New protections for statues may be coming in Indiana. The General Assembly passed a bill that directs the state police to investigate and prosecute people who destroy or vandalize “a private or government monument, memorial, statue or other commemorative property” and allows the state government to withhold funding from cities and towns that fail to stop these crimes.
State Senator Eric Koch, who sponsored the bill, said: “This summer we all watched with disdain and grief attacks that were made around the country on historic monuments, memorials and statues by rioters and angry mobs – in many cases where the leaders of those communities instructed law enforcement to stand down – and in essence, let it happen. This bill is brought to address that situation going forward.”
In Indianapolis, for example, BLM supporters damaged approximately 80% of the city’s war memorials, including the large Soldiers and Sailors Monument, in a senseless destruction-fest over the weekend of May 29-31, 2020. According to the Shelbyville News, “police officers who were on the scene that weekend have said they were told to move away from the protesters, and then were told to stay away from them, and to stay in their cars.” Under the new bill, cities and towns could face financial penalties for giving cops such instructions.
This bill is a small step in the right direction, and all states should follow suit. But naturally, there are those who object to even this modest step to protect statues. According to the article, State Senator Greg Taylor complained that the bill “focuses on protecting property, and not people.” This simplistic viewpoint disrespects the importance of statues to the people who love them. A statue is not just property; it is the physical manifestation of a historical figure. To destroy a statue is to destroy the memory and the legacy of a person from history. This is just as bad as physically harming a living person, if not worse. Additionally, for people like myself who love history, the destruction of statues inflicts enormous emotional harm, and emotional harm is just as bad as physical harm, if not worse. Therefore, this bill is very much needed, and the objections from the politically correct crowd are unfounded.