I recently received two comments from a person who identifies himself as Eddie Lehman. He was quite upset about what he viewed as the danger posed to Saratoga Springs by Black Lives Matters (BLM). He characterized them as Marxists who would use violence against the community. His comments contained inaccurate information and the tone of the two emails was sufficiently harsh that I emailed him asking that he rewrite his concerns using a more temperate tone.
I subsequently received an email from him which I have included at the end of this post. He has toned it down and it is sufficiently temperate that with a few minor edits I am publishing it as part of this post. Readers should understand that I am more tolerant of commenters when their target is me. Were this an attack on someone else, it would not have been accepted.
As to his claim that BLM is some kind of a dangerous Marxist organization, just because someone finds value in insights offered by Karl Marx does not make them a potential threat to others. Biographies of the four women who founded Black Lives Matters on the BLM website make no reference to Marx, however. In fact the emphasis is more on cultural issues around being artists, issues of gender, and of course, issues of race.
Most of the people participating in the demonstrations about the murder of George Floyd are young people who are concerned about the problem of racism in our country and the excessive use of force by police in many communities.
During the most recent demonstration in Saratoga Springs participants at times marched in the street and even sat down at intersections blocking traffic to draw attention to their message. There was no vandalism nor indication that they were interested in fighting with the police. Some parents had brought their children to this march.
I applaud Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton and Police Chief Shane Crooks for the way they have handled these challenging situations.
I know that some people will argue that the demonstrators were breaking the law and should have been arrested. This fails to consider that thoughtful law enforcement officers are often flexible in dealing with incidents they encounter. For example, people are not usually arrested for jay walking.
Last year when I was on vacation in Louisiana my friend who was driving was speeding well above the speed limit. A deputy sheriff stopped us. After checking my friend’s license he told him that he was going to simply give him a warning this time. He told my friend that he patrols this road regularly and that if he found him speeding again he would ticket him. He observed that speeding put not only my friend’s life at risk but others driving the road as well.
Good police work involves good judgement. In the case of the demonstration, police cars drove with the participants to protect them from harm from vehicles and to insure that uninvolved pedestrians were also protected.
In my opinion Eddie Lehman exaggerates the threat of the BLM demonstrations. He is, however, not alone in his concerns and he deserved to have his position published on this site once inaccurate information was removed and as long as contrary responses from other followers of this blog are published.
Here is the slightly edited version of an email he sent to me personally through my blog.
I’m disappointed that you chose to silence the alarm that I was trying to sound out of love for this delightful city. I merely stated facts and tried to expose BLM for what they truly are. We’ve obviously been targeted by the same organization that has burning, looting, violence, and overall destruction accompanied by demands to defund the police follow them across the country wherever they go, and the protests here are escalating. These are irrefutable facts. If that isn’t worthy of citizens’ attention, then what is?! So either you’re just playing half-[JK: edited] XXXXX journalist and you lack the courage to address anything serious that poses a threat to Saratoga Springs or you don’t care much about this City. Either way I will be unsubscribing upon completion of this email. I just don’t have time for kiddie newspapers.From Eddie Lehman’s email to me.