On July 13, Breitbart News reported that Wild Bill’s Old West Trading Company in Elk Grove, California, took down its Confederate flag after receiving death threats over the display.
But store manager Jacob Shockley said the deaths threats continued to pour in–even after the flag was removed–so they have now put it back up and are selling Confederate flags again.
According to Fox 40, Shockley said customers continued to ask about purchasing flags so the store decided if they were going to get death threats while not selling flags they might as well sell them to waiting customers and endure the death threats that come with that as well.
Shockley made sure to point out that selling the flag is not intended in any way to be an expression of hate or racial bias. He said Wild Bill’s “[has] a lot of black customers that come in…and a lot of them say ‘it doesn’t bother us.'” Shockley’s personal view is that the flag is “about Southern pride.” He added, “I have family from the south, so it’s not like I’m just on a bandwagon, my family originated from Arkansas.”
Wild Bill’s enjoys allies in unlikely places regarding their decision to fly the flag again, and some of the support comes from people who personally hate the flag. For example, Elk Grove resident and human rights activist Keisha Thomas said, “You don’t get my business. I don’t want to come there, I don’t want to buy a gun from there. (That flag) represents hate, it represents terror.” At the same time, Thomas made clear the Wild Bill store owners have a First Amendment right to fly that flag if they so choose.
The Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matters is rumored to be planning a protest in front of Wild Bill’s next week and Thomas supports that too.
Thomas said, “If you want to change somebody’s idea or view about racism or whatnot, it’s not going to be yelling at them, it’s not going to be cussing at them, it’s not going to be a violent act, it’s the acts of kindness that really pierce the heart and change the mind.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.