Clueless Leftists Destroy Statue of Civil War Hero Who Died Fighting Slavery


I think we can agree, at this point, that the roving groups of protesters who have taken on the calling of volunteer statue removal may not know a whole lot about what they’re toppling.

Fresh off a weekend in which a crowd at Golden Gate Park tore down the statues of Ulysses S. Grant, Francis Scott Key and Saint Junipero Serra, the leftists of Madison, Wisconsin, decided that needed to be topped.

Thus, in the midst of a rampage on Tuesday, they tore down the statue of an abolitionist who fought and died for the Union during the Civil War, beheaded it and threw the rest of it in a lake.

I’m impressed. That’s a “hold my beer” moment if I’ve ever seen one. Madison is usually known as a breeding ground for left-wing foment, but even by the impressive standards they’ve set over the years, Tuesday will be a high-/low-water mark for protesters in the future to match.

Here’s the radically nonjudgmental, if perfectly informative, first sentence of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s reporting of the incident: “Fury exploded outside the Wisconsin State Capitol on Tuesday night as protesters smashed windows at the statehouse, attacked a state senator, and tore down two iconic statues — including one of an abolitionist who died trying to end slavery during the Civil War.”

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Fury exploded! It just happened on its own, everyone.

There were just a bunch of people chilling outside the state capitol, sipping their lattes, socially distancing in an appropriate manner. Then, without warning, bam: Fury just exploded everywhere. Everyone was immolated and, next thing you know, a state senator’s allegedly been assaulted and the statue of abolitionist Union Army Colonel Hans Christian Heg is floating headless in a lake.

It just goes to show how anything can happen when you’re dealing with those random fury explosions.

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To be fair, when the Journal Sentinel’s Molly Beck and Lawrence Andrea get into the meat of the story, they reveal there was a process slightly more deliberate than that.

The trouble began earlier in the day when a black protester was arrested after carrying a megaphone and a baseball bat into a restaurant near the capitol and delivering a profanity-soaked rant about Jesus being black and among the first slaves sent to America by Queen Elizabeth, or something. (You can see it here, but reader discretion is advised, given the language.)

While the good people of Madison — seasoned in social unrest as they are — probably were unfazed by the megaphone, bringing a baseball bat into the mix tends to complicate things, which led to the protester being taken into police custody.

“Officers attempted to place him under arrest for his actions inside the restaurant,” a police report read.

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“[Devonere] Johnson resisted arrest and struggled with officers … Johnson was able to push past officers and escape from the squad car before being tackled as he attempted to escape.”

According to WKOW-TV, the arrest rankled protesters and led to them marching around downtown Madison for a spell. That didn’t quite do it for them, so at some point, they headed to the capitol and began busting things up real good.

Heg’s statue was one of two that were torn down by protesters during the riot:

Meanwhile, glass was smashed at both the capitol and the nearby Tommy Thompson Center:

And then there was the alleged assault on state Sen. Tim Carpenter:

Then there was the molotov cocktail thrown into the Madison and Dane County administration building — home of the jail — which caused a small fire.

But, as I said, the moment that crystalized the inchoate rage in Madison was Heg’s statue ending up in a lake:

The sculpture, nearly 100 years old, was thusly tossed in the water without anyone using their phone to Google what his guy was all about. “Hey, everyone — turns out this one’s a good apple. Come on, maybe there’s a president around here somewhere. Hey, hey, ho, ho … !”

This wasn’t just an abolitionist who died fighting for the Union. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the immigrant from Norway was the highest-ranked Wisconsin officer killed during the Civil War. He died at age 33 in the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863.

“The State has sent no braver soldier, and no truer patriot to aid in this mighty struggle for national unity, than Hans Christian Heg,” the State Journal wrote when reporting his death.

“The valorous blood of the old Vikings ran in his veins, united with the gentler virtues of a Christian and a gentlemen.”

The other statue was no less blameless; it was an anthropomorphic version of “Forward,” Wisconsin’s state motto.

The statue was supposed to represent “an allegory of devotion and progress,” according to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Perhaps that made some Luddites angry. Otherwise, you’ve got me.

This isn’t one of those cases where a committee of a few dozen people with ropes decide to topple a statue and we debate later whether or not that statue had it coming. We question what Ulysses S. Grant really thought about slavery and whether he deserved to have his statue torn down — which doesn’t really change the fact that the statue was torn down in a lawless frenzy.

There’s nothing about Colonel Heg or his life that could possibly justify this. They saw a statue. They tore it down. They didn’t care who the statue was supposed to represent. They didn’t care what they did. They were just out to tear up what they could.

What does it take for everyone to grasp that these aren’t protesters and they don’t have a cause? They may use legitimate protesters as their cover, but this is nothing other than opportunistic violence and destruction.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture