Unfortunately, it was going to happen, and we who support the movement need to call out those instances where it goes too far. I am talking about the justified Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, mostly characterized by widespread peaceful protests even in small rural towns that never see such things, and with a solid majority of the American people currently supporting both the BLM and its main demands. As it is, one should probably not tie the BLM to some of these recent unacceptable events, although those engaged in them will justify their actions as being part of the movement. This should not be accepted.
OK, the one that has really put me off happened last night at sometime after 10:30 PM in Madison, Wisconsin. A statue I know well was not only pulled down, but it was decapitated with both parts thrown in a nearby lake, although apparently since recovered. This statue stood on the east corner of the Capitol Square downtown. It is of Hans Christian Heg (1829-1863). An immigrant from Norway, he was an active anti-slavery abolitionist and member of the Free Soil Party who led the 15th Scandinavian American regiment in the Union army. He died fighting against the Confederacy in the Battle of Chickamauga, which it says on the base of his statue. There is absolutely no justification for this event.
This was accompanied by other pretty unacceptable nonsense. The “Forward” statue at the opposite end of the square was also pulled down and dragged down State Street. This is of a generic woman representing the state motto of “Forward,” not quite as completely insane as pulling down Heg, but also without any obvious justification. The Forward motto and idea has long been associated with the Progressive tradition in the state, although I suppose one could drag in bad stuff about some of those folks, such as that some supported eugenics. But I do not think this crowd was thinking about that.
What triggered this? Apparently, a man entered a restaurant with a baseball bat and a bullhorn, with which he began to harangue customers. He was later arrested for disorderly conduct, which sounds pretty reasonable to me. There was no violence or other impropriety in his arrest. But the crowd that pulled down the statues and smashed a lot of windows and attacked a state senator, putting him in the hospital for taking a photo of them, came several hours after his arrest to protest his arrest. Bah!
I note two other items that need to be disavowed and opposed by supporters of the BLM.
One was the tearing down of a statue in San Francisco of U.S. Grant. allegedly because for two years he owned a slave he inherited before he freed that slave. Well, I guess there is more case for pulling down his statue than that of Heg, for which there is zero. But he was not only the commander of the Union army that freed the slaves but as president, he supported Reconstruction that defended rights of the freed former slaves. The move to Jim Crow followed the end of his presidency.
Another is the continuation of the CHOP or CHAZ in Seattle, which, I gather, will be ended fairly soon one way or another. Initially sort of interesting, the area has been hit with shootings over the last four nights, with one over the weekend killing 19-year old Lorenzo Anderson. These are apparently not the result of outside white boogaloo racists attacking them but coming from inside this area. There so far has been zero investigation of or effort to find Anderson’s murderer and arrest him. The only report I have seen is that Anderson was advocating people not to set off fireworks due to a possible fire hazard. This appears to have what got him killed, although so far there is little solid information. But, sorry, this experiment should not end and not be repeated anywhere else.
I further note that Hannity and others on Fox News are spending lots of time going on and on about this Seattle situation. Trump has been engaging in a series of increasingly unacceptable and outrageous actions, but those watching Fox and its allies hear and see none of that because, wow, there go those awful rioters in Seattle again! Initially, Fox made up and distorted reporting about what was going on there, which was initially peaceful and, yes,”Summer of Love” like. But, unfortunately, now they do not need to make up stuff to put up ugly stories about it.