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HomeIllinois NewsThorner/Ingold: Charlottesville carnage blamed on Trump's campaign rhetoric

Thorner/Ingold: Charlottesville carnage blamed on Trump’s campaign rhetoric



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By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold –

Capturing news headlines on Saturday, August 12, 2017, with non-stop coverage on TV cable channels, was of a woman being killed and 19 hurt as a car plowed into anti-fascists at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

  • Hundreds attended an event held at Charlottesville's Emancipation Park 
  • A local state of emergency was declared around 11am and the rally was determined an unlawful assembly 
  • A state police helicopter covering the rally crashed near a golf course within city limits, killing two officers 
  • President Trump admonished the day's events, saying: 'We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, violence, on many sides'

The Democratic mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, Michael Signer, pinned blame directly on President Trump, attributing the violence to the "hate-filled campaign" Trump ran, fomenting the white nationalist protest and related violence that occurred in his city. 

An article published in the Washington Post on Sunday, August 13, Trump lit the torches of white supremacy in Charlottesville. We must extinguish themlikewise blames President Trump for the violence in Charlottesville for failing to single out the alt-right marchers AFTER THE FACT. The article suggests that this is a family trait, citing an event 90 YEARS AGO, where his grandfather was fined for not dispersing a Ku Klux rally on or near his property. Not only does the alt-left ignore history, they twist it to suit their needs.

Charlottesville event predictable

The events in Charlottesville were predictable. The triggering event was a parade by White Power advocates (henceforth called the “protesters”), ostensibly protesting the scheduled removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation (nee Lee) Park. It would have gone largely unnoticed, if the hundred or so protesters had not been met by several hundred counter-protesters.

As too common in recent years, the counter-protesters came armed with rocks, bottles filled with noxious substances, pepper spray, tasers, clubs and video cameras, which were used to assault the protesters and then film their reaction.  What was different at Charlottesville is that the protesters were ready with their own riot-sticks and pool cues masquerading as sign posts. Also guarding their flanks were men armed with rifles and handguns (open carry is generally legal in Virginia). Except for a few skirmishes, the two sides maintained a safe distance, until a melee occurred toward the end of the day, when counter-protesters attempted to prevent the protesters from dispersing and leaving the area.

If the results were bad, they could have been much worse, and were. One man rammed a group of counter-protesters with his car, killing one and injuring dozens. It is not clear which side the driver was aligned with at this point, although the media assumes it was with the protesters. It is possible there was collusion, but there is no evidence to support this theory at present. The key point is that the protesters expected that armed counter-protesters would be drawn to the event and were prepared to counter that threat, and the counter-protesters willingly obliged.

For years the government has tolerated violent counter-protests, supported in spirit by the main stream media. After all, their cause is “righteous” when they riot against “racism”. While this tolerance did not start in Ferguson, MO, it certainly crested at that moment and has continued unabated.

Counter protests over political views

Violent counter-protests have not been limited to alleged abuse of government power. They also occur in reaction to political views they disagree with. How many Trump rallies were met with violence (nearly all)? A Trump rally in Chicago was called off because the city could not (or would not) prevent violence. The alleged offenses were as trivial as red baseball caps bearing the slogan, “Make America Great Again.” When your goal is to achieve your ends by threats and violence, anything will serve as a catalyst. Since Ferguson, the press has largely suppressed the fact that nearly all arrests made at these events were of the counter-protesters, not Trump supporters.

The counter-protesters are often goaded by small, organized activists from groups such as Black Lives Matter, funded by George Soros, and more egregiously, ANTIFA (Anti-Facist), and others who wear black clothes, face masks, and are armed with tasers and clubs. These activists fade into the rear when violence erupts, often using the chaos to mask vandalism and arson, leaving their dupes to bear the consequences.

That playbook goes back to 1918, when about 100 Bolsheviks overthrew the duly elected Republic. Imagine if someone in Charlottesville had fired a gun into the ranks of the protest march, and fire had been returned. The brunt would have been borne by the non-violent participants, then exploited by the would-be Bolsheviks (as in 1918). This effect was played by both sides in Charlottesville. The protesters gained more publicity from the assault by counter-protesters than by chanting their bigotry into an empty street, not to mention the 24/7 news. 

Terrorism defined

The definition of “terrorism” is the use of violence to achieve a political goal. Strictly speaking, the counter-protesters were committing acts of terrorism when they used violence to deny the right of the protesters to march. It is likely terrorism to assault members of the public going to and from a political rally, even if the rally is on behalf of the candidate (or President) Donald Trump. It was an act of terrorism if the driver smashed into counter-protesters with his car, if meant to stop their protest or deny their right of free speech.

By the same measure, it was not an act of terrorism to march in protest for whatever ridiculous or vile cause, in that permission was given from the city of Charlottesville under the order of a federal judge. However, it might be terrorism (or ordinary assault) if a protester charged into a group of counter-protesters, but it is probably self-defense if they did not initiate the encounter, and if blow for blow without escalation. Videos which show a protester getting up off the ground and going after someone standing on the sidelines is probably a case of selective editing. There is ample evidence of selective or misleading reportage.

  • A counter-protester is shown assaulting a protester with an ignited spray from an aerosol can. That doesn’t happen by accident – you need a match or lighter (aggravated assault).
  • A counter-protester is shown in self-applied chains of a “slave,” carrying a large “zap” stick or cattle prod (possibly illegal in North Carolina, per 14-269).
  • Numerous incidents of pepper spray directed from the sidelines into the parade (aggravated assault).

Trump correct in his condemnation

President Trump was correct in condemning violence and bigotry “on all sides,” because each side demonizes the other, and claims the moral high ground for doing so. The First Amendment guarantees the right to peaceably assemble and express your grievances. It does not guarantee the right to suppress others exercising that right.
The question is how to keep these situations from escalating until there is serious injury or loss of life.

1.  There should be no weapons at an organized rally, on either side. Violators should be removed, and prosecuted if laws are broken.

2.  There should be no masks or disguises allowed, when the intent is to conceal one’s identity.

3.  If arrests are not feasible at the moment, it is technically feasible to identify suspects from video and photographs, even nationwide, via biometric matching.

4.  The law is must be applied equally to both sides of an issue, otherwise violence will escalate. 


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  1. Weird. I don’t remember ‘resist’ getting blamed for antifa. How does that work? Also, what’s the connection between Trump’s reasonable campaign promises to Republicans and a whole bunch of working class Democrats and this? Democrats are really blaming – everyone that voted for Trump.

  2. ANTIFA was organized in 2013, modeling themselves after the “Antifascists” in the Spanish Civil War – a private militia-type organization which uses social media to organize (foment) protests, and are known to carry pepper spray, clubs and cameras to these events. They were participants behind the “Resist” movement against President-Elect Trump, and attempted to disrupt the inauguration as well as political rallies before and after.
    The Democrats would like to associate President Trump with every wing-nut group, calling it the “alt-Right.” This is nonsense, of course, and is a manifestation of “projection” to the Trump presidency of the Leftist’s own dirty tricks.
    It should be clear that anti-social views of either side aren’t in question here, rather their right to PEACEABLY assemble and state their views. It’s the peaceable part that gets lost in the confusion.