When the Dodge Charger of 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr., plunged into that crowd of protesters Saturday, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, Fields put Charlottesville on the map of modernity alongside Ferguson.
Before Fields ran down the protesters, and then backed up, running down more, what was happening seemed but a bloody brawl between extremists on both sides of the issue of whether Robert E. Lee’s statue should be removed from Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park.
With Heyer’s death, the brawl was elevated to a moral issue. And President Donald Trump’s initial failure to denounce the neo-Nazi and Klan presence was declared a moral failure.
How did we get here, and where are we going?
In June of 2015, 21-year-old Dylann Roof gunned down nine Christians at an evening Bible study in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church. A review of Roof’s selfies and website showed him posing with the Confederate battle flag.
Gov. Nikki Haley, five years in office, instantly pivoted and called for removal of the battle flag from the Confederate war memorial on the State House grounds, as a “deeply offensive symbol of a brutally offensive past.”
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