A horrific scene unfolded on Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville, Virginia when someone appeared to deliberately ram his car through a crowd of counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally. Fortunately, the alleged bottom-feeder is now in custody.
Following hours of skirmishes between those attending the “Unite the Right” rally in downtown Charlottesvile and counter-protesters, police shut down the planned protest of a decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. The white supremacists then marched to McIntire Park, a larger park about two miles north.
The tension finally boiled over early in the afternoon, when a gray car drove along Fourth Street and ran through several counter-protesters. One of the counter-protesters, Brennan Gilmore, recorded this moment as it happened.
Video of car hitting anti-racist protestors. Let there be no confusion: this was deliberate terrorism. My prayers with victims. Stay home. pic.twitter.com/MUOZs71Pf4
— Brennan Gilmore (@brennanmgilmore) August 12, 2017
Gilmore told NBC News that from where he was standing, it was a deliberate act. He recalled that the car sped up from the far end of Fourth Street, briefly slowed down, then accelerated again, “sending bodies flying.”
Faith Goldy of alt-right news site The Rebel was also on hand, and saw the car roll down the street. She recorded it on Periscope; the car came through at around the 2:35 mark.
Goldy was initially criticizing the seeming lack of police presence when the counter-protesters were allowed to march along the Downtown Mall when she saw the car hit. Putting her alt-right blinders aside, she alerted police.
Goldy later spoke with alt-right guru Stefan Molyneux about what she saw. Watch here.
Goldy recalled that the car–which she described as a gray Dodge Charger–rammed into one car, which then plowed into another, sending bodies flying. She believed it was an attack, saying “it doesn’t feel right calling it a crash.” Any question in her mind about whether this was deliberate or not was eliminated when the car reversed before driving away. To her mind, at the very least police and prosecutors could make a case for attempted manslaughter, since “you got up and ran.”
Molyneux also thought it “has a feel of intentionality about it,” noting that the car had tinted windows and there was “a clear drive-in and then leaving the scene of an accident.” Goldy agreed, since the mere fact the driver took off makes it intentional.
According to a spokesperson with the University of Virginia Medical Center, one person died in the incident, while 19 people were injured. Charlottesville police say that the one fatality was a 32-year-old woman.
Fortunately, the suspected driver is in custody. He has since been identified as James Alex Fields of Maumee, Ohio. He is presently being held without bail on charges of of second-degree murder, malicious wounding, failure to stop for an accident involving death, and hit-and-run. It’s a good thing he was caught relatively quickly. After all, a lot of people could have been in danger. Richmond, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, and Staunton are all within an hour of Charlottesville, while Washington is two hours away. The North Carolina border is only three hours away.
In the absence of something we haven’t heard or seen, we have a case of someone deliberately accelerating through a crowd of people who don’t appear to pose any sort of threat. If this isn’t the definition of an apparent act of domestic terrorism, nothing is.
We never thought we would see the day that we would be applauding alt-right folk. But at least Goldy and Molyneux saw this for what it was, and joined in condemning it in unequivocal terms. For once, we can agree on something–this was a criminal act at best, and an act of domestic terrorism at worst.
(featured image courtesy Ryan M. Kelly, The [Charlottesville] Daily Progress)