In truth, I had no intention of writing again about Saturday’s horrific events for a few days yet. I wanted to step back for a day or two … needed to step back for just a breather. But, every news site I visit, international or domestic, Charlottesville IS the news. And as I perused, almost against my will, page after page, two things drilled so heavily into my mind that … well, here I am again.
The first thing that is bothering me is, with all the violence, the hatred, the threats, injuries and deaths, why were so few of the white supremacists arrested? Why are they not running their tin cups along the bars and dressed in prison orange tonight? In addition to the driver of the car that crashed into a crowd of counter protestors, three of the white supremacists were arrested. THREE! Three whole people out of a crowd that numbered well into the hundreds, if not thousands!
James Alex Fields Jr., 20 years old, the driver of the car that plowed into the crowd, killing one and injuring 19 others, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. In addition to Fields, the other three arrests were:
- Troy Dunigan, 21, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
- Jacob L. Smith, 21, of Louisa, Virginia, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault & battery.
- James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed handgun.
Last month, the KKK held a rally in Charlottesville where 23 people were arrested. There were no injuries or deaths related to that event, yet 23 people were arrested. Compared to three this past weekend. What the Sam Heck were the police doing???
According to an article in The Washington Post …
“Anger over how the police responded came from all directions and intensified after the death of a woman struck by a car that plowed into a group of counterprotesters. Experts said police appeared outnumbered, ill-prepared and inexperienced.
At one point, police appeared to retreat and then watch the beatings before eventually moving in to end the free-for-all, make arrests and tend to the injured. Complicating the dynamics was the fact that several dozen groups of armed militias — men in full camouflage toting assault-style weapons — were in the middle of the crowds.
Cornel West, the Princeton professor and writer who attended a morning church service at First Baptist Church in Charlottesville with a large group of clergy members, said “the police didn’t do anything in terms of protecting the people of the community, the clergy.””
Another report said that when violence first broke out, police stood on side streets behind barricades, but made no attempt to stop the melee. Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signor spoke out, justifiably, against Donald Trump for his inadequate, milquetoast response to the tragic events on Saturday. I support Mayor Signer 100% in this. But, I would like to see the mayor looking into the question of why men toting assault rifles in the middle of the city, threatening and browbeating others, and beating people with sticks and shields, were not arrested. I expected to awaken on Sunday morning to the news that the jail in Charlottesville was filled to overflowing. WHAT HAPPENED??? We have a right to know why those who threaten our very lives are not in jail!
Enter the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and its head, Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions. Sessions talked the talk: “The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice. When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.” But will he walk the walk? I have doubts, as at this time, the investigation by the DOJ is limited to the homicide caused by James Fields. A much broader investigation is needed, one that includes the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups that caused the chaos of the weekend.
Granted it is early days yet, and the investigation could certainly be expanded in the coming days, but frankly I do not trust Mr. Sessions to do so, for it is a known fact that he, himself, was denied a judgeship during the Reagan administration based on his racist remarks and attitudes.
The other thing that struck me as I perused the news on Sunday was that the White House was busily making excuses for Trump’s lame, ineffectual response. Never before in my memory has a president and his entire administration been so out of tune with what the majority of the people in this country think, want and need.
The White House … and for the life of me, I wish they would stop with that, for I would like to know precisely who is saying what, and I am smart enough to realize that the White House itself cannot speak, so it was a person within the administration, but WHO??? The “White House” official defense was …
“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”
I don’t want to hear the “White House” defend, justify or explain Trump’s remarks. I want to hear from Trump exactly what he meant. I want to hear Trump come out and call a spade a bloody shovel, call this act by its rightful names: terrorism, racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy. I want to hear him say that he will do everything in his power to put down white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. I don’t care what Kellyanne Conway or Sarah Huckabee Sanders or some anonymous “White House spokesperson” has to say … I want it out of the horse’s mouth, and if the horse is too damn cowardly to speak out against the racists that put him into office, then I want an apology from him and I want him to admit that he is not capable of doing the job and step down. Period.
Saturday’s events were horrific in and of themselves. But they were compounded by a lack of law enforcement on the scene, and an almost uninterested response from the man who the white supremacists put into office last November. As I have said many times of late, I thought we were better than this. Today, I realize that, while some of us ARE better than this, and it is unfair to judge all by the actions of a few … still, as a nation, the way we will be judged by other nations … we are not better than this. Can we be someday? I don’t know … that depends on the path the leadership and the people take. I am encouraged by the voices, previously silent, that are speaking out against white supremacy, against hate. But is it enough, when we do not have humanitarian and compassionate leadership? I do not know.