Originally published Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 05:59a.m.
As you know, several weeks back there was a spoof done here in Kingman in front of a small crowd of Kingman residents by Sacha Baron Cohen, apparently a fairly well-known spoof reporter, wherein he proposed that Kingman was about to become the recipient of the largest mosque in the world outside of Mecca. I did not learn about this until Tuesday. I had not seen the video, knew nothing about it and have barely heard of this Sacha Baron Cohen, other than that he had spoofed Sheriff Joe and Sarah Palin.
That all being said, on Tuesday a customer came into my shop, the Thunder-Rode motorcycle accessories shop at the corner of First and Beale streets behind Mr. D’z, and told me of a “racial” meeting that was held at a church (which one, unknown) in Kingman Aug. 6. At that meeting there were some disparaging comments about Thunder-Rode because there is (was) a Confederate battle flag on our fence. We sell Confederate battle flags to anyone who wants one. I did not think much about that other than to feel sad for the woman who spoke negatively about us because she clearly is uneducated as to the inception, founding and meaning of the Confederate battle flag. Nor has she ever come into our shop to present her side of the story and/or the reason for her disparaging comments directed at our business.
I was informed by the president of the Kingman Farmers Market on Aug. 8 that there would be some people (Anna Fox Ryan and Paul Gaines) at the KFM directors meeting that evening to speak in opposition to the Kingman Farmers Market in the Thunder-Rode parking lot because of the Confederate battle flag being on our fence. It has been held, free of charge by Thunder-Rode, for the last three years. The Kingman Farmers Market has been doing very well, attracting 400 to 800 visitors every week since inception. For me, this revelation and the petition referenced below, were the first indications that I had heard that there was any opposition to the Farmers Market being located in the Thunder-Rode parking lot, and a complete shock that the opposition was based on a flag on our fence.
There was a lot of discussion, but not a lot of clarity. There was even a representation that the new city manager, Mr. Ron Foggin, had contacted one of our board of director members and offered to provide Locomotive Park to the Kingman Farmers Market at no cost. The meeting was adjourned and that was it – for the moment. There, of course, would be some follow-up regarding the statement about City Council approving the use of Locomotive Park free and/or the moving of the Farmers Market to Locomotive Park simply because a handful of people don’t like the Confederate battle flag. As I understand it, the Board is awaiting a response from Mr. Foggin and/or the City Council.
I have also learned that on a website called change.org, a petition was started and posted by one Julya Carey in which, as the petitioner makes clear, the reason for the petition is to have the Farmers Market moved out of the Thunder-Rode parking lot and into Locomotive Park because of the Confederate battle flag on our fence. That, in and of itself, was shock enough, since not a single member of the Board of Directors of the Kingman Farmers Market or the owner of Thunder-Rode where the market is now held had been contacted. Why would they do that? Why would they circumvent the board of directors of a 501(c)(3) corporation and go to City Council to seek the removal of the Farmers Market where it is currently located to a new location without the prior knowledge, consent and authority of the Board of Directors? Why would they do that?
When I went to the shop to open up Friday morning, AntiFa had struck. Our $200 Confederate battle flag banner had been literally and forcibly ripped from the fence where it was secured with heavy duty zip ties and self-tapping sheet metal screws into the fence itself. To me and to my loyal customers and the patrons of Thunder-Rode, this is clearly the work of another of the left- wing hate groups, which is out there fomenting hate speech, violence against non-conformists to their ideology, philosophy and groupthink as we have all seen in other events and locations around the country of recent date. It is hoped that the city will take note of these hate groups and prevent them from festering to the point of causing harm. It is clear that these people prefer to gather in hate groups, act violently against others, and preach hate speech and groupthink over diversity, acceptance and tolerance.
How is it that a handful (the change.org website says they only have some 200-plus signers, some of whom are very positive about leaving the market where it is) of people can cause such a stir in such a peaceful, quiet community? Thousands and thousands of visitors have come through and supported the Farmers Market and its vendors over the past three years. If the signers of the Julya Carey petition represent the total of the groupthink haters which make up this left-wing radical hate group, we are looking at a microscopic handful of renegades who seek, among others nationwide, to tear our country down and destroy its history. I believe that the City, our police department and its citizens need to be aware of these people.