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What happened in Charlottesville was no accident

The people who brainstormed today’s events in Charlottesville into being weren’t there to protest the removal of a statue, or to instill a healthy and vigorous debate on race and culture in contemporary America.

charlottesvilleThe goal was to get attention, and if a few bones were broken along the way, hey, you don’t aim to start a race war without thinking ahead to the blood that will need to be shed.

Credit to them for generating controversy over the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a downtown park, or trying.

The early efforts petered out at making just the local news, but the stakes got raised when a guy running for the Republican governor nomination got involved, and got the ball rolling.

A blogger who is a fellow UVA alum announced the plans for this rally a couple of months ago, and you just knew from the moment you heard this was coming that it wasn’t going to go well.

 

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Because, seriously, why pick Charlottesville? Local Republicans refer to it derisively as the “People’s Republic of Charlottesville” for a good reason. Charlottesville, the home to the University of Virginia, regularly votes 80 percent-plus Democrat in local, state and national elections.

It’s mad genius to say that this is precisely why you pick Charlottesville. Because as much as local and state leaders tried to get the message out that folks who don’t agree with the sentiments to be expressed at the #UniteTheRight rally should just stay away, come on, like people were going to stay away.

The TV cameras would have had nothing to broadcast, of course, if all that had gone down today was the Nazis gave a few speeches to a crowd of nobody, gone off to the Waffle House to celebrate their big success and then climbed back into their rolling meth labs to go back home to West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina and wherever else they came from.

Did they even have an actual rally planned? Maybe, but don’t bet the ranch on there having been too much put into the planning of who was going to speak first, and then who was going to speak second, and what everybody was going to say, and where they were going to put the podium, and who was going to stand beside whom.

Best case scenario, the vile hate that the organizers were promising was going to be spewed would bring out hundreds, even thousands, of counterprotesters, and then the game could get started.

The gambit worked.

Local police unwittingly aided in their effort, taking their cue from the criticism of tactics employed in response to demonstrations in Ferguson and Baltimore, and going zealously in the direction of kid gloves.

Seriously, seeing the footage on TV and Twitter, it was like watching outtakes from “The Purge.” Pepper spray in bottles, pepper spray in water balloons, water bottles with cement.

Everything, it seemed, was legal. I swear I saw a guy in a parking garage get hit with a kendo stick. The only thing missing was somebody going through a table and people chanting “ECW!” from the sidewalk.

Then police wisely (beware of dripping sarcasm) called the whole thing off an hour before it was supposed to start.

So, we had thousands of people in a tight space in downtown, suddenly being told to leave the area, with nowhere to go, and no reason now not to let things escalate.

The Nazis decided to head to McIntire Park, about a mile away. The counterprotestors milled about at the scene of the original planned rally, and things seemed to calm down, largely, surprisingly.

I don’t presume that the plan going in was to leave one of the Nazis who happened to have the keys to a souped up Dodge Charger behind to plow through a group of counterprotesters having let their guard down, but the opportunity sure presented itself.

The day was already dark as he made his way down the tight city street at speeds reportedly approaching 40 mph.

It turned tragic as people were knocked into the air, the ground, between and over cars, no match for a 4,000-pound street missile.

As I write this column, the official toll is a total of 20 people impacted. One dead, 19 injured, five critically, four more in serious condition.

Bones were broken, blood shed.

The president, who built his primary campaign on a nationalist message that was embraced by Nazi right, went live on TV to decry the violence emanating from “many sides,” as if the woman who was killed and the others seriously and critically injured are as much to blame for what happened for being in the street as the jerkwad who drove the sports car 40 mph into them.

And the guy who had been running for the Republican governor nomination went on Facebook Live to tell his supporters that “we must not allow the left to crack down on free speech” after today’s events.

Yes, let’s make sure the left doesn’t somehow crack down on “free speech.”

Because, see, that’s what this was all about. It was a PR stunt, with a dead woman lying on the streets of Charlottesville as a convenient prop.

Heaping insult upon injury, two more people – Virginia State Police troopers – died in the crash of a helicopter that had been providing aerial surveillance of the rally.

Three people woke up this morning, no doubt assumed they would wake up tomorrow morning, and they’re gone.

The hateful who perpetrated the events that led to their deaths are rejoicing at what a great day they had in terms of advancing their racist cause.

The rest of us weep.

Column by Chris Graham

 
Discussion
  • Brian Rostron

    When I think of all the things that were socially sensitive in C’ville in the early ’90s – the legacy of segregation, resentment of entitled UVa students by working class residents, anger at the destruction of Vinegar Hill for failed urban renewal, annoyance with half of the town being named for a slaveholder – Lee Park never made the list. People seemed more annoyed with the depiction of Sacajawea on the Lewis and Clark statue than they did by the Lee statue in an out of the way park near to the courthouse.

    • I was a student at UVA in the early ’90s (graduated in 1994), and, yeah, Lee Park wasn’t an issue.

      I don’t remember Confederate symbols being an issue anywhere, to be fair, until recent years. But it was not at all an issue in Charlottesville back when we were there.

      • Brian Rostron

        I grew up in Manassas. At least half of the streets in the older part of town were named for Confederate generals. There was a high school (opened in 1964), middle school, lake, etc. named for Stonewall Jackson. Even then people found it kind of embarrassing. Of course, it was Corey Stewart from that county and former Trump state campaign lead who promoted this issue.

  • Mike Judge

    The big mistakes by city government was fighting just this week to move away from the park, then cancelling the rally. Instead of having a concentrated gathering where law enforcement could maintain more control, people spread out and all the personnel couldn’t watch every area.

    • Okie Girl

      Guess which party they belonged to? One guess.

  • Darlene Duffell Kleyer

    Why can’t a group gather in Charlotteville? Last I looked this is the United States and are supposed to have freedom of speech. IF the Black Lives Matters can have protest, why can’t other groups have them? There have been protected by Police even after being shot while protecting them in Texas. Why do people want to erase history? If you erase it, then there is nothing to learn from.. This was a legal registered gathering, where did the counterprotesters come from? Last time I heard Democrat Loretta Lynch talk she was promoting violence and said some blood would have to be shed which is exactly what happened here and you people are blaming President Trump? Get real..

    • A man from Ohio drove his car into a group of people at speeds approaching 40 mph with the intent of killing them all. Erase that history.

      • Okie Girl

        An Antifa activist. DON’T erase that history!

  • Paul Maxwell

    the woman killed why by a leftist there to start iolence against the right alt. but go ahead and blame eeryone except the leftists who droe his car into a crowd.

    • A leftist who drove his car into a crowd? Sorry. Spew your #alternativefacts nonsense elsewhere.

      • Okie Girl

        Yes, an Antifa sympathizer. The story I heard is MUCH different than what you write here:
        “People protesting the removal of our Confederate Monuments (American History) got a permit to protest at 10:00. Now, let’s not forget they had to take it to top Va State District Court to get their 1st Amendment right acknowledged and permit from the City & State.

        Early yesterday morning Antifa members as well as BLM were being flown and bused in from around the country.
        At 8:45am Va Governor & Charlottesville Mayor (both Democrats), who didn’t want the Confederate Monument protesters there to begin with, sends police in to cancel a protest that hadn’t even started. They forced the protesters out in the streets to a waiting mob of Antifa-fa and BLM. The police were given orders to stand down and let the protesters be attacked.

        This was a set up by the Virginia governor to take away protesters 1st amendment rights.
        It doesn’t matter what the protesters had to say. They had a right to say it all.

        Here is what really happened in VA today from a friend who was there and nothing of the truth actually made it to the media so they made up much of the crap you’re being spoon fed tonight yet people continue to believe the media ..!

        Our media is completely, and utterly incapable of reporting with honesty and transparency:

        -The Alt Right organized a peaceful assembly in Charlottesville called Unite the Right.
        -The organizers lawfully obtained a permit to host this event.

        -Wes Bellamy, the Vice-Mayor of Charlottesville, illegally revoked the permit for this event. Wes Bellamy is a known Leftist and is affiliated with the Black Panther Party, a Black supremacist organization.

        -The ACLU successfully sued Charlottesville for violating the First Amendment, and a Federal judge ruled that the permit must be reinstated and the right to assemble honored.

        -Unite the Right was scheduled to take place at 12:00pm today. At 11:30am, a heavily militarized police force illegally shut down the event, physically assaulting peaceful protesters with batons and tear gas. Several people were illegally arrested.

        -While evacuating, many protesters were illegally assaulted by counter-protesters from Antifa and Black Lives Matter as the police stood by and did nothing. Antifa and BLM members were recorded throwing bricks at people, using pepper spray, and throwing molotov cocktails and tear gas.

        -An Antifa activist drove his car straight in to a crowd of people, killing at least one. The state of Virginia declared a state of emergency with the National Guard on standby, and Charlottesville became the #1 news story in the world.

        -The lying media intentionally portrayed this all in a way to make it look like the peaceful protesters were the perpetrators of the violence, rather than the victims, despite heavy video evidence to the contrary.

        -This was an enormous breech of everyone’s First Amendment rights, and a violent police-state suppression of free speech that is now being hidden by the lying media.”

  • Okie Girl
  • This is not a white supremacist website. If you post links to further your Nazi agenda, they will be deleted, you will be banned from this site, and also reported to Disqus. Have a blessed day.

  • bob

    So chris is against free speech. You just admitted it……

    • Free speech? Or hate speech?

    • pilgrim

      Nonsense, Bob…Chris is ALL FOR ‘free speech’……as long, that is, as it is synonymous with his views, whether on politics, social issues, religion, or whatever. The reality is that inoffensive speech NEEDS NO PROTECTION , it is OFFENSIVE speech, speech with which I disagree….or with which Chris disagrees with….that needs the protection provided by the constitution.

      • And therein lies your problem, “Pilgrim.” The organizers of this “rally” had no intent to exercise free speech. The evidence: the presence of a heavily armed militia, the shields, et al. They got what they wanted when the rally was shut down: a chance to claim victimhood status, because their “free speech” rights had been usurped.
        The actual blood that was shed was just icing on the cake for the hatemongers.
        But keep telling yourself otherwise, and giving yourself patriotic-sounding CB handles.
        I say this often, but if you want to have anybody respect what you have to say, you wouldn’t feel the need to hide behind a fake name. Stand up and be counted, or slink away.

  • Jane

    I do not consider nationalist as supremacist and find offense that someone would call nationalist supremist. I hate to see historical statues removed too. I believe in the sovereignty of our nation, I think Eric Gardner was unnecessarily murdered by the police department but this neither makes me a bigot, a supremacist, a cop hater nor an advocate of BLM or KKK. Some were probably there to protest the removal of the statue for their own reasons.

    • What offense do you have to the equivalence being given to “nationalist” and “supremacist”? And since the term being used by the groups to describe themselves is “white nationalist,” how does that factor in to your level of offense?

  • Ira

    No mention of the Antifa/BLM crowd (about 1000) that showed up to cause mayhem, why not?

    • Don’t agree with the characterization. People who stand up to hate aren’t the moral equivalent of those who show up to spew hate.

      • Ira

        When we justify stopping someone’s right to freely assemble and someone’s right to free speech with violence because we do not agree what they have to say it is a dangerous president to set. Under the laws of our country we have a right to freely assemble/march and a right to speak freely without the fear of being harmed by someone who disagrees. Are you advocating taking these rights away?

        • When we hide behind the freedom of speech and the right to free assembly to carry out what was clearly a planned carnival of violence and bloodshed that leads to the deaths of three people and pretend that it is something else, we are at the least being disingenuous.

          Your white racists came equipped with armaments that were greater in force than what the local and state police had at their disposal. And you dare pretend that they were there to simply give a couple of speeches. Shame on you!

  • tm1kelly

    agreed This was a planned circus PR event. Now the mass media has weeks worth of topics to spew, while the government and this country still has horrible unemployment, horrible health care, horrible schools and the fear rages on to create more instability and unrest. Enough is enough, Thanks Chris for writing this very candid article exposing this rally for exactly what it was. ( beside that you are a good writer and humorist as this article read like a biting satire) hope to read more from you.

  • Sarah

    “It was a PR stunt, with a dead woman lying on the streets of Charlottesville as a convenient prop.”
    This sentence says more about the author then what happened.
    You all know what happened.
    The difference is those who are blaming and hating vs. those who are looking to not fall for the trick of getting fellow Americans to fight amongst each other over petty politics, racial identity, and any excuse to “Punch an X”

    • This comment says more about its author than what happened. Because we all know what happened.

 
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