they were appalled.
“I was horrified,” said Ben Marsh, an employee at a nearby store. “I didn’t think I’d see anything like that in the Denton square.”
One of the flags allegedly damaged was outside of J.T. Clothier, the store where Marsh works.
“I think it’s completely disrespectful to the country as a whole and everything that every single person out here stands for,” Marsh added.
Another disgusting aspect of Reynolds’ actions involves some of the people he’s actually hurting.
Through the Denton Rotary Club, the flags placed around the city aim to help raise money for local charities and scholarships.
“It’s money out of the club’s pocket, which is money out of local youth charity projects we support,” said Randy Sudderth, the club’s vice president.
With help of the public, Reynolds was ultimately identified and he turned himself in when his name began circulating.
Here’s the thing: At the end of the day, regardless of how you feel about actual flag protests, the right to peacefully protest is fundamentally American. It’s a divisive topic for a reason.
But no one has the right to damage property, whether they’re involved in a protest or not.
Reynolds is now facing criminal mischief charges. He will face up to 180 days in jail as well as fines if convicted.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.