Violent acts in Charlottesville, VA sparks controversy

By: Jacob Sarver

The events that took place at a rally on Aug. 12 may have been in Charlottesville, Virginia, 500 miles away, but the effects reach as far as Findlay.

On Saturday, Aug. 12 members of the KKK, white nationalists, and neo-Nazi groups marched in Charlottesville to protest the removing of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Police say a 20-year-old Maumee, Ohio man, James Alex Fields Jr., drove his car into the counter-protestors killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring dozens more.

The incident has increased racial tension across the United States.

The Courier reports that vandals spray “White Power” on the wall of the bath house pool building at Riverside Park. They also painted swastikas on the closed pool on the bottom and side, according to the Courier.

The graffiti brings home a message of hate. But a message that’s protected by the first amendment.

“Hate speech is permitted through the first amendment,” said Diana Montague, Ph.D. professor of Communication at the University of Findlay. “However if that said speech incites immediate and lawless action, that’s when it becomes illegal.”

The question surrounding the removal of confederate monuments across the country is playing out on college campuses across the country.

On Aug. 21, the University of Texas removed confederate statues from campus, on Aug. 19, Duke University removed a statue of General Lee, according to USA Today, and some Liberty University students have returned their diplomas to protest President Donald Trump.

The controversy around the event increased after Trump commented but failed to condemn the Neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and KKK protestors. The following day he condemned the protestors. But the tension increased two days after the deadly incident, when the president double-downed on his original comments by saying both sides were to blame.

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