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Opinion: Old Joe should be moved for his protection
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The Confederate Memorial monument, commonly referred to as, "Old Joe," in downtown Gainesville. - photo by David Barnes

I have no quarrel with Old Joe nor with the UDC who purchased him for the county. Indeed, one branch of the "great-great-grand" generation of my family served the CSA; a young man died while doing so. No, I wish to see Old Joe moved for his safety.

I will also explain that regardless of matters of history or genealogy, dead men, and the statues thereof, do not trouble me. The men are dead. The statues are bronze or stone. And if the truth is to be told, then we must admit these statues are largely ignored and serve only to draw casual interest — or to draw the ire of people who are apparently afraid of statues and thus seek to damage or destroy them. 

Truly, the greatest threat and danger from any statue is that a great wind or wave should topple one onto the top of one's body! 

As for the psychology of the matter, I can assure the reader that damaging or destroying a statue does nothing at all to engender kinder thoughts from one's supposed opponent. In fact, I can assure you such acts only serve to create further discord and even hatred. Yes, the very same sentiments can be said for forcing removal of a statue. And do not think that cannot be done here. 

Old Joe needs to be moved to the grounds of a museum, dedicated park or cemetery in the hopes that by doing so, he will not be irreparably damaged or even destroyed. Old Joe needs to be moved while those who still care for him can control the manner and location to which he is removed. The time is coming when he will either be moved or destroyed, and we've a chance to protect him by acting now. 

Vicki Bentley

Flowery Branch

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