To say the rule of law is dead assumes a precise definition. It means criminal justice is guided by public opinion, ideology, and media pressure rather than any semblance of an objective process or written code. It’s to say that justice is arbitrary rather than blind, and that we live under the same kind of system the Revolution supposedly ended.
James Fields never had a chance. The Main Stream Media built up a narrative about 2017’s Unite The Right protest of Alt Right protesters randomly attacking peaceful crowds. Journalists used this foundational myth to justify the Left’s deplatforming and censorship of patriots on a massive scale. If Fields had been acquitted, or convicted of a lesser offense, the entire myth could have fallen apart. Thus, nothing was left to chance in this trial.
Imagine the following occurring in any other case:
- Despite the fact that Charlottesville’s own government enabled violence on a mass scale simply to shut down the Unite The Right rally and that the city has been in a political frenzy for more than a year, the judge refused to move the trial. [Update: Judge Declines To Move Fields’ Trial Out Of Charlottesville Court, NBC29, August 30, 2018]
- Attorney Charles Weber, a Republican initially assigned to defend Fields, was removed because Weber was also part of a lawsuit to prevent the Robert E. Lee statue from being removed from Charlottesville. [Former Albemare prosecutor Lunsford appointed to Fields case, by Dean Seal, The Daily Progress, August 16, 2017] Instead, Fields was represented by Democrat Denise Lunsford, whose lackluster defense and refusal to aggressively question witnesses astonished observers.
- When the defense did move for some charges to be dismissed, Judge Richard Moore declared in open court that “I don’t know what intent he could have had other than to kill people” . [Text messages, calls allowed as evidence in Fields trial, CBS19, December 5, 2018] Of course, determining intent was the whole point of the trial.
Each one of these is outrageous; together, it makes it hard to regard the trial as legitimate.
One shouldn’t overstate the case. It’s outlandish to say, “Fields did nothing wrong.” There’s almost no scenario where you can kill or hit someone with your car, accidentally or otherwise, and not have the law involved. Fields was accused in the past of attacking his mother and was clearly troubled. [Charlottesville car attack suspect James Fields previously accused of beating mother, by Dake Kang and Sarah Rankin, Global News, August 14, 2018] Negligent homicide, hardly a trivial offense, may well have been warranted, and this was enabled by Fields’s own poor decisions.
It’s incredible that Fields decided to drive anywhere near the crowd after that chaotic and violent morning. Of course, he may well have gotten lost—easy to do as Charlottesville and state police had teargassed Alt Right demonstrators but casually turned streets over to a Leftist mob during a supposed “state of emergency.” This mob, some armed with rifles, then reportedly shut down streets and even set up roadblocks.
Yet even the most unsympathetic or hostile interpretation of Fields’s actions is practically irrelevant. The entire trial seemed utterly disconnected from what occurred that day. It’s was akin to Camus’s novel The Stranger, where the defendant’s socially disturbing behavior leads to his conviction rather than anything german e.
One critical piece of evidence that supposedly “proved” murderous intent was a text Fields sent to his mother before the rally saying “we’re not the ones who need to be careful” after she urged him to be so. He also attached a picture of Hitler—idiotic and cringe-making, but not relevant, and no more extreme than the Communist flags carried proudly by the Antifa lionized by the MSM as heroes. It’s not as though Antifa were being quiet about their plans to start a war in Charlottesville. Indeed, violence was deemed inevitable if the two groups came into contact—making the actions of the Charlottesville police so utterly inexcusable.
Fields also made the mistake of expressing bitterness against Leftist protesters from jail, including against Heather Heyer’s mom—though these same “private” conversations show him protesting that he was being attacked. Again, this was interpreted as damning.
Another piece of “damning” evidence: a meme he posted ostensibly proving his “intent, motive and state of mind”—quite a lot for something distributed months before the rally. [Judge: Car crash meme admissible in Charlottesville murder trial, by Neal Augenstein, WTOP, November 30, 2018]
After all, jokes (or even serious suggestions) of running over protesters were relatively common before Charlottesville. State legislators in six states had introduced bills partially protecting drivers in such circumstances. [These states have introduced bills to protect drivers who run over protesters, by Dakin And one, CNN, August 19, 2017] The late Bill Hicks had a bit on it, focused on Reginald Denny’s experience during the LA Riots, when a mob dragged him from his truck.
Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds was attacked for saying “run them down” about a 2016 protest in Charlotte, accurately noting that “trapping people in their cars is a threat”. [Instapundit Glenn Reynolds defends “Run them down” tweet during Charlotte unrest, by Erik Wemple, Washington Post, September 22, 2016]
Presumably if someone noted these on social media, this could be used as evidence if he or she later collided with protesters at some point in life. Though in the lawless city of Charlottesville it doesn’t seem to matter, it should be noted that blocking roads is an inherently dangerous act—one enabled in this case by a Charlottesville police officer abandoning her post. In France, a “yellow vest” protester was recently killed by a truck at a protest roadblock. [6th ‘Yellow Vest’ protester dies in France after getting hit by truck, by Samuel Petrequin, Time, December 13, 2018]
What was truly striking were the outright lies told in the courtroom. The crowd of Leftist protesters was described as “joyful”—astonishing given that even Leftist journalists were being attacked by Antifa that day.
But I was there. I saw the hate in the crowds. I narrowly escaped physical harm at several points—aside from the tear gas of the police. I know full well journalists were watching it all and I have since read the independent report. I find it nothing less than horrifying to see how casually people go along with what they know to be a lie.
Indeed a year later, 2018, with nary a “white supremacist” in sight, Antifa in Charlottesville still managed to attack people.
Video from shows other cars being set upon by protesters. Yet somehow the myth of a peaceful crowd was still allowed to stand. Antifa activist Dwayne Dixon is actually on video bragging about how he waved off Fields with a gun earlier that day, yet Fields’s attorney did not give him any tough questions.
Moreover, there was plenty of evidence presented that showed Fields’s action were not premeditated. Fields had entered directions into his phone to find his way home to Ohio. [Final defense witness located after brief confusion in Fields trial, By Courteney Stuart / Tyler Hawn, WHSV.com, December 5, 2018] He cried when he told people had been hurt and one had died [The Latest: Deputy says Fields apologized after deadly crash, The Daily Progress, December 4, 2018]. The Hill’s Taylor Lorenz’s tweets from that day—subsequently deleted, presumably for her career’s sake—showed police initially thought Fields’s actions were unintentional as well. They’re archived here, and here.
Fields also did not exactly act like a person trying to run down as many protesters as possible. He immediately slammed the brakes after the collision, did not go onto the sidewalk, and backed up only after being set upon by attackers.
At absolute worst, and with no evidence to support this interpretation, Fields gave in to a moment of rage at seeing the threatening crowd. More likely he panicked. Either way, first degree murder is insane—but political realities demanded it.
The staggering jury recommendation of a life sentence for Fields plus 419 years for convictions of first degree murder, 70 years for each count of malicious wounding (five counts), 20 years for each count of malicious wounding (three counts), and nine years for a hit and run is so absurd that it would be comical under other circumstances. [Jury recommends life, plus 419-year sentence for James Fields Jr., NBC12, December 11, 2018] The political nature of the conviction is all the more apparent because the charge is so ludicrous.
As what a premediated attack would look like, we need only remember the Toronto massacre that Alek Minassian was charged with. He killed ten people, wounding more, after speeding down the street with “reckless abandon” and “swerving onto the wrong lanes of traffic and careening onto a sidewalk” . [The man accused of mowing down Toronto pedestrians is charged with murder, by Holly Yan, Carma Hassan, and Sara Weisfeldt, CNN, April 24, 2018] If Fields had wanted to, he could have killed many more in that packed confine. But he didn’t.
It is useful to compare the Fields case to the killing of Kate Steinle. In that case, illegal immigrant Jose Ines Garcia Zarate wasn’t even found guilty of manslaughter. He was convicted only of being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to time served, though he is still in jail as he awaits federal charges. [Man acquitted of Kate Steinle’s murder sentenced to jail for gun possession, by Lyanne Melendez, ABC, January 5, 2018]
Note that the MSM gleefully mocked conservatives outraged by the verdict, suggesting conservatives only cared because it was a “white girl’s death”. [Conservatives are seething about the verdict in the Kate Steinle case, by Matthew Rozsa, Salon, December 1, 2017]
From a broader perspective, American law enforcement is now entirely selective. While Fields and other Unite The Right protesters are given draconian sentences, Antifa attackers and the local officials who in effect worked as their partners go unpunished. While Antifa can roam free, groups that fight back are hit with federal charges. Even the President of the United States is now threatened with unlimited federal and state investigations clearly designed to “get” him and his family on something, anything [Incoming New York A.G. vows to make Trump’s life a living hell, by Bess Levin, Vanity Fair, December 12, 2018], while criminal behavior by other politicians, notably Hillary Clinton, is ignored. All of this occurs while tens of millions of illegal immigrants contemptuously ignore American laws and are toasted by the wealthy and powerful for doing so.
Unite The Right seems like a million years ago, at a time when Americans could reasonably expect that free speech would be protected by the police, that justice would be equal, and that America was still a free country.
No American can afford such illusions today. Instead, we are in a nightmare situation where the media targets political dissidents and encourages physical attacks. The state not only ignores the attackers but punishes you if you do anything back. More than that, your views, even taken out of context, will be used against you in any legal situation.
Thus, it’s not just a matter of avoiding dangerous situations, but controlling your information. After all, as some may argue James Fields was, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation you never intended to be in. Make sure you get behind a proxy online, regularly purge your emails and texts, don’t communicate with friends except on applications that automatically delete messages after a short time, avoid being ensnared by the law at all costs, and if caught up in something, don’t say a word without a lawyer.
You may think James Fields brought his fate on himself. Perhaps he did, though he certainly didn’t deserve this atrocious outcome. You may even despise the Alt Right or think people like me who attended Unite The Right in 2017 are pure evil.
But you’re a fool if you think this kind of biased “justice” will stop with Fields, with the “Alt Right,” or even with conservatives. Selective law enforcement endangers everyone, and, as political violence is increasingly permitted, it’s naïve to assume you will never be caught up in a dangerous situation not of your choosing.
We don’t live in a free country. It’s dangerous to believe you do.
And in the eyes of the law, it’s not about what you did, or what the circumstances were, but which side you are on.
Charlottesville Survivor [Email him] is a white man who voted for Trump. The Left hates all white men who voted for Trump, whether they were in Charlottesville or not.