This is is a comment that Jason Sulser left in a status about how I counter protested one of his events. I wanted to take the time and answer him by reviewing every single one of his sentences.
“If you are so passionate about removing southern heritage then stage your own event.”
I am passionate about vocally opposing the symbols of racism as well as organizations and individuals that promote them as well. I am not opposing southern heritage, I was born and raised in Virginia and I have Confederate ancestors. There is no shame in who is in your family tree but there is a problem when you can not accept that they fought on the wrong side of history. I am opposed to the glorification of Confederate symbols.
“You latch onto the coat tails of others because you can not unite enough folks together to be heard.”
By opposing the groups that support an ideology of racism, I am not latching onto your coattails because I am opposed to your views. I do not need to rally hundreds of people to change things. In fact, my views are already the law in Virginia. I am opposed to state sponsored public displays of any the Confederate Battleflag.
“You choose to attend events that you don’t support simply to agitate and look for trouble.”
You see me as someone who agitates and looks for trouble, but I see it as someone who exercises their right to free speech. That same can be said about one of the men in attendance, Manny Vega, who also went to an event he didn’t support and he exercised his free speech. This is how free speech works.
“There is no respect in that.”
This is a key sentence. I know where you stand. You don’t respect me or my rights. You tolerate me, but only because you legally have to.
“Organize an event of your own.”
As I said before, my view of the Confederate Battleflag is already the law. I didn’t need to hold events to change the law. However, I have been an organizer for political events that had nothing to do with the Confederate Battleflag.
“I support your first amendment right to protest or stand for whatever you choose and would never attend to cause trouble.”
I don’t need your support to exercise my rights. However, every event I have held has had a heckler, someone who disagrees and is there to give their dissenting view. Those people were not you, Jason Sulser, but if this is a nation where people shout their opinions at any given moment, then it must go both ways. I would not take away Manny Vega’s right to counter-protest Palestinians.
“Your opening remarks against me are somewhat honest although you fail to mention that I greeted myself with a handshake that was turned down and I was immediately attacked by your friend.”
Yes, you did greet me with a handshake but if I could go back, I would not shake your hand. I applaud Mr Huckstep for not shaking your hand. You were holding a flag that has been used as a symbol to oppress and intimidate from the moment of its creation to this day. Also in my opening remark I pointed out that you were standing in front of a hate group. Mr Huckstep was right to turn down your handshake. You also use the word “attacked” too loosely. He called Stonewall Jackson (who was on your shirt) a turd. Jackson was a slave owner and Mr Huckstep was expressing how Jackson was a person not worth honoring.
“You and your family then decided to intermingle with folks supporting something your against to simply cause trouble.”
Again you accuse me of causing “trouble.” But really what trouble did I cause? We didn’t touch anyone, We didn’t steal anything, and we didn’t do anything illegal. The fact that we exercised our right to free speech in the same area as you is considered trouble in your mind.
“There was no need to do that.”
That’s your opinion. If I wanted to stay away, I would have gone to the other side of the street.
“There was plenty of free space to stage your own thing.”
It was held at a public space. All of it was free space. My free speech is not limited to 20 feet away from where you have your free speech. But you were the ones putting your flags in my face. You move towards me after we had gotten away from you.
“I would be very careful with accusations against myself or anyone else there without actual evidence or you will find yourself with a lawsuit against you.”
You are going to threaten me with the law again. It didn’t work last time and it won’t work this time either. The Free-Lance Star reported you were with a hate group and that you crumpled up a counter-protester’s sign. But also keep in mind you don’t have much evidence on the things you have said about me on Facebook either. I’m sure the public can tell the truth from the fabrications.
“I hope that is clear to you now.”
Doubling up on an empty threat. Zero times two is still zero.
“You and your group left on your own free will and unharmed as we always have peaceful rallies.”
We left on our own free will and unmoved by your threats. If your idea of peaceful means not following up on your threats then you need to rethink what peaceful means.
“You also failed to mention the food drive that occured.”
No I didn’t mention the food drive. You didn’t tell me about it. You did tell me how you thought you could beat me in a fight but you didn’t tell me about the food drive.
“If you don’t want trouble then be an adult and don’t go looking for it.”
Again trouble. If you think I am so bad, you could just ignore me. If you think that I can’t pull a crowd, then keep ignoring me. I would never be any trouble to you. I would just be a guy holding a sign. That’s not trouble, that’s just a different opinion.
“No one comes around you to bother you so show the same respect for others.”
Yes, people come up to bother me all the time. Except I would prefer to replace the world bother with intimidate.
“Enough of searching out trouble then complaining when it occurs.”
Complaining is free speech. But this is also odd because you said when it occurs. I take that as admitting you caused trouble.
“That is quite childish.”
This is coming from a man who used his child as leverage to intimidate me.