Richmond has a monumental moment to shine this weekend

Posted at 12:16 AM, Sep 15, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond is ready for the worst.

That became abundantly clear during unusual briefings Thursday afternoon by public safety officials for the media and the public about a small group of Confederate monument-and-heritage supporters and who knows how many counter-demonstrators.

"We will not allow things to get out of hand," Richmond police Chief Alfred Durham said.

A wide swath of streets will be shut down.

Virginia's no-mask laws will be strictly and immediately enforced, Durham pledged. And no flagpoles or tiki torches.

The police presence will be intense. Surveillance cameras will be everywhere.

After Charlottesville, everyone recognizes how  explosive this cultural issue has become.

And we all know what a juicy target Richmond is; the former Capital of the Confederacy with its internationally recognized (and Department of the Interior blessed) avenue of monuments.

As one of our RVA's leading police officials told me Thursday evening, "By this time Saturday night we'll either be sipping bourbon or washing urine out of our hair."

If you were making a Hollywood movie about the second Civil War, what better place to set it off?

But it won't happen here, in my opinion.

Richmond doesn't roll like that. We've been discussing our monuments since before they were built. We currently have an excellent commission deciding how they'll be interpreted, or even if they stay. We don't need modern street fighters to tell us in a day what our city will look like.

Despite our Confederate heritage, Richmond has a strongly diverse history heavily anchored by civility.

If there is trouble, it will likely be outsiders, and they will be swiftly dealt with.

I suspect there will be yelling and the beating of chests by young crusaders looking for attention and a small fight that the cops will break up before someone has to pick up their teeth with a broken arm.

But I also suspect to see some displays of irreverent and creative RVA humor and derision, which is one of our specialties.

And I'm believing most who choose to come will show some love and concern and interest so the rest of the world will know what RVA is all about.



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