The state of Arkansas recently erected a six feet tall monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol, paid for with private funds. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, an apparently disturbed man named Michael Tate Reed rammed the monument with his vehicle and destroyed it, yelling, “Freedom!” Reed was taken into custody immediately afterward and is being held without bail pending charges of defacing objects of public respect, trespassing on Capitol grounds and first-degree criminal mischief.

Why did Reed do it?

Mr. Reed assisted the prosecution immensely by recording the deed in a Facebook live video that cuts off on the impact of his vehicle with the monument.

He posted a previous video in which he described his Christian beliefs but also his adherence to a strict separation of church and state. In an even earlier video, Reed made a rambling statement about his intention to “see God more” and perhaps seek medical help. He also described some of his dealings with police and mental health providers.

The Facebook posts are another example of how criminals are making things easy for law enforcement by recording their crimes and, in this case, the background of the act. Social media has provided a way for crooks to boast of what they have done, and incentive to committing criminal acts no doubt, but also a ready-made set of evidence for the prosecution,

The Oklahoma City incident

In 2014, Reed rammed his truck into a similar 10 Commandments monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol.

He also issued some threats against then President Barack Obama, burned some money, and then wandered into the Capitol building to spit on some pictures. He was later diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder after undergoing a mental health evaluation. He was released from a Norman's Griffin Memorial Hospital in January 2015 after agreeing to continued mental health treatment with the Oklahoma City District Attorney.

What happens with the monument now?

Cleanup crews are setting about the task of cleaning up the rubble and hauling it away. The original monument was constructed with $26,000 in private donations, a way to avoid lawsuits by atheist groups that oppose such edifices on the grounds of separation of church and state. The task of raising money for a replacement will, doubtless, be undertaken.

What happens to Reed?

Reed’s fate will be decided by the Arkansas legal system. Apparently letting him loose with a promise to continue mental health treatment did not work. Doubtless, he will have to be confined, either in prison or another mental health facility, while he receives treatment.