Charlottesville Revisited

The shame, mayhem, injuries, and death in Charlottesville belong squarely in the laps of Governor Terry McAuliffe, Mayor Michael Signer, and Police Chief Al S. Thomas Jr.. They, collectively, are guilty of dereliction of duty. They did not protect the citizens of Charlottesville. Those three knew weeks in advance trouble was coming to Charlottesville. They had more than enough time to plan; they didn’t. Charlottesville had even granted the White Nationalist Rally a march permit which had been advertised nationally for months ahead of march day.

Even an idiot would know that the KKK, White Nationalists, Neo-Nazis, Black Lives Matter, AntiFa, and more in the same town at the same time spell big trouble. Even an idiot would know agreed-to arrangements and a march route would be resisted. Even an idiot knows potentially violent opposing groups must be kept apart. They were not. Riot, injury, and death resulted. The Governor, Mayor, and Police Chief are to blame. They had the power to prevent what happened and chose not to.

Let’s be clear: the KKK, White Nationalists, and Neo-Nazis are despicable racists. They have no place in society but under the Constitution do have the right to peacefully demonstrate and speak. On the other side we have Black Lives Matter and the AntiFa, now a designated domestic terrorist group. They have the same rights. Both groups came to fight with clubs, sprays, and fists. Parts of one group were dressed in the garb of the Ku Klux Klan. Parts of the other were dressed in the black hoods, shirts, and pants like those that trashed the Berkeley campus, keep conservative speakers from various events, turn over cars, and burn buildings. All of these folks are despicable and have no place as true Americans.

Charlottesville is near the same population size as Kokomo. Years ago, Kokomo had a KKK march around the courthouse square. No one wanted the KKK to come to town, but respected their right to peacefully march and speak. What Kokomo did was what Charlottesville should have done and did not. Kokomo police and the Indiana State Police kept the KKK marchers and those who opposed the KKK blocks apart. Local ministers well ahead of time spread the message for people to stay home. Many did. The march went off without incident and the KKK left town. The wanted trouble but were denied that by the good citizens of Kokomo and professional policing. Kokomo won. The police did their job in keeping the peace and order in our community. The opposite happen in Charlottesville.

President Donald Trump said and did all the right things. Both sides and those in government in Virginia are to blame for what happened there. Both sides were brewing for a fight that never should have been allowed to happen…..and a young woman died with many others seriously injured. Trump condemned what happened in no uncertain terms as facts unfolded. He was right, too, in saying there were some honest, peaceful people in Charlottesville who wanted historically markers to remain and others who were deeply offended by those markers being present. Both had the right to peacefully protest and speak out. No one had the right to violence. For damned sure, President Trump is not to blame.

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About Kent Blacklidge Ph.D.

As part of a newspaper family who owned a 34,000 daily newspaper in the heart of the Midwest, I have a passion for a strong “Fourth Estate”, the press. Without a diligent and assertive free press, the power would be taken from the people. People have the absolute right to know. After earning a degree in Industrial Management from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue, I spent over 20 years in newspaper management with several as publisher. I am also holder of three graduate science degrees including a Ph.D.. I have a passionate interest in science and the environment. I have little tolerance for ignorance and stupidity.
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