CHARLOTTESVILLE — Chaos and violence turned to tragedy Saturday as hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members — planning to stage what they described as their largest rally in decades to “take America back” — clashed with counterprotesters in the streets and a car plowed into crowds, leaving one person dead and 19 others injured.
Hours later, two state police officers died when their helicopter crashed at the outskirts of town. Officials would not confirm their identities nor whether the crash was related to Saturday’s protests.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who had declared a state of emergency in the morning, said at an evening news conference that he had a message for “all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.”
Maurice Jones, Charlottesville’s African American city manager, looked stricken as he spoke: “Hate came to our town today in a way that we had feared but we had never really let ourselves imagine would.”
Charlottesville is my home town. I was born there, raised there and I married there. My parents met there. My family has been there for 8 generations, at least. This violence and chaos breaks my heart.
I want the statues left alone, as do most people from the area. I don’t want the hate groups coming in and making it happen for me. They were lawless thugs who came to town to inflict violence on anyone who disagrees with them. I don’t disagree with them about the statues, I just don’t want them speaking for me!
I was glued to my TV, all day long. I have never seen anything like the mayhem I saw today. Watching what was going on in Charlottesville was surrealistic. This is America. Americans don’t act like that.
I remain fairly speechless over this day which really started last night when a mob carrying torches marched through the University grounds, around the Rotunda. It seemed as though the group went on for miles. I thought I could write about the events, but I am discovering I cannot find the words. I mourn for those who were killed. I mourn for those who were injured. The crime was so unnecessary and evil. The 20 year old, James Alex Fields, Jr. from Ohio, appears to be a terrorist, in my opinion. The jury is out. Perhaps I am wrong. Early information is inconclusive.
I mourn the police officers who were killed in a helicopter crash outside of town. What a horribly depressing day. Can we Virginians recover?
Finally, was Corey there? How will he address those who came to town to harm and maim those with whom they disagree? Will Corey condemn these acts of violence or will he still want to defend his adopted state’s southern heritage? My authentic southern heritage does not include violence.