Evil is as evil does

Most commentators on the event at Charlottesville, Virginia last Saturday—planned to be a peaceful protest about city officials’ arbitrary decision to remove a statue of historically revered General Robert E. Lee—first qualify their virtue by condemning Klan members, “white supremacists,” and neo-Nazis.

Press reporters and commentators rarely define these terms, identify the participants or interview the people to determine their beliefs. But they always assume them to be bad people who “hate” non-whites. Whatever symbols or apparel are shown defines the intent. For example if anyone dares hold a Confederate battle flag, it’s certainly a racist.

The “Unite for Right” rally turned riotous because a larger anti-Right gang showed up to confront the original permitted people. One young man in the estimated gathering of 1500 people did an evil thing resulting in the death of a young woman—for which we hope he will pay dearly. It doesn’t matter who he identifies with.

Some others, unrestrained by the police, engaged in hand-to-hand combat using whatever self-defense tools were available; except guns. If some people had guns, not a shot was reported fired.

I’ve read and heard a lot of accounts of this event, but I still don’t know why the fight started or who threw the first punch—or even who the combatants were. It’s as though all this massive commentary by every political pundit on every news show in the country during the past week came from one source. The accounts I’ve read are suspiciously similar and leave many questions unanswered.

Aside from the racially- charged identifiers thrown around with wild assumptions, who were these people? What were their reasons for being there? What are their values? Why did some of them engage in fighting?  Where were the police?

The mainstream press seems suspiciously uncurious about getting answers to these and other questions. Yet many people presume to discuss this event with little evidence of what they are talking about.

There is no evil in simply gathering and debating your beliefs, or even protesting and fighting to defend yourself. Evil comes from actions that are wrong. At this writing we don’t yet know who was on the wrong side of this rally, but we do know some of the usual suspects based on their previous aggressive and violent activities at other rallies and on college campuses.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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