Erasing History…Who Decides

We’ve all seen the images of statues and monuments being defaced and torn down across the country. It plays out on the daily news and the images are powerful. We’ve witnessed them crashing down with some set on fire as people cheered celebrating their accomplishment. These images invoke strong emotions. As difficult as it is to watch, I understand why some people find some of these memorials offensive. To some, they bring back images and stories of the time of slavery and all its evils. To others, it’s simply part of our history and nothing more. After the civil war, there was an attempt to heal the wounds and unify the country. It was important that the South not feel vanquished. As part of those efforts, the South was allowed to honor those that fought and died for the Confederacy. The North did the same.

Fast forward and we look at these monuments through today’s lens and we find fault. History is the story of man as we evolved and is full of imperfections. We must be careful in examining actions that occurred in some cases hundreds of years ago in today’s light. It’s a slippery slope lest we have no history because perfection will always allude us. British anti-racism protestors have recently called for the destruction of Egypt’s Giza Pyramids even as more evidence comes to light that they were not built with slave labor. I imagine the Coliseum in Rome and the Great Wall of China will be next. So, does that mean we should accept all things as they are? No. Recently, the conservative commentator Ben Shapiro was asked if he would want a high school named after Hitler. His answer was a resounding no. So yes, I get it but if these statues are offensive there is a process to remove them. Its called petition and redress. And, I would venture to say that if this process was used those that want to remove these offensive statues would find receptive elected officials willing to listen.

The mob mentality that we see in action is not the way to go.

As predicted, the destruction has gone past Confederate generals and racism and now includes World War II memorials, religious artifacts, gravestones, and even an abolitionist and an emancipator. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the destruction and nothing is sacred. It appears to be a wholesale attempt to destroy all images of the country and its history. Without doubt there is something going on outside of the issue of racism. The bar has been set by the mob at perfection as an excuse. If someone finds fault, great or small, that seems to be enough to satisfy the mob.

Plain and simple this is vandalism and the destruction of public property.

Those responsible must be arrested and prosecuted. I would like to see more leaders have the guts to condemn this lawlessness and encourage the use of the system in place to address the issue of who the country memorializes. The mob has completely taken our elected leaders and the citizens they represent out of the process.

Symbols of our past are being destroyed but right now the mob gets to decide what stays and what goes…. we have no say.

Stephen Phillip Monteiro is a law enforcement, security and intelligence consultant. He’s held senior leadership positions with consulting firms in Washington, DC and is a retired Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. Visit his website: to leave your comments. You can follow him on Twitter:

Published by Stephen Phillip Monteiro

Law enforcement, intelligence and security consultant

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