Confederate monuments

Alamance battleground: Sheriff adds felony charges to (peaceful) protest leader

And could land Greg Drumwright in jail for 3-4 years:

Twenty-three people were arrested, including the main march organizers. All of these people initially were charged with misdemeanors.

Now, Drumwright is being charged with felony assault with physical injury on a law enforcement officer and felony obstructing justice in addition to his previous charge of misdemeanor failure to disperse on command.

Here are a couple of truth-bombs: If you aren't allowed to connect your public address sound system to electric outlets at the venue (Courthouse), you will need a stand-alone generator. And that generator will need gasoline to function. It's as simple as that. But law enforcement saw an opportunity to escalate the situation by viewing the gas can as an incendiary device; fuel for a fire that was never going to happen. And in the process, they perfectly symbolized the core issue driving the Black Lives Matter movement itself: Police operating from a "worst case scenario" mindset when dealing with black citizens. An assumption of guilt that must be (somehow) proven wrong by the suspect, often in a matter of seconds before lethal force comes into play. I'll let Reverend Drumwright speak his mind, since Terry Johnson won't allow it in his fiefdom:

Voter suppression lawsuit filed after pepper-spraying incident

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson is headed to court:

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson is now a defendant in three lawsuits over the treatment of protesters in downtown Graham and he is not alone. Graham’s new police chief, Kristy Cole, is also a defendant in two of those suits, as is Alamance County. The City of Graham is still fighting at least one.

Allen v. City of Graham was filed Nov. 2 on behalf of three people and a group called Future Alamance at the now notorious police crackdown on the Oct. 31 “I am Change” march in downtown Graham.

Both County and City (Graham) leaders are responsible for this international embarrassment, and they have nobody to blame but themselves. The march was peaceful, the group had permission ahead of time, but officers started tearing down their sound system the very second (they thought) the time had expired. Just itching for a confrontation. And of course camouflage fatigues and machine guns were sported by some of Terry Johnson's little army. All that said, the voter suppression thing is going to be tough to prove:

Another one bites the dust: Rocky Mount votes to remove Confederate statue

Maybe they can airlift it and drop it on that "mechanized cavalry" dude's barn:

Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson tells WRAL News the city council has voted to remove a Confederate monument that has stood for years at Battle Park. The decision was made during a meeting for the city's 2020-2021 budget Tuesday between members of the council. The council voted 6-1 to remove the monument.

Roberson said the vote will be confirmed in an open meeting of the city council this Monday. He also said the plan is to remove the monument and store it somewhere. He was not sure if the vote has standing but said the Monday vote would be official.

Phallic symbol bemoaning the emasculation of a failed reb...Sorry, just thinking outloud for a minute there.

Silent Sam and the conspiracy to fund racism

silencedsam.jpg

It doesn't get much uglier than this tale:

When the UNC System announced it had settled a lawsuit that the public hadn’t yet heard about last week, Kevin Stone began celebrating his secret role in a “major strategic victory” for the pro-Confederate movement.

Stone, commander of the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc., emailed his group that day with information he wouldn’t tell the media or others about. He described many months of confidential negotiations and meetings, invisible to the public and only fully understood by SCV leadership, attorneys and unspecified members of the UNC Board of Governors.

There are so many aspects of this deal that stink I don't even know where to start. From my understanding, the full Board of Governors has not met since mid-November, so this $2.5 Million racist boondoggle occurred without a vote. And what gets under my skin even more is the fact the dude who was pushing for this is a state employee funded by taxpayers:

Out of the frying pan into the fire: Carol Folt takes over at USC

You have to admire her stamina:

In the wake of a series of scandals that rocked it to its foundations, the University of Southern California on Wednesday announced the appointment of a new president: Carol L. Folt, the former chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Folt will be the first female president in USC’s 139-year history. Before serving six years as head of UNC, she amassed a lengthy academic record as a professor of biological sciences, a dean, a provost and interim president at Dartmouth College. But perhaps most important for the USC job are her battle scars: in North Carolina, Folt managed to overcome a series of partisan political fights and academic scandals (though not without criticism that she didn't go far enough with reforms). Ultimately, she was pushed out of the job after bravely making the call to remove remnants of a Confederate statue at the heart of the campus.

I'm sure she'll be well-compensated by USC, but she sure has her hands full:

Winston-Salem ready to take legal action to move Confederate statue

Move over Silent Sam, this other dude's time has come:

Although the city has offered to pay the costs of relocating the statue to a new site, Mayor Allen Joines said he was told in recent months by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the statue’s owners, that the group doesn’t believe it can legally move the monument because of a North Carolina law passed in 2015.

The city is threatening legal action to have the statue moved if the UDC doesn’t act on its own by Jan. 31.

Pretty sure that 2015 law does not apply. The statue was originally placed on public property, but that property was sold and converted into downtown apartments. But the statue is still the "property" of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. On the plus side, there is a historic cemetery not far away where Confederate soldiers are actually buried, so hopefully the UDC will see the wisdom of moving the statue to that site. But a looming conflict has already been set in motion. Jordan Green with the Triad City Beat has been tracking potentially dangerous White Supremacists in the region for a while, and he's got some details:

Confederate monument watch: Guard posted in Alamance

It would be nice if they protected African-American citizens with such dedication:

The monument has been a hot spot several times in the past few years between those calling for the removal of Confederate monuments and statues of Confederate leaders from public property — especially after the 2015 mass murder of nine people at a church in Charleston, S.C. — and those rallying around what they call Southern heritage who want to preserve those statues and display the Confederate battle flag.

The Sheriff’s Office is working with Graham police to “provide manpower,” according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kirk Puckett. While he won’t give specifics, Puckett said someone will be there 24 hours a day “until further notice.” There have been no direct threats against the monument or the courthouse, according to Puckett.

While this Graham statue hasn't garnered nearly as much attention as Silent Sam, we've had a few clashes over it. We're also working to get some sort of monument erected in a corner of the square (not pictured) to a former slave who became a magistrate after the war, only to be lynched by the local version of the Klan. That project began shortly after I wrote this Op-Ed a year ago. Read it when you get a chance, it's a fascinating (and horrifying) story. But this current police presence is likely more about preventing pro-Confederate vigilantes from gathering than actually protecting the monument itself:

The power of the purse: UNC students boycott campus stores over Silent Sam

When the institution lets you down, let down the institution:

Student organizers seeking the removal of a Confederate soldier statue at North Carolina’s flagship public university have embarked on a monthlong boycott of commercial goods on campus.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the boycott launched Monday at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a social media push follows marches, sit-ins, noise demonstrations and a lawyer’s letter last week pressing the school to remove the statue nicknamed “Silent Sam.” The boycott encompasses the Student Stores, the main dining hall, cafes, a snack stand, a bagel shop, Wendy’s, Starbucks and parking garages, and will end Oct. 18.

Whenever something like this occurs, you can't help but wonder about people who are already living on the margins losing their jobs. That being said, the students are very limited in the activities they can engage in to get rid of this anachronistic symbol of oppression. Don't forget, the General Assembly just passed a law to shield right-wing provocateurs on campus, threatening students with disciplinary action if they speak their minds in opposition. But that "bottling up" of the anger and frustration doesn't make it go away, it does just the opposite. The UNC administration should be glad a boycott is how they choose to vent that.

Five arrested in Alamance County during face-off at pro-Confederacy rally

Welcome to life in Trumpistan:

Shouting members of activist groups traded verbal jabs Saturday in Graham’s Court Square, though physical altercations only took place between a few protesters and law enforcement. The event, Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County’s Confederate Memorial Day observance, along with the Triangle Industrial Workers of the World’s counter-demonstration, began with arrests of three IWW protestors.

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said some ACTBAC members arrived with muskets, as they had been encouraged by the organization’s leadership to bring, and some IWW protestors had knives. Demonstrators on both sides were instructed to take their weapons back to their vehicles. None appeared to have been brandished the rest of the day.

It was inevitable that this crop of rednecks would eventually be confronted by the more radical elements of the Left, and I am glad there is pushback of a more vocal level. But this escalation greatly increases the likelihood that violence will occur at one of these events, something I will not condone. I understand frustration is high, and people are being hurt by the backwards slide into Conservatism. But physical violence (always) changes the dynamic in situations like this, by attracting violent people like moths to a flame. But that flame won't burn out, it will just grow bigger. Here's more:

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