A retired veteran of the U.S. Navy had his house vandalized, torched and desecrated with obscene, racist and anti-Trump graffiti on Tuesday.
“Definitely scary,” is how Matthew Smith described his real-life nightmare to the local ABC TV affiliate.
Smith, who lives in Plant City. Fla., came back to what was left of his home in this small urban center located on Interstate 4 and found his walls covered with hateful phrases. Someone had spray painted “cracker, F- Trump, not my prez, and F- yo kids.”
Smith did not advertise his support for President-elect Donald Trump. He did not even put a campaign sign on his front lawn.
But he does fly three flags: the American, the POW and the U.S. Navy banners.
None of that mattered to whomever trashed his house this week – even going as far as setting fire to his eight-year-old daughter’s bed and his 18-month son’s crib.
“Your heart kind of just sinks in your chest,” Smith said. “Definitely blessed to have not been here. It was pretty bad.”
The Smith family was away at the time of the crime, staying with their grandparents when a neighbor called him to say that Smith’s house was on fire and there was a fire truck parked on the street.
In addition to the fire and graffiti, the vandals destroyed nearly everything in sight. Smith told the local ABC TV affiliate that “the place was ransacked. Clothes from my room…just made it everywhere. Papers, important documents thrown everywhere, just torn up. The Christmas tree set up yesterday was knocked down and had been lit on fire. Every piece of furniture was pretty much burned through.”
Smith says he was active on Facebook during the election campaign and posted some pro-Trump messages. He says he believes the outrage that he has experienced is part of a general lawlessness that defines anti-Trump protests.
“It’s been several months now where there’s protesters breaking the law, damaging property, destroying cities,” Smith said. “And, ‘oh just let them do it’ and that’s not how it should have gone down. If you are breaking the law you should go to jail. That’s it.”
The Smith family just wants to get back to living their lives and preparing for Christmas.