Well, I Never Thought of That. . . .
The other day I mentioned the incident near Chappell Hill, where nooses were hung from a Sons of Confederates Veterans billboard along Highway 290, the main road between Houston and Austin. It seemed like a pretty crude and unfocused sort of protest at the time, and now columnist Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, wonders if something else isn’t going on here:
But that was nothing compared with the silliness in Central Texas, where a Confederate heritage society e-mailed reporters early Tuesday with photos of two nooses hanging from a giant Rebel battle flag billboard on U.S. 290.
“It’s racist — a hate crime,” rancher Donnie Roberts said.
Washington County Chief Deputy Mike Herzog laughed.
“They were the first people who saw those nooses, and then they alerted the media,” he said.
I got the feeling he won’t bring in the FBI.
“It’s on a busy highway, and nobody else saw it,” he said.
It would have taken three people with a bucket truck and extension ladder to hang the nooses, he said.
Coincidentally, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans history and heritage group responded quickly with a bucket truck and extension ladder to take them down.
Chappell Hill physician Robert Stark, also a Sons member, said Roberts saw the nooses first.
So what did they do?
Why, they were so insulted and threatened that Stark immediately took a bunch of photos and e-mailed them to a radio station.
KWHI/1280 AM’s website headlined “Local Billboard Vandalized.”
Roberts declared a “degradation of our historic heritage.”
At the sheriff’s office, Herzog called it a “prank.”
Deputies will investigate it as criminal mischief, he said.
Roberts said he wants the national SCV to investigate a “crime against our people” and will offer a $5,000 reward.
He said the suspect might be “white or black.”
But he added: “Well, it did happen on Martin Luther King’s birthday.”
“A crime against our people,” really?
I don’t know the truth of the matter here. Bud Kennedy’s obviously suspicious, and it doesn’t sound like Chief Deputy Herzog is especially concerned about it, either. Compared to other, very real cases of destructive, criminal vandalism, this latest event seems, well, curiously quaint.
What do I know? I know that, if someone did something like this on my property, calling the media to broadcast that fact would be pretty far down on my list of priorities. I would not be sending pictures of the thing to the local radio station. I would not be shooting my mouth off to reporters about it.
If this was indeed perpetrated by some stranger as a form of protest, I understand why the local SCV folks are unhappy about it. But whatever the real story behind the nooses, the local SCV seems quite content to play this “crime against our people” business for all it’s worth.