Saturday, August 12, 2017

Racists and cars

The news from Charlottesville that a racist had plowed his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters reminded me of how far we have not come.

Witnesses said a crowd of counterdemonstrators, jubilant because the white nationalists had left, was moving up Fourth Street, near the mall, when a gray sports car came down the road and accelerated, mowing down several people and hurling at least two in the air.
Not quite 50 years ago, Tricia and I drove out to the hospital in Raleigh, N.C., to get syphilis tests in order to get a marriage license. We were to be married in10 days.

It was the day after Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in Tennessee. Driving back through downtown, in a light rain, we encountered a march coming up the 4-lane road the other way, preceded by a couple of motorcycle cops and trailed by a squad car. The silent crowd, maybe a thousand or so, was, as far as I could see, all black, probably students from St. Augustine and Shaw universities, the two black colleges in town. On the front rank, the marchers carried a banner on a horizontal pole. I do not recall what it said.

 I had marched with Shaw and St. Aug students, for integration, before, but I was not aware of a march that day. I wouldn't have joined anyway since I was preoccupied with marriage.

The cars and trucks going my way came to a halt, probably at police direction, though I couldn't see that far ahead. We'd been halted for five minutes or so, and the head of the march had just passed my Saab 96 when a lifted Chevelle with big rear tires came roaring up from behind the marchers, pulled over in front of the crowd, then reversed with tires screeching into the crowd.

The marchers scattered. Unlike in Charlottesville, no one was hit (as far as I could tell) and I did not see how the police reacted. I was distracted.

As the marchers ran in all directions, many came past the line of stopped cars. One, who had a furled umbrella, smashed the windshield of the pickup truck stopped just in front of me. Another leaned in my open window and spat in my face.

As I was wiping my face I saw the two men in the pickup get out of the cab and pull a shotgun from behind the seat. They got back in the truck and the stopped cars began moving away from the commotion.

As soon as I reached a cross street, I pulled over and found a pay phone. I called the police to report two angry men with a shotgun and gave the plate number.

And then we drove home.

The Charlottesville driver wouldn't know that story, but I don't think he was imitating the Muslim assailants who have driven cars and trucks into crowds in France, England and elsewhere. I'd guess he was letting his redneck juices flow naturally.

Today would have been a good day for Whiny Baby Donald to have put some distance between himself and nazis. He didn't. His kind of people.

UPDATE SUNDAY

Saturday I heard part of an interview  with the deputy mayor of Charlottsville in which he noted that despite the presence of Mr. Jefferson's university, the city has had a long history of aniblack racism and violence. It took part in Massive Resistance to the Supreme Court's order to desegregate public  schools, for example.

He did not go back further than that. His remarks reminded me of an incident related to me by the professor in my college senior seminar, who was a graduate student at UVA when its grad school was integrated in, as I recall, 1951. (The first cracks in southern antiblack hatred came in the grad schools of public universities in several states.)

The grandfathers of the same nazis who came to Charlottesville this week came then, too, and tried to burn down the school.

The state police were called out in force and stayed on the campus for quite a while, though I don't believe they were able to identify the arsonists.

Today the New York Times has a story alleging, with entire credibility, that Trump was urged to condemn nazism and refused. The reason, clearly, is that he doesn't see anything wrong with antiblack racism (or antisemitism, either, for that matter). The proof, like the dog that did not bark in the night, is not what WBD said or failed to say but in what he failed to do.

Recall how many times he has offered/threatened to send federal help to Chicago to help deal wth its violence.

No such offer was made to Charlottesville.

18 comments:

  1. If the crowd had been right wing, and the driver left wing, you'd be jumping on the mental illness bandwagon like flies on merde.

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  2. Leave. I quit Good Guys because of your and erp's racism and fascism. I didn't say anything, and I debated whether to ask you to leave RtO. I did not/do not want to disinvite anyone here.

    Whether they contribute or not, whether they endorse my opinions or not.

    But I've had it.

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  3. Well, I just commented on Bret's last post at GG a minute ago. His post was not at all related to this Charlottesville matter, but my answer took it in account.

    Racist crazies always existed and did their things. The Charlottesville driver had, as reported on news, problems of mental illness. I am not the least surprised.

    What calls my attention are the reactions. As exemplified by Skipper and you above, Harry, the 'normal people' out there are also getting a bit ill by all they are watching and being part of.

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  4. I have read the Times and Post profiles of the driver; neither suggested any mental illness. Perhaps some other sources have more information.

    At least, I suppose, the fact that the marchers were carrying Confederate flags, swastikas and Trump badges should end any debate whether Trump himself is a neo-nazi.

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  5. I have just read your comment and Bret's reply (but not Bret's original post). Indeed, societies do suffer mass nervous breakdowns; the dancing manias of the Middle Ages supply examples.

    I think America is in the midst of one now. But unevenly distributed. There is no leftwing correlate for Alex Jones, who has the attention of the president; nor, when Obama was president, was there one then.

    Even the supposedly less off-their-rockers rightwingers are (or say they are) in the grips of delusions, such as that Christians are being discriminated against. (They are, but only by other Christians; I will have more to say about that in a future post.)

    I cannot think of a like delusion on the left; for example the craze for safe zones in classrooms is immature but not delusional.

    I think Gustave Le Bon is relevant here. Interestingly, there was a period when he was regarded by some on the let as a fascist.

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  6. [Harry:] I quit Good Guys because of your and erp's racism and fascism.

    Liar.

    Unless, of course, you can directly quote either of us saying such things. In which case I will profusely apologize.

    Except I know you can't, so I feel quite safe, and justified, in calling you a liar.

    I have read the Times and Post profiles of the driver; neither suggested any mental illness. Perhaps some other sources have more information.

    Suspect in Charlottesville Attack Had Displayed Troubling Behavior

    [Hey Skipper:] If the crowd had been right wing, and the driver left wing, you'd be jumping on the mental illness bandwagon like flies on merde.

    The point of my comment, which should have been clear enough, is that the broad projection of an isolated incident upon a much broader group of people and beliefs serves as a cudgel to first demonize, then ostracize, those with different opinions.

    Recently, James Hodgkinson, a left-wing activist shot a Republican baseball practice. It would have been utterly dishonest to blame by association that shooting upon progressives in general; the guy had been standing for along time right at the edge of sanity, and then took that last step.

    Just so here. You deplore the term alt-right, because the "correct term" is neoNazis. Yet the term is in wide use by the MSM to define a great many people who clearly are no more neoNazi than you are, as a means to demonize by invented association people who really are neoNazis, with not very much neo about them.

    Which makes "I'd guess he was letting his redneck juices flow naturally." particularly odious, and as nearly as good an example of racist think as that emanating from the Nazi wannabes in Charlottesville. (Indeed, I will have to remember this next time you call someone a racist.)

    Distinctions are important. A mentally ill virulent racist is not emblematic of the alt-Right in the contemporary sense of the term, or the southern working class, any more than Hodgkinson was of leftism. And the neoNazis are no more emblematic of conservatives than the Antifa are of progressives.

    I cannot think of a like delusion on the left; for example the craze for safe zones in classrooms is immature but not delusional.

    Black Lives Matter.

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  7. Harry,

    I don't remember where I've seen it, but Skipper's link is incomplete - it does not mention the driver used to take psychiatric medication (one of the reasons, apparently, for him being unable to stay in the Army), or that he assaulted his paraplegic mother multiple times. I guess he was that borderline kind that would slip through the cracks in any place.

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  8. Skipper, you are not welcome here any more. I said leave and I meant leave.

    Clovis, that Times profile has been revised a little since I read it. I still don't see anything about psychiatric medication, which in the US can mean Xanax. Most of the people I interact with every day are on mind-altering medication. (A subject, perhaps, for another day.)

    Fields seems to have been socially awkward but that is not commonly held to justify violence.So far as I have seen, he never was violent before, unless the business about assaulting his mother is accurate.

    His interest in a movement that glorifies violence is the thing. There has to be a first time.

    Skipper's characterization of Hodgkinson as a leftist is typical. I examined the reporting carefully, and suspected left political intent, since he attacked Republicans, But as far as I have read, his political interest was antitax, hardly left in itself.



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  9. I wish to say that I regret 86'ing Skipper.I have known him as long as anyone I know on the Internet, and in the earlier years he was an interesting and decent person. Something strange has happened to him; Christianity by the looks of it.

    If readers here wish to argue that naziism was worse than communism, or vice versa, fine, have at it. But I do not write RtO as a place to excuse nazism.

    My father set out to fight fascism before Pearl Harbor. Once, when my sister said to him that the choice was simple,he said, no it wasn't. Too many Americans in the '30s were confused.

    At the time, we may say, such confusion was not only explicable but almost justifiable. We know a lot more now.

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  10. OK I see a new Post story based on the preliminary hearing that Fields attacked his mother. Threatened to use a knife.

    Nothing about psychiatric problems, though.

    He sounds like an impulsive.

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  11. [Harry:] Skipper, you are not welcome here any more. I said leave and I meant leave.

    Harry, when I made a simple request of you, to stop inventing what I said, but rather quote me directly — the same courtesy I unfailingly extend to you — did you? No.

    When I asked that you stop with your baseless denunciations, did you? No.

    When I asked that source your endless pronunciamentos, did you? No.

    So I am not inclined to acquiesce to your request.

    Of course, you can just delete this. But when I mistakenly thought that was the way to go in the face of your grotesque inventions, Bret thought otherwise. He was right. Far better to leave things out in the open, so everyone knows what is going on.

    [Harry:] I quit Good Guys because of your and erp's racism and fascism.

    Prove it. By all means, quote me or erp directly to demonstrate our racism and fascism. Since you haven't — and I knew you couldn't — that makes you a liar.

    You should be asking yourself to leave.

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  12. OK I see a new Post story based on the preliminary hearing that Fields attacked his mother. Threatened to use a knife.

    Nothing about psychiatric problems, though.

    He sounds like an impulsive.


    That was worth a spit take.

    But as far as I have read, [Hodgkins] political interest was antitax, hardly left in itself.

    Again without any sources. Let me help:

    So anti-tax that he is pictured holding a sign saying "Tax the Rich". He cited the Rachel Maddow show as one of his favorite programs. He was a supporter of Bernie Sanders. An acquaintance who campaigned with Hodgkinson said "He was more on the really progressive side of things.

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  13. I like to think that at my age I am beyond being surprised, but that isn't so. I am surprised.

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  14. Skipper,

    From your own last link:

    "Jennings, meanwhile, was a member of the Chester County Republican Committee, though it is not thought their beliefs were directly responsible for the shooting."

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  15. Harry,

    Well, it is your blog, as Skipper's entries in GG are his, and you guys are completely free to kick each other out if you so wish.

    But I think you both could do better than that. Get back to civil discourse, and try to remember everyone is wrong sometimes.

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  16. Will Rogers said, we are all ignorant, only on different subjects.

    I'd add, on some subjects, you have to work very hard to stay ignorant.

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  17. [Clovis:] But I think you both could do better than that. Get back to civil discourse, and try to remember everyone is wrong sometimes.

    Let's be clear what's going on here:

    [Harry:] I quit Good Guys because of your and erp's racism and fascism.

    I take it everyone can agree that you are completely wrong on this — that there is absolutely no evidence, nothing that I or erp have said or done, that gets anywhere close to that disgusting slur.

    Now, back to the point.

    As a factual matter, the thoroughly loathsome white supremacists were just as much to blame for the violence as antifa. White supremacists came hoping for a fight, and antifa gave it to them.

    Also, as a factual matter, antifa violence is grossly under reported.

    While we are on factual matters, this whole left-right distinction is just a hat rack for lazy journalists. It is a distinction that means nothing, but which lazy journalists (I know, I'm repeating myself again again) use to tar one group of people, conservatives, with the sins of another group, white supremacists, despite having nothing in common.

    Yes, I know, this is where Harry trots out that tired old nag that conservatism is just racism redux.

    That is lazy nonsense. No group, other than blacks, gets to escape the all pervading sin of racism. Smug liberals were perfectly happy with housing covenants and redlining. Progressive President Wilson was all in on racism and eugenics. Pretending that people of today are guilty of their predecessors crimes is disgusting.

    Contemporary conservatives are indistinguishable from classic liberals: individualism, equality before the law, small government, balanced budgets.

    What is very difficult to distinguish is the gap between white supremacists and antifa. Both are collectivist and totalitarian. And it is very much an open question as to which would be the most horrible to live under.

    However, what isn't in question is that communist organizations provided much of antifa's manpower.

    I am astonished they get a pass.

    Finally, also as a factual matter is this: the Nazi spectre is so awful that no matter how thoroughly awful antifa is, or how much some people may take non-racist pride in their heritage, it just doesn't matter.

    Especially if you are the president.

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