ELKIN — There was no shortage of dynamic speakers lined up for Friday night’s Blue Lives Matter rally in downtown Elkin.
The evening event, sponsored by Dave and Andrae DeHaan, owner’s of Yadkin Valley Quilts on Main street, was held at the Yadkin Valley Heritage and Trails Center and featured keynote speaker, Mark Robinson, Republican candidate for NC Lieutenant Governor. An estimated 300 plus people came out, many wearing “Back the Blue” and other supportive gear, to show support for all men and women in law enforcement, but specifically those in Surry, Yadkin, and Wilkes, many of which were in attendance as well.
Pastor Emeritus Earl Blackburn provided the invocation, quoting Romans 13 which speaks of the ordination of human governments and the establishment of officials to enforce the law.
“We thank you men and women that God ordained who serve, protect and enforce the rule of law. Many in the line of duty have paid the ultimate sacrifice: their own lives to serve and keep us safe. We honor these noble servants.”
The event continued along the same theme with Surry County Commissioner Eddie Harris calling special attention to the recently erected memorial for fallen officers that is located on the grounds of the historic Dobson court house.
“Unfortunately, we had to make an addition to that monument not long ago.” An emotional Harris paused and asked the crowd to please excuse him before continuing, “Trooper Samuel Bullard was killed on the 21st of May, 2018. We will forever be indebted to him for paying the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of Surry County.”
Applauds erupted when Harris proposed a possible dedication for Bullard, “I hope in the future we can do a greater honor for Sam Bullard and perhaps name a bridge for him.”
Harris lent praise to all the local police force.
“We have been laser focused on maintaining a stable tax rate appropriately funding our essential services and those include law enforcement and public safety. Surry County spends about 33 percent of its budget on law enforcement.”
Surry County Sheriff Steve Hiatt took the podium next, reciting an anonymous poem entitled “I’m a Sick American” which seemed to resonate with the mostly conservative audience. He concluded by saying, “I know this is not a political rally and I’m not going to turn it into one, but I do find it almost impossible to separate support for law enforcement and good leadership. Too often we’re seeing our leaders renounce law enforcement and citizens’ rights. As Sheriff I do not support any act of malicious behavior from law enforcement, but as a career law enforcement, I will always stand with all of you that wear that badge — proudly. Good leaders should stand with law enforcement officers and not defund the police and not deprive them of the very means which they were designed to protect the public from the savage wolves that would seek to devour and cause them harm.”
The hour long rally culminated with a impassioned pro law enforcement speech given by Mark Robinson.
Robinson denounced the idea of defunding the police and compared it to such acts as carried out by men like Stalin, Lenin and Hitler whose tyrannical governments “became an absolute terror to people.”
“Folks need to turn off Facebook and pick up a history book and realize what happened to people who [support defunding.] They end up at the bottom of a mass grave… the good people who believe in law and order built this country,” said Robinson.
“The issue of law enforcement for me is not a political issue. It’s a spiritual issue.” He then quoted 1 Corinthians which says “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
“When I think of that, I can’t think of a greater form of charity than our police officers. Even though they are being lied on, even though they are being disrespected, even though they are being disregarded, they are being assaulted, and, yes, they are being assassinated, they will still get up every morning and put that badge on, put that uniform on, put that gun on and get in that patrol car and go out to give their lives, risk their lives for a cause greater than themselves. Not because they want to get rich, not because they want to get famous, not because they want accolades but because they know it’s the right thing to do. That’s charity.”
His charged words seemed to galvanize the crowd which rarely stopped clapping his entire 30 minute speech.
Robinson, who has never held public office, found himself in the political arena when a 2018 speech he delivered to the Greensboro City Council went viral.
The gun control video received over 3.7 million views and 150,000 shares.
Robinson, if elected, would be the first ever African American Lieutenant Governor in North Carolina history.