The question of when has been answered. Sometime on Saturday, Sept. 23, almost certainly under the cover of darkness. The exact time is still a mystery.
So the question becomes: When again?
We refer, if you are confused, to the vandalism that occurred this past weekend to the monument of the Confederate soldier at the top of the steps at the Robeson County courthouse. It became the latest target by vandals intent on doing damage to anything that appears to honor the Confederate cause in the Civil War, a trend that was triggered by the Aug. 12 clash in Charlottesville, Va., between neo-Nazis, white supremacists and those who chose to engage them instead of ignore them. One person died in the violence, and it’s only good luck that more didn’t.
Three sides of its square base were hit with black spray paint, though the messages didn’t seem particularly hateful. The words “Love,” “Jesus,” and “Feather for Heather” were written, and a cross was drawn beside “Jesus.” Additionally, two words, “Glory,” and “Confederate” were blackened, although they remained visible.
No one has been charged, and finding whoever did it will not be easy. The whodunit was made more difficult because courthouse cameras that might have captured the crime on video were not functioning because of a power outage. We think police should look for a juvenile who goes to church and has a girlfriend named Heather.
As this is being written, work is nearly complete on the restoration of the monument. County officials moved quickly, using primer to cover the vandalism and on Wednesday an expert in such things was working to remove any evidence of the spray paint and the primer.
It will cost the county — no, the taxpayers — about $500 or $600, which is hardly worth getting aggravated about. But we do know that there were plenty of people aggravated that the damage was done in the first place, especially to a symbol of the Confederacy that some people continue to hold dear.
County officials say they plan on replacing the courthouse cameras with better ones in an effort to prevent the vandalism from occurring again. But it will. Maybe later, not sooner, but the hit-and-run mission is too simple, and the crime, a simple misdemeanor, doesn’t bring a penalty that worries folks who are inclined to commit vandalism.
We still believe the best thing is to remove the monument from the courthouse, and find it a new home where it can be left in peace. We are told informally that the Robeson County Historical Museum, which is just a block or so away, would eagerly take it.
We don’t know the cost of the logistics of moving such a monument, but believe it is doable and affordable.
We know this suggestion will be met with resistance by those who don’t think that such vandalism should be rewarded, or that those dang Yankees should be allowed to win again. But trust us on this: That monument will be moved one day, and this is a case of sooner probably being better than later.
We view the monument in historical context, and don’t know why anyone would allow themselves to be bothered by it. Just as we don’t know why people would allow themselves to be bothered by NFL players taking a knee.
But there is a lot of feigned outrage in today’s PC society.
The best way to ensure the Confederate monument has a dignified future is to remove from county property — and as a bull’s-eye. Otherwise the local company that restored the monument to its previous condition can expect more and regular work.