To the people who still insist that the issue is “on both sides,” let’s do a thought experiment for a moment.
There are groups of people, here in the U.S., that believe that sexual relations with minors should be legal. If you learned that a group of such people were planning to hold a rally in your hometown, would you show up to protest?
And if those marchers were marching toward a school or a playground, would you block their path whether they had a permit to march or not?
There are groups of people, here in the U.S., that believe rape should be legal. If you learned that a group of such people were planning to hold a rally in your hometown, would you show up to protest?
And if those marchers were marching toward a school or attempting to surround groups of women in an effort to intimidate them, would you block their path whether they had a permit or not?
There are groups of people in this country who hold truly abhorrent views, and the Constitution gives them the right to hold those views. Does that mean that people who oppose such views must stand down and allow them to harass, intimidate, and threaten the subjects of their abhorrent views?
The right to Free Speech does not mean the right to not face the consequences of that speech. The Right to Assemble comes with the caveat of “peacefully” assembling, not being armed to the teeth with rifles and riot gear and engaging in a campaign of terror against those you want to terrify.
Let’s be clear, the “Unite the Right” rally was a Nazi match. Nazis celebrate a belief system that resulted in the murder of millions of people. These are people who genuinely believe Jews, Blacks, Mexicans, and any other group that they do not deem “pure” should be run out of the country. They hold views that, if allowed to become law, would threaten the lives of millions of people. And while the Constitution lets them believe those horrible things, it does not prevent good citizens from protecting those that are the targets of Nazis.
There were no “two sides” responsible. There was a group of Nazis and Nazi apologists trying to march through traditionally black neighborhoods and engage in fear and intimidation of marginalized people, and there were good people who stood up to them and said, “Not on my watch.”
We don’t hold true patriots and heroes “equally responsible” for violence when they are protecting their fellow Americans from hatred and intimidation. That is sort of like holding the Fire Department “equally responsible” for the damage done while putting out a house fire just because they had to use an axe to get through a door or had to break a window to free someone inside.