To the editor:
(Re: “Sign pushers put Ripon in a bad spot,” July 23) I grew up in Ripon (’71 RHS graduate; ’76 Ripon College). When I left in 1976, Ripon was politically a bit left of nearby places like Berlin and Waupun. I attribute this to the influence of Ripon College. In ensuing years, Ripon moved to the right. Thus, many expatriates were pleased with Ripon’s recent Black Lives Matter demonstration and its aftermath.
Letters to the editor touching on BLM placed Ripon in a newer, more tolerant light. Aaron Becker’s letter is an exception — profoundly wrong on virtually every assumption attacking BLM.
Mr. Becker wrongfully attributes “… All of the violence and destruction…” to BLM. Minneapolis is the epicenter of recent BLM demonstrations caused by George Floyd’s murder. I’ve lived in suburban Minneapolis since 1985. My letter is based primarily upon court records and information from the Minneapolis Police Department.
Those espousing Aaron Becker’s world view describe BLM protesters as causing/encouraging arson, looting and violence. This is difficult to disprove on a large scale. Nonetheless BLM detractors cite these incidents as proof BLM is some nefarious, anarchical organization:
1. On the first night of protest, a video showed a man breaking a glass door with a sledge hammer and painting the words “Free Sh*t for Everyone Zone.” He shielded his face with an umbrella, earning him the name “Umbrella Man.” The video also revealed several BLM protesters attempting to stop Umbrella Man and later attempting to detain him. He is from Kentucky, is an officer of the national chapter of Hells Angels and President/Fuhrer of a Nazi organization: The Aryan Cowboys. He is not affiliated with BLM and is awaiting charges. An officer filed a warrant affidavit with the court explaining that before Umbrella Man, protests had been peaceful. Strike 1 Mr. Becker.
2. The burning of the MPD Third Precinct station has, without evidence, been cited as an example of a violent BLM. MPD charged three white men from outstate Minnesota with burning the station. They were apprehended after bragging on Facebook, where they habitually posted racist screed.
3. After George Floyd’s death, Richmond has had BLM protests similar to those in Minneapolis and other cities. An FBI investigation reported virtually all of the lawlessness was attributable to Nazi and other racist groups attempting to start a race war or, at minimum, falsely assign blame to BLM. Strike 2 Mr. Becker.
Mr. Becker describes BLM as a violent, destructive movement. But its message is “Black Lives Matter Too.” Supporting BLM doesn’t vilify or discount white people; it’s an effort to stop police violence primarily against blacks. One need only Google “unarmed black man killed by police,” then “unarmed white man killed by police.” Strike 3 Mr. Becker.
— David E. Albright
Apple Valley, Minn.