In case you haven't noticed, the hate and vitriol aimed toward Confederate heritage folks is rising alarmingly, and the incitement to violence against us grows.
The cowardly anonymous blogger I call De'Stroy posts dozens of images of heritage folks who are very clearly identifiable in them, and portrays them as contemptible -- after all, they pal around with "white nationalist" League of the Southers -- although I've never known League people to be violent.
You occasionally find non-credible threats on social media by folks in our community, but there is no evidence they were made to incite anyone to violence. They're virtually always an emotional response to some outrage against heritage, tradition, Christianity, etc. I have never seen any report of actual violence that was incited by this kind of non-credible threats. The closest thing is comments encouraging physical defense against violent attacks.
Threats, of course, are not in the heritage-hater's arsenal. These are tolerant progressives -- they would never stoop to making threats. But their methodology is to portray heritage defenders as the kind of people worthy of being targeted, although they aren't actually targeting them, don't you know. They'll gladly tell you they abhor violence. But the constant drum-beat of hatred for heritage folks by people like Brooks Simpson and De'Stroy will, sooner or later, have that effect. If violence is not the result they want, why are they encouraging it?
And their hate-mongering is on the Internet -- the WORLD WIDE WEB -- where anyone can see it, and be provoked by it. Presumably, that's what they want. There's no other way to interpret what they're doing.
These are dangerous times, and getting moreso. The social media campaign encouraging the theft and vandalism of Confederate flags on private property, the Black Lives Matter and the F--- Yo Flag movements -- these are deliberately provocative. They are incitements to violence, particularly in crowds where a mob mentality can take hold quickly, like a flash fire. The recent response to a flag rally in the nation's capital illustrates this. Fortunately, due to the restraint of heritage folks, the mob was only successful at property damage and arson -- violence against the participants was averted.
As soon as I'm physically and medically able to do so, I will resume sidewalk-style activism, and at this point, I'm not particularly worried about violence in my area. There are lots of places far worse than northwest Florida. But as our heritage community grows and activism increases, we will be more likely to draw the attention of heritage haters and their, ah, " unintended" enforcers. So I will be taking my own advice and be constantly aware of my surroundings at events and prepared to dodge bullets, to pour oil on the troubled waters, as it were, if there is opportunity to do so, and avert confrontations that could result in violence.
Confederate activists everywhere, do the same. Prepare to de-escalate possible violence by avoiding confrontations, and hope that the hate being drummed up against you, your flags, your monuments, your heritage, stays online and doesn't materialize on the sidewalks of your community.