Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Along with most Americans, I am dismayed but also incensed by the events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia a week ago last Saturday. It is sad that a young woman died in an incident that may or may not have been the result of a deliberate act. However, what causes me the most alarm is that there is an attack on the rights of ALL Americans as expressed in the First Amendment, as authored by Virginian James Madison and adopted by the First Congress in 1791.
Regardless of their beliefs, repugnant or not, those who assembled in Charlottesville for a rally at the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee had every right to be there. They had a permit from the city – even though the city tried every way they could to deny it – a Federal court order and the support of the ACLU. They were opposed by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signor and a host of left-wing protestors, including Antifa, Black Lives Matter and leftwing organizations involved with labor unions. Finally, McAuliffe used the excuse of violence to declare a state of emergency then someone ordered the Charlottesville police to declare the rally to be “an unlawful assembly.” Never mind that there was no violence going on in the park at the time, as evidenced by videos made by participants and posted on altight.com. https://altright.com/2017/08/14/charlottesville-the-view-from-lee-park/ In fact, as the video plainly shows, the violence started when the rally organizers and participants were being forced out of the park and encountered a rock-throwing mob. Several were hit on the head by rocks and required medical attention at the aid stations. Protestors even used homemade flamethrowers against those there for the rally. http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/08/12/photos-violence-charlottesville/M6SLPmlA7kAa4WCQIv7GkM/story.html?pic=20
The most disgusting aspect of the events are the attacks on President Donald Trump for his comments. On Saturday afternoon, he addressed the issue and, correctly, condemned the violence from both sides. Leftists and some Republicans immediately went bonkers because he didn’t keep his comments confined solely to the “white supremacists, racists, KKK, etc. and etc.” who had gathered in the park. In the minds of those people, who apparently were depending solely on accounts on cable news, the violence was solely one-sided. However, more detailed video as referenced above and many others, show that those gathered to protest the rally were as violent or more so than those who were there for it. On Monday, President Trump held a news conference in which he condemned “white supremacists, etc. and etc.” and did not mention the left-wing protestors. (At that point, Donald Trump lost my support because he appeared to be announcing an effort to arrest people for their beliefs.) However, the following day in another appearance he made a more detailed statement in which he blamed the protestors as much as those there for the rally for the violence. Needless to say, the left-wing media (Washington Post, New York Times and LA Times, in particular) went ballistic. (When he made that statement, he got back my support.)
There is a big problem in America, and that is that too many like to paint with a very broad brush when they should be using a fine-pointed artist’s brush. To their mind, any white person who doesn’t admit guilt over slavery is a racist and white supremacist. Anyone who ever criticizes a Jew for anything is automatically an anti-Semite and will be branded as one by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Centrer (which has very little to do with poverty and is actually an arm of the Democratic Party.) (Note – the anniversary of the lynching of Leo Frank, a Jew who had been convicted of the murder of Mary Phagan, a 13-year old girl who worked in his factory, was August 17. The Jewish Anti-defamation League was formed by defenders of Frank: the second Ku Klux Klan was also formed as a result of the trial.) Yes, there are neo-Nazis involved in right-wing politics but that doesn’t mean everyone who voted for Donald Trump is a neo-Nazi. There are also communists in the Democratic Party, a lot of them. There may still be some people in the Democratic Party who are actually sincere patriots but the majority have left the party. My 86-year old aunt is a classic example. She was a Democrat all her life but no longer because of the Democrats’ position on abortion. (FYI, my great-grandfather was a staunch Democrat and a muckedy-muck in the Klan. My grandmother and my other aunt were Democrats to the day they died. My mother, on the other hand, voted Republican.)
I have looked at as many videos of the events in Charlottesville as I can find and it appears that overall, things were pretty calm. There were some confrontations between rally -goers and protestors who confronted them along their route but once the attendees were in the park, it appears that things had settled down. Allegedly, the vice-mayor of Charlottesville, Wes Bellamy, a black with a history of hate speech, showed up at the park and police gathered around to “protect” him and subsequently declared the rally “an unlawful assembly” and ordered those there for the rally to disperse. Videos taken at the time show there was no violence occurring and that people were waiting peaceably for the rally to begin. Then, as the rally speakers were leaving the park – after the police ordered them out and arrested one speaker, a military veteran who was mouthing off at them, protestors attacked them with mace and concrete-filled plastic bottles – after police had used pepper spray to force the speakers out of the park. Many in the news media are referring to the event as a “riot” but, in fact, there was no rioting at all. The violence was perpetrated against those there for the rally by protestors who came armed with everything from rocks and concrete-filled bottles to improvised flamethrowers and AR-15s. (Yes, Virginia, there were left-wingers there carrying “assault rifles” and wearing communist hammer and sickle belt buckles.)
After the Charlottesville police cleared Lee Park, those there for the rally walked a mile and a half to another park outside the city. However, after they got there, they received word that the National Guard was on the way to the park to arrest them so they began walking to the parking lot for their cars.
Meanwhile, in Charlottesville the streets had been taken over by protestors, some of whom had permits for demonstrations (but were not ordered to disperse even though there was supposed to be “an unlawful assembly” and the governor had declared an emergency.) One group of blacks surrounded a small group of people who had been there for the rally and threw rocks, concrete-filled bottles and taunts at them until the police finally came and escorted the group – who were armed – to their vehicles. Blacks taunted another group of ralliers as they walked down the street to the parking garage where they had left their vehicles. The blacks followed them into the garage and the whites turned around. A brief melee ensued in which one of the blacks was separated from his buddies and assaulted. (The black photographed with an improvised flamethrower, one Corey Long, was one of the blacks in the group. He claimed he used the aerosol spray can after he found it on the ground. He claims he used it because one of the whites had aimed a pistol at him then fired into the ground at his feet. The trouble with his narrative is that no shots were reported fired. He also claimed he and his buddies were attacked while they were peaceable but video shows otherwise.)
The march that led to the incident with the car was captured on video by a number of people, but particularly Taylor Lorenz, a reporter for the political site The Hill. Ms. Lorenz video, which is available on the The Hill Facebook page, shows plainly that the group in the march were Antifa because they were marching under the black Antifa flag, as well as the red flag of a communist workers group and other flags associated with the radical leftist movement, who call themselves “social justice warriors,” or SJW. The group marched down Waters Street shouting out their hateful slogans until they reached the intersection with 4th Street. At that point someone with a microphone addresses the group and tells them that the people in the neighborhood ahead “do not want us here.” The group was milling around and, based on video shot from a drone, turned north on 4th Street. It was at this point that the Dodge Charger driven by James Alex Fields Jr. came into the crowd and struck one of two vehicles that had been blocked at the intersection by the marchers and forced one into the other, which went into the intersection knocking people left and right. One of the marchers, a local Charlottesville-area woman named Heather Heyer, suffered fatal injuries.
“Witnesses” claimed that Fields was “driving at a high rate of speed” when he hit the protestors. However, video of the incident shows otherwise. I measured the distance from the intersection on the Downtown Mall where Field’s car first appears in the video to the intersection using Google Earth and came up with a distance of 265 feet. There is a time lapse of 6 seconds until the car impacts the first protestor, which works out to a speed of 44.11 feet per second, or 30 MPH. Considering that the point where he impacts the crowd is some distance from the intersection, more than two car lengths, his speed would have been under 30 mph. (A distance of 230 feet divided by 6 seconds would be 38.3 feet per second, or 26.1 MPH.) A photographer for the Charlottesville Daily Progress took a photograph the instant before Fields went into the crowd that plainly shows that the brakes were on just prior to the impact with the crowd. While the media, politicians – including Donald Trump – and others are harping that Field’s actions are “an act of terrorism”, the photograph and his relatively low speed may indicate otherwise. We won’t know until he either confesses or is brought to trial. The video also shows that protestors were throwing things at and hitting his car, which may have influenced his actions.
As for the woman, Heather Heyer, who died as a result of her injuries, very little has been revealed about her. All that is really known is that she was a paralegal who worked for a black lawyer, and that she was “an activist” against injustice. Some, including apparently the organizer of the Unite the Right rally, have Tweeted that she was “A fat communist.” That she and her friends were marching with a group of Anti-Fascists may be an indication. There is one thing for certain, had she not been in that march, she wouldn’t have died that day. The governor of Virginia and the media also attribute the deaths of the two State Police officers who died in the crash of the helicopter to the “white supremacists.” What the fuck? I am a retired professional pilot and former instructor with a large flight instruction corporation. The crash occurred for one of three reasons: (1) human error, (2) mechanical failure or (3) it was somehow shot down. However, the State Police have said there was no outside interference so it was one of the first two. It is sad that the two officers lost their lives but to blame their deaths on the rally organizers is way over the top.
No official estimates of crowd size in Charlottesville have been given but the number of 500 for those there for the rally with double that number for those there to protest and some 1,000 police has appeared in the media. There were definitely some among those there for the rally who fall into the category of “neo-Nazi” and “white nationalist” but it’s hard to tell now because their web sites are no longer available for scrutiny. This is particularly true of Richard Spencer, whose views were available on his National Policy Institute site. That site is no longer available although the Alt-Right site is. One group, Vanguard America, who were wearing white shirts and included James Fields, had a site that has been taken down. Another group, the League of the South, is still up. From what I’ve seen of their site, it appears they’re not a white nationalist organization, but rather an organization dedicated to preserving Southern cultural and the impossible dream of forming a separate Southern state.
Antifa is getting little opposition, even though their goals are deplorable. Canadian/American historian Conrad Black outlines Antifa’s goals in this article. Among other things, they want anyone of color by DNA analysis to be given preferred status and they want to reduce the white population of America to 30%. This three-part series gives an excellent description of Antifa. The state of New Jersey recently declared them a terrorist organization. I am convinced that Antifa is a far-worse organization than any of the “white supremacy” or neo-Nazi groups that are being so maligned by the media and politicians. If I had to choose between them, I’d definitely side with the “far-right” groups.