Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Disgusted By Events in Charlottesville, Virginia

I was thoroughly amazed to see robed and hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.  I guess I've been living like a mushroom....  In the past few years, I have read of small gatherings of Klansmen in what I considered to be small, rural, "backwards" towns and communities.  I really was stunned to see so many KKK members appear in Charlottesville.  The large groups of people carrying flags emblazoned with swastikas amazed me.  The young men, and the few women I saw, astounded me.  I felt as if I had been caught in a time warp and taken back to the 1920s and the 1930s in the Deep South.  The hatred that was being radiated by those two groups, the armed militias, and the hangers-on was palpable.  It was frightening.  And it ended up being deadly.
   I was brought up being proud of my Virginian heritage - the island of Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, always has been a part of the Commonwealth of Virginia; except during the Civil War.  Chincoteague did a thriving seafood business with the cities sited on the Atlantic Ocean from Ocean City, Maryland up to Boston, Massachusetts.  When the state of Virginia seceded from the Union, the men of Chincoteague voted to stay in the Union, with Maryland.  (I have to admit that half of the young men on the island fought on the Confederate side, and half on the Union side.  My family was heavily involved in the seafood trade, and the young men were in the United States Army and Navy.)  The men on my father's immediate side of the family fought for the Union, too - volunteering in Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio regiments.
    I know my Virginia history very well - the colonial leaders, the leaders of Bacon's Rebellion (one of my many-times great-grandfathers was hung at Jamestown in 1676), the members of the Continental Congress, the five Presidents from the Commonwealth. I know about the campaigns in Virginia during the Revolutionary War, and during the Civil War.  I have pored over history books, private letters, and reports from soldiers and officers during those wars.
   I was astonished when no policing action was taken against the protesters who marched across the campus of the University of Virginia carrying "Tiki torches" as they made their way, and chanting racial slurs.  I was especially upset when photos and videos showed the protesters attacking quietly standing counter-protesters with mace, pepper spray, and other chemicals.
   On Saturday, when I saw the armed militias marching along with people carrying the swastika flags, and beside them, the white robed members of the Ku Klux Klan, I was disgusted, dismayed, appalled, and angry.  These people had clubs in their hands.  They were carrying wooden shields.  Some of the protesters were wearing better body armor than the police; most were carrying better weapons than the police; and they also had police-grade riot shields.  -  And that's the main reason why our law enforcement officers could not confront these people - there would have been a terrible carnage just due to the fire power of the guns belonging to the protesters.
   Yes, the protesters had a permit to gather and protest in Emancipation Park, where the statue of Robert E Lee stands.  But they had a permit for a peaceful gathering.  Their actions Friday night showed they were not a peaceful group.  A judge signed an injunction to stop the gathering at 9 a.m. and the gathering was supposed to begin at 12 noon; but protesters had begun gathering before 8:30 that morning.  At 10:30, police reported that the protesters had clashed with the counter-protesters and that two people were injured.  At 11:35, law enforcement officers announced publicly that the event was now "an unlawful assembly" because of the previous violence and the judge's injunction. The protesters, and the counter-protesters, were told to disband and go home.
   People began fighting instead.  Luckily, no one was shot.  With the outbreak of violence pouring into multiple streets around the Park, Virginia Governor McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. The crowds of protesters and counter-protesters are separated.  The Unite the Right group is still pretty much contained in Emancipation Park; the counter-protesters (for unity and not division) are marching down a street more than 700 feet away.  At 1:40 p.m., a car suddenly accelerates into the crowd, then reverses, striking more people, and quickly disappears.
   A 32-year-old paralegal, Heather Heyer, who was attending her first march, was killed outright.  At least 19 others suffered injuries, five of whom were in critical condition in the hospital later that evening.  It has been announced, at this time, that all will recover - except Heather Heyer, who was buried today.
   The nasty man living in the White House has yet to say Heather Heyer's name.  He has yet to apologize for the blood on his hands.  He thanked Heather's mother for being very nice to him, when he made his first Twitter announcement.  Verbally, he said that the problems were caused "by many sides; many sides" on Saturday.  On Monday, 45 read a speech directly from a teleprompter, and anyone could tell that he hated reading those words out loud - he did not want to place the blame on the white supremacists he has curried, nor the neo-Nazis he has groomed, nor the anti-Semites he has egged on.  Yesterday, he went off script again and said the counter-protesters were as much to blame as the Unite the Right supporters....   The man needs to be certified and placed in a rubber room in a straight jacket.
    Thank goodness the FBI is investigating the whole thing.

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