Charlottesville and 'Right-Wing' Domestic Terrorism
Is it only the "alt-right" that's to blame for violence, or are other groups even more guilty?
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or outside the realm of the 24/7 news cycle, the events in Charlottesville last weekend are old news, and the names of the three who died as a result of the melee are fading from our collective memory. (Heather Heyer, 32, was the victim of the accused hit-and-run driver, but also perishing in a related helicopter crash were Virginia State Police Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, and Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48.) Since then, the story has shifted into a maximum push to make sure people associate all the violence with “alt-right” groups (and, by extension, President Donald Trump) and to redouble efforts to wipe out all traces of Confederate history from the public square.
In the wake of Charlottesville, for example, the city of Baltimore took down four Confederate-associated statues under cover of darkness, a move Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh made out of “concern for the safety and security of our people.” (Pugh was elected in 2016, succeeding former mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who presided over the 2015 race riots and infamously gave the rioters “space to destroy” — before trying to salvage her reputation by going after the police.)
This tainted history even extended to non-combatants: Just down the road in Annapolis, Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan — a Republican — called for the removal of the statue of Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney from the grounds of the State House. “While we cannot hide from our history, nor should we,” said Hogan, “the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history.” History buffs will recall Taney as the author of the infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857. Just two years ago, however, Hogan termed calls to remove Taney’s statue “political correctness run amok.” Whether his change of heart came from the events in Charlottesville or from the prospect of a tough re-election campaign next year in a heavily Democrat state is for others to judge.
Regardless of the number of monuments, statues and other reminders of our divided past that are removed or destroyed, there will still be a group on the Left who won’t be satisfied. That cast of characters was well-represented in Charlottesville, but little media attention came their way because of what will likely be Pulitzer Prize-nominated photos of that car plowing into a mass of pedestrians who appeared to be innocent bystanders. In addition, the perpetrator’s backstory was the perfect frame for the media’s image of a violent white supremacist movement that they claim was reborn thanks to hatred of Barack Obama and is now blossoming under Donald Trump.
Trump was savaged by the media for blaming “all sides” in the wake of the Charlottesville violence, but eyewitnesses made clear that the leftists were anything but peaceful protesters. “Trump is right,” said BBC reporter Joel Gunter. “There was violence on both sides. I saw counter-protesters throw bottles, rocks and paint and clash with the white supremacists. Both sides sprayed pepper spray.”
Yet it seems to be the official press and government line that left-wing violence doesn’t exist. Consider a recent Government Accounting Office study, cited by CBS News to smear conservatives, that purports to cover “domestic terrorism” but only tallies “right-wing” incidents — defined as, among other things, being “Reverent of individual liberty (especially right to own guns; be free of taxes)” — and Islamic terrorism. Amazingly, the study contends, “During this period, no persons in the United States were killed in attacks carried out by persons believed to be motivated by extremist environmental beliefs, extremist ‘animal liberation’ beliefs, or extremist far left beliefs.”
The families of slain policemen would argue otherwise. Black Lives Matter, an “alt-left” hate group of black supremacists that participated in the Charlottesville strife, is cited as a major influence in the wave of ambush police killings around the nation — including last year’s assassination of five cops in Dallas. National Review’s David French cited other murders of police officers as more evidence that the alt-left is at least as dangerous as the alt-right.
Maybe we’re going out on a limb, but it doesn’t seem like the removal of all these Confederate monuments is going to fix these pathologies.
It’s indeed a sad commentary on the state of our nation when a group of disaffected Americans feels that violence is the only solution. Each side will blame the other, of course, but most of us would prefer that they simply leave our history alone — lest we become doomed to repeat it more than a century-and-a-half later.