Recently, the couple at the center of this story told it, and I was there. I’m retelling it here, albeit without some specific, identifying details, because it isn’t my story. But I have two reasons for wanting to share it. 1. I think it’s awesome. 2. It shows once again that, in the words of my former KOOL-FM colleague Brian Bourke, “criminals are stupid”.
A lovely couple put a Pride flag on their house during Pride month. Several businesses located nearby in their small town did the same. They awoke one day to find their flag was gone. Stolen. Torn down by someone with an axe to grind? It was disappointing to the homeowners to find the pole bent and the flag gone.
They posted about the theft on Facebook, in case anyone saw something or knew something. Later that day, the post was deluged with messages of hate. They all came from the same place: a private Facebook group based in the US. Dozens and dozens of angry, accusatory, and vile threats from strangers kept coming.
Then the couple had an idea. The only way a US-based group would find out about their flag and their support of Pride, was if someone tipped them off. So one of them joined the group to do some detective work from the inside. They scrolled through the page’s posts and there it was – a shout-out to attack this couple for supporting Pride. They searched the man’s profile and found he lived nearby. Bingo.
They called police and reported the theft and the results of their investigation. Officers from the Hate Crimes Unit paid a visit to the local man. He thought he was anonymous. He thought he and his ignorant, closed-minded friends could bully and harass this couple without consequences. But, he found out otherwise. He admitted that he was, indeed, the flag thief and the person who launched a thousand hate messages.
Bet he thinks twice before ever trying something that stupid again.
Meantime, the couple was awash in local messages of support and love. They left, and then blocked, the hate group. Love always wins. It wasn’t long before their new Pride flag was up, and it stayed up, right through the rest of Pride month.
If you don’t like a Pride flag, avert your eyes. You don’t have to love it or even like it. You only have to let it be.