It took Ariann Anderson and Jess Meadows-Anderson a few moments at the window to realize that the burning stick being waved up and down their street was in fact the rainbow flag from their front porch.
Now an Omaha, Nebraska man is being charged with second degree arson and resisting arrest for the crime.
Cameron Mayfield, 23 (pictured below), had reportedly just lost his job and as a result was drinking heavily when he committed the act. According to his father, it was a simple coincidence that the flag he chose to burn happened to be a rainbow.
The victims naturally see things a bit differently.
“It’s just a reminder that hate is still out there,” said Jess.
Ariann told local reporters, “It goes beyond being vandalism or theft — that’s a direct attack.”
And based on their experience, it’s nearly impossible to buy the father’s story.
It was just after midnight when Ariann and Jess were woken up by some commotion; they initially thought they were being burglarized. Jess ran to check on their two girls, and Ariann made it to a window just in time to see Mayfield’s van drive off.
Already shaken, the couple heard more noise shortly thereafter, and when they looked out the window, saw Mayfield running down the street, the flag’s flames aglow in the night.
The attack hit especially close to home seeing that Mayfield lives about ten houses down from the family.
They replaced the flag the next day with a new one, and remain more concerned with getting their marriage recognized in their home state (the two married in Iowa in 2011) than they are with this drunken display of discrimination.
“You almost feel bad for a minute,” said Ariann. “He’s a young man and he made a hate-filled, drunken mistake that will have a lasting effect on his life and his family.”