This video of former Christian radio preacher Michael Leisner’s protest of General Mills seems right out of Saturday Night Live. Leisner is upset with what he says is the support of General Mills for same-sex marriage so he decides to torch a box of Honey Nut Cheerios on their lawn . . . and proceeds to torch their lawn in Golden Valley, Minnesota. He did succeed in reaffirming the company’s new slogan: “You’re on your toes with Cheerios”
I love how Leisner calls for his associates to help them as then bolt for the car.
Leisner is infamous for his attacks on gay leaders and such comments as stating that President Barack Obama has “bent forward to accommodate the sodomites of New York.” He has railed against the “depraved, debasing debauchery of gay activists.” Of course, they tend not to torch the lawns of their neighbors. He will now have to clarify when people point him out as “flaming.”
It is interesting that Leisner has not been charged with arson for this recorded criminal act.
Because he did not destroy a “building,” first or second arson may not apply. However, third degree arson seems about right:
609.563 ARSON IN THE THIRD DEGREE.
Subdivision 1.Crime. Whoever unlawfully by means of fire or explosives, intentionally destroys or damages any real or personal property may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of $10,000, or both, if:
(a) the property intended by the accused to be damaged or destroyed had a value of more than $300 but less than $1,000; or
(b) property of the value of $300 or more was unintentionally damaged or destroyed but such damage or destruction could reasonably have been foreseen; or
(c) the property specified in clauses (a) and (b) in the aggregate had a value of $300 or more.
There is also the wildfire provision:
609.5641 WILDFIRE ARSON.
Subdivision 1.Setting wildfires. A person is guilty of a felony who intentionally sets a fire to burn out of control on land of another containing timber, underbrush, grass, or other vegetative combustible material.
Subd. 2.Possession of flammables to set wildfires. A person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor who possesses a flammable, explosive, or incendiary device, substance, or material with intent to use the device, substance, or material to violate subdivision 1.
It would seem that Leisner created the very record for a charge under either provision. There is no exception for protests in burning a company’s lawn. The only defense is that he was attempting to burn the cheerios in a plate and thus lacked the intent for the act. It was an act of negligence. (I am not sure why he needed to try to ignite the cheerios in the air, by the way.)