Facts missing from Charlottesville incident

Jasmin Prasad, Staff Writer

Trump’s comments regarding the violence in Charlottesville on August 12 have swept the nation, and not in a way that pleases the left. Trump’s response to the violence that occurred at the white nationalist rally, which injured 19 counter protestors and left another dead, is seen as dismissive and a complete failure in acknowledging the presence of white supremacist groups who spread a corrupt ideology. Rather than simply analyzing the failures in Trump’s address, let’s take a look at the clear-cut facts.

The Neo-Nazis had a permit (which was granted by a federal judge) to hold their rally in the park that was home to a statue of the American Confederate general, Robert E. Lee. While it cannot be denied that the views of Neo-Nazis are revolting and have no positive connotation associated with them, the Neo-Nazis did obtain a permit for their rally and that permit made the rally legal. It is imperative to remember that the 1st Amendment right to free speech, although protecting the views of a heinous group, is in clear play here. The Neo-Nazi rally was legal, and to indicate that it wasn’t is to indicate a direct refutation to the 1st Amendment, as a federal judge had granted them permission.

Now let’s take a look at another commonly unknown fact: violent counter-protesters started the violence. According to an article published in the “LA Times”, while the Neo-Nazis were peacefully holding their rally, ANTIFA, a group on the far left that terms themselves “the anti-fascists” violently struck the Neo-Nazi group with swinging sticks, and perpetuated brawls with the Neo-Nazis. This instigated a violent response from the Neo-Nazis which, in turn, led to mentioned afore injuring of 19 counter-protestors and the death of a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer.

Although we must recognize that the death of Heather Heyer was an act of domestic terror, we must also understand that ANTIFA is equally guilty in justifying political violence. ANTIFA has not publicly condoned the violence, and both the alt-left and alt-right fail to recognize the fact that their actions set precedents, and these precedents have repercussions that can’t be changed. ANTIFA seems to be continuing a pattern of uncontrollable protests, violent attacks and destruction of property.

It should be noted that actual violence is wrong; free speech isn’t. This free speech is exactly what the Neo-Nazis were practicing, yet it turned violent due to the actions of ANTIFA.

Violence as a response to free speech effectively strips away the true meaning of our 1st Amendment right to free speech no matter which side of the political spectrum it is from and poses a threat to our liberties.