Police Chief Al Thomas of Charlottesville, VA., seems to be reporting the truth and letting no one off the hook for this past weekend’s display of violence.
Thomas stated “around ten o’clock, the #UniteTheRight attendees began arriving and entering Emancipation Park. We had a plan to bring them in at the rear of the park. They had agreed to cooperate with the plan. Unfortunately they did not follow the plan. They began entering at different locations in and around the park and we had to quickly alter our plans to help facilitate that process.”
He moved on to mention “other groups”:
Other groups also began amassing along the street and in the park. Gradually, the crowd sizes increased along with aggressiveness and hostility of attendees toward one another. Shortly before 11 a.m., individuals in the crowd began throwing objects and spraying chemical agents into the crowd. The city and county then made a declaration of “local emergency.” The crowd size became increasingly violent, with mutually engaged combatants, with one-on-one attacks following.
One reporter asked: “Do you believe that one side was more responsible than the other for instigating the violence?” The chief’s response was: “This was an alt-right rally.”
The reporter pressed: “Do you believe that they’re the ones who instigated the fighting?”
To which Thomas answered: “We did have mutually combating individuals in the crowd.”
The alt-right’s actions are inexcusable and clearly violent. However, it would be naive to think that the counter protesters — Antifa and friends — were not equally as violent, because they’ve kind of have a history.
Alluding that these counter protesters were anything BUT peaceful, however, has been strongly scrutinized.
New York Times reporter, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, tweeted that “the hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding ‘antifa’ beating white nationalists being led out of the park,” but of course she was strongly scolded for reporting the truth.
2. The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding "antifa" beating white nationalists being led out of the park 2/2
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) August 13, 2017
Bad bad bad take. A leftist woman is dead because she protested nazis. How dare you think you can compare them
— (Don't) Panic (@sarkopsi) August 13, 2017
Stolberg followed up with this tweet: “Rethinking this. Should have said violent, not hate-filled. They were standing up to hate.” She caved to the intimidation. But her correction wasn’t enough for ‘counter protesters’.
According to the Daily Wire: Those criticizing Stolberg are guilty of the “false dilemma” argumentative fallacy. In their binary thinking, because the alt-right is hateful and violent, any who oppose them must be loving and non-violent. Acknowledging the violent behavior of the leftist extremists somehow either nullifies one’s recognition of the violent behavior of the alt-right, including the terrorist actions of James Alex Fields Jr., or places it on an equal plane.
This, of course, is ludicrous. Human beings have the capacity to recognize and admonish different levels of brutality while understanding their ranking on the scale of grotesque behaviors. This is not a false equivalency; it’s an intellectually honest assessment.