“And the last thing I want to do is make america great again. America was never great for everybody. Never.”
These were the words of Bryton Mellott on July 4, a day when everyone else is celebrating and lighting up fireworks. Instead, Mellott decided to do something a little different. He went online to his Facebook page and posted a photo of himself burning the American flag. This was his way of helping create a future where America can be great.
“I’ve opened up a dialogue, that’s a giant step in the right direction. Even if you hate my guts, thank you for helping me take that step,” he added.
As anyone may have expected, Mellott’s photo caused some furious reactions. “You should probably move and leave America then,” one said.
Meanwhile, another remarked, “This is you attacking many people who have served for our country so you can post things like this on the Internet.”
Amidst getting these kinds of reactions, Mellott insisted that “change starts with recognizing that their are problems; fundamental problems that very much stem from nationalistic attitudes.”
Mellott’s actions did not only cause a furious storm of comments on Facebook. It also led to him being reported to the Urbana Police Department. According to Patrol Lieutenant Lt. Joel R. Sanders, Mellott was placed under arrest for flag desecration and disorderly conduct. However, he was also named victim of disorderly conduct.
The police also noted that Mellott now faces threats of violence against himself and the place where he works. Mellott was released and given a notice to appear in court.
Sanders said that his release was the cause of “questions about the constitutionality of the 2013 Illinois flag desecration law.” Meanwhile, WAND 17 reports that Mellott will not be facing charges, as the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office said that burning the flag is protected by the First Amendment.
Mellott is no stranger to expressing his strong opinions on his Facebook page. It is clear that he is not in favor of Donald Trump. Just last month, he wrote, “Kill him. If Trump can promote violence and pass it off as ‘opinions’ then fine, I can too. Kill him dead because I’m done playing.”
Since posting the photo and being placed in police custody, Mellott took to Facebook again. This time, he made a brief statement. “So it’d be super-duper if the death threats could stop.”