The Nazis came to Charlottesville this past weekend. It did not go well:
Brittany Caine-Conley, a minister in training at Sojourners United Church of Christ, arrived in downtown Charlottesville on Saturday morning expecting that there might be violence. She did not expect things to get out of hand so quickly.The police didn't do much to stop the violence, it appears. More from the New York Times:
But what began as a rally of white nationalists in a city park soon spun out of control, resulting in melees in the streets and the death of a 32-year-old woman after a car rammed a group of counterprotesters. The police have charged a 20-year-old Ohio man described as a Nazi sympathizer, accusing him of intentionally driving his car into the crowd.
But if Charlottesville was grieving on Sunday, it was also questioning. Governor McAuliffe fiercely defended the police in an impromptu sidewalk interview, noting that many of the demonstrators were armed, and saying the officers had done “great work” in a “very delicate situation.” And he said Ms. Heyer’s death, which he called “car terrorism,” could not have been prevented.It got ugly:
“You can’t stop some crazy guy who came here from Ohio and used his car as a weapon,” Governor McAuliffe said. “He is a terrorist.”
But others, including Mr. Kessler and Ms. Caine-Conley, openly wondered if the violence could have been prevented.
“There was no police presence,” Ms. Caine-Conley said. “We were watching people punch each other; people were bleeding all the while police were inside of barricades at the park, watching. It was essentially just brawling on the street and community members trying to protect each other.”
As the white nationalists massed in the park, Ms. Caine-Conley and other members of the clergy locked arms in the street. Behind them were hundreds of protesters, including black-clad, helmet-wearing members of the far left known as antifa.Fascinating and appalling is an apt description of this entire moment. Look at the faces of two people who have been involved in hurting or killing others in the name of their ideology: first the accused driver of the car in Charlottesville, James Alex Fields:
Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security, was watching the events from a command post on the sixth floor of a Wells Fargo bank on the downtown mall. There were sporadic fights. “I compare it to hockey,” he said. “Often in hockey there are sporadic fights, and then they separate.”
Suddenly, people were throwing water bottles, some filled with urine. Some used pepper spray; from his perch on the sixth floor, Mr. Moran saw smoke bombs being thrown. People started clubbing one another. The clergy retreated to a “safe house” — a restaurant nearby.
But according to many witnesses, the police waited to intervene. Ms. Caine-Conley called it “fascinating and appalling.”
Then, Linwood Kaine, a son of Sen. Tim Kaine who was arrested for his role in attacks of Trump supporters at the Capitol in Saint Paul earlier this year:
The dazed yet baleful expressions are the same. The only obvious difference is tonsorial. Is one young man more worthy than the other? It's easier to predict their fates. Fields will be going to prison, and maybe death row. Kaine won't. Fields may not have had a great future before he drove his car into a crowd, but he has no future now. Kaine will have the opportunity to leave his past behind.
It must be said again. Fields is not a victim; he's chosen perdition. Still, the sound of John Fogerty's "Fortunate Son" blends in with the stench of Fields. Even as we make a point of condemning Fields and his ilk, we ought to remember he's hardly the only combatant in this war.