Celebrating vandalism in North Carolina

There are elections coming soon so I suppose it was unavoidable that we’d have some more confederate monument statue stories cropping up. This week’s edition of the ongoing saga took place at the University of North Carolina where liberal activists have long been stewing about a 105-year-old statue honoring UNC alumni who fought for the South in the Civil War. Named “Silent Sam,” the monument depicts a soldier carrying a rifle, but no ammunition. A separate panel on the side of the monument shows a woman urging a student to drop their books and join the battle.

Now the statue is in the mud, pulled down by students during a protest overnight. The Washington Post describes the events with barely contained admiration for the rebellious students and their act of vandalism.

A crowd toppled a Confederate statue at the University of North Carolina Monday night, with cheers and smoke bombs filling the air.

The monument had long been a target of students and others, a symbol of a once-honored past that many wanted to demolish. This spring, a graduate student splashed a mixture of ink and her own blood on the statue. On the night before classes began this year, a crowd gathered to demonstrate at the statue and, using ropes, pulled it down.

The student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel, and others covered the gathering protest on social media, and the elation once the monument was taken down.

On their Twitter account, the student newspaper provided some video of the aftermath.

Some of the students observing and celebrating are dressed normally for the weather at this time of year. But notice the people who apparently did the actual deed and how their faces are covered by masks and bandanas. That’s how you dress when you set out to break the law. (Unless somebody was expecting a blizzard to break out in North Carolina in the middle of August.) They knew this was a lawless act.

You have to read all the way to the end of this lengthy WaPo article before you find any mention of officials condemning these actions. University officials, while recognizing that the statue created controversy, said that the students’ actions were dangerous and could have led to injury. They went on to say they are, “investigating the vandalism and assessing the full extent of the damage.” The Governor of North Carolina similarly added his voice in response.

North Carolina’s governor, Roy Cooper, wrote on Twitter that he had been in contact with law enforcement and university officials about the rally and appreciated their efforts to keep people safe. “The Governor understands that many people are frustrated by the pace of change and he shares their frustration,” he wrote, “but violent destruction of public property has no place in our communities.”

The choice to remove of such monuments is one which should be made at the state or local level if they are on public property, or by the property owner if privately held. No matter the circumstances, there is a proper way to go about it. Rioting and destroying public property is never the answer, but destruction and vandalism in the name of a progressive cause is apparently fine and dandy in some circles.