by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Thirty-three statues of Columbus. Nine of the Founding Fathers. Eight of Saint Junipero Serra. With the frequency of the ongoing iconoclasm, it can be hard to gain a scale of the problem.
For each story that has breached the news cycle, at least a dozen went unreported outside of local media. This detailed list records each instance monuments have been defaced, vandalized, and or torn down since nationwide protests began, updated as more occur.
Some key takeaways include:
- At least 183 monuments, memorials, statues, and major historical markers have been defaced or pulled down since protests began in May.
- While Confederate monuments have taken the lion’s share of media coverage, they actually form a minority of the statues targeted.
- By far the most popular target was Christopher Columbus, with 33 statues in total having been defaced and pulled down.
- The next most popular targets were Robert E. Lee (9), Serra (8), and Thomas Jefferson (4).
- The vast majority of the vandals were never charged, with 177 out of 183 instances having no arrests.
- Most monuments torn down were not by protesters, but by city officials after pressure or threats from protesters.
- By far the most common route for monuments being destroyed was for protesters to damage it, then the city quickly removing it as a “public safety” hazard, not to be returned.
- For a majority of the statues removed, the fate of the artwork is currently unknown, while a minority have been moved to cemeteries and museums.
The list begins with the most recent instance of iconoclasm and continues backwards in time until the first instance connected with nationwide rioting, in late May. …
Even this list only captures a fraction of the phenomenon. As a walk around any major city will show, numerous monuments have been vandalized and damaged but not removed.