Confederate statues have become lightning rods in the debate over the fates of the historical markers, and the city of Houston is taking active steps to calm its own manmade storm.
A city council meeting Tuesday centered on the two Confederate monuments housed within Houston: “The Spirit of the Confederacy” in Sam Houston Park and a statue of Confederate Lieutenant Dick Dowling on Cambridge Street near Hermann Park.
Most of the speakers at the meeting spoke in support of keeping the statues, with some expressing concerns that removing the statues was an act of erasing history. Others urged the city to add a placard explaining the context surrounding the statues.
Prior to the meeting, 20 individuals signed up to give their take.
Last Saturday, protesters rallied against “The Spirit of the Confederacy,” while authorities announced Monday a man had been arrested for allegedly trying to place a bomb near the Dowling statue.
A meme purporting to be written by a law enforcement official is disseminating convoluted information about what individual citizens can do under Texas law if they witness destructive acts against Confederate statues.
The meme claims you can defend the statues “with force during the day, and deadly force at night.” In an interview with KHOU, legal analyst Gerald Treece verified that claim claim is false.
Treece explained while you can use deadly force to defend private property, public statues are not considered private property. Additionally, the property must be tangible and movable, which a statue is not.
If you see someone harming a public statue, you should call law enforcement.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is assembling a committee to include history professors from local universities to inventory the statues and determine their history and context. The committee will make a recommendation about each statue.
Turner says he has no intention to erase history.