Thursday, February 2, 2017
Leftists Go On Graffiti Spree.
Anti-Trump graffiti spree a sign of emerging alt-left, liberal activist says
The suspects, from left: Elizabeth Prier, Taryn Bledsoe, Julia Grainger, Hannah Seay. (Boone Police Dept.)
An anti-Trump graffiti spree linked to four young women in North Carolina represented a powerful new sign of a breakaway alt-left movement, a fellow member of Young Democrats told Fox News on Wednesday.
Charges were filed late last week after the explicit messages appeared on buildings and at least one police car on Jan. 21, in Boone. The suspects apparently spray-painted "F--- Trump," "F--- Cops" and "Black Lives Matter," among other messages.
One of the suspects, 22-year-old Elizabeth Prier, was the Young Democrats of Watauga County's communications director last year. Its president, Charles Douglas, told Fox News that Prier was no longer welcome at local meetings -- and the group no longer wanted to be associated with her.
Douglas said Prier and the other three women clearly wanted a dramatic split from more moderate Democratic groups, effectively forming an alt-left movement of their own. "It's completely ridiculous, it's uncivil," Douglas told Fox News.
Last March, Prier helped the Young Democrats make a big push for then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone, its student newspaper, The Appalachian, reported. "Anyone who wants to get involved should not sit around and wait for Bernie to get elected because it is not going to happen that way," she said.
Another suspect, 22-year-old Julia Grainger, was a member of the Appalachian Social Justice Educators club in 2015 and spoke out frequently on campus, according to the paper. She reportedly questioned on her Facebook page why a fraternity had planned to host a sexual assault awareness walk at the time -- months after she carried a mattress around campus in solidarity with victims of sexual violence.
Responding to some backlash over the Facebook post, Grainger said, "When they’re sharing an article or a blog post that’s literally calling me the words that they’re calling me and telling me that my dad should be ashamed of me and calling me a feminazi and saying that I should be locked in a basement or that App State brothers should go take care of her, all within the comments, then they’re perpetuating that rape culture, they’re perpetuating the problem and they’re not educating themselves on why it’s wrong."
Photos showed the other suspects -- 22-year-old Taryn Bledsoe and 21-year-old Hannah Seay -- campaigning in the area for causes including education reform and transgender rights.
Douglas called on university officials to start a dialogue to reduce the escalating tensions among left-wing activists -- and said the suspects should not get off with a mere slap on the wrist. He posted on Facebook: "I nor the Young Democrats of Watauga County condone or advocate for spray paint as an expedient method for creating positive change. In fact, I have believed for some time that antagonizing people you want to respect and adopt your views only hampers their understanding; it doesn’t foster it."
The graffiti damage is estimated to be as much as $10,000, police said.
Prier and Seay currently are students at Appalachian State, according to college directory records.
"The Appalachian Community has always been known for fostering a culture of respect and integrity, where differing opinions and ideas could be debated openly, honestly, and without fear of retribution. The weekend's vandalism is illegal and also runs contrary to the culture that we as a community seek to sustain," Chancellor Sheri N. Everts said in a message to students.
Seay wouldn't comment when contacted by Fox News. It was unclear if the women had attorneys.
Boone is about 100 miles northwest of Charlotte, in the Blue Ridge Mountains.