Bizzaro World Rant

(This entry ended up being way, way, way too long… heh… so I’m gonna skip most of the italics, bold, and emojis. You can probably figure out where I’d have normally stuck a smirk, shocked, or scowling yellow little face.)

Okay, so what’s been going on the past three weeks or so?

Some of us did end up meeting up at Rising Park for Jim’s birthday. In his tradition of always doing stuff for his friends for his own birthday, he brought pizza and subs from Pizza Crossing and we were able to hang out in the main shelter house for about an hour before him and Brad had to leave to go up and see their Dad. Oh, and he even gave me a couple Switch games to get me started. I got him a Nintendo eShop gift card, that way we could both buy Mario Kart 8 and eventually play online. Flashing back to the era when we were roommates and played Battle Kart on the Nintendo 64 almost every day.

I’m surprised that in the middle of the day, one day before the 4th, nobody even came up and even acted like they were hoping to have the shelter house for their gathering or event or whatever. The mood in the town, approaching the holiday, was rather “meh” though since the planned fireworks display was trimmed down to three minutes’ worth, shot only from Mt Pleasant, to avoid motivating people to gather.

Speaking of COVID, while our county still has relatively low case numbers, apparently the rate of transmission made a big enough spike to where we were labeled a “red” county and therefore masks are mandated by the governor / health department when in public and unable to socially distance. In response to that you’ve got folks who started wearing them or who were already wearing them, you’ve got the ones who quietly refuse to wear one, and then of course you have an oddly angry, vocal group who refuse to wear one for any number of reasons. The virus is a hoax, the virus dies when it’s 70 degrees, the virus was released by the government (of the world?) to kill and / or control its citizens, and then the more common “The government won’t tell ME what to do!” and “I’m an American! I have rights!” crowd.

And what’s weird is that people are really choosing that hill to die on, when it comes to relationships with friends and family. Now, I’ve worn a mask when around people in public both because I’d like to lessen my chance of catching it, but also because if I happened to be an asymptomatic carrier – I obviously wanna reduce the chance that I’d unintentionally spread it to anyone else that may not be able to fight it off. I just think it is the considerate thing to do, and something that could greatly reduce the spread if most people would do the same. But without even interacting with my cousin about any of it, I know from his countless posts on Facebook that he thinks I’m a sheep. So, okay…

His mom is old, my dad is old, plenty of people in our family aren’t in tip top shape when it comes to health concerns… but okay, my wanting to reduce the chance that they (and anyone else) be exposed to a virus that can still make someone extremely sick, even if they don’t die, is viewed by him as being weak or just following orders. Almost all the posts he has made in the past several months have been various conspiracy theories or “proud American” type puffery, so there’s no sense in trying to convince him otherwise. It’s just weird that just because you don’t want to wear a mask that you’d alienate your friends and family that do. But looking at his posts as a whole, it seems like the world is an even scarier place for him, where the hospitals, media, and government are all out to get you, despite him having a particular fondness for Donald Trump. Meh… I don’t get it, but he’s made his opinion clear.

His sister seems to share a similar belief, although my only exposure to her is on Twitter. She replied to one of my tweets where I mocked Trump for being proud that covid deaths had become “slow and steady” and was told, among other things, that I should look into Agenda 21, that the hospitals are lying about covid, that it’s the same as the flu, and that I can’t live in fear. It’s weird how the ones who believe all that stuff seem to be the ones who make the most noise and seem the most fearful. I pointed out that I also wear a seatbelt because I “fear” being ejected in a car wreck, that I wash my hands after using public bathrooms because I “fear” most people are dirty asses and I don’t want their germs on my hands, and that I even get a flu shot each year because I “fear” getting sick and spending a week moving only between the bed and the toilet. Putting on my mask when I get out of the car has become almost as subconscious as latching my seatbelt or washing my hands. It’s such a “non-thing” to me now, and it’s what I choose to do. Their “side” almost seems like it doesn’t even have a choice, because even if they wanted to wear a mask, that would make them a sheep, or controlled, or whatever sinister thing the wearing of a mask is supposed to represent.

One of my mom friends said it’s basically the same thing she has to deal with when she feeds her young kids. They’re required to eat what’s on their plate, but if there is something the kids don’t like they’ll play with their food and whine and complain, even though she makes it clear to them that the longer they object and stall, the longer it will take before they’ll be allowed to leave the table and get back to whatever they were wanting to do. And it makes sense… anti-mask people want life to be “normal” but the more of them that refuse to wear masks, the longer it will take to get back  to anything resembling normal. And it’s actually win-win for them, because if they wear it and the virus drops to manageable levels, they’ll get their “normal” back. But alternatively, if they all wore masks for several weeks and there was no noticeable decline in the virus, then they could wave that fact in everyone’s faces to show that they were right.

We’re into Bizzaro World territory these days though. For example, the BLM protest in Portland has been going on for over fifty days straight now, with protesting during the day and rioting at night… but all of the people in power there have decided that they’re just going to allow violence and destruction to happen, not wanting the criminals to face any type of law enforcement opposition. There has been a ridiculous amount of property damage, law enforcement attacked even when they weren’t engaging anyone, any security fences are torn down and piled against the court house, fires are set in the street, cars have been burned, attempts to burn police buildings as well… but the mayor won’t do anything. In fact, when federal officers came to the city to at least protect the federal properties – when those officers started identifying and rounding up people who were assaulting officers or damaging federal buildings, the mayor and governor had an absolute shit fit. They won’t curb the lawlessness themselves, and now that someone else is trying to do so, they’re actually suing to make the feds stop enforcing laws. And that plays into Trump’s hands, since he can legitimately say he sent help to the “normal” people of Portland and they were told to leave.

It’s no wonder that there are a record amount of people who are registered as independent or non-partisan voters these days. When the official Democrat position (at least in Oregon) is to look the other way when riots happen and cities fall into violent chaos each night… and that the “bad guys” in this situation are the one law enforcement entity that’s trying to restore order… I mean, how can anyone really get behind that idea? People look at it in a detached way, rather than thinking how they would feel if the same protests were happening in their own neighborhoods, and it was their house that was getting spray painted, windows smashed, and sometimes set on fire. I’d bet money that folks would want law enforcement to do something about it then. Heh… it’s irritating that those particular Dems have gone so far off the rails that I’ve no other choice than to side with Donald Trump. Bleh…

There’s no honesty in discussions anymore, either. A day or two ago the protesters got together and were all singing a song, in a video that was suited for propaganda. Now, it’s great that there were so many gathering peacefully, but of course all of the anti-police people post that video to Twitter with some sort of variant on “THESE are the ‘violent anarchists’ that the police have been brutalizing for the past six weeks. Scary, huh?” Meanwhile, all of these disingenuous fucks know that the police aren’t hassling the peaceful folks… and they know that there is a criminal element that’s causing widespread destruction and violence… but rather than acknowledge any of that, they’ll say whatever they have to say to make their side seem like the “moral right.” As with conspiracy theory anti-maskers, there’s no talking to those people either. If they’re willing to lie and craft a false narrative from one of the few positive videos, they’re certainly not gonna admit that there’s a lawless element in their cause.

Democrats are almost certainly making their decisions based on what they think will benefit them most at the polls, rather than what’s best for the city or just the rule of law in general, but I don’t think they realize how much of a minority it is that they’re bowing to. Minority in numbers, I mean. They’re extremely loud, and they obviously get a lot of attention as they attempt to destroy the federal court house, but do you think the average person agrees that endless violence and destruction each night should just be tolerated or even encouraged? I doubt it. And do they think that allowing the protesters to destroy things will earn them any favor from that same crowd? They’ve been protesting against police violence for almost two months, protesting the city and mayor that have made it clear that they aren’t going to “sic” the police on them for anything that they do. It seems like that would remove a big reason for the protest being as extreme as it has been… but no, it doesn’t matter that the police aren’t being violent to them, they’re still there, protesting about how bad the police are. What’s the winning “play” for the mayor when they don’t even care that they have gotten the very thing that they are protesting for.

Meh… I guess if they wanna let their city burn, so be it. Everywhere that this sort of thing has been happening, and where the city leaders take the side of the violent protesters, property is being destroyed, new businesses won’t go there, current businesses are leaving, and even the citizens are packing up and moving the fuck away from the craziness. If your local government won’t do anything to ensure the safety of its citizens, they shouldn’t be surprised when folks scatter and the tax base is lost. Things turned somewhat violent in Columbus at times, but once the protesters got that attention and talked with leaders about what they wanted… I dunno, there was a bit of civility in the violence. It didn’t just go on and on, with neither side talking to the other, with no sign of any goals to all of it. But even that was sorta scary, with downtown being a no-go zone for a few weeks – unless you were sorta lookin’ for trouble.

But there’s a certain element of humans that, if given free reign to be loud and “fuck stuff up” then that’s exactly what they’ll do. Look at the makeup of that crowd. Young, entitled, angry, apparently no jobs that they need to go to… they’re just not representative of your average citizen, yet people in power act as if they’re speaking for the entire population. I’m certainly not a fan of the idea of a second term for Donald Trump, so I worry that whatever these Democrats are trying to do is going to backfire on the entire party in November. Because just as they think the protesters represent all people, people are going to assume those few “leave the criminals alone” Democrats represent the views of the party as a whole.

At least when you go out into town here, other than a few grumbling anti-mask folks, it still feels like people are normal. The shows that we’re seeing in Portland and Chicago and Seattle, the way that the politicians and protesters are acting… it’s not typical of what actually goes on in daily life in southeastern Ohio, thankfully. The only thing even close to all that craziness is when our mayor decided to go on record with the paper, saying that a mask mandate is counterproductive. Masks. Counterproductive to reducing the virus in the area. This is a small town, so I don’t think people really give a shit what our dinky mayor says, and besides – people have already decided how they feel about all that. So, yeah, I’m glad that’s the biggest social controversy of our little city, at least for the moment.

What Are You So Mad About?

I haven’t posted a blog entry since all of the chaos started in the country. I didn’t (and honestly still don’t) have the words to truly express all of the things that it has made me feel. I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter though, basically in astonishment at how many people are willfully ignorant, blatantly lying, or a combination of both… and from all sides of the issue. Emotions and tensions are higher than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, so I understand that people will initially be speaking mostly with their anger. But anger can’t be an indefinite excuse for spreading false information, false narratives, and generally trying to make things worse rather than better.

My frustration comes from most people digging their feet in when it comes to their own personal take, and they won’t even listen to anything that doesn’t fit their narrative, let alone acknowledge and learn from any of it. It would be one thing if it was just random Twitter assholes, but I’m also talking about politicians and people in power who are acting the same way. Tom Cotton says “The riots have nothing to do with the death of George Floyd.” It doesn’t seem like the best idea to dismiss the pain and rage of those rioters who have obviously gone too far, but who are still upset with police abuse.

It’s amazing to see how many people who don’t want to be generalized or lumped together into one group, how they feel totally justified in doing that to people who aren’t on their side. “All cops are corrupt, murderous assholes!” “All protesters are violent, thieving arsonists!” Many people can’t or won’t admit that there are differences between peaceful protesters, the rowdy-but-non-criminal activists, the looters, the vandals, the people causing physical harm. It’s just easier for people to label them all as rioters so they can dismiss them as not worthy of being heard.

And then of course there’s a huge amount of people on the opposite side who can’t or won’t acknowledge that there are many different types of cops within law enforcement, including naive / optimistic officers seeking change, cops that just see it as a 9 to 5 job, officers who are on a power trip, ones who absolutely abuse their power, and then ones that can calmly kill detained suspects. And I’d think the one thing that both “sides” could agree on, is that we’re seeing far too many examples of the worst at both ends of the spectrum – and all it does is damage the message that they want to be heard. Yeah, everyone is mad, but if you take it too far then people are just gonna roll their eyes.

The second most widely spread bullshit take when it comes to this stuff, is that “If you aren’t breaking the law then you don’t have anything to worry about.” First of all, this is demonstrably untrue… and even if someone is breaking a law, are we as a society ready for law enforcement to commit physical violence in realtime for those offenses? What would those people think is a “fair punishment” for crimes such as stepping off of a sidewalk, being out 15 minutes past curfew, walking near people who are causing a disturbance, flipping off or cussing out a cop? Do we really want law enforcement to be able to kick, punch, drag, or choke people for those things? How about tear gas, rubber bullets, flash bang grenades, pepper spray projectiles? All of that is fine? If you’re only gonna watch one video on this page, make it this one – and put yourself or one of your children in the place of any of the folks who are taking the abuse…

And on Twitter, some chuckle fuck would immediately reply with “Well it wouldn’t be me or my kids in their shoes because we wouldn’t be participating in that!” And to that, I say… participating in what? Exercising your first amendment rights because you’re angry that police keep killing people without consequence? How about the people that are simply walking near someone who’s causing trouble? You could never be one of those people either? Those folks need to spare us all from their bullshit “it could never be me” crap.

One of the worst things that I’ve seen was in Austin TX. A college kid was shot in the back of the head with a “non lethal” projectile while cracked his skull and caused brain damage. The cops wouldn’t help him “in the street” and told people to take him to the police station. And when those people carried that critically injured man to the police department, they were immediately shot multiple times with pepper spray balls. And yeah, I’m being more hard on the police in this blog entry… because we should be able to expect more from the police. The people who vandalize, loot, start fires, etc… of course they should be arrested, charged, and prosecuted. But when cops act like criminals, that’s when “all” starts to get lost.

President Obama gave a wonderful speech yesterday, and among the things he said – he sent out a message to the mayors of every city across our nation, challenging them to review their “use of force” policies when it comes to the police departments and other law enforcement that they’re in control of. But then Donald Trump almost immediately issued a statement on Twitter, distancing himself from the idea of law enforcement reform – and instead saying the only thing he has in common with Obama is that they both fired the same army general. (Because Trump was being salty about being called out by that general, and that’s more important than the safety of every citizen in the country.)

At least national sentiment does seem to be finally turning against Donald Trump. He has never acknowledged the reason that people are protesting, and instead keeps doubling down with increased law enforcement presence, calling in military troops and vehicles, and threatening to send them to every state in order to “dominate” with force. Talk about lack of self-awareness. Hundreds of thousands of people are protesting against abusive law enforcement, and Trump’s response is essentially… “You wanna see abusive law enforcement?” I mean, his troops were using violence and pepper spray to clear the streets of humans as Donald Trump was giving a speech just yards away, claiming to be this amazing ally to peaceful protesters.

He knows that everyone knows he’s full of shit. He also knows that while plenty of people will call him out and be rightfully upset by his actions, he knows that there’s a massive number of people who simply won’t care that he’s a violent, self-serving liar, threatening the country with his military dominance. (I’d swear that a lot of people want to be him in that instance.) The same vibe that the abusive cops give… DO AS I SAY OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES, NO MATTER WHAT YOU’VE ACTUALLY DONE OR NOT DONE IN REGARDS TO THE LAW.

Okay, I better start wrapping it up, because I could obviously go on and on and on about it. But my take on this doesn’t feel like it should be controversial or objectionable, but boy is it to a lot of folks. George Floyd was murdered by those cops, and they should be charged and prosecuted accordingly. I absolutely support the protests. Everyone should be outraged, not just POC or people who are more likely to experience police brutality. I’m not even upset when those protesters break curfew, block roads, or protest in “scary voices” right in the face of law enforcement. If cops react to those actions with violence instead of simply arresting folks, then it just makes it that much easier to see which ones are the bad ones, and which ones will stand by and do nothing as the bad ones inflict pain and suffering on US citizens.

Yeah, I’m fucking heated about this stuff… and for the same reason as a million other people. The folks in power know what the protests are about, but they’d rather dismiss everyone as vandals, trouble makers, criminals – so that way they don’t have to acknowledge the problem of law enforcement abusing their power. The way the cops seem to be increasing their abuse, it appears that they’re scared of losing that power. Same thing with the political leaders. If law enforcement no longer has its knee on the neck of society, that makes the sketchy people in power really fucking nervous.

Politicians, police unions, etc have been praising many police departments for the way they’ve “shown amazing restraint” during all of this. And yeah, in a lot of instances that’s probably true. Shooting people “only” with rubber bullets, knee knockers, pepper balls, tear gas canisters… instead of live ammunition. But I hope the people offering that praise to the cops… I hope they realize that the people on the other side have been showing remarkable restraint as well. How many days in a row will our society watch innocent people getting the shit kicked out of them by out of control law enforcement officers? How long will they be okay with Donald Trump unilaterally deploying the United States fucking military into the streets to control us all? Yeah, there’s a lot of restraint all around, but I wouldn’t count on that lasting a whole lot longer…

Willfully Ignorant / Indignant

The overwhelming amount of ignorance surrounding the shooting at Stoneman Douglas and the resulting activism… it’s simply staggering. 😑 It falls anywhere on the spectrum from people just not realizing that they’ve been misled, to people who are straight up morons. And most of them are really angry as well… like, so angry that even when people are expressing sentiments that are supportive of the students and their security, they’ll still attack those people if the thoughts don’t exactly parrot what they or the students are saying. 😠 Free thinking has already become a much lacking trait in society, and boy does this movement demonstrate that over and over again.

I’m sure that I’m like a lot of people who generally support the things the students have been asking for, but who is also growing tired of being attacked by the people that we’re trying to support… so much so that their activism now feels more like a bunch of kids complaining and making noise, but not actually seeking solutions to the problems at the center of it all.

The point where the kids started to lose me was when a slew of new security measures were put in place at their school, to provide additional protections while the students continued to strive for bigger changes via gun control laws. Limited access points to the school buildings, student IDs, increased security personnel, new backpack/bag rules, etc. 👮🏻‍♂️ Not only did the students not appreciate these changes, but they actively rebelled against them – and are still doing so to this day. Most of the complaints revolve around the bag rules, which prohibit anyone from coming into the building with bags or backpacks that weren’t issued by the school. And because they are clear backpacks, the kids and their supporters have lost their damn minds. 😭

A woman on Twitter, when I said that I supported the clear backpack rule and noted that Nikolas Cruz used a duffel bag to bring his rifle into the school, just replied to me: “Umm… then maybe ban bringing DUFFEL bags into the school??? An AR15 will NOT fit in a backpack. Good grief!” This is an example of that angry stupidity. 🙄🤦🏻‍♂️ The school is now banning people from carrying in bags other than the school-provided ones… something that could have prevented Cruz from even making it past the gate if the rule was in place back then. 🤷🏻‍♂️ But this woman was mad that I pointed it out, then called for duffel bags to be banned (which they are), and followed it up with a “Good grief” as if my logic was exhausting her.

But yeah, the kids are mocking the backpacks, saying that the increased law enforcement presence makes them scared, equating having to carry student IDs to being in prison, complaining that additional fences and barriers only give the appearance of security, saying their 4th amendment rights are being violated and people will be able to see their tampons in their bags now, and bitching because they have to show up to school a little earlier to get through security. 👶🏻 All the while complaining that none of those changes do anything to protect them, with several of them going so far as to say that all of these new measures should be removed – leaving their school in exactly the same state as when they were originally attacked. 🙇🏻‍♂️

None of those changes, in their minds, provide any additional security. Instead, their minds are laser focused on banning “assault rifles” as the change that is needed. In interview after interview, you can see that these kids don’t even know what guns the term “assault” rifle should include, with some of them not even knowing the difference between a semi-automatic and automatic gun. I’m not faulting them for this, since they’re just kids, but these are also the people that we should be listening to for answers, according to their movement. The kids who reject any and all security measures as being a “false sense of security” while also believing that banning some semi-automatic rifles will make them completely safe.

In trying to have discussions with the humans on Twitter, I’ve learned that if you want to “be a supporter” of these kids and their goal of more safety, you can’t say any of the following: 🙊

  • You can’t suggest that they try to understand that the new security measures are “better than nothing” while they continue to fight for gun control. They don’t accept the increased school security, so neither can people who claim to support them.
  • You can’t point out that the clear backpack rule, if in place when the shooting happened, could/would have prevented the shooting from happening since Cruz and his bags wouldn’t have been allowed through security. You’ll be told that an AR-15 can’t fit into a duffel bag. (It can.) You’ll be told that he’d have found a way in anyway. (So all security measures should be just thrown out as being worthless?)
  • You can’t tell them that mocking the new security measures may be off-putting to people who want to support them. You’ll be told that they don’t want or need your support then. They’ll say that they didn’t ask for the new security. They’ll say that nobody has a right to say anything to the students about their opinions. (YOU WEREN’T THERE! THEY WERE!)
  • Their goal, when it comes to gun control, is to ban assault rifles. But you can’t question anything about that goal. I support some of what they’re trying to achieve, but I don’t believe that banning one particular type of gun will make them that much safer than they are now. But to support them, you have to support their goal of banning a small subset of guns, because they believe they’ll be safer.
  • And even when you are suggesting things that could help them achieve their goals, you’ll usually be told that your input isn’t needed… not by the kids, but by other supporters. “I don’t remember her asking you for your opinion!” “He seems to be doing just fine without your help!” “Your generation didn’t help when it had the chance, and we don’t need it now!” And they wonder why they’re getting less support, less media coverage, and a more apathetic response from the public in general.

One more thing to mention… they love using the age of the student activists to manipulate the whole situation. When people are dismissive of what the students are saying because of their age, hordes of people will come forth and comment how they are almost adults, almost able to vote, almost able to join the army, and are more mature than most “grown-ups” are these days. But if you disagree with something the students have said, or just appear to disagree, you’ll be blasted with post after post of people being “shocked” and “horrified” that adults would bully these children, that you can’t expect them to not act like kids sometimes because that’s what they are, and that people should be ashamed for how they are treating someone’s child. Yeah, it doesn’t matter if they’ve thrust themselves onto the public stage, and it doesn’t matter how foul-mouthed and insulting they can be… people attempt to portray them as untouchable. ♿ Like a kid in a wheelchair who verbally bullies his classmates, because “Nobody will hit a kid in a wheelchair.”

I even had people get mad at me the other day because I commented about the school newspaper putting out a memorial issue, featuring the names and stories of the 17 people that died that day. I said that it was great to finally have a resource like that with all of the information in one place, because despite the activist students being on TV almost non-stop for a while, I rarely heard them mention the names of the people who were killed or get to talk about them. Part of that is because there is a limited amount of time in a TV segment, so it logistically just couldn’t fit most of the time… but yeah, I was praising the students who produced the memorial issue. One fella just wouldn’t let it go. He was legitimately mad, despite me praising the newspaper and being happy that I could learn more about the people who were killed. 🤷🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️ I imagine it was because he doesn’t like when something potentially makes “the people that he supports” look uncaring or whatever. So despite talking about something that 99.9% would agree with – being happy to learn more about the fallen… he just kept replying and replying, pointing out that the kids said the names of the dead at the march in DC. Yeah. They did. That’s fine. I’m glad they did. But as I pointed out to him – I didn’t say they never mentioned the people that died, I just said it was rare enough that weeks later I still didn’t know much about them. I’m surprised he didn’t start sharing YouTube clips where their names were said, or demand that I share clips where they didn’t. People are just fucking nuts, man…

I’ve never seen a group of people that actively tries to eat their own as much as this bunch of humans. 🧟🧟️ Half of the people barely know what they are talking about, and half of them don’t even care if they are wrong as long as they are being loud and people are hearing them. 🤬 The whole goal of student safety / safety for humans in general has been lost in the cult of personality, with movement leaders wasting time on boycotts when someone hurts their feelings – even when not related to gun control or the shooting… and then when security measures are put in place to protect them, they reject it – and in a way that magnifies how immature they really are, while they shout at the world that “WE TOLD YOU TO LISTEN TO US!” etc. I know they’ve had all kinds of behind-the-scenes help when it comes to PR, finances, and organizing things, but someone is dropping the ball right now – and something that could have produced real, positive changes has a chance of being forgotten like every other tragedy. 😔

Because We Have To

I like to think of myself as a thoughtful, logical, reasonable person. And because of that, all of the noise surrounding the events in Charlottesville over the past several days really has my brain spinning. So many people are saying “what they’re supposed to say” or what they believe that others think they should say. And hardly anyone allows themselves to see the hypocrisy that’s permeating the news coverage and social media.

We all start out on the same page. The first amendment. The right to assemble. The right to free speech. And when that idea suits someone’s agenda, they’re certainly all for it. But the gathering of white nationalists and other racist white groups in Emancipation Park… because it’s widely accepted (and in my opinion, correct) that being white and racist against African Americans and jews is a very bad thing, that group that wanted to exercise their right to speech and assembly didn’t stand a chance.

They knew that their gathering would be triggering to many people, and perhaps they even wanted to disrupt the calm on purpose… and they came in helmets, carrying sticks, shields, pepper spray, etc. And as you would expect, there was a large group of protesters of the event on the other side, and many of them even came with things that could be used as weapons. It was a powder keg, and things played out in the way that you’d expect such a passionate gathering of opposing forces would do.

What’s bothering me is that nearly all the news outlets, as well as the views on social media, seem to be relieving the protesters of the event of any responsibility or blame for the way things went down. That’s difficult for me because we’ve all seen the videos… people from the white nationalist group attacking protesters, protesters attacking the white nationalists. This was something that most definitely went both ways, despite news personalities like Joy Reid saying “there certainly was not” violence coming from the protesters.

Because their views are understandably unpopular, the people who organized and attended the event are the ones that are getting all the blame. Photos and videos of them getting attacked are celebrated. People are doing everything they can to identify them, post their personal information online, and even get them fired from their jobs or expelled from their schools. Statues of Confederate “heroes” are being torn down, spit on, kicked, etc… and again, all of it to the cheers of the humans.

If you are a guest on a news program, even if you lead with condemning the racist views and actions, if you dare to point out that protesters also participated in the violence as well you will be shamed or shouted down. If you assert anyone’s right to assemble and speak, you’re going to be labeled a Nazi sympathizer or worse. If people really looked at this, it should scare them… mob mentality, justifying violence if someone’s views are different than yours, cheering vandalism, turning a blind eye to illegal actions if they are done by someone who is confronting a politically incorrect symbol, idea, or view.

I have friends who also share this view. The white nationalists, just like anyone, had a right to assemble and assert their right to free speech. They should have known that it had the potential of blowing up, which it did, but that shouldn’t preclude them from doing it. For those that went there and got into fights, on either side, it’s obviously wrong. You don’t have to like what someone is saying, but that shouldn’t give you permission to physically attack them (again, on either side) and it certainly shouldn’t result in the cheers and praise of the mob.

Nobody seems to be doing the “if the shoe was on the other foot” thing. If an extremist black group were to gather and speak, would the media be as quick to essentially praise anyone that attacked them, simply because such incendiary speech “shouldn’t be tolerated” or whatever? Would that group be treated with the “they should have known better” mindset like the people who gathered in VA? And would people (in general) tolerate taking photos of all of the black people, blasting their information all over social media, and doing everything that can be done to destroy their lives? I really don’t think so.

I’ll be honest… of those that gathered, I don’t have any idea what they were speaking about. I’m pretty sure it was awful, difficult to listen to, and probably meant to get people fired up like it did – and yeah, everything that happened because of the event is horrible – so I don’t know what can be done to prevent such things from happening. The idea of “hate speech” vs “free speech” is obviously a tricky one… but if you take away the political correctness, if you take away the passionate views, it comes down to one group interacting with another group, with each side having a portion of violent actors within it, and anyone that participated in physical violence is just as bad as the next one, regardless of their reason for doing it.