Demonstrators shift focus towards monuments during Senator lead 2nd Amendment Rally
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Underneath a hot independence day sun with a rifle over her shoulder, outspoken Senator Amanda Chase lead a peaceful rally at the entrance if Capitol Square for 2nd amendment rights Saturday afternoon.
With the aid of a megaphone, Chase came ready to address the concerns of the nearly one-hundred people who showed up most of the crowd with their personal firearms on full display others with orange “Guns Save Lives,' stickers across their chests. Chase says she came ready to listen to the crowd more than talk to them.
“We always say that an armed society is a polite and peaceful society so that’s what we’re all about today. “Politicians need to listen more and talk less and that’s my main goal,” said Chase “This is about the support of the second amendment for all people, The second amendment is a basic and fundamental right that people have to protect themselves, which is It’s protected in the U.S. constitution it’s protected in the Virginia Constitution to protect us against our enemies, both foreign and domestic.”
I came with my second amendment right’s but I also came here to hear. You can’t make a change unless you’re listening,” said David Marshal Senior, I think some listening was don on Chase’s side; I don’t know where it’s going to go, but it’s the first step.
Despite a majority of the crowd showing up to talk primarily about gun rights, others in the crowd shifted the focus to racial inequality and the recent removal of three Confederate statues along monument avenue.
Amanda Chase rebuttal by saying that all lives matter, a response some demonstrators took issues with.
“If black lives did matter and it was equal we wouldn’t be protesting now,” said one woman who addressed Chase face-to-face. “I’m out here for seven nieces and nephews, I’m out here for my future kid-to-come because we need to get on the same page.”
“We need to make sure that you are being treated equal, I’m with you and I think all people should be treated equally,” Chase said.”
On the topic of statues, Marshall said he saw the removal of the Stonewall Jackson and Matthew Fontaine Maury as a source of pride because it was something he remembered as a child his grandmother peacefully protesting for.
“My grandmother. I watched her protest I watched her petition they didn’t move,” said Marshall. “I watched my city cry, war, riot protest stomp make their voices be heard and now my son doesn’t have to see that’s where the pride comes in, that was change.”
But it’s change that Chase says came at the cost of voices that she says were never heard after the statues immediate removal by Mayor Stoney, which was done against the advice of the city’s attorney who was worried about legal ramifications.
“I think we’re on sound legal ground. we are in a state of emergency, and I believe that these monuments cause a public safety risk to people and property,” Stoney said. said.
“I’ve always supported that we tolerate each other’s cultures, that we show respect, that we have dialogue and conversations, and that that should be done through the legislative process,” said Chase. “I don’t agree with what Mayor Stoney did because he used what he considered a public emergency to do what he thought it would be best to do instead of having a 30-day public comment period to listen to the people of both sides and I feel like he hijacked a process.”
“I do believe he hijacked a process because it gives people a chance to feel like they are heard and what he did is take that away from us and for that, I’m very disappointed and frustrated because all sides need to be heard so that we can come about with the right solution and I feel it only increases people’s anger when they feel like they are not heard,” said Chase.
Marshall got an opportunity to address Chase’s view of the statue asking the Senator if she would reerect the statues if elected Governor of Virginia in November, a question Chase avoided answering directly, calling the issue complicated.”
“I think what we need to do is that when we see statues and symbols, that first of all we show love to one another; Where I grew up the confederate flag mean sweet ice tea and sitting around the T.V. watching Dukes of Hazard,” Chase said. “There are some people who see those symbols and they don’t see them as hate, they just see it as history and they want to teach their kids not to hate people. I think we need to have a real discussion across the state and listen to the people.”
“I hope that when you hear me, you’re hearing me tell you that something is really affecting me and if you love me you’re not going to continue it,” Marshall said. The simple compromise is we’re all Americans who want to live together so put the statues ina museum and you can go see it as much as you want and now my son doesn’t have to see it and we can stand shoulder to shoulder end of the story.”
Chases added that she denounced slavery and vowed to listen to everyone she serves before making decisions, but Chuck Smith, a retired attorney who’s running for Attorney General was much more direct when asked if he would put the monuments back up if elected.
“Yes, I’d put every damn one of them back and I’ll tell you why, if I came into your home and take something of yours that I believe is mine. Do I have to return it? Of course, I do!” said Smith. “Once I return it, now I go through the correct process of taking whatever it is out of your house or whatever process however long it takes.”
Smith says that he denounced the act of violence that often highlighted weeks of protests throughout the month of June instead, arguing strictly for conversations to get ideas across.
“If you can’t have that conversation, ask again and again and again and again,” said Smith. “I can tell you standing here today that no it has not always been equal, it has not always been fair, but I have never once taken and I don’t think us as black people should have that reputation to take and to tear down because it doesn’t go our way.”
Smith also argued for context saying that for every racist statue standing in Virginia there should be just as many non-racist statues of people so that people are reminded of America’s controversial.
“The message I’m hearing and seeing across America of burning down buildings and killing people, displacing people and defacing property is not us,” said Smith,
Despite the obvious disagreement among those in the crowd. demonstrators say that it was good to have an open dialogue with their state leaders and they hope that the best outcome comes of it.
“I think there was a discourse going on a conversation where there was a lot of listening to each other at close proximity instead of shouting across from each other,” said Manny Vega who was in support of Chase and Smith.” I think fear has captivated many Americas to the point where we’re afraid of reaching out to fellow Americans who have a different point of view.”
“It’s not nighttime, there are no riots nobody is acting crazy, no one is driving around in circles trying to mess with you, both sides s of the table are heard in peace out in broad daylight so I figured we could have a good dialogue and that'‘s what happened,” said Marshall. “Regardless of what comes from it, this had to be the first step, that’s why we’re here.
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