ISN'T TAKING DOWN MONUMENTS THAT YOU DON'T LIKE A FORM OF FREE SPEECH?
September 1, 2017 | View PDF
Talking about monuments that you may not like or receiving a peaceful assembly approval by local law enforcement on public spaces to protest a monument that one may dislike is free speech, but the destruction of existing monuments are protected by law.
The actual destruction of a monument is protected by the following:
(1) Section 13A-7-21, Code of Alabama
Criminal mischief in the first degree.
(a) A person commits the crime of criminal mischief in the first degree if, with intent to damage property, and having no right to do so or any reasonable ground to believe that he or she has such a right, he or she inflicts damages to property:
(1) In an amount exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500); or
(2) By means of an explosion.
(b) Criminal mischief in the first degree is a Class C felony.
(2) The Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. Act 2017-354 reads in part in the introduction as;
To create the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act of 2017, to prohibit the relocation, removal, alteration, renaming, or other disturbance of any architecturally significant building, memorial building, memorial street, or monument located on public property which has been in place or 40 or more years; to provide a mechanism for the relocation, removal, alteration, renaming, or other disturbance of any architecturally significant building, memorial building, memorial street, or monument located on public property which has been in place for at least 20 years and less than 40 years; to provide a mechanism for the renaming of a memorial school which is located on public property and has been so situated for 20 or more years; to prohibit any person from preventing the governmental entity responsible for maintaining the monuments, memorial streets, architecturally significant buildings, and memorial buildings from taking proper measures to protect, preserve, care for, repair, or restore the monuments, streets, or buildings;
The Act does provide that the initial members of the Council having oversight be appointed by 1 September 2017 (by the time this goes to print) and have their first organizational meeting on 1 October 2017.
There are exceptions in that the Alabama Department of Transportation and universities may move monuments as well as a few other entities in the interest of construction.
Furthermore, the Act provides that should the Attorney General of the State of Alabama determine that there has been a violation then the entity that exercises control over the protected structure or street then that entity shall be fined $25,000.00 for each violation. The fine shall be collected, forwarded to the Alabama State Treasurer and deposited into the Alabama State Historic Preservation Fund.
Again to reiterate, the tearing down of monuments is protected and has no rights under the free expression of speech. If done on private property it seems there would be less protection except that trespass now enters into the picture.
It appears at this writing that the mayor of Birmingham has covered the Confederate statue in a city run park and is having a structure built around it to hide it.
I think it is clear that the mayor has violated this Act and hopefully the Attorney General will act as directed and the mayor reverse his decision in accordance with the law before Birmingham parts with $25,000.00 plus of taxpayer money.
I think that President Trump’s remarks about the violence stemming from the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee from both sides in Charlottesville, VA is correct. The violence that occurred is abhorrent. The stance of the white supremacists that attended really have nothing to do with the monument but hate. The stance of the alt left group that attended wanted nothing more than to destroy history and make some attempt at correcting a wrong that occurred not in their life time or the lifetime of their parents or their grandparents or great grandparents, but possibly in the lifetime of their great-great grandparents. Probably the names of which they do not know.
The ONLY groups that have rights to the symbols of the Confederacy are their successors such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Their use is limited to a respectful display that honors their forefathers, people that they know their names and something about them. Civil War re-enactors can use these symbols in the re-creation of historical events. ANY group that uses Confederate symbols out of hate has NO right to display them.
Victors write history books and have drilled into every public school child that the War Between the States (the official name given the War by Congress) was over slavery, period. BALONEY! Lincoln early on wrote that he didn’t care if slaves were freed, the North invaded a South that generated significant export tariffs via cotton to help pay for the government as there was no income tax. The South fought back an invader, clarifying the rights of states, which yes included the right to have slaves. Slavery is a horrible institution! Remember that the Northern slave traders captured and sold slaves to the South and that the United States flag flew over the institution of slavery much longer than the Confederate National flag(s). The Emancipation Proclamation came after a few years of war and freed slaves ONLY in the rebelling states.
Robert E. Lee was a great general. Robert E. Lee was a man of character that rivaled the absolute top handful of great men in America. The Confederate soldier left family and home, marched great distances, lived off of inadequate supplies, equipment, uniforms, food and usually fought superior numbers. They were defending home and family hopefully keeping the war from them. I had ten great-great and great-great-great grandfathers to fight for the South. Some were captured at War’s end, some wounded and one at age 40 died of disease. I am proud of my ancestors, I know their names, I have pictures of three of them and I know something about their lives. From what I can discern they were men of character and at least some men of faith.
Those of us that honor our Confederate ancestors should NEVER treat monuments having no familial connection by destroying them and NO ONE should mistreat monuments that we hold dear unless you truly wish to divide our nation through destroying history.
This article is informative only and not meant to be all inclusive. Additionally this article does not serve as legal advice to the reader and does not constitute an attorney- client relationship. The reader should seek counsel from their
attorney should any questions exist.
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