Augusta County: Where the domestic terrorists have won
An acquaintance organized a rally to support the Riverheads High School teacher at the center of the right-wing firestorm over a classroom assignment on Arabic culture that one parent decided to make into her ticket to get on Fox News.
Now, when I say organized, I mean, she put up a post on Facebook around 1 p.m. to say that at 4 p.m., there’d be a rally.
And when I say rally, I mean, there were 12 people there. Four of them were me, my wife and next-door neighbors.
The rally, how many people came and how it was organized are not the weird things here. That’s just canvas. Now I’m ready to paint the picture.
There was a city police car there when I got there. A city official stood on the other side of the pavilion in Constitution Park.
A few minutes in, a State Police cruiser drove up.
Did I mention that we’re talking about 12 people gathering in the park?
Yes, we had signs to show support for the teacher.
We weren’t even chanting anything. It was too cold to chant anything. It’s been 65 degrees for three weeks, and at 4 p.m. today it was 40 and gusty, and the sun was already behind the Tree Streets hill.
Might as well have been a blizzard, it was so cold.
None of us knew what to do. Two TV reporters and a local newspaper reporter talked to the organizer and one of the attendees.
I took a couple of photos with my iPhone.
Had a nice conversation with a lady who drove all the way from Churchville.
City police, an administrator, state police?
Toward the end, the organizer said something about a guy in a van shouting at the group before I got there.
Maybe that was it.
Maybe this is why the county schools were closed today.
Apparently, there were threats from God-knows-where from God-knows-who that there’d be massive protests at the school demanding that the teacher and various others be fired. Some of those who’d contacted school officials to inform them of their plans included photos of beheadings with their missives.
The lady from Churchville asked me why they’d include photos of beheadings.
I mentioned that I’d received several rather pushy emails addressed to the editor of August Free Press, and while none contained any photos of beheadings, two writers did try to make clear what they thought of our coverage of the story, how we were missing the boat in not highlighting the rise of Islamic fanaticism, and what our ultimate fates would be if we let the Muslims win.
Isn’t this terrorism? “The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” That’s terrorism, defined, per Google.
A deranged guy yelling out of a van isn’t a husband and wife shooting up an employee Christmas party, a self-styled holy warrior treating a Planned Parenthood like target practice, a white supremacist targeting a historic black church with the aim of starting a race war.
Crazies including photos of beheadings are, like the coward in his van, similarly passive-aggressive, but aggressive in their own right, in pursuit of their political aims.
Their efforts can already claim success. Augusta County Schools is altering its World Religions curriculum at the point of their social-media bayonet, and guess what we’ve done there? Yep, encouraged more of the same in the future.
I just want the Augusta County that I woke up in on Tuesday back.
Toothpaste is out of the tube. We’re run by mob rule now.
Maybe that’s why the cops were there with us. Cowards yelling out of vans had 12 easy targets to make the evening news.
In fact, yeah, that’s exactly why they were there.
My hands are shaking as I finish this piece, as you might guess.
– Column by Chris Graham