The tragedy that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend is still being processed by a great many Americans.
In an attempt to reconcile our belief in Free Speech with the unfathomably filthy reality of hate speech, U.S. citizens are rightfully taking a little extra time this week to consider what truly occurred in Virginia. White Nationalists, or neo-nazis, or white supremacists organized a march in Charlottesville that was deemed “unlawful” by local government officials before it began. This prompted a harsh response from the often-liberal ACLU, who actually sued the city in a failed attempt to allow the rally’s permit to be reinstated.
Without a permit, this technically unlawful gathering received what many are calling a “weak” police presence, prompting several Charlottesville citizens to decry the ineffective law enforcement presence.
“But if Charlottesville was grieving on Sunday, it was also questioning. Governor McAuliffe fiercely defended the police in an impromptu sidewalk interview, noting that many of the demonstrators were armed, and saying the officers had done ‘great work” in a ‘very delicate situation.’ And he said Ms. Heyer’s death, which he called ‘car terrorism,’ could not have been prevented.
“’You can’t stop some crazy guy who came here from Ohio and used his car as a weapon,’ Governor McAuliffe said. ‘He is a terrorist.’
“But others, including Mr. Kessler and Ms. Caine-Conley, openly wondered if the violence could have been prevented.
“’There was no police presence,’ Ms. Caine-Conley said. ‘We were watching people punch each other; people were bleeding all the while police were inside of barricades at the park, watching. It was essentially just brawling on the street and community members trying to protect each other.’”
“Many cities, among them St. Louis and New Orleans, have wrestled with what to do about Confederate monuments. Like them, Charlottesville — the home of the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 — has been navigating tricky terrain. As Mayor Mike Signer asked in an interview Sunday, ‘How do you reconcile public safety and the First Amendment?’”
This is no doubt the first of many bits of blame that will be shared throughout the coming days.
In this furious storm of castigation, we are all being inundated with caches of vitriolic social media content. We must remember that these divisive memes and posts are doing nothing for those grieving the violence and death that occurred in Charlottesville, rather, they are continuing to push our society to the brink of Civil War.