Long-time readers of this blog know that Charlottesville is the Big City for us — the closest town of any meaningful size to Schloss Bodissey. Today’s events in the city preoccupied me all afternoon, which is why I haven’t been posting. The places shown in the videos and the photos are so familiar. In fact, Lee Park — now renamed “Emancipation Park” — is where I learned about “Visualizing Industrial Collapse” back in September 2005.
“Unite the Right” met up with Antifa and Black Lives Matter today on those same streets. The Nazis were out in full regalia, and so were the Communists — in addition to the Antifa flags in the photos, you can see a red flag with a golden hammer and sickle, left over from the glory days of the Soviet Union.
As the time for the rally in Lee Park approached, there was violence between the demonstrators and the counter-demonstrators on the nearby streets. There’s no way to tell based on the videos and photos, but I’d be willing to bet that the first blows came from Antifa, because that’s usually what happens. In any case, the police failed to keep the two groups apart, and the city decided to revoke the permit from the alt-right organizers, due to the threat of more violence. The Communists and the BLM didn’t need no stinkin’ permit, so they kept up with their marching and chanting. And some of the alt-rights hung around to fight with them.
Early this afternoon a man from Ohio named James Fields drove a car at high speed down 4th Street across the Downtown Mall and into a crowd of counter-protesters, ramming into the rear end of another car just before the intersection with Water Street. He then reversed back up 4th, turned into Market Street, and drove away, but was stopped by police and arrested.
One woman was killed and nineteen people were wounded during Mr. Fields’ vehicular rampage. He has been charged with 2nd degree murder, malicious wounding, leaving the scene, and several other crimes. He’s being held without bail in the Charlottesville jail until his arraignment in court on Monday.
All through the afternoon there was a lot of smoke and fumes from the fever swamps about today’s events, with at least one false ID of the perp and a frenzy of speculation. The smoke has cleared a bit now, given that the man who was arrested has been officially ID’d.
But there’s still a lot we don’t know. James Alex Fields Jr. could be Charlottesville’s Breivik. Or he could be something else entirely. It’s too early to tell.
To be continued…