Re-blog from Charlottesville Eye Witness

This is a first hand account of Charlottesville from a medic who was on the ground throughout the weekend.
I rarely post politics or anything else on Facebook …. But let me be clear. I was acting as a medic in Charlottesville. “Both sides”-ing about it is absolutely unacceptable. Content note: I’m going to get quite graphic here, because while I understand that there’s quite a range of political viewpoints among my Facebook friends, I want to *get this point through to everyone whatever your politics*.
In the run-up to that weekend, some local counterprotest organizers’ families were forced to flee their homes because of violent threats. Some of them had “bodyguards” – friends escorting them everywhere they went that week, even to the grocery store, work, all the mundane places that people go in their normal lives.
On Friday night, a torch-wielding mob chanting Nazi and other racist slogans (e.g. “blood and soil,” “Jews will not replace us”), some doing Nazi salutes, surrounded, screamed “White lives matter” and “anti-white” at, a small group of college student counterprotesters who had linked arms around a statue and had a banner. They then threw fuel at them, beat them with lit torches, pepper-sprayed them, and punched them (including pepper-spraying a girl in a wheelchair). The police mostly stood by until the nazis were gone. A medic who was wearing a kippah (a Jewish skullcap) was followed in the dark by one of the nazis, and took it off after that so as not to be targeted. A university librarian who joined the students to try to protect them has now had a stroke. At some point that evening, the torch-wielders also surrounded a black church while chanting racist slogans. All of this not only hurt people that night but set expectations for how the white nationalists would behave the next day.
On Saturday morning, a line of clergy, along with a gradually growing group of other protesters, showed up outside the nazi rally (given the iconography, including swastikas, the Black Sun, and fasces, and the chants, of involved groups, I don’t have a problem using that word, don’t let anyone fool you into thinking these were mainstream conservative groups that are being described hyperbolically), facing militia movement members who were carrying assault rifles. There was shouting back and forth, and a small early fistfight where a nazi punched a nearby counterprotester who spilled coffee on him. Nazis were screaming antisemitic things at rabbis in the clergy line, and chanting “blood and soil” in response to the clergy singing “This little light of mine.” At one point, some clergy did a peaceful blockade of one of the park entrances, which was forcibly broken by an incoming white nationalist group with skulls painted on their shields. The heavy bidirectional fighting, though, mostly got going after a group of counterprotesters nonviolently blocked the way of an oncoming group of white nationalists, who broke through the blockade with clubs and heavy shields. Some people defended themselves as the white nationalists kept charging and swinging clubs. After that, there were fistfights and club-fights breaking out all around, nazis pepper-spraying and tear-gassing counterprotest crowds, plastic water bottles thrown in both directions. A nazi group that didn’t know where the entrance to the park was added to the street fights. Some clergy ran to shield vulnerable people with their bodies, and those clergy were protected by antifa-associated counterprotesters – multiple clergy/theologians have said that they would have been “crushed” and maybe killed if antifa had not protected them. This went on for a long time. For most of this, the police stood around. Eventually, they cleared both sides out of the area.
The town’s synagogue is a short distance from the park. Throughout the day, nazis paraded by it doing the Nazi salute and shouting antisemitic slurs. The police had refused to provide a guard to the synagogue for some reason, so it had hired its own armed guard. There were threats of burning it down coming in. It had to cancel a havdalah service at a congregant’s house that evening out of fear of attack.
The march that was attacked with a car by James Fields was that afternoon. What street fighting had happened was long-since over by then. It was a happy march, it was not fighting anyone. The car attack came out of nowhere and the aftermath looked like a war zone. It hit the front of the march as the march was going around a corner, and many people weren’t sure what had happened at first, people were screaming about a bomb. In addition to the woman who died, many people had serious injuries. A medic who was hit had to have emergency surgery to not lose her leg. A 13 year-old girl and her mom were among the injured. The street was covered in blood. The firefighters and paramedics were great. The police, on the other hand, rolled in an armored vehicle and threatened the crowd of survivors with a tear gas launcher. Police officers ordered the medics who were performing CPR on the woman who died to leave her and clear the area. They refused, and bystanders negotiated with the police to leave them alone.
There were several other incidents throughout the afternoon where white nationalists/nazis/whatever were menacing small groups of wandering counterprotesters with their cars, swerving toward them on the sidewalk like they were going to hit them, that kind of thing, including after the car attack. At one point my medic buddy and I were about 50 feet ahead of such a group and heard screeching car sounds and screams, and ran back, thinking for a second that there had been another terrorist attack and that this time we were the only medics on site, but fortunately it was just a scare – the driver then “rolled coal” (intentionally emitting a dark cloud of exhaust) at the people on the sidewalk before driving away. There was also an incident at some point where a young black man was badly beaten by white nationalists in a parking garage.
There is no “both sides” here. I mean, first of all, there is no moral both sides because antifascists and nazis aren’t morally the same, period. Disrupting nazis isn’t the same as being one, period. But there was also no “both sides” even beyond that. Mutual street fighting primarily kicked off by an attack from the opposing side, doesn’t compare to mowing people down with a car, to threatening a synagogue and a black church, to stalking someone for being visibly Jewish, to being part of a Nazi-slogan-screaming mob that surrounds and attacks peaceful college kids and could have easily killed one of them if the fuel thrown on a couple of them had been lit by one of the many thrown or swung torches.
Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking the Saturday rally was starting out just a rally like others, but with racist assholes. The people organizing counterprotests, whose families had to flee town, would probably take issue with that. The black church and the synagogue, the synagogue congregant who had to cancel a religious/cultural ceremony out of fear, and the ones who had to leave the building in groups out the back entrance to avoid attack, would probably take issue with that. The people who were physically attacked, on Friday night, by those in town for the Saturday rally, would probably take issue with that.
Don’t elide the difference in the questions of whether hate speech should be criminalized, and how communities and their supporters should protect themselves when people who are already threatening to kill them roll into town to rally and then physically attack community members before their rally while the police don’t stop it. Don’t invoke the Civil Rights Movement to elide it, or tsk-tsk people who were on the ground in Cville. The Civil Rights Movement had its Deacons for Defense and Justice, and similar groups. Just as importantly, many of the leading lights of the Civil Rights Movement were murdered. If you think the only valid kind of activism in response to racist hate is martyrdom, you need to at least think through the implications of that belief.
I did not have a good weekend and I have no interest in hearing comments about how, despite everything I saw and everything I said here, you think this is a “both sides” thing. If you find my activism unacceptable you are welcome to unfriend me.This is a first hand account of Charlottesville from a medic who was on the ground throughout the weekend. If you are inclined to share, please do so by cutting and pasting.

LikeShow more reactions

Comment

Comments
Posted in A mixed bag | Tagged | Leave a comment

CHECK THIS OUT IF YOU DARE!

Sorry, I don’t know the answer to this one. Let me know if you do!  (Now I wonder if Google knows), but play fair, without Google. I still don’t know. I’ll wait 4 weeks (9-11-17) before giving the agreed-upon answer from you. P.S. It’s okay to use the Bible.

God made Adam out of the dust,

But thought it best to make me first.

So I was made before the man,

according to God’s Holy plan.

My whole body God made complete,

without arms, or hands or feet.

My ways and acts did God control,

but in my body He placed no soul.

A living being I became,

and Adam gave to me a name.

Then from his presence I withdrew,

for this man Adam I never knew.

All my Master’s laws I do obey,

and from these laws I never sray.

Thousands of me go in fear,

but seldom on the earth appear.

Later, for a purpose God did see,

He placed a living soul in me.

But that soul f mne God had to claim,

and from me took it back again.

But when from me this soul had fled,

I was the same as when first made.

Without arms, legs, feet, or soul,

I  travel on from pole to pole.

My labors are from day to night,

and to men I once furnished light.

Thousands of people, both yung and old

did by my death bright lihts behold.

No right or wrong can I conceive;

the Bible and its teachings I can’t believe.

The fear of death doesn’t trouble me;

pure happiness I will never see.

And up in Heaven I can never go,

nor in the grave nor hell below.

So get your Bible and read with care;

you’ll find my name recorded there.

______________________

This puzzle was written by a lady in California in 1890 in response to a gentleman in Philadelphia, who said that he would pay $1,000 to anyone who could write a puzzle that he could not solve.  He failed to do so, and paid the lady $1,000…

The answer is one word, five letters long,  and appears only four times in the King James version of the Bible.  An 8-year old boy figured out the puzzle. Can you? Good hunting.

Posted in A mixed bag | Tagged | 2 Comments

Senseless Sunday Sarcasm : B@th time – A reblog

True to life…

Two on a Rant

Yep.  The B word.

I gave 6 dogs a bath yesterday.  I should give yoga-while-dog-washing classes.  I sit on the edge of the tub with one leg outstretched so the poor over-loved dog can’t escape.  He tries to duck under my leg.  I wrap an arm around his back and start washing the legs on the other side of his body.  It looks something like this…

…except the arm isn’t up in the air, it’s over a dog, and the leg is stuck out straight.  Okay!  I couldn’t find the exact pose.  That’s why it’s called yoga-while-dog-washing.

This is what a put-upon 68 pound dog with 1st world problems looks like.

 

Oh the horror of it all! To be immersed in water and forced to watch half a yard worth of hard-earned dirt go down the drain.

To make matters worse, cats don’t get baths,  they do that to…

View original post 182 more words

Posted in Humor, Re-blog | Tagged | Leave a comment

I HAD A DREAM

I HAD A DREAM

It was a hilarious,

off-the-wall and wild

satire in which a

lyin’ thieving varmint

wormed his way into our White

House with his lying cheating thugs

and referred to it as “a dump,”

which isn’t laughable, but then

he tooted his horn on Twitter,

(“To tremble with agitation”).

He got even with his friends and

was said to blackmail  supporters.

His “base” was aptly named: base,

a sackful of KKK types,

gun-toting cross-burning Nazi

white supremacists. Who would want

to claim them but another varmint.

What’s so funny about this dream?

The horror on the faces of those

who woke up in the same bed with the

whole stinkin’  bunch of desecraters.

(I guess it really was a nightmare.)

Or was it reality 2017?

Posted in A mixed bag, nightmare, Trump | Tagged | Leave a comment

MUSINGS

Re-do of the Red Wheelbarrow:

The Black Chalk Board

so much

depends

upon a black

chalk board

covered with

equations

beside the gray

waste basket.

METAPHOR

I know, I know, metaphors rule

but their birth is often Caesarian.

Is your life a sandbox or a boxcar?

A crapshoot? A bird cage?

A leaf  or is it a harp?

Or a stage, maybe a sand dune?

A beached sea shell or a chapel?

Ooh! A chapel! I like that one.

Count me in.

Posted in Reflections | Tagged , | 1 Comment

If I Were a Penguin…

If I were a penguin–

my life, a carpet rolled

out for me to follow

from beginning to end–

I would want to rebel.

 

What is the use of us,

I’d ask, Why are we here?

No free will for penguins?

I’d want to rebel if

fate and instinct were one

and the same. But if I

really were a penguin,

then I could never know.

Posted in destiny | Tagged | 2 Comments

HEARTILY RECOMMENDED

Eighteen years ago, when I was psychology supervisor in a state prison, I led a journal writing group. The book we used was George F. Simons’ Keeping Your Personal Journal, Ballantine 1978.  I lent it to a friend without my name written in the flyleaf, and haven’t seen it again and of course don’t recall who I lent it to.

But I do know I haven’t come across another book on journal keeping with so much hard-core encouraging information.  First I got an “out of stock” response from Amazon but kept on persevering and it arrived today and I’m seriously starting anew. I know this will be my final journal, and all the imperfections and embarrassments will still be with me, but hopefully some good insights and attempts at self-forgiveness will materialize.  Except for rare entries, mine will have to be “typewritten” and pasted, due to my deteriorated handwriting. A hardbound journal does better than I do at maintaining sequencing!

Posted in journal keeping, Journal Yourself into Being | Tagged | 2 Comments