We decided to double back and go into the parking lot behind the rally and just go quietly watch and check out what was going on. A woman I didn't recognize was on the podium as we approached the rally. The average age seemed to be above 40 and except for one black couple and a black family with 15 children (one of them holding a sign that said something like "We drink juice, not kool aid") it was all white.
Here are my actual Facebook status updates as we walked into the rally:
When someone says bigot, say thank you when someone says nazi laugh, that's an actual quote from the podium at the anti- govt rally at Vets Park.
Th They are calling themselves "the people's mob"
Joe the plummer just gott in a fight and they guy the mob attacked is getting arrested... (here I have to say, I'm unclear as to Joe's role just that he was in the mob)
He had 30 guys surrounbding him and attacking him and HE just got arrested! Blood around his face
The tussle's over...
That poor guy was walking away being chased by an angry mob who was surrounding him, pulling on him, at what point did he have a right to defend himself from 30 people attacking him?
This was SCARY, these people on the lakefront today were being told, this is a revolution, being told they were the people's mob? At what point do the speakers at this rally have some responsiblity for inciting violence? This is an honest question.
I was shocked and sorry for the typos, but here's the full account of what happened.
A woman at the podium was making the statements (exact words above) I was posting as I wandered into the rally. We were on the north entrance and as I was typing her words, I hear a commotion. I looked up and saw an angry mob of angry white men chasing an older white man with a backpack. He was yelling "I have a right to free speech too." The crowd was yelling, "You should die. You're not an American., etc..." They started grabbing at him as he kept trying to leave the event. The crowd was growing (eventually to about 30 people) and the man clearly scared and angry and being grabbed, pushed and surrounded to impede his attempts to escape, I believed was in imminent danger. He was shouting back at them and attempting to defend himself from the crowd and the sheriffs about 300 yards away couldn't see what was going on because of the vendor booths in their way. I made a decision and ran to get the sheriffs.
The man traveled about 300 yards attempting to escape the growing crowd. The crowd was riled up and screaming en masse, continuing to chase the man down, stop his movement, push and pull on his and in general attack the guy.
Then Joe the Plumber joined the tussle. I kid you not. I have no idea his role in it, just that he was IN THE MIDDLE of the crowd. The sheriffs get there, I turn to look at Joe the Plumber and the next thing I know the guy being assaulted by the crowd is bloody on the ground under the knee of two sheriffs and being cuffed. His face was bloody, there was something about a broken camera and I became scared of the crowd who were cheering and congratulating the sheriffs for "doing a great job". There was a girl who said something about someone in that crowd punching her. I decided to walk away from it all because honestly, I saw a sign denouncing the org I work for and was afraid I might be spotted by someone who recognized me and become the next target of the crowd. I just wanted to listen to the speakers and tell what I saw, and I'd seen enough.
After it all dispersed, I did make a statement to the sheriffs telling the same story as above. The sheriffs said to me, "Well, that's a different story than the other people just told us." I bet it was...
So, I'm interested in my reader's thoughts on this entire incident. As we've expected this revolutionary movement that has been calling people to revolution, includes gun-toting nut bags, and overall is promoting violence has turned to violence.
Is the discourse out of control?
At what point do we call this violent "revolution" that's embracing bigotry and nazism from the stage out for their actions?
Do you think there's any connection between the call to violence on the stage and the actions minutes later on the ground?
Will this get any media play or be ignored as an anomoly?
Will the rally leaders denounce the violence or applaud it?
Let's see if we can have a civil discourse here.