Last year, back in August 2017, James Alex Fields, a 20-year-old man living in Ohio, drove his car into a crowd of people at a protest-turned-riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, resulting in one death and several injuries.
In the wake of the violence, the Charlottesville City Council voted unanimously to indefinitely cover their Confederate statues in a black cloth as a sign of mourning while they worked on having them torn down.
Outraged, local resident Attorney Charles Weber filed a lawsuit against the city in an attempt to prevent them from doing so. In court, the judge presiding over the case ruled that the city was not allowed to legally remove the statues and ordered the city to take down the black tarps that had been covering the statues for months.
This is because, according to Judge Moore, they meet the criteria of being war monuments and under Virginia state law, it is “unlawful for the authorities of the locality, or any other person or persons, to disturb or interfere with [any war monuments].”
On top of that, Judge Moore also ordered the city to remove the black tarps from their two statues. Although the tarps which cost roughly $375 a piece only, City Manager Maurice Jones testified that the city actually spends about $3,000 on each tarp. This means that, in total, the city has spent between $18,000 and $21,000 on tarps as they’ve needed to replace them numerous times due to vandalism.
One of the people who vandalized the tarp was John Miska, a veteran from Barboursville, Virginia. Shortly after the statues were covered, Miska, who claimed the vote was “illegitimate,” decided to protest their decision by showing up to the covered statue of Robert E. Lee with a knife, which he then used to try and cut down the black cloth.
“This [black tarp] is a desecration, and this needs to come down, OK? This cover needs to come down,” explained Miska prior to approaching the statue. “Now, if this city was so adamant, why are we not having a public referendum [to] vote over this?” he added.
Unfortunately, Confederate war monuments aren’t the only statues currently being targeted by the authoritarian left. Earlier this year, for instance, city officials in San Jose voted to remove an “offensive” statue featuring Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.
Specifically, the San Jose City Council voted several weeks ago to get rid of a statue of Christopher Columbus located outside of City Hall. Following their decision, Mayor Sam Liccardo told reporters that he plans on working with the Italian-American community “to find a suitable spot for the marble statue.”
The removal of the statue comes shortly after the city received a massive amount of pressure from numerous liberal activists.
One of the most vocal opponents of the statue was the liberal activist group STAND San Jose. Prior to the city’s decision to remove the statue, they published an open letter urging city officials to remove the statue from public property.
“STAND San Jose has taken an active interest in the campaign to relocate the statue of Christopher Columbus currently in the lobby at City Hall…We are writing to you now in full support of their movement for relocation,” they began in their open letter.
“Our core membership includes San Joseans of Italian descent and San Joseans of Indigenous American descent, and we are unified in our belief that a monument to Christopher Columbus has no place in our public spaces, be it City Hall or Mineta San Jose International Airport,” they continued.
To clarify, they stated, “Columbus’s atrocities are not just something that we recognize now with the benefit of time; he was imprisoned in his own lifetime for his brutal crimes against the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Our communities, especially our children, should not continue to be exposed to the normalization and glorification of those crimes. This is not an attempt to erase history; it is an attempt to finally get it right.”
Before concluding, they added, “we are hopeful that in your hearing and vote…you will stand on the right side of history and remove the statue.”
This, sadly, isn’t the only time that a statue of Columbus has been targeted. Back in August 2017, for instance, someone decapitated a statue of Columbus in Yonkers, New York.
Although the motive is currently unclear, the unknown vandal presumably did so because they view him as a terrible person who enslaved and killed countless Native Americans.
The authoritarian left must not be allowed to cover or tear down Confederate monuments simply because they’re “offensive.” To stop this from happening, conservatives lawmakers need work together and pass laws protecting controversial monuments from censorship.