Confederate statues debate rages

Photo courtesy of Steve Gonzales | A man was arrested for allegedly attempting to bomb a statue of Richard Dowling (above) in Houston, Texas. Dowling was a recruiter and military leader for the Confederacy. Recently, there have been a number of actions around the country focusing on taking down Confederate memorials.

The “Unite the Right” rally drew hundreds of White supremacists and neo-Nazis to the sleepy college town of Charlottesville, Va., to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. The day ended in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and the injuries of at least 35 others after a car rammed counter protesters and clashes took place between antifascists and White supremacists.

Since the rally, cities and states have been speeding up the removal of other Confederate statues to prevent violence in their areas.

“I feel like people are sick and tired,” sophomore Rodrigo Garcia de Quevedo said. “The more White supremacy that has been happening recently, the more people want these symbols to be taken down.”

Gainesville, Fla., Baltimore and Birmingham, Al., have all taken steps to, or have already removed Confederate statues. Protesters in Durham, N.C., tore down a statue of a Confederate soldier in front of a government building on Aug. 14.

President Donald Trump described the removal of Confederate statues from public spaces across the country as “sad” and “so foolish.” He continued that it was “sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments… You can’t change history, but you can learn from it.”

“On the Left, people think that all of the statues should be taken down. However, I think that something should be said about the history,” senior Erich Finch said. “At the same time in so many rural southern communities, the Confederacy is an important part of their culture and history, so I understand to a degree why these communities have so much animosity about these statues coming down.”

On Aug. 21, a man was arrested while trying to place an explosive device on a statue of Richard Dowling, a Confederate army lieutenant, in a Houston park. Andrew Schneck, 25, was charged with attempting to maliciously damage or destroy property receiving federal financial assistance, according to the Associated Press.

Garcia de Quevedo believes that the statues ought to be gone, but thinks there are better routes than violence.

“They shouldn’t be there,” Garcia de Quevedo said. “I think if people take them down violently, it’s not helping, but I do think that they should be taken down. These statues give White supremacists an excuse to be racist. They should have (statues of) Martin Luther King, Jr. or Fredrick Douglass because they represent what true American freedom is about.”

By: Savin Matozzi ~Staff Writer~