What comes next in the Silent Sam story? Columnist John Hood has a thoughtful commentary on the options for Silent Sam, and a recommendation.

To allow the mob to achieve its objective would reward criminality, weaken the rule of law, and set a dangerous precedent. What might the next mob do?

Silent Sam must be placed back on its pedestal and protected from future assault, perhaps with a plexiglass case, as Mecklenburg County did three years ago after vandals repeatedly defaced a Confederate monument. Both the criminals and the authorities who failed to intervene must be held responsible. While most North Carolinians will agree with these decisions, some won’t. They’ll be furious. Countering their fury effectively will require leadership, not political calculation. It will be difficult. That’s the job.

UNC Chapel Hill leaders have until Nov. 15 to develop a plan for Silent Sam.