Readers Write: Aug. 20

Where were police in Charlottesville?

The recent violence between members of white supremacy groups and those who oppose them was tragic; tragic because it was so predictable. The violence when these groups get together is so frequent, it is a safe assumption that it is inevitable. The question is why in each case the “police are overwhelmed?” Police officials and political leaders should assume things will get out of control and prepare for the worst-case senerio. If this means calling out the National Guard beforehand, so be it. Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is a disservice to everyone involved.


Let’s honor those who fought white supremacy

The man who rammed his car into anti-racist counterprotesters in Charlottesville was following a time-honored tradition. White supremacists were committing terrorist acts in America long before 9/11.

White supremacists lynched more than 4,000 African-Americans. They went on bloody rampages in Atlanta, New York City, and Chicago. They wiped out whole African-American communities. They torched African-American churches, blew up churchgoers in Birmingham, gunned them down in Charleston, and assassinated African-American leaders.

In the teeth of this terror, courageous African-American activists, with white allies, fought nonviolently to be treated as human beings. Their victories have given America some of its proudest moments.

The heritage we should be honoring is that of the brave Americans who gave their lives to realize King’s and Lincoln’s vision of an America where white supremacy is a thing of the past.


Statue proponents should pony up

After following the issue for a number of years and seeing the recent events in Charlottesville, it occurred to me that there may be an easy answer to the issue regarding the removal of Confederate statues and monuments from public squares, parks and government buildings. If we were to take the “public” right out of the equation, I think we’d be more able to avoid the type of events that led to a young woman’s tragic and unnecessary death. Rather than tearing down the Confederate symbols, we should allow the folks who are so passionate about the issue the opportunity to move the statues to privately owned land that they purchase. The land would need to be a certain, agreed-upon distance away from the public square. These sites can be operated and maintained any way they see fit. It would be on their own land, away from the folks who are offended by these symbols. This would give groups such as The Monument Fund, The Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy (among others) the opportunity to continue honoring their heritage, but out of plain sight and away from publicly owned land and buildings. It’s a tough issue, with concerns and valid arguments on both sides. Stone Mountain would be a problem, but overall, I think this would be a good, working solution for all of us. Are these groups willing to put their money where their mouth is?


History can’t be rewritten by destroying statues

Pogo, once an AJC comics mainstay, used to say, “We have met the enemy and it is us!” Are we not ourselves turning into ISIS and the Taliban by destroying our monumental history? Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams should rethink her quest to deface Stone Mountain, as reported by AJC. We in this state and in this country celebrate our freedom of expression. What one personally likes or dislikes may not necessarily be accepted by another. But this is what makes America — and this state — work. No one can rewrite history with a pen, sledgehammer or sandblaster. Confederate and Union statues are not worshipped, but dedicated to the bravery and accomplishments of the persons depicted, not necessarily their beliefs. So leave them alone; they as well as their likenesses should be respected.


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