Playing With Fire
“Promise me, son, not to do the things I’ve done
Walk away from trouble if you can
It won’t mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheek
I hope you’re old enough to understand
Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man”
“Coward Of The County” – Words by Roger Bolling and Billy Ed Wheeler, Recorded by Kenny Rogers 1979
As we read our Sunday newspapers or listen to the news, we hear the same story over and over again, the violence in Charlottesville Virginia on Saturday August 12, 2017. I was afraid this was going to happen.
I have many friends who live in Charlottesville. When the idea of the counter-protest first came up, I suggested the best thing they could do—is ignore the Alt-Right, the White Nationalists, the KKK, the Neo-Nazi and whatever other groups were headed to Charlottesville.
I hate these groups and I have since I saw what they can do. Anyone remember Timothy McVeigh? Anyone remember the Black Couple shot in Fayetteville North Carolina by a soldier in the United States Army? Anyone remember the bombing in Birmingham, the killing of Martin Luther King, Jonathan Daniels, or the bombing in Greensboro North Carolina. You ought to as all these events were carried out by white nationalists who decided to take their anger out on society.
In the late 1990s I was on a special task for in the United States Army to examine the prevalence of “extremists in the reserve components.” While we found some minor examples of non-white extremism however, the majority of extremism we found was perpetuated by whites.
There are many groups that fit into this category some are benign, some are just inept, and others are down-right dangerous.
I have also discovered something else about these groups. They thrive on confrontation and the publicity that it promotes. In many ways, they get are sexually empowered when they are challenged. They are bullies.
I learned many years ago the best way to disarm a bully was to ignore him or her. Turn your back on them, pretend they aren’t there. Only stand up to them when their verbal taunts turn to physical assaults on the poor and defenseless.
In the case of the group that descended on Charlottesville, the best thing that could have happened was for no one to show up. While I admire those, who organized the peaceful counter-protest, they were also playing right into the hands of those they loathed. It was going to end badly.
Years ago, and old country gentleman I cut grass for, Howard Braham, reminded me one day when I was goading a rattlesnake, “when you make them mad, they bite you, best thing boy you can do is leave them alone.”