Loading...
BYH Zoning Commission. Take your chairs and sit in the field by Bostic Sugg in morning or afternoon and tell the...

Silent Sam to get a fort

john hood

John Hood

Loading…

Thursday, December 6, 2018

In response to the toppling in August of the Confederate Monument at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chancellor Carol Folt and other UNC leaders have proposed a controversial solution: a new $5.3 million building on campus that will cost $800,000 a year to operate.

Some are outraged that Silent Sam will be returning to UNC at all, as one of the exhibits in the new University History and Education Center. Others, inclined to defend the state’s Civil War heritage, dislike the idea of relocating the monument to a less-traveled corner of the campus. And taxpayers across the political spectrum are aghast at the multi-million-dollar cost.

North Carolinians ought to be outraged at that price tag — and the reason for it.

As the new report outlining the proposal makes clear, UNC considers itself quite literally besieged by radicals — many motivated by causes far afield from racial comity or historical accuracy, such as anti-capitalist revolution — who are willing “to use violence to further their political goal,” as one official put it.

Returning Silent Sam to its pedestal, the UNC team concluded, would produce repeated clashes with violent protesters that would pose constant threats to life, limb, and property. The report further concluded that “the capability of the UNC-Chapel Hill Campus Police Department to prevent civil disorder and violence is very limited.”

Although this observation was made without criticism, as a general statement about the inadequacy of campus law enforcement across the country, it rings a bit hollow for anyone who watched the video of Silent Sam’s toppling. Police officers did nothing to stop what was essentially a slow-motion crime happening before their eyes. Indeed, they seemed intentionally to stand back from it.

Why? Again, the report offered some clues. For one thing, because state universities are open to the public and routinely the site of nonviolent protests of various kinds, normal campus operations are poorly suited to the task of combatting the likes of cadres of masked anarchists with ropes and torches. The “crowd control tactics generally employed by law enforcement” to handle such threats “are fraught with sensitivities over any use of force by police” in places such as Chapel Hill.

For another thing, the protesters in question didn’t just show up with demolition equipment. “There was obvious evidence of preplanning and tactics that were designed to instigate violence between protest groups or draw an overreaction from law enforcement,” the report stated. “Objects such as smoke bombs, poles, frozen water bottles, paint balloons and metal objects were used by demonstrators as weapons.”

You have likely heard and will continue to hear lots of discussion about Julian Carr’s appalling speech at Silent Sam’s unveiling, what historical artifacts mean to various audiences today, the role of the state legislature in limiting the relocation of monuments, and alternative ways the university could have used the millions of dollars it proposes to spend on the University History and Education Center (a concept, by the way, that has been on the drawing board for years).

But the immediate issue is the rule of law itself. Those desiring an alternative home for Silent Sam, or none at all, had a range of reasonable options available. They could have continued to press lawmakers to change the controlling statutes. If they truly believed the continued existence of the monument created a hostile educational environment under federal law, they could have sued. Or they could have brought greater public attention to their cause by engaging in true civil disobedience, such as sitting or standing around the monument and inviting arrest.

Instead, a mob took the law into its own hands, committing crimes while endangering participants and bystanders alike. Law enforcement was either powerless, unmotivated, or not allowed to stop the mob.

Silent Sam’s proposed new home will not be a shrine, as some critics have labeled it. It will be a fortress, built to fend off physical attack. Does that anger you? It should. As should the attackers who created this mess.

John Hood is chairman of the John Locke Foundation of Raleigh.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

February 16, 2019

With confidence in government at record lows, where have all our leaders gone? Where is the James Madison of today, or the Thomas Jefferson, or even Everett Dirksen? He was the Republican leader who partnered with President Johnson to pass civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

These people were…

eleanorclift.jpg

February 15, 2019

On Bleecker Street in Manhattan, you can find both a Planned Parenthood clinic and a boutique for pregnant women.

According to Vogue, the store, Hatch, "is arguably the first of its kind, in that it was designed specifically for pregnant shoppers: Changing rooms have a size chart to help you figure…

kathrynlopez

February 15, 2019

The decision by Virginia's top three elected officials to hunker down and cling to their jobs is bad for both the state and the Democratic Party. If they won't go, the only thing to do is investigate them all.

Gov. Ralph Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring have all…

Eugene Robinson

February 14, 2019

Of all the headlines about the scandals concerning the alleged past sins of one after another high official in Virginia, one struck me most poignantly. It was this, from the front page of The Washington Times:

"Democrats to vet candidates closely for secrets in past."

Maybe I have spent too much…

February 13, 2019

As our new legislative session fully uncoils, it's good to recall that just a few weeks ago workers in 20 states saw an increase in the minimum wage. The federal minimum, $7.25, was last raised in 2009. Since then, 29 states and dozens of cities and counties have chosen to exceed the federal floor.…

Gene Nichol

February 13, 2019

President Trump, in his State of the Union speech, broadly and wrongly portrayed illegal immigrants as murderers, rapists and drug dealers who must be stopped. But Trump does not limit his anti-immigrant zeal to them. In service to Trump, authorities are now handcuffing and shackling non-citizens…

Take Back North Carolina Press Conferece - US Attorney Robert Higdon speaks at press conference.jpg

February 13, 2019

Ten states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Twenty-two other states, along with U.S. territories Puerto Rico and Guam, allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes. Let's examine some hidden issues about marijuana use.

Before we start, permit me to…

Walter Williams

February 12, 2019

Serving as speaker of the House has been good for Tim Moore's bank account.

The job of speaker isn't itself lucrative: $38,151 annually, plus $104 a day for housing and food when the legislature is in session. That's a decent income for many North Carolinians, but it's not going to buy you that…

Colin Campbell

February 11, 2019

North Carolina's franchise tax is a punitive and opaque tax levied on businesses organized under one of the usual corporate forms. It is inconsistent with both good economics and good government and should be abolished.

Conceptually the franchise tax is quite simple. It is a tax on the net value or…

Roy Cordato

February 11, 2019

There is a reason why most rural communities in North Carolina do not have broadband speeds of 25 megabytes per second, even after the state has spent more than $500 million on infrastructure over the last 10 years.

According to internet service providers, or ISPs, it is simply not profitable to…

021019bunnysanders
316 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 32
        Next Page»   Last Page»