Michael Tate Reed II, the man who drove his vehicle through a monument of the Ten Commandments outside the Arkansas state house, is the same man who vandalized the Oklahoma Ten Commandments monument in 2014.
Reed, a local native of Van Buren, was observed starting from a dead stop to hit the monument at about 4:45 this morning. The controversial culture war symbol had just been installed yesterday. A Pulaski County police officer arrested him immediately afterwards.
Reed appears to have recorded his actions on Facebook Live. In an 18-second video that was still published at the time of this writing, Reed can be heard exclaiming “freedom!” before he guns the engine of his 2016 Dodge Dart and knocks over the monument. Here is a screenshot:
A schizophrenic who struggles with hallucinations, Reed had already been confronted by police on Tuesday afternoon when he attempted to jump off a bluff into a local river as part of a transitory religious drama.
“I’m a firm believer that part of salvation is that we not only have faith in Jesus Christ but we obey the commands of God, and that we confess Jesus as Lord,” Reed said in one of a series of rambling videos on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.
While Reed describes himself on Facebook as a “Pentacostal [sic] Jesus freak,” he opposes the establishment of Judeo-Christian religion on public property, calling it a “violation of our Constitutional right to have the freedom that’s guaranteed to us, that guarantees us the separation of church and state.”
“Our Constitutional rights have been violated and since no one will do anything about it I will,” Reed wrote on his Facebook wall at 2:34 AM. It was not the first time he had acted out against Ten Commandments idolatry during a psychotic break.
Reed also drove a car into a similar monument in Oklahoma City nearly three years ago. Arrested later for threatening President Obama, lighting money on fire, and spitting on pictures in a federal building, Reed told Secret Service agents that the devil had made him do it.
In a letter to the Tulsa World, Reed confessed that such episodes “led to getting inspiration from a Dracula movie, thinking Michael Jackson’s spirit was in meat, believing he was the incarnation of an occult leader and attempting to contact Lucifer’s high priestess he called Gwyneth Paltrow.”
About 40 minutes before he drove into the monument, Reed posted a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a new car. The website has already removed it.
Of course, untreated mental illness is a social scourge that feeds homelessness and fills American jails with people who belong in treatment facilities. State resources for treating the mentally ill have been under severe budget pressure in most American states for a long time.
While the Affordable Care Act has eased the shortage of access to mental health services for millions of Americans, Michael Tate Reed is a poster boy for universal coverage of psychiatric illnesses. Congressional Republicans have made concerted efforts to reverse the Obamacare rule that mental health must be covered by all health insurance policies.
The same evangelical conservatives who donate money to erect graven images of the Ten Commandments because IN YO FACE HOLLYWOOD LIBERALS are also the people who elect Republicans with orders to destroy the Affordable Care Act. They will now keep Mr. Reed in their thoughts and prayers — which is fine, but he clearly needs more supervised medication and less religion.
Here is video of the shattered monument via NBC affiliate KARK 4:
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Featured image via Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office