Ethics Dunce: Durham District Attorney Roger Echols

This is how a society erodes respect for the rule of law. It is a good way to pander to political correctness and social justice warrior jerks, though.

At the height of the mad fervor to tear down Confederate hero memorials and statues over the summer,  Takiyah Thompson, 22, Dante Strobino, 35, Ngoc Loan Tran, 24, and Peter Gilbert, 39. pulled down a century-old statue of a generic Confederate soldier in Durham, North Carolina. This was done in front in front of news cameras and during the day.

Thompson  is a student at North Carolina Central University, a black institution.  The three men belong to the Workers World Party, which  organized a Durham protest to piggy-back onto the Charlottesville, Virginia protests around the removal of a Statue of general Lee.

Notably, police spotted Tran at the court hearing for Thompson when a deputy asked him to help identify two people . Tran refused and he was arrested.

Tran explained the justification for the vandalism thusly:  “Monday night hundreds of people gathered in front of the statue, and it was the will of everyone there that that statue come down knowing that in the state of North Carolina there is no legal route for removing Confederate statues.”

Of course there is a legal route for removing statues.

The four were  charged with Disorderly conduct by injury to a statue (Class II misdemeanor), Damage to real property (statue as a fixture (Class I misdemeanor), 14-288.2(c) Participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class H felony), and 14-288.2(e) inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class F felony).

The faculty at North Carolina Central University declared Thompson a hero,  and political science professor Allan Cooper called for Thompson to be given a scholarship.  Last month, Durham District Attorney Roger Echols dropped all felony charges against the protesters, because their crime was popular among students and others.

There was no justification for leniency here. The crime was committed arrogantly and in defiance of the law. No respect for the community was in evidence, and the vandals never expressed any regrets. There wasn’t even a plausible historical argument to be made against the subject the statue represented. It was an anonymous, fictional soldier, like so many in North Carolina who fought for their state and died. Thompson, the firebrand of the group and the one who can claim the title of “Jerk of Jerks,” was indignant that any charges remained, saying:

“Since these outrageous charges were filed against us, thousands upon thousands of people from across the country have called the DA and other city officials demanding the charges be dropped.”

Apparently it is now outrageous to file destruction of public property charges when someone destroys public property worth thousands of dollars, at least when they think they have a good reason.

Writes Professor Turley, stating the obvious—or at least I thought it was obvious; it used to be obvious, I swear it was–writes:

…Echols is not supposed to treat popular and unpopular crimes differently. Otherwise, justice becomes an extension of the mob. That is why it is called mob justice to simply commit property damage when you believe that it is warranted.

Indeed.

98 Comments

Filed under Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement

98 responses to “Ethics Dunce: Durham District Attorney Roger Echols

  1. Rick M.

    DA is elected to a four-year term. Could be consequences.

  2. Heh. I they want to pretend that mob is just, why was was there no defending attourney to protect the beliefs and investment of the people who put it up? While I don’t agree with their actions, I do not think Confederates should be demonized when they were a PRODUCT OF THEIR DAY. It is truly unjust to judge and rip them down by today’s standards. That opens up the real probability that their grandchildren will do the same to them. karma.

    The statues should remain in the public eyes for the teaching moment. Removing them will not erase the mistakes they made, nor do the slightest to prevent similar errors repeating. How many witch-hunts are they running, again? McCarthy would be proud.

  3. Mike Nifong has a worthy successor.

  4. Chris

    Would your position be the same if the issue was vandalism of a generic Nazi soldier?

    • Chris

      *vandalism of a statue of a generic Nazi soldier

    • Incredibly stupid question. You should be able to explain why it’s a terrible analogy.

      • valkygrrl

        But it isn’t. Either vandalism i vandalism and always unethical or it’s okay when the target is perceived to be evil. Both the Wehrmacht and the Confederate Army had a lot of conscripts so it’d be a statue of someone who didn’t necessarily choose to serve an evil regime. And yet…

        • 1) Confederate soldiers were Americans 2) They were not part of a foreign poser trying to conquer any nation. 3) They did not engage in atrocities, 4) the practice the Confederacy was defending was 100% legal under the Founding documents and by the ruling of the Supreme Court 5) modern civil rights precepts and values were unknown; virtually no white citizens believed blacks were the equal of whites, regardless of their position on slavery. 6) The Confederacy was not evil, It was wrong. 7) The typical Confederate soldier was not fighting for slavery, but as a matter of loyalty to his state.

          Again, its an embarrassingly bad analogy, and I would abandon it if I were you. It’s the kind of terrible argument that does not refelct well for the arguer.

          But even tearing down a statue of a Nazi would be a crime, and would require prosecution.

          • valkygrrl

            You have no problem standing in judgment over other cultures now but you’re refusing to allow judgement against that one. Why?

            • That’s false. I have evaluated Southern culture many times, and critically. And it was a culture tragically based on a lethal assumption. There is a difference between wrong and evil, a distinction the left is increasingly unable to comprehend, to its embarrassment and and disadvantage,

          • Chris

            1) Confederate soldiers were Americans

            Debatable, but irrelevant to the ethics of tearing down such a statue. If it helps, imagine the issue is tearing down a Nazi soldier statue in Germany.

            2) They were not part of a foreign poser trying to conquer any nation.

            Irrelevant to the ethics of tearing down such a statue.

            3) They did not engage in atrocities,

            Embarrassingly incorrect. Google “Confederacy atrocities.”

            4) the practice the Confederacy was defending was 100% legal under the Founding documents and by the ruling of the Supreme Court

            Irrelevant to the ethics of tearing down such a statue. Again, imagine tearing down a Nazi statue in Germany; the Nazis’ actions were also legal under their laws.

            5) modern civil rights precepts and values were unknown; virtually no white citizens believed blacks were the equal of whites, regardless of their position on slavery.

            Irrelevant, as the issue was slavery, not the equality of blacks and whites, and plenty did know that slavery was evil. Washington and Jefferson knew it was evil a hundred years before, and said so, even as they continued to own slaves.

            6) The Confederacy was not evil, It was wrong.

            No, it was evil.

            7) The typical Confederate soldier was not fighting for slavery, but as a matter of loyalty to his state

            This is your worst point in defense of the assertion that the Nazi analogy doesn’t work. Most Nazi soldiers were not fighting for the elimination of Jews, but as a matter of loyalty to their state. That is true of every group of soldiers, anywhere. You’re strengthening the analogy, not weakening it.

            • 1. Again, it is a stupid, historically ignorant analogy, as evidenced by changing the terms to tearing down the statue in Germany. That’s not what you said, and that changes everything. A Nazi soldier in North Carolina, which was your original analogy, would be a memorial to an enemy of that state, in that state. 2. Hitler and the Nazis are regarded as a national shame in Germany. The Civil War is a national tragedy, but not a national shame. Lincoln and the North officially forgave the South, and honored their soldiers courage. It’s pathetic that some, like you, which did not suffer at their hands at all now contrive resentment. 3. Evil occurs when individuals set out to do wrongful things knowingly and intentionally to harm, intentionally violating moral codes. Slavery in the South does not fit that description. The Bible allowed slavery,and endorsed racial inequality. Supporters of slavery did not believe it was evil. If eventually our society decides that an unborn human is a life, and we make an enlightend decision that abortion is murder, would that make today’s abortion advocates evil? Of course not. Exactly the same applies to slavery.
              4. The German people knew what they were supporting was evil. They knew it. The evidence is there. Comparing the Confederacy, which legally stood for the prospect of self governance, not a death cult, to Nazism is beyond the pale, and simple shows a weird animus to the South on your part. The Southern soldiers were brave; they were honorable; they represented their states with honor; they sacrificed. That soldier was a statue honoring qualities of a soldier in his home state he fought for.

              I dare you to go to a Southern city and argue that the Confederacy was like Nazi Germany, and should be treated as such by history.

              • Chris

                1. Again, it is a stupid, historically ignorant analogy, as evidenced by changing the terms to tearing down the statue in Germany. That’s not what you said, and that changes everything. A Nazi soldier in North Carolina, which was your original analogy, would be a memorial to an enemy of that state, in that state.

                It could be a statue on Mars and my opinion would be the same.

                2. Hitler and the Nazis are regarded as a national shame in Germany. The Civil War is a national tragedy, but not a national shame.

                I disagree.

                Lincoln and the North officially forgave the South, and honored their soldiers courage.

                Didn’t you just tell someone else that Lincoln had to do a lot of things we might not necessarily consider right due to the impossible ethics of a civil war? He forgave them as a practical matter; it was the only way to move the country forward. That does not mean we are estopped from looking at the Confederacy with disdain today.

                3. Evil occurs when individuals set out to do wrongful things knowingly and intentionally to harm, intentionally violating moral codes. Slavery in the South does not fit that description. The Bible allowed slavery,and endorsed racial inequality. Supporters of slavery did not believe it was evil. If eventually our society decides that an unborn human is a life, and we make an enlightend decision that abortion is murder, would that make today’s abortion advocates evil? Of course not. Exactly the same applies to slavery.
                4. The German people knew what they were supporting was evil. They knew it. The evidence is there.

                And the evidence that slavery was evil wasn’t there? This is just bias; you don’t want to accept that a large number of Americans supported and engaged in evil acts. But they did. The Nazis didn’t believe the Jews were human. Many pro-slavery people believed the same about blacks. Neither group had a majority of people who truly believed they were engaged in evil. That’s how evil works.

                I dare you to go to a Southern city and argue that the Confederacy was like Nazi Germany, and should be treated as such by history.

                That I don’t want to be assaulted by an angry racist for my position doesn’t make my position any less valid, Jack.

                • Steve-O-in-NJ

                  1. Translation: Lalalalalalala. I’m not listening!

                  2. Translation: I got nothing.

                  3,4. Translation: I’m not only entitled to my opinion, but to my own facts.

                  5. Translation: I’m a snarker and a coward.

                  You can do better than this, Chris. It’s threads like this, where you always have to have the last word and you just disagree, disagree, disagree, without saying anything of substance, that get boring.

                • Jack wrote, “I dare you to go to a Southern city and argue that the Confederacy was like Nazi Germany, and should be treated as such by history.”

                  Chris replied, “I don’t want to be assaulted by an angry racist”

                  If I understand Chris’ reply to Jacks statement correctly, it appears that Chris thinks that every person in the “south” is a racist. This is a really ignorant thing to write.

                  • Chris

                    You did not understand my reply correctly.

                    • Chris wrote, “You did not understand my reply correctly.”

                      Saying that I misunderstood is really not enough to support your claim that I did in fact misunderstand what you wrote; feel free to explain how I misunderstood what you wrote.

                    • Other Bill

                      Standard Chris reply: “Can’t you READ???”

                    • Other Bill,
                      To be honest Bill, I think Chris either recognized my comment for what it was meant to be, a cattle prod to his brain, a teaching moment or it could be that he can’t let go of his anger towards me.

                      Chris delivers comment after comment around here where he intentionally misrepresents someone else by extrapolating what was written with some absurd hyperbole, I rang his bell in a similar way. No I don’t actually think that “Chris thinks that every person in the ‘south’ is a racist” but the way Chris worded his statement about being “assaulted by an angry racist” the implications are that Chris has very strong bigotries towards people in the south, white people in particular, and he lumps them into a cesspool of racism. What Chris wrote was another example from him where he pushed the edge of reasonable retort and went over the edge with absurd hyperbole, it was an ignorant thing for him to write. Chris was baited, he swallowed the bait and in the process he showed off his bigotry.

                      Yes, yes, yes, Other Bill, I know it’s rather futile of me to attempt teaching someone who is so obviously consumed by Progressive propaganda.

                    • Amazing how progressive are the most bigoted, racist, intolerant of people.

                      Chris has NOT IDEA how he would be treated in the South. The fact that he likely would be tolerated, or just ignored, does not fit into his preconceived, liberal media created bubble.

                      I HAVE lived in the peepuls republik of Kali, and therefore know of what I speak. Chris is ignorant of what society is like in other states, and allows others to tell him what to think.

                    • Chris

                      Let’s backtrack.

                      Jack wrote, “I dare you to go to a Southern city and argue that the Confederacy was like Nazi Germany, and should be treated as such by history.”

                      Does anyone really think this is a “dare” because I run the risk of being met with a strong, passionate argument? You can’t think that. The subtext of this “dare” is that if I go into a Southern city and argue that the Confederacy was like Nazi Germany, and should be treated as such by history, I’m going to get beat up. Inferring that subtext doesn’t mean I think that every person in the South is a racist, obviously. It means that I think there are enough racists in the South that getting assaulted by one for saying the Confederacy was like the Nazis* is a strong possibility.

                      And if your argument is that someone who would beat me up for saying the Confederacy is like the Nazis isn’t necessarily a racist, that’s a dumb argument. The Venn diagram there is practically a circle.

                      *The Nazis were obviously much worse than the Confederacy, as I have already said. They were still alike in important ways, number one among them is that both said–explicitly and proudly–that they were founded on the notion of white superiority.

                    • Chris wrote, “You can’t think that.”

                      Chris,
                      It’s boneheaded statements just like that make you appear to be completely consumed by the Progressive totalitarian propaganda.

                      As for he rest of your comment; you can rationalize your opinion for a month of Tuesdays and it’s not going to change the fact that you appear to be an anti-white southerner bigot.

            • Jack: “6) The Confederacy was not evil, It was wrong.”

              Chris: “No, it was evil.”

              Excuse my imposition here. The reason this particular formulation interests me is related to Steve in NJ’s commentary on the quality of Howard Zinn’s historical analysis. He suggested that Zinn was a bad historian and I agreed by mentioning that some critiqued his historical platform by labeling it ’Manichean fable’. That means employing a stark and binary evil-good dichotomy and seeing the side one is defending as ‘absolutely good’ and the other as ‘absolutely evil’.

              The thing that interests me about Chris —- and I am honestly not trying to single him out since my interest is far wider —- is how clearly he illustrates the fallacy of such a binary view. But what is really curious about it is that, though fallacious, it is wonderously effective. The really curious thing is is in noticing how pervasive is this ‘style of thinking’. It certainly does not reveal itself only at the communistic-SJW extreme (essentially a Maoist political animus) but is in fact a common feature —- if I can put it like this —- of ‘American thinking’. It is really part-and-parcel of the constructs of the American civil religion.

              An assertion helpt to clarify the question being discussed: even a glossary survey of the War Between the States, even a rather superficial one, cannot lead one to the Manichean and binary conclusion of We = Good, Them = Evil.

              But here is the interesting observation: It actually requires a Manichean metaphysical framework, and I mean this literally, as an aprioristic platform within an individual in order to then project the view outward: onto people around one, onto poles in one’s community, and then backward in what can only be understood as revisionist history.

              And so the actor, the perceiver, in our present who orients himself as situated in ‘the good’ and is the good’s manifestation in this plane of reality, literally sees himself as a warrior-prince in a battle between good and evil. In this way he lives, not out of ‘reality’, but out of a unique novelization of reality. A metaphysical interpretation that because it is of the ‘good and about the ‘good’ and serves good’s purposes, has special rights and privelages based on the assumption of ‘special seeing’.

              This is really most amazing when one grasps it.

              That is why I mentioned a quote by Henry James: “If we write novels so, how will we write history?”

              It was a rhetorical question because the answer is obvious!

              I would call this then a Manichean-American Historical Analysis Fallacy. Not only is there a spiritual dimension (the metaphysics of good and evil) but it is played out in the contemporary social and political theatre. In actual fact we are referring to and speaking about very definite metaphysical views which are part-and-parcel of the American psyche.

              And the harder part is to see that; that this binary reductionism operates right at the core of those definitions that have been established as the very basis of understanding the American Republic. It is literally part-and-parcel of the American narrative about America and Americanism. It is revealed, in one way or another, in one form or another, by each pole.

              Obviously, the Confederate Demons interchange function (in the binary American mind) with the Nazi Demons. In order to be a proper and upstanding American you simply have to spit when the Nazi is mentioned, and repeat along with your peers:

              America = Good / Nazi = Evil
              Me American, Me Good

              But the real truth, the real story, the real history, as with all truth and all history, is mingled is confused is blended is difficult to separate out.

            • Chris wrote, “…it [The Confederacy] was evil.”

              Gotta love that this kind of blind historical ignorance is coming directly from a K-12 school teacher that is trusted to educate students, in my opinion, without bias.

              Side point: I wonder if Chris knows that the vast majority of the soldiers that fought for the Germans during WWII were not Nazi’s.

              • Chris

                The first topic my students wrote about this year was Charlottesville. This required me to teach basic facts about the Civil War, since they don’t learn about it in history until the end of eighth grade. My students don’t know I think the Confederacy is evil, and plenty of them earned high grades for papers they wrote arguing that the statues should remain up.

                You can fuck right off with your constant suggestions that I’m incapable of doing my job properly simply because I disagree with you.

                • Chris wrote, “The first topic my students wrote about this year was Charlottesville. This required me to teach basic facts about the Civil War, since they don’t learn about it in history until the end of eighth grade.”

                  Not relevant.

                  Chris wrote, “My students don’t know I think the Confederacy is evil…”

                  The likelihood of that being true is very low. You don’t have to actually say to your class the words “the Confederacy is evil” for them to “know” what you think about it.

                  Chris wrote, “…plenty of them earned high grades for papers they wrote arguing that the statues should remain up.”

                  Also not relevant.

                  Chris wrote, “You can fuck right off with your constant suggestions that I’m incapable of doing my job properly simply because I disagree with you.” (bolds mine)

                  I don’t believe that I have EVER stated or implied that you are incapable of doing your job properly simply because you disagree with me, it’s your blatantly obvious and rather obsessive nature of your bias and the levels of ignorance you regularly show that leads me to believe that you simply cannot be teaching without allowing your bias and ignorance to infiltrate all aspects of your job.

                  • Christi i

                    Zoltar—stop this. Please. Your attacks on my job have nothing to do with the topic at hand and contribute nothing to the conversation. Attack my argument and my bias if you must, but leave my job out of it. I have tried to defend myself against your accusations and you declare those defenses “not relevant.” But I shouldn’t have to defend myself against such attacks in the first place. I have not and would not do this to you.

                • Steve-O-in-NJ

                  Chris, you’re acting like an ass in this thread. I thought after last year we were going to stop this.

                  • Chris

                    Responding to attacks on my ability to do my job is acting like an ass? This is your bias talking, Steve.

                    • Chris wrote, “Responding to attacks on my ability to do my job is acting like an ass?”

                      Chris,
                      You were behaving like an ass long before replying to my comment.

                      I have no problem with your reply to my comment (even the one that didn’t post properly a few minutes ago) except where I have specifically noted.

                • Chris: “The first topic my students wrote about this year was Charlottesville. This required me to teach basic facts about the Civil War, since they don’t learn about it in history until the end of eighth grade. My students don’t know I think the Confederacy is evil, and plenty of them earned high grades for papers they wrote arguing that the statues should remain up.”

                  Except that, to be honest, there is no possibility within any school in America to broach the conversation about race and America in a full and open form. You could have a limted and thus a controlled conversation with specific perimeters such as ‘Should the stutues stay up?’ or ‘Shold the statues be removed?’ but would a student in any class get a good grade for extending what was Jefferson’s own argument into a conversation about ‘black nationalism’ or ‘white segregation’?

                  Of Jefferson: “Thus, he seems to have sincerely believed that simply freeing slaves was not an ideal solution, and that the real source of this injustice was the institution of slavery itself. His overall solution to the slavery problem was to return the blacks to their African homeland or to some land where they could live as “a free and independent people,” and to give them implements and skills to establish their own nation. He was strongly opposed by the Southern slave-holding states, however.” [I copied this from an essay on Jefferson and his relationship to the slavery question.]

                  What is actually a complication to the entire analysis of the North’s war againt the South is that —- some have said —- that it was likely to be inevitable that slavery naturally and organically self-abolish. It has also been propsed that this was understood by some leading persons in the South. Who can say what system would have resulted? but it has been proposed (I remember reading) that the likely result would have been an ‘apprentice system’ whereby African slaves would have graduated into some level of political liberty since, for example, it was generally understood that a primitive people, living under a slave regime, was similar to ‘children’ who it would be unfair to simply ‘abandon’ to freedom.

                  A far more radical alternative to arguing within predefined and selected limits would be that of pushing forward both Jefferson’s and Lincoln’s essential arguments: that of esablishing a free and independent homelands for the freed African slaves: their own nation. That would have been a definite form of justice and no one could deny that. It could even be argued that the alternative —- incorporation into the American polity —- was not a ‘liberation’ but rather a continuation of the original subjegation.

                  The Civil War —- from one perspective —- did not result in organic progress for the southern slave. It resulted in social and economic stultification that is said to have lasted one hundred years.

                  There is another aspect as well: it is impossible in the PC regime of the present, here and almost anywhere, to actually see and describe ‘Charlottesville’ in a strictly accurate and ‘fair’ light. One muct and one can only see those who were active there as being ‘historical actors of evil’. And when this is seen, one will see clearly that free-thinking, especially of the sort that Jefferson was free to think in (and did so think) is not possible within the present dispensation.

                  You are technically free to think what you want, but in truth thinking, especially on larger and important matters, is severely patrolled. And in the ‘Maoist’ intellectual reign of the present the control-mechanisms become more visible, more insistent.

            • On one hand it seems like a below-the-belt parry, but in reviewing this Maoist video I honestly feel that this Manichean ideology has to be seen and exposed.

            • “3) They did not engage in atrocities,

              Embarrassingly incorrect. Google “Confederacy atrocities.””

              Can you cite specifically the atrocities that you consider to be a projection of Confederate Policy much like the German atrocities were a projection of Nazi *policy*. I don’t think out-of-norm units or commanders, or pro-slavery bandits engaging in what we would call “war crimes” count in terms of imputing atrocity onto the South.

            • “4) the practice the Confederacy was defending was 100% legal under the Founding documents and by the ruling of the Supreme Court

              Irrelevant to the ethics of tearing down such a statue. Again, imagine tearing down a Nazi statue in Germany; the Nazis’ actions were also legal under their laws.”

              Slavery, in the South, was an institution that developed, incrementally, since the early colonial period. It’s wrongness was grafted slowly into Southern society, such that, no one at the time of the Founding through the time it became necessary to decide the fate of slavery would have ANY cultural recollection of a time before slavery or any direct contacts with the people who slowly instituted slavery who should have known better. There was no history of “having known better” for the contemporary southerners of the time. Not so for the Nazi’s, whose atrocious policies were enacted by the very generation who was alive at a time when the thoughts of eradicating entire people based on genetics should have been seen at horrifying.

              • Chris

                The Confederacy does not need to be as bad as the Nazis for my question to Jack to be valid. Stipulated: The Confederacy was not as bad as the Nazis. They were still evil.

              • valkygrrl

                No history of having known better?

                He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed again the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

                • I wonder why TJ’s 1st draft never went public and therefore never saw the light of day with the vast majority of Southerners trapped in a horrifyingly wrong system that they inherited and which seemed normal to them?

                  • (not to mention, that even when TJ opined about the wrongness of slavery, this was after it was entrenched in the minds of all southerners as normal…so even quoting him, your still stuck with there being near universal acceptance of it in the South, which means no universally understood “wrongness” regarding slavery)

          • Chris

            But even tearing down a statue of a Nazi would be a crime, and would require prosecution.

            Maybe. But it wouldn’t require any ethical person’s scorn.

            • You like defacing art in museums too? Your standard make no sense. The community decides what statues go up; individuals don’t get a veto. Ethical options: 1) move 2) tolerate and respect the community 3) persuade the community to change the decision 4) destroy the statue as civil disobedience and by punished to the full extent of the law.

              • Chris

                You like defacing art in museums too?

                Now this is a bad analogy. Art in museums, unlike statues erected in the public square, doesn’t carry the presumption that the subject of the work is being honored. That’s why so many on the pro-removal side would prefer the statues be moved to museums.

                Your standard make no sense. The community decides what statues go up; individuals don’t get a veto. Ethical options: 1) move 2) tolerate and respect the community 3) persuade the community to change the decision 4) destroy the statue as civil disobedience and by punished to the full extent of the law.

                I agree that if someone is willing to tear down one of these statues, they should be willing to take the punishment.

    • Does this qualify as a Godwinning?

    • Chris

      Late to the game here, but…

      “Would your position be the same if the issue was vandalism of a generic Nazi soldier?’

      I would say yes.

      My reasoning: The Nazis were, in toto, so horrible that, as far as I know, no German locale ever erected a statue to them (perhaps some were erected for “generic” German soldiers, with no Nazi markings?). However, had history been somewhat different and the Nazis’ sufficiently less horrific and with a more admirable history in various respects, to the point where the people in a town felt it appropriate to remember their common soldiers, I would respect their decision to honor their fallen, and reject the actions of those who would take it upon themselves to express their own preferences by destroying such a memorial.

      By the way, I salute you for dealing with middle schoolers. My teacher friends tell me they’re the worst, all hormones and little common sense.

    • First, there wouldn’t be vandalism of a generic Nazi soldier in the United States. Second, the question implies some sort of equivalence between the Third Reich and the Confederate States of America. There is no equivalence… not even close. For there to be equivalence, 66% of the black/slave population of the South, or 2,640,000 individuals, would’ve had to be killed by 1865. Obviously, that did not happen because by 1870, the black population was 4.9 million. An increase of 900,000 is clearly not the same thing as a decrease of 6 million. The Third Reich came into existance to eradicate a certain group of people from the face of the earth. Whoever thinks American slavery was the same thing as that needs to take their moral compass in to be recalibrated.

      • I can certainly accept certain similarities between slavery and the use of slaves (that is essentially what they were) in labor and extermination camps. But there is a distinct difference as pointed out in your statistics – value. One of the key examples of separation on the issue. Slaves were a valuable commodity – property. If you wished to traffic in slaves, then you must maintain the quality of the product. Of course, exceptions did exist, and the slavery mentality would be brutal on maintaining “order,” but why destroy your labor a wealth with no chance of return? And in labor camps, it was a process of supply. Who cares about health or anything else. Wear them out and replace them. Quite a substantial list of comparisons between Nazi approach and slave system.

  5. valkygrrl

    s/i vandalism/is vandalism

    Stuck S-key popped off, cleaned with a q-tip and replaced in keyboard.

  6. Rick M.

    The one centerpiece of the CW was slavery. Other issues existed, but they remained ancillary and could have been resolved, but not slavery. This was clearly a for or against headed for conflict. Robert E. Lee expressed the attitude of many both north and south in the fact that identity was first at a state or regional level and not a national one. This was an integral part of America until recently meaning probably post WWII. Is slavery comparable to the Holocaust? I could build an argument that it was and could probably built one that it was not. Certainly, some plantations were concentration camps (not death camps).

    You can visit the remains of internment camps in the United States that were used for housing non-combatants and POW’s. Search hard enough and you will find artifacts. But ripping down statues? There is just something I find terribly wrong with sanitizing history. If they offend – and Confederate ones certainly do (to some) – then place them in museums or private residences. Ditto with Mao. Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, and maybe General Custer.

    • Your understanding of Southern society is vastly ignorant. ‘Plantations were concentration camps’ also shows how ignorant (or careless) you are on what a concentration camp was. You demean the survivors of such horror when you equate them to something so… frivolous.

      • Rick M.

        Ignorant? Listen, Willy, did you even comprehend the quote? Did you see the word “some?” You deliberately misquoted to give some credence to your statement. And what else you chose to ignore is the fact I clearly said I could build an argument for or against that position (slavery/Holocaust). Did you miss that?

        Your understanding completely neglects or chooses to ignore the vast amounts of primary sources available on plantation life. This is nothing new as much scholarly work has been done on the issue especially with comparisons to concentration camps, labor camps, transit camps, and so on. Nothing new. Comparisons to the Holcaust and slavery – especially in Brazil – have or at least were a “hot” academic/social research area. And tagging along is comparisons to concentration and death camps.

        My personal view is that the most significant difference in treatment. On plantations, the slaves were not considered disposable, but for the Nazi’s their slaves (another topic, also) were disposable. Plenty more where there are distinct differences, but, like I said – you can build a for or against. Seen enough work on both sides.

        Do you want to discuss demeaning? How about renting out a plantation for a wedding, anniversary or other social/business event? I’m sure those folks that go would think nothing of renting out Janowska – a place I am familiar with.

        • Bullshit.

          Source your findings. Plantations were not concentration camps by definition.
          Merriam Webster: “a camp where persons (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, or refugees) are detained or confined”

          I expect Chris to agree with you, and I refuse to engage with him, as he has proven to be off-the-charts biased against the South, Civil War era or today.

          Just because a progressive says it, it must be true. Progressives have rewritten history to suit themselves for decades, and the vilification of the Confederacy and anything in the South is a hallmark of such.

          • Rick M.

            Usually with crude language, I tend to ignore a poster, but in this case, I will follow-up. Try doing some research on the topic since there is a mountain of scholarly work done on the topic. I’ve already mentioned that before. I am sure it does not match with Wiki or the dictionary. Academic research on the topic of slavery-Holocaust-concentration camps is extensive. I have read much which is why I said I could build a case for or against on the issue.

            But prisoners of war? I imagine some would have no difficulty with a comparison of slavery as a form of warfare. I realize the romanticized version of the South is important to some, but so is the historical evidence. Sanitizing it for your own cultural comfort is not new. I have seen the defensive maneuver many times.

            As far as bias. Have you none on the issue? I don’t vilify but attempt to understand the South and the North on the issue of slavery. We look at the past through a prism that is in the present. We also look at why so many were willing to realize the inherent evil within the system and the accomplices both in the South and North who were willing to perpetuate it.

            Did you note my position on the statues?

            This is not a progressive mindset, but a historical one.

            • First, now that I know of your objection to ‘crude’ comment, I will be more circumspect. I use such words to project emphasis, when necessary, when the written word does not convey the depth of the emotion.

              I still respectfully ask you produce the research of which you speak: I HAVE done deep dives on the South in my lifetime, and never found anyone to compare plantations to concentration camps who did not have an agenda.

              I am not a product of the South, (Texas born) but have many in my family and circle who have living memory of those who lived in those times. So second hand sources, taught to me literally at my great grandpappy’s knee. Many of those stories were not kind to slave holders, either. This sparked an interest in the times and causes of the Civil War. Plantations were commercial enterprises, and slaves were valuable, being costly to replace. It was not about keeping a race down, as progressives would have one believe, but about making money, if in an unethical and slimy way.

              The primary causes of the war included Northern business interests preventing the economic development of the South, using the power of the Legislature to do so. Once hostilities commenced, the best way to cripple the South was to remove the economic underpinning, and slavery was an easy target, one that played well in the Abolitionist movements in the North.

              None of that mitigates that slavery was wrong, of course. Nor is it surprising that Northern states, in many cases, did not free their slaves until forced to do so by Constitutional amendment. Even then, Jim Crow laws prevented blacks from moving into Northern states for many decades after the war. The South did not have a monopoly on racial prejudice.

              These are historical facts. My reaction to the equating of a commercial enterprise with a concentration camp is to believe bias on the part of the one making the assertion. Hence, my request for an unbiased scholarly study on such an assertion.

              I wrote this solely because of your last sentence. Most, even here at EA, do not want to look at anything that challenges their understanding of the Civil War, and I have not gotten far down this track when trying to hold a discussion. 🙂

              • Chris

                Plantations were commercial enterprises, and slaves were valuable, being costly to replace. It was not about keeping a race down, as progressives would have one believe, but about making money, if in an unethical and slimy way.

                It was both, and the Confederacy said so.

                The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

                Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

                –Alexander Stephens

                • Abe Lincoln wrote he did not care about slavery as well. So what?

                  Your attempt at a ‘gotcha’ failed. People write a great many things in the course of their lives. Progressives paint their enemies by equating them to a minority opinion all the time: this is another reason why progressives are losing elections.

                  Cherry picking from a safe distance on a topic you have been outed as totally biased about impresses no one.

                  • Chris


                    Abe Lincoln wrote he did not care about slavery as well. So what?

                    So “not caring about slavery” was not the foundational idea of the Union in the way that the superiority of the white man was the foundational idea of the Confederacy.

                    Your attempt at a ‘gotcha’ failed.

                    It wasn’t a “gotcha.” You were just wrong.

                    People write a great many things in the course of their lives. Progressives paint their enemies by equating them to a minority opinion all the time: this is another reason why progressives are losing elections.

                    Please put your partisan bias aside for a moment and realize that the Vice President of the Confederacy delivering a major speech on behalf of the Confederacy that was disputed by no one in the Confederacy cannot properly be described as a “minority opinion.” Nor is highlighting that speech, which comports with the fact that every single state’s declaration of secession named slavery as their major reason for seceding, “cherry-picking.”

                    • (sigh) This is why you frustrate folks, Chris. Your ignorance is iron clad, and you make assumptions sitting miles away as if you lived there.

                      Last post: have the last word if you like. I broke my rule about not talking to you about this topic, for just this reason: you lie, spin, and vilify, mostly making stuff up.

                      So “not caring about slavery” was not the foundational idea of the Union in the way that the superiority of the white man was the foundational idea of the Confederacy.

                      You miss the point, and once again, reading comprehension fail you. You are moving goalposts as well. Now we were talking about the ‘superiority of the white man?’ Do you even see how you come off when you pull this nit picking crap?

                      It wasn’t a “gotcha.” You were just wrong.

                      Whatever gets you through the night, Chris. Just claiming it don’t make it so. (You TEACH?)

                      …delivering a major speech on behalf of the Confederacy that was disputed by no one in the Confederacy

                      Can you please prove that this assertion (which you just made up) is true? Why do you lie? Are you paid by the word or just the post?

                      …named slavery as their major reason for seceding, “cherry-picking.”

                      Oversimplification, and historically ignorant (you TEACH?)

                      Also moving goalposts again: we were talking about concentration camps, and you went down this rabbit hole. You are the opposite of civil debate, polite discussion, and fair play. Your progressive tactics are unfair, despicable, and unethical on an ethics site.

                      I am done with you, and am imposing my trusty reply from times past:

                      Chris has proven himself a smug hypocritical party hack, not interested in actual discussion, debate, or fair treatment. He is unethical, as as such I will not dignify his responses any further. Do not feed the trolls.

                    • The one non-negotiable issue was slavery. Both sides were entrenched. Every other issue around states rights was open to negotiation. Slavery was not and by the time of the three dough faces that was it. The shame was this issue could have been mitigated by making slaves indentured servants. How long? And staggered? May have worked. Your thoughts, Slick.

                    • Chris

                      (sigh) Last post: have the last word if you like. I broke my rule about not talking to you about this topic, for just this reason: you lie, spin, and vilify, mostly making stuff up.

                      None of that is an accurate characterization of my comments here.

                      You miss the point, and once again, reading comprehension fail you. You are moving goalposts as well. Now we were talking about the ‘superiority of the white man? Do you even see how you come off when you pull this nit picking crap?

                      We’ve been talking about ‘the superiority of the white man’ since I quoted Alexander Stephens, who was talking about the superiority of the white man and its centrality to the Confederacy. This was in response to your statement here:

                      Plantations were commercial enterprises, and slaves were valuable, being costly to replace. It was not about keeping a race down, as progressives would have one believe, but about making money, if in an unethical and slimy way.

                      As I’ve shown you, this statement was wrong. It was about making money and about keeping a race down, according to a major leader of the Confederacy. (After the war, that same leader tried to pretend that he had never made the Cornerstone speech, and that the primary reason for the Confederacy’s existence was economic. Unfortunately this revisionism has been successful at tricking too many people, including yourself.)

                      “…delivering a major speech on behalf of the Confederacy that was disputed by no one in the Confederacy”

                      Can you please prove that this assertion (which you just made up) is true? Why do you lie? Are you paid by the word or just the post?

                      What assertion? That it was a major speech? This is indisputable. That no one in the Confederacy disputed it? I can’t prove a negative; it would be up to you to show that prominent members of the Confederacy did object to the notion that they were driven by a belief in racial superiority. (And not just after they lost the war and were trying to salvage their reputation, like Stephens did.)

                      Also moving goalposts again: we were talking about concentration camps, and you went down this rabbit hole.

                      See above. My comments here are a direct rebuttal to a false claim you made.

                      You are the opposite of civil debate, polite discussion, and fair play. Your progressive tactics are unfair, despicable, and unethical on an ethics site.

                      Nothing I’ve said here is uncivil. I’ve simply told the truth. Forcefully, but not uncivilly. If you can’t handle this, you can’t handle civil debate at all.

                    • Rick,

                      Slavery as an economic institution was dying as early as 1850, mostly due to technological innovation but also due to competition from third world countries where labor was cheap. The cotton gin alone replaced the need for a great number of workers, who had to pick the seeds and debris out of the cotton bowls. If you have ever done this, you know it ain’t exactly easy to gin and card cotton: each cotton bowl may have us to 50 seeds.

                      The railroad was being expanded and eventually would have relieved the need for travel to places to sell product, which slaves were needed for as well.

                      By the time of the Civil War, the South was tired of being pushed around by wealthy industrialists and ‘do gooders’ in the North. Populous states controlled the agenda and lawmaking in Congress, and (of course) arranged these laws to benefit the North. The North wanted Southern cotton and products for their industry, but could not pay what the British (for example) could. Thus they passed export tariffs to force the South to meet Northern terms. There are many similar situations over the 50 years before the Civil War.

                      The Constitution said states were sovereign within their borders, and that meant other states (or a federal government) had little or no say, in the Southern’s (Constitutional) view. Why did slavery became non-negotiable? (Note the hypocrisy in the North where many states did not free their slaves until forced themselves.) The South was at a ‘screw you and the horse you rode in on’ point after 50 years of rough treatment. (We are fast getting to that point today, something I worry about greatly)

                      Your plan of indentured servants could have worked, had it started (perhaps in the North) decades before. Note that racial bias existed everywhere, and slavery in the North was not even as economically feasible as the South, due to climate and terrain, so it never took hold, economically, even before abolitionists became popular.

                    • The indentured servant concept did start somewhat in the North with special emphasis on New England. The concept of buying freedom was also present. The last reported slave in Massachusetts was 1790. I believe Rhode Island was 1807. Both slaves and indentured servants were considered property, but the economic system in the north did not make slavery an imperitive.

                      Crispus Attucks may have been typical of slavery in the north. Was he a runaway? Slavery at that time in Massachusetts was like have a Trump sign on your lawn in Brookline. As the 18th century moved on owing a slave said more about you as a Christian. And if Attucks (and others) were runaways the law seemed to be waiting for the next ice age to take action.

                      There was also a distinct difference is indentured servants were Christian and Negro’s, Mulato’s and Indians were just plain screwed. And I use the terminology of the time – Negro’s and Mulato’s. Slaves in the south could often gain freedom by converting to Christianity. Some great material is available on the subject, especially in the Virginia Colony. But as the years moved forward emancipation did not grow.

                      There is sympathy for me with the whole slave system since this was a moral society that was doing immoral acts. There is a wealth of information in diaries, letters and even literature on the topic. Some had courage for change and spoke out but far too many did not. Too often we see it pictured otherwise and that certainly has value. The cruelty, degradation, terror existed in a magnitude we have trouble comprehending. The repression, particularly for revolts and the non-compliant, was staggering. What we don’t see unless we dig is the moral dilemma regarding slavery in the south. Some, but far too few, were looking for a way out. The whole system was about as solid as the Soviet Empire in 1989.

                      Love your input on this, Slick, as you have stirred some memories. And, really, so has Chris.

                    • Chris has proven himself a smug hypocritical party hack, not interested in actual discussion, debate, or fair treatment. He is unethical, as as such I will not dignify his responses any further. Do not feed the trolls.

              • Rick M.

                I do not disagree with your assessment and it is fairly standard. My focal point of study (graduate degree) was “Slavery In Colonial Massachusetts.” One interesting note that is Massachusetts never abolished slavery! But that is a sidebar.

                I can (again) equate the plantation society (some) to concentration camps and build a firm argument for it. Likewise, I can build a firm argument against it. Much research has been directed in the last 20+ years towards the Holocaust and linkage – both firm and fragile – to slavery. Especially (no surprise) Black Scholars. Guess that may be construed to some as racist? Oh well.

                Where I live some of the actions of the ancestors of people I know rather well would certainly make them equal to the Einsatzgruppen regarding the Native Americans or whatever terminology is now PC. Is that a similar stretch to the concentration camp analogy? I can easily defend that.

                I am a stickler for protocol on posting boards. This is Jack’s board and he can do as he pleases, but on an individual basis, one can respond accordingly. And I am a serial swearer, but nor when I publish.

                I enjoy discussions on the CW and have taken many battlefield tours. As far as Texas the one nugget I never knew was the Nueces Massacre. Found that out several years ago.

                • Read about the ‘only’ monument to Northern Troops in the South, in the town my wife grew up in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treue_der_Union_Monument

                  Texas was an anomaly among Southern states: very few slaves or plantations, and split evenly on the issue of joining the Confederacy. They forced the governor out of office and threatened his successor to get Texas to join.

                  The issue of State’s rights was the driving factor: we had just joined the Union and were granted certain rights that were now being renigged on, by their view. Texas was a country before statehood, and Texans were ornery cusses by any measure, necessary in a place where roving Native American bands routinely raided. ‘We went it alone before, and we could again’ was the final prevailing argument.

                  Texas, when petitioning to join the Union, did not realize that they would not have be allowed to withdraw. It pissed them off, just like the Mexicans did earlier in their lives.

                  • I had mentioned the massacre and had seen the statue quite by accident. When we would pay out yearly visit to my aunt we would explore. Go to Bandera (see the shrunken head) and then go north to Kerrville or east to Boerne and maybe up to Austin. My wife loved the LBJ ranch so I’d get stuck with that. When we paid a visit to the Nimitz Museum now WWII Museum in Fredricksburg (great town) I got in a conversation and found out about the statue. Close by so I paid a visit. Some of the stuff you find.

      • Chris

        The Japanese internment camps are sometimes called concentration camps in America. This is accurate terminology, and does not “equate” their treatment to the much worse treatment of those who suffered in the Holocaust. Nor does calling plantations concentration camps, which they were.

    • Rick M
      “If they offend – and Confederate ones certainly do (to some) – then place them in museums or private residences. Ditto with Mao. Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, and maybe General Custer.’

      Ahh, there we see the “slippery slope” portion of the issue that has already raised it’s head in various locales. Who makes the list of offenders, and how far does it extend? How about union general W. T. Sherman? By current lights he would be considered a war criminal for his actions against civilians in the south, and a genocidal murderer for his later acts against indigenous tribes. There are at least a couple of significant statues of him in public spaces. Just about every public figure has a bit of personal history that could offend.

      • Rick M.

        And where I live in SE Massachusetts you could have quite a list who were rather active in removing the Native American/Indian population. That list and probably all lists will most certainly change based on social and political winds. I am just against statue desecration no matter how unpleasant the subject may be. Out of public view? Certainly. But destruction? Who knows they may become “rehabilitated” with the next historical roundup.

        • HERE’S ONE that just popped up. Looks like it doesn’t even have to be people.

          • Rick M.

            I guess my “racism” started when I saw Mighty Joe Young as a kid and was reinforced as an adult by Planet of the Apes. I am “offended” by guns so using the prevailing PC logic I should toss a fit over the Springfield Armory historic site? A great place to visit, folks.

  7. Clearly the DA’s logic would justify a lynching of the culprits that did this if a mob decided that it was the popular thing to do!

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