Heppner: From the concerned patriots of Columbia County
When you have a situation ... involving multiple groups from many different walks of life coming together for any reason, there is bound to be a little tension, especially when it comes to racial matters and the inequalities of today being addressed.
On Wednesday, June 3, St Helens came together, in many different ways, for the BLM march. We had true and honest marchers wishing for their voices to be heard. We had local kids, rabble rousers and others, some well-meaning and supportive, and also people with microphones who were not associated with the group. There were children of our community, fathers, business owners and patriots. On top of this and preceding the event was the threat of an Antifa presence. Whether true or not, this was not something to be taken lightly considering the violence that has followed this group in the past.
There are many patriotic men in St Helens. Some had friends and family members in the march. Some had friends who own businesses downtown. All of them stand for freedom. They stand for all freedoms, including the right to freedom of speech. Their presence downtown was intended to ensure that right could be carried out without threats of outside violence infringing upon it. The patriots and fathers of this town worked tirelessly for two nights straight, with the permission of the law enforcement, to ensure extra safety for this march. Some of them were spit upon, some were sneered at and yelled at, receiving remarks such as "redneck lives don't matter."
I understand that the presence of guns can make people nervous, but every precaution was taken, including speaking with the organizer of the march, to ensure safety and good will. Unfortunately, with so little warning and given the stressful situation with so many people, including out of town visitors, it was difficult to spread the word quickly. Not every variable can be controlled. You can't force everyone to see eye to eye.
But our core group of men in this county had only one intention and that was to ensure everyone's safety by making sure that everyone's voice was heard on those courthouse steps.
Please remember that, while asking for recognition of wrongs, asking for equality, and providing a voice for a man whose voice is now silenced forever, the men of this county also want to hold onto their freedoms and loved ones, and many of their friends and loved ones were gathered in front of that courthouse in solidarity and support. We need to also remember that in a world where you can literally pick your gender, watch feminism marching at the forefront in all our lives, and where people are allowed to be anything they desire, that we also need to remember to let men be men.
Sarah Heppner, St. Helens
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