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July 25, 2005
Leftist Vandals Attack Family Of Slain Soldier

The family of a soldier killed in Iraq and just buried less than 24 hours earlier awoke the next morning to a fire in their driveway, which totaled the car of the soldier's sister-in-law. The arsonist(s) set the fire with 20 American flags that the family displayed yard, given to them by mourners at the soldier's funeral:

American flags, lining the lawn of the mother- and father-in-law of fallen U.S. Army Pfc. Timothy Hines Jr., were heaped in a pile early Saturday and burned under a car parked in front of the home - less than 24 hours after Hines was buried in Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery. ...

The flames totaled Sara Wessel's car.

Sara is Hines' sister-in-law and Jim Wessel's oldest daughter. She had been staying at the house on Sando Drive since the family returned last week from Washington, D.C., where they were visiting Hines at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Hines, 21, was buried Friday after more than 400 people mourned his passing and celebrated his life at the Vineyard Community Church in Springdale. He was buried with full military honors, leaving behind a pregnant widow who expects to give birth in about two weeks and a 2-year-old daughter.

Wessel's father thinks the fire was "a random act of violence," but neighbors don't think so. One pointed out that the street has more than 20 cars parked near where the fire was set; why pick on the one with all the American flags in the yard? And why use the flags as torches to set the fire in the first place?

It doesn't take Scotland Yard or Hercule Poirot to figure out that the arsonists had a problem with the American flags. Likely, the arsonist(s) knew nothing about the funeral, but got offended by the sight of so many American flags at one house. They probably presumed that the flags constituted a statement about support for the Iraq War, and America in general, and decided that the appropriate response was to burn the family to death, and failing that, at least get their car. (Maybe it was even an SUV -- making it doubly satisfying for the arsonists.) Fortunately the car alarm went off before the fuel tank exploded and involved the entire house, or else the Wessels could have lost much more than a car and the flags that honored their son-in-law and his sacrifice to this country.

This doesn't constitute protest or political speech; it reflects madness. America-haters have come unhinged. When displaying our country's flag makes a dead soldier's family a target for political violence -- and there seems to be little doubt of the nature of this attack -- something terrible has gone wrong with the Left.

UPDATE: Jesse at Pandagon claims that I'm jumping to conclusions and says the flags were used because they were flammable. Uh, so's the gas in the car itself, which one could easily touch off with a newspaper or rag. It doesn't take but a single flag to start a fire, either. Why were all 20 flags used for kindling? Why pick that house and that car to burn? Can anyone remember the last time random drunks just decided to commit arson after a night of partying by burning 20 American flags to torch a single car in a residential neighborhood full of them?

I guess some people really need a helping hand to connect a few dots.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 25, 2005 6:29 AM

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