Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. One Man’s 4th of July Story

 

I live in the county with one real town and one used-to-be town. Total population, just under 24k.

Around 3 June, I happened to be at the county Walmart for my weekly grocery run. While there I observed two vehicles, both out of state, whose occupants were primarily black males with dreadlocks. Both vehicles had markings/decals that made me wonder: BLM was hand-painted on the rear window of one of them. There was one black female I saw. It was a curiosity to me but that’s about all so I forgot it: Just assumed they were passing through.

Then on 18 June, a member of the county constabulary advised that members of Antifa had been seen in town and were thought to have been doing recon. My alert level increased but still – why would they be interested in a small place like this, even if we are only an hour away from a major city. And still, it’s only a rumor.

On 30 June, six out of state cars were seen, by me and by a couple of others, at a run-down ten-room low rent motel that hasn’t been busy in six years. Well, that’s unusual, I thought. On 2 July, four of them at different times of the evening were seen circling the town square where there is a Confederate service memorial (you have to be looking for it to see it).

3 July, I received an email from a friend that there would be a gathering of like-minded folks to provide a “presence” on the square. I asked a senior member of the sheriff’s department that lives close to me, he did confirm what had been seen and that regular patrols would continue but nothing more. Also that nobody was going to put their life or health on the line for a people that don’t care. The next morning, I received confirmation there had been a small group of armed citizens at the square all night, that the same vehicles had in fact come around throughout the night, one time specifically taking a gander at the memorial – did not leave the cars. I do know they were seen circling the square shortly after 2 a.m.

4 July, I received a plea for more attendance, they were just too few and it was a long night. I had been thinking “I am just not going to shoot somebody to protect a statue nobody cares about” and had decided not to pursue any action. Then close to the evening hour portions of an oath some here have taken came to mind: “…I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” At the last minute, I put my AR in the Jeep, my Glock on my waist, and went. The wife asked why, I responded that I wasn’t sure – but this was something I had to do. All the out of state vehicles (California, Indiana, NC) were gone from the hotel, but around 9 p.m. one of the previously identified vehicles did apparently surveil the square. We were only eight, including one man’s wife. I had to leave around 10 p.m., but the rest stayed all night.

In fact, there was no incident and I may never know if our presence stopped it. I do know there were significant disturbances and some arrests in downtown Nashville, maybe related or maybe not. Should I have stayed home? Should I have gone? I can’t say.

The number of us that were present was just too small to prevent any serious activity, and considering that while I was the oldest, there were three others of retirement age, plus the apparent apathy of so very many, it was decided – right or wrong – that this was not the battle: So, the evening of the 4th was the last night on patrol. Cowardice? Wisdom? I don’t know.

As it turned out, nothing has yet happened.

Published in Policing

There are 17 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Jules PA Member

    Roving Lions. Looking for a kill. Your elephant herd was strong. They left to find easier prey.

     

    • #1
    • July 6, 2020, at 3:03 PM PDT
    • 18 likes
  2. Full Size Tabby Member

    Housebroken: I had been thinking “I am just not going to shoot somebody to protect a statue nobody cares about” and had decided not to pursue any action.

    What you ended up doing was not just protect a statue nobody cares about. You were protecting the rule of law against the rule of mob.

    That the armed defenders had specific information that strongly suggested that someone with bad intent was planning something helps the PR battle. Of particular interest in my mind is that the suspicious cars were from out of state. In my town, when some armed citizens stood guard at the memorial on the courthouse square, many people in town criticized them as though they were creating the violence. But then again, there had been not specific threats by mobs against the monument at the time, so the armed citizens could be seen as having been premature in their positioning. 

    • #2
    • July 6, 2020, at 3:19 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  3. Housebroken Thatcher
    Housebroken

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Housebroken: I had been thinking “I am just not going to shoot somebody to protect a statue nobody cares about” and had decided not to pursue any action.

    What you ended up doing was not just protect a statue nobody cares about. You were protecting the rule of law against the rule of mob.

    That the armed defenders had specific information that strongly suggested that someone with bad intent was planning something helps the PR battle. Of particular interest in my mind is that the suspicious cars were from out of state. In my town, when some armed citizens stood guard at the memorial on the courthouse square, many people in town criticized them as though they were creating the violence. But then again, there had been not specific threats by mobs against the monument at the time, so the armed citizens could be seen as having been premature in their positioning.

    It was on Ricochet that I read, and watched video links, about the CDA defense. I guarantee it was on my mind.

    • #3
    • July 6, 2020, at 3:44 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    You definitely did the right thing. Good job.

    • #4
    • July 6, 2020, at 5:44 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Housebroken Thatcher
    Housebroken

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    You definitely did the right thing. Good job.

    Thank you.

    • #5
    • July 6, 2020, at 5:48 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Skyler Coolidge

    Rifles are best as long range to medium range weapons. You have to be careful shooting them near a crowd. The problem is that if you’re there with openly displayed weapons and the thugs want to challenge you, what do you think you’re going to do? Legally they can walk very close to you and not pose a discernible threat. If they can get that close and they are strong young men, they can physically attack you and beat you with your own rifles before you can get a clear indication that there is a threat. If you shoot them with your rifles, then you’re in serious danger of being prosecuted because a prosecutor can say you were looking for trouble, and that can remove your right to claim self defense.

    I’m not saying you were wrong to want to defend the statues, but please have a really good plan if you do. Large numbers of people on call that can come in a short time frame to reinforce are a good idea. Barricades are a good idea. Standing around a statue with rifles is not necessarily a good plan. Does your state allow you to use deadly force to protect someone else’s or the government’s property? I doubt it. Most don’t, unless the property is dangerous if destroyed, like a nuclear power plant or a dam.

    Our society is in trouble. It may very well come down to vigilantes someday, the way things are going. I’d hate to be the test case for that model of response. I would take my lead from the local police who expressed little interest in protecting the property. Perhaps a better plan would be to carry concealed weapons in case you’re personally attacked, but don’t stand in their way. Instead do whatever you can to identify them so that they can be captured and prosecuted.

    Personally, I would not stand in front of the statues. If it’s a remote location, I would stand away a distance (preferrably unobserved) and sabotage their vehicles so they can’t escape, or get the license plate numbers at the least. Maybe include photos of them, especially their faces.

    • #6
    • July 6, 2020, at 8:03 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. Skyler Coolidge

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Personally, I would not stand in front of the statues. If it’s a remote location, I would stand away a distance (preferrably unobserved) and sabotage their vehicles so they can’t escape, or get the license plate numbers at the least. Maybe include photos of them, especially their faces.

    Long range telephoto lenses with night vision capability would be great, too. Rifles, I think, are just about the worst plan.

    • #7
    • July 6, 2020, at 8:12 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Housebroken Thatcher
    Housebroken

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Rifles are best as long range to medium range weapons. You have to be careful shooting them near a crowd. The problem is that if you’re there with openly displayed weapons and the thugs want to challenge you, what do you think you’re going to do? Legally they can walk very close to you and not pose a discernible threat. If they can get that close and they are strong young men, they can physically attack you and beat you with your own rifles before you can get a clear indication that there is a threat. If you shoot them with your rifles, then you’re in serious danger of being prosecuted because a prosecutor can say you were looking for trouble, and that can remove your right to claim self defense.

    I’m not saying you were wrong to want to defend the statues, but please have a really good plan if you do. Large numbers of people on call that can come in a short time frame to reinforce are a good idea. Barricades are a good idea. Standing around a statue with rifles is not necessarily a good plan. Does your state allow you to use deadly force to protect someone else’s or the government’s property? I doubt it. Most don’t, unless the property is dangerous if destroyed, like a nuclear power plant or a dam.

    Our society is in trouble. It may very well come down to vigilantes someday, the way things are going. I’d hate to be the test case for that model of response. I would take my lead from the local police who expressed little interest in protecting the property. Perhaps a better plan would be to carry concealed weapons in case you’re personally attacked, but don’t stand in their way. Instead do whatever you can to identify them so that they can be captured and prosecuted.

    Personally, I would not stand in front of the statues. If it’s a remote location, I would stand away a distance (preferrably unobserved) and sabotage their vehicles so they can’t escape, or get the license plate numbers at the least. Maybe include photos of them, especially their faces.

    Good thoughts.

    It was a square town square. We were in an outside corner across the street from the memorials which were in the center. All of us carried concealed. Long guns stayed in vehicles, at least while I was there. I said, and all agreed – if there’s a shot fired by any of us, we failed. What action then would I have taken if things had gotten more active? You know, I don’t know. Twenty years ago I’d have been a bit more pugnacious. I expect several of the others would have been a bit more agressive. Your suggestion of photos and license plates might be good if we were confident of subsequent action, although a couple of the suspect cars had no plates visible. Or else dealer tags.

    One thing is clear – planning is essential.

     

    • #8
    • July 6, 2020, at 8:39 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Weeping Member

    Housebroken: In fact, there was no incident and I may never know if our presence stopped it.

    True, you’ll never know for certain. But I suspect it did.

    • #9
    • July 7, 2020, at 12:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Danny Alexander Inactive

    I’m from Lexington, MA, and at the rate things are spiraling out of control in the country as a whole, sad to say I won’t be shocked if the statue of Captain John Parker (which stands at the eastern end of the Battle Green) gets pulled down, decapitated, or otherwise damaged in some way, one of these days.

    • #10
    • July 7, 2020, at 1:09 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Skyler Coolidge

    Danny Alexander (View Comment):

    I’m from Lexington, MA, and at the rate things are spiraling out of control in the country as a whole, sad to say I won’t be shocked if the statue of Captain John Parker (which stands at the eastern end of the Battle Green) gets pulled down, decapitated, or otherwise damaged in some way, one of these days.

    How long has it been there?

    • #11
    • July 7, 2020, at 3:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Instead do whatever you can to identify them so that they can be captured and prosecuted.

    I was thinking cameras would probably be better than guns. As many people as possible should be seen taking pictures of their cars, license plates (aren’t license plates required everywhere? Can’t the police make a stop of an unlicensed vehicle on the road?), and faces.

    I doubt these demons know the law well enough to know if they’ll get jail time if caught (10 years for destruction of federal property, minimum, but probably not for your town statue). Keep ’em guessing. Make them worry.

    • #12
    • July 7, 2020, at 6:01 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Housebroken Thatcher
    Housebroken

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Instead do whatever you can to identify them so that they can be captured and prosecuted.

    I was thinking cameras would probably be better than guns. As many people as possible should be seen taking pictures of their cars, license plates (aren’t license plates required everywhere? Can’t the police make a stop of an unlicensed vehicle on the road?), and faces.

    I doubt these demons know the law well enough to know if they’ll get jail time if caught (10 years for destruction of federal property, minimum, but probably not for your town statue). Keep ’em guessing. Make them worry.

    Just on the evidence we can see nightly on the news I have some reservations about such folk ever being brought to justice. And when someone comes here from California for nefarious purposes I wonder how unaware they really are.

    Your comment about license plates was my thought. Still wonder about that. But you know the only time I ever tried on handcuffs or sitting in back of a police car was only after driving some 500 miles with no tags showing, and the officer said it was because my car and person fit some suspect. But that’s another story and was so long ago I might not get all the details right.

    • #13
    • July 7, 2020, at 6:22 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    Instead do whatever you can to identify them so that they can be captured and prosecuted.

    I was thinking cameras would probably be better than guns. As many people as possible should be seen taking pictures of their cars, license plates (aren’t license plates required everywhere? Can’t the police make a stop of an unlicensed vehicle on the road?), and faces.

    I doubt these demons know the law well enough to know if they’ll get jail time if caught (10 years for destruction of federal property, minimum, but probably not for your town statue). Keep ’em guessing. Make them worry.

    A lot depends on the political makeup of the community. The couple defending their house in St Louis have a George Soros funded DA.

    • #14
    • July 7, 2020, at 6:24 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Front Seat Cat Member

    Danny Alexander (View Comment):

    I’m from Lexington, MA, and at the rate things are spiraling out of control in the country as a whole, sad to say I won’t be shocked if the statue of Captain John Parker (which stands at the eastern end of the Battle Green) gets pulled down, decapitated, or otherwise damaged in some way, one of these days.

    How are things around Boston and the surrounding areas? 

    • #15
    • July 7, 2020, at 6:25 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Front Seat Cat Member

    Wow – what a post! You were very vigilant in your observations even from the beginning. This is a wake up call to everyone to be alert and notice your surroundings, license plates, people in cars. You stated it may have just been people passing through, but then a pattern developed. I really admire you for protecting the statue, and caring about the community. The police response was shocking and sad. 

    • #16
    • July 7, 2020, at 6:28 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. Housebroken Thatcher
    Housebroken

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Wow – what a post! You were very vigilant in your observations even from the beginning. This is a wake up call to everyone to be alert and notice your surroundings, license plates, people in cars. You stated it may have just been people passing through, but then a pattern developed. I really admire you for protecting the statue, and caring about the community. The police response was shocking and sad.

    Thanks, but really no credit goes to me. And ‘round here I’ve learned that the LEO philosophy is mostly-for several counties around-that folks are expected to take care of their own problems. A common saying is that your first shooting is free – surely not literal but I won’t guarantee it.

    • #17
    • July 7, 2020, at 9:26 AM PDT
    • Like