Calvin Freiburger reports that while our fundamentally unserious commentariat on both the Left and the Beltway Right are obsessing over whether President Donald Trump supposedly not condemning white supremacists clearly enough (because apparently it’s not obvious enough that “hatred, bigotry, and violence” included racism), there are serious issues about the handling of this weekend’s Charlottesville chaos going ignored.
ProPublica reports that Charlottesville police did scandalously little to prevent or halt the violence that broke out between the two factions of thugs:
At about 10 a.m. [Saturday], at one of countless such confrontations, an angry mob of white supremacists formed a battle line across from a group of counter-protesters, many of them older and gray-haired, who had gathered near a church parking lot. On command from their leader, the young men charged and pummeled their ideological foes with abandon. One woman was hurled to the pavement, and the blood from her bruised head was instantly visible.
Standing nearby, an assortment of Virginia State Police troopers and Charlottesville police wearing protective gear watched silently from behind an array of metal barricades — and did nothing […]
By the time Heimbach and his contingent arrived in downtown Charlottesville shortly before 11 a.m., what had started hours earlier with some shoving and a few punches had evolved into a series of wild melees as people attacked one another with fists, feet, and the improvised weapons they’d brought with them to the park. White supremacists and anti-racists began blasting each other with thick orange streams of pepper spray.
The police did little to stop the bloodshed. Several times, a group of assault-rifle-toting militia members from New York State, wearing body armor and desert camo, played a more active role in breaking up fights.
It gets worse. The Daily Caller reports that police were actually ordered not to step in without an express command to do so, which of course allowed violence to continue and worsen. Further:
When police were ordered to disperse the alt-right rally, that act directed the white nationalists into the antifa demonstrators, leading to further street brawls. Police didn’t seem to try to get in between the two groups or suppress the fights.
Why? On Saturday, Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy said only that he was “not in the business of throwing our police department under the bus.” Democrat Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe insisted that “We planned for a long time for today’s incidents,” and said “It’s easy to criticize, but I can tell you this, 80 percent of the people here had semiautomatic weapons.”
None of this passes the smell test. Shouldn’t those semiautos be, y’know, all the more reason to control the situation? PJ Media’s Liz Shield notes that the authorities had ample time to prepare for the event. University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse was not impressed, either:
“I’ve seen how the police have managed crowds here in Madison, Wisconsin — huge rallies with opposing sides. I’d like to know how the police in Virginia could be so impotent. Are they so afraid of being accused of doing something wrong that they protect themselves by doing nothing?”
Call me crazy, but the incompetence and negligence of elected officials in protecting their city’s people just might be a smidgen more important than pretending to believe Trump is a secret Nazi sympathizer — at least, if our goal is the public good rather than appeasing the prejudices of political elites.