“Bring That Sucker Down Without Anyone Getting Hurt”

Confederate statue in North Carolina

By Peter Galuszka

In a striking sign of the times, Popular Mechanics magazine has published a how-to article regarding removing statues on your own.

The article is titled: “How to Topple a Statue Using Science: Bring that sucker down without anyone getting hurt” by James Stout.

The force need to bring down a controversial statue is not all that great, Stout writes. Most statues are bronze, with an alloy of 90% copper and 10 percent tin with a maximum thickness of 3/16 of an inch. Most people statues weigh 3,500 pounds. One that includes a horse is maybe 7,000 pounds.

For a pure muscle job, you’d need about 70 people and several high-endurance recovery straps. One should be placed across the head. Once in place, you’ll need to break the statue from its base. This can be done by two teams on either side of the statue working a back and forth motion.

As for safety, this isn’t that big a deal as long as you have done the proper geometry.

If you don’t have many protestors, you can do the job using a high temperature approach with home-made thermite. Propane torches are also good.

Protestors have already safely disposed of several statues in Richmond, including ones involving Confederate figures as well as Christopher Columbus.

Gov. Ralph Northam wants the state-owned statue of Robert E. Lee removed from Monument Avenue but that one faces obstacles. Its removal has been delayed by lawsuits and it weighs a whopping 12 tons and is quite tall. The Washington Post reports that when Northam aides looked for a Virginia-based firm to remove it, no one wanted the job.

State laws change July 1 to allow localities to remove Confederate statues without General Assembly approval. Expect a bunch to come down quickly. Sone are easy jobs because they are attached to their stands by a single bolt. Communities such as Farmville haven’t waited for the state law and have gone ahead with removals.

Where the statues go is another question. Expect them to be packed off temporarily in warehouses. They may resurface in special parks for them. I like the idea of putting some at the federal battlefield park site at Appomattox.

The Popular Mechanics article, which seems to have been written tongue-in-cheek, has drawn broad protests for allegedly promoting anarchy.

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