SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Activists armed with rifles and handguns gathered at the San Jacinto monument in Harris County this past weekend to demand that Gov. Greg Abbott defend historic monuments in
“Protect our historical monuments here in Texas because if you don’t, we will,” said David Amad, Vice President of Open Carry Texas. “And if we’re attacked, we’re going to defend the hell out of ourselves.”
Statues have been hit by vandals since protests erupted across the country last month following the death of George Floyd, which resulted in a murder charge against a Minneapolis police officer and the arrest of three others.
Amad said everybody has a right to protest, “but the minute you start burning and stealing and breaking stuff, you’re not protesting anymore. You’re rioting.”
Vandals spray painted graffiti on the Alamo Cenotaph. Red downward arrows in front of the words “white supremacy,” “profit over people” and “the ALAMO” were discovered early May 29. Similar graffiti was spray painted on a wall of the Hyatt Regency parking garage in front of a statue of Alamo defender Jose Toribio Losoya and on the sidewalk at Travis park.
Police arrested 25-year-old Noah Benjamin Escamilla in connection with the graffiti at Travis Park and he’s suspected in the vandalism at the Alamo Cenotaph. The investigation continues.
Members of This is Texas Freedom Force, Open Carry Texas and other groups have banded together to stand watch at the Alamo Cenotaph, the Come and Take It Cannon in Gonzales, the San Jacinto Monument and others across the state. Standing in front of the San Jacinto Monument Saturday, they called on the governor to bring out the National Guard and DPS to protect historic statues.
“Abbott, if you don’t do it, then Texans are going to do it, and you’re not going to like the way we’re going to handle things,” said Brandon Burkhart, president of This is Texas Freedom Force.”
Dr. Tim Westley, a black author, spoke at the rally Saturday. He warned that it’s dangerous to try to erase history “whether it’s favorable to us or not.”
“We’re going to be going down a slippery slope whereby every single monument, every single representation of history from our schoolbooks to the store shelves will be removed,” Westley said. How can we truly know where we came from if our history is continually being erased or revised.”