Scoot: Defending the monuments and the guy with the military-style weapon

May 08, 2017 - 10:42 am

With passion running deep on both sides of the controversy over the Confederate-era monuments in New Orleans, there was some anticipation that a planned march Sunday from Congo Square to Lee Circle would become violent.  Fortunately, with the exception of a few skirmishes, there was no violence.

A group of monument supporters, many with Confederate flags and some wearing helmets, waited for the marchers supporting the removal of the monuments at the Robert E. Lee at Lee statue.  

Hundreds of protesters were on hand representing both side, and so was the NOPD.  It appears the NOPD did a good job of separating the two ideological factions and dealing with a few skirmishes that broke out when words weren’t enough to express the passion.

The protest was largely peaceful, and that should be the big headline; but the loud speeches and occasional physical contact always attracts attention.  Both sides of this debate have legitimate points to make, and too many on each side refuse to even consider any opposing point-of-view.

The extremists on both sides of any controversy are the ones that get the most media attention, which leads to a skewed visual of the entire scene.  However, the image of a man holding a military-type weapon and appearing dressed for battle still stands out and serves as representation of that side of the debate.  What was that guy prepared to do?  Was he going to shoot anyone who tried to take the monument down?  Was he going to shoot the police if they tried to remove him from the monument?  What, exactly, was he going to do with the weapon he so proudly brandished?

The point is that guy might as well have had a toy gun because the visual bravado he displayed was probably phony, and so are the visuals of a willingness to fight to the death on both sides.  Also, displaying the Confederate flag seems to invoke a battle cry more than a sincere pride in Southern heritage.

WWL-TV interviewed a man who was showing his support for the monuments, and he talked about how, while he accepts the destiny of the monuments being removed, he was just there to express his support for the monuments.  There are also rational voices on the side of removing the monuments.

It is the nature of news to focus on the extremes and the side that supports the monuments is not, and should not, be represented by a guy with a military-style weapon acting like he’s ready to start killing anyone who opposes his point-of-view.

Both sides of this controversy could do a better job of denouncing the extremes that are attempting to define each side.

If you oppose the removal of the monuments, is there any part of the argument to remove them that you agree with?  And if you support the removal of the monuments, is there any part of that argument you understand?

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