Veterans demand apology over terrorist comment
BATON ROUGE - Veterans and leaders of the St. George effort to breakaway and create their own city are demanding an apology from Metro Councilman John Delgado, who posted a comment to Facebook Wednesday that compared people trying to pull away from the city of Baton Rouge to terrorists.
The harsh words came in response to Metro Councilman Ryan Heck's post thanking lawmakers, community leaders, and St. George organizers for pushing education reform in public schools.
That's when Delgado said, "...thanking Norman Browning and his ilk for any changes that occur to our education system is like thanking Al Qaeda for improving our airport security measures. I don't thank people that try to destroy our community. I condemn them for the terrorists that they are."
Delgado told News 2 today that he stands behind his comments and will not apologize.
"I meant what I said," Delgado explained. "Never will I apologize, not in a million years... The comments that I made are appropriate and the analogy is quite precise."
When asked if he thought it was insensitive to victims who died during the 9/11 attacks, he said, "That is playing the indignancy card to the extreme. Face the issues. They have been threatening people of the parish for the last six months."
The "they" Delgado referred to are leaders of the St. George movement. It's a push to create a new city and school district in the southern part of East Baton Rouge Parish.
Dustin Yates is a St. George supporter and a firefighter.
"Some of these people who fought against the real Al Qaeda and real Taliban, and the idea of likening these people who fought against terrorists to terrorists themselves... It's embarrassing. It's shameful," Yates said.
He believes Delgado owes people an apology.
"I think he cavalierly uses that word because he has no idea what it's like to serve his country, put his life on the line to serve and protect any community," Yates said.
Veterans are also demanding an apology. Gerald served his country during the Cold War and lives in Ascension Parish. He is not impacted by the St. George effort, but believes Delgado's blanket comments are insensitive.
"(It's) absolutely not a fair characterization," Gerald said. "(Delgado) absolutely does owe us an apology as people of the United States and this community."
Mayor Kip Holden issued this statement today.
"I regret that the St. George issue has resulted in unnecessary name calling and not a discussion of the issues. As you know, I have voiced my opinion against the separation. I encourage all parties to engage in civil discourse. We are all Americans and we should respect diverse views without name calling."