Next steps will draw the line
Sunday, September 2, 2018
On Aug. 21 a crowd of protesters duped UNC campus police and toppled Silent Sam, a statue built to honor UNC students who fought in the Civil War. This brought back troubling memories from August 2017 when a small group of protesters took down a Confederate statue in Durham as law enforcement officers watched and did nothing to intervene.
After several protestors were arrested and charged as the nation watched, Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols initially reduced the charges from felonies to misdemeanors, ultimately dropping all charges. In a statement, Echols said he considered the broader societal and legal context of the case when dropping charges. Did he just say in some circumstances destruction of public property is permissible?
I remember watching the videos of the Durham County statue being pulled to the ground, the celebration of the criminals, and the display of a socialist party logo that supported them and, in the end, likely contributed to the outcome of the “trial.”
Now we must await another trial, if there is to be one, for those few arrested in the Silent Sam case. There has been very little coverage of this event especially in terms of video footage. I understand a UNC professor may have been involved. While the UNC System heads have spoken out against the destruction of Silent Sam, we will have to wait for any outcome.
There are similarities in the two events. Echols is a Democrat as is Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall. Democrats have proven to be soft on crime. We have laws against destroying public property, but apparently sometimes is it acceptable behavior? So where is the line drawn? If protestors see they can destroy public property with no accountably, do they then begin to destroy private property to proclaim their message?