The terrible scene played out in Charlottesville, VA has been conflated by some who want everyone to believe that this movement of haters is somehow part of the conservative element in America. That could not be further from the truth.
This was a group of white supremacists that marched in Charlottesville under the banner of racial hatred and was as far from a conservative group as can be possible.
There is a great definition of conservatives by Russell Kirk and it says this: “Conservatives are those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal”.
The alt-right is nothing even near to a true conservative as you can plainly see from the above definition. Those who make that claim are either ignorant or intentionally untruthful or a combination of the two.
The anarchy in Charlottesville was made all the worse by an apparent effort by law enforcement to avoid cracking skulls and making mass arrests. The law enforcement element was vastly outnumbered and essentially held in some form of disciplined refusal to really go after these bad people, to make examples and to thereby dissuade the remaining members of the mob to disburse for their own safety.
There seems some dispute about an order having been issued that banned arrests. If such an order were issued, Charlottesville was doomed. The violence of these white supremacists was so much more vicious and unconscionable, and the law enforcement officers were simply ‘outgunned’ in a manner of speech.
Three people, at least so far, have died as the result of this riot and that toll involved law enforcement and civilian deaths.
If you have watched the television reports, it is obvious that these anarchists came prepared with helmets, body shields, chains, hammers, heavy gloves and weapons readily available to anyone including firearms. They came for a fight and were not going to be disbursed by simple appeals to follow the law and to cease their activities.
I go back to the riots in Milwaukee many, many years ago. I commanded a National Guard unit that was dispatched to the inner city to protect firefighters as they responded to calls, to guard key facilities and to take on anyone who felt the need to try physical force against us and the firefighters and police officers. Having been in that kind of situation, it becomes very apparent that having the tools available tends to quell the rioters who see that their opposition is armed and ready to use all force necessary to accomplish the mission. Numbers are also important. There were more Guardsmen than there were people wanting to get into a fight. Apparent overwhelming force is a critical key in such situations.
Charlottesville appeared almost the opposite of what I just described. This is not ‘rocket science’. The information and examples have been available for a long time. Charlottesville is, in my opinion, the result of a half-hearted effort to avoid hurting anybody and to believing one can appeal to the better sides of people in such situations. The rioters had no ‘better sides’ since the testosterone was flowing and that wiped out any and all sensible thought processes even if they had that ability. They were snarling animals, with all due apologies to real animals.
The finger-pointing will go on for some time. Ideally, the truth will be seen and adjustments will be made in terms of tactics…because there will be more such situations now that Charlottesville has shown the crazies what they need and how they can achieve their goals.