The defenders of the flag confederate have responded to the New Orleans City Council plan to move some of the confederate memorials in the city into a historical area or park in the usual manner. Death threats, assaults, burning, and vandalism. Indeed the same sort of actions which led they and their flag to be reviled by peaceful, law abiding, moral people in the first place.
Seems to me there is a fairly simple solution to the problem. Instead of carefully dissembling and moving said monuments…Destroy them. A crane and a wrecking ball, or large excavator can pretty much render said memorials to gravel and metal scrap in a matter of minutes. With the added city benefit of being less than 1/6th the cost of hiring a crew to move the objects.
Backlash against a plan to remove prominent Confederate monuments in New Orleans has been tinged by death threats, intimidation and even what may have been the torching of a contractor’s Lamborghini.
For now, at least, things have gotten so nasty the city hasn’t found a contractor willing to bear the risk of tearing down the monuments. The city doesn’t have its own equipment to move them and is now in talks to find a company, even discussing doing the work at night to avoid further tumult.
Initially, it appeared the monuments would be removed quickly after the majority black City Council on Dec. 17 voted 6-1 to approve the mayor’s plan to take them down. The monuments, including towering figures of Gens. Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard, have long been viewed by many here as symbols of racism and white supremacy.
The backlash is not surprising to Bill Quigley, a Loyola University law professor and longtime civil rights activist in New Orleans who’s worked on behalf of a group demanding the monuments come down.
The South has seen such resistance before, during fights over school integration and efforts in the early 1990s to racially integrate Carnival parades in New Orleans.
“Fighting in the courts, fighting in the legislature, anonymous intimidation,” Quigley said. “These are from the same deck of cards that are used to stop all social change.”
For all its reputation as a party city of fun and frolic, New Orleans is no stranger to social change and the tensions that come with it. It was the site of an early attempt to challenge racial segregation laws in the Plessy vs. Ferguson case and home to then-6-year-old Ruby Bridges whose battle to integrate her elementary school was immortalized in a Norman Rockwell painting.
New Orleans is a majority African-American city although the number of black residents has fallen since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina drove many people from the city. Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who proposed the monuments’ removal, rode to victory twice with overwhelming support from the city’s black residents.
Nationally, the debate over Confederate symbols has become heated since nine parishioners were killed at a black church in South Carolina in June.South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds in the weeks after, and several Southern cities have since considered removing monuments.
“There is no doubt that there is a huge amount of rage over the attack on Confederate symbols,” said Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based group that tracks extremist activity.
His group counted about 360 pro-Confederate battle flag rallies across the nation in the six months after the church shootings. Such rallies were rare before then, he said.
In New Orleans, things have turned particularly ugly.
In early January, as it beat back legal challenges seeking to stop the removal, the city hired a contractor to remove the monuments.
But H&O Investments LLC. of Baton Rouge soon pulled out of the job, citing death threats, “unkindly name-calling,” outrage on social media and the threat of other businesses canceling contracts.
One day, several protesters came while H&O workers took measurements. Some of the protesters wore materials “with affiliation to white supremacy groups,” said Roy Maughan Jr., a lawyer for the contractor.
That same day, Maughan said, “a specific articulated threat” was phoned into city authorities warning workers at the monuments to leave for their safety. On Jan. 12, H&O sent the city a letter saying it was dropping out.
Then, on Jan. 19, a Lamborghini belonging to the owner of H&O Investments was set on fire. The sports car was parked outside his office near Baton Rouge, Maughan said.
A national rental crane company the city had hoped to hire also refused to be involved.
The FBI and local fire investigators declined to comment. No arrests have been made.