Tar Heel Editors Speak Out


Sam, of course, is the monument to UNC Chapel Hill university students who lost their lives fighting for the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Since 1913, when it was erected with funds from alumni and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the statue of a young Confederate soldier has stood at the north end of campus near Franklin Street.

Over the years, Sam became an object of affection ... Others aren’t so fond. Folks have been calling for the statue’s removal since the early 1960s. Those calls renewed after the white supremacists’ march in Charlottesville, Va., last year. The statue was vandalized in 1968, in 2016 and again earlier this year.

Now comes word from the university’s campus police that security for the statue ... cost some $390,000 last year. That’s not including $3,000 to clean off the blood-red paint that one protester splashed on it.

... Given the cost — and regardless of the argument over the statue’s appropriateness — one has to wonder if keeping Sam in place is worth the money and fuss.

Thefts are a new occurrence for sure, and sadly they have almost become expected, with little shock value attached.

Yet when someone brazenly and surreptitiously finds a way into a museum and takes one of its precious artifacts, we somehow feel more violated, more upset and more shocked that anyone would stoop to that level.

From our standpoint, thefts are never acceptable. ... When we learned from local historian David King, former director of the Sampson County History Museum and one of its co-founders, that one of two 1900s gas pumps sitting at the entrance to one of the museum’s popular pieces, the Old Wooten Store, we were appalled, and we immediately wanted to do all we could to help bring the culprit to justice.

We hope readers will too, coming forward if they have any scrap of information that might lead investigators to the person or persons responsible for taking something that, in every sense, belongs to us all. ...

We understand elected leaders are loyal to their party and its mission. But there is a time for politics and there is a time for our elected leaders to put aside politics. When it comes to putting constitutional amendments on our state ballots, the goal should be making the meaning of each amendment as plain as possible to the voter.

... This week, House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, raised questions about a commission responsible for writing introductions to the six constitutional amendments being prepared for a state ballot.

... Frankly, it’s hard not to be disappointed by both parties on this one. Instead of fighting among themselves, the Democrats and Republicans should craft a ballot message that can be read and understood by all constituents. Sometimes, it seems, both sides forget they are in Raleigh on our behalf, not their own.


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