After two weeks out west, with the second of those weeks in Alaska, I opted to take a bridge week in Charlottesville before heading back to Berlin, where I could gradually prepare myself for shifting back to Berlin time.
Of course, every trip back to Charlottesville serves as a forceful reminder that Charlottesville is still the same city it’s always been. This week had a nice trifecta of neo-Nazi apologia.
First, after neo-Nazi boys club Patriot Front was hilariously arrested for allegedly conspiring to cause a riot at Pride event in Idaho, Mike Signer went on record with a DC local news station talking about how the Idaho case served as a prime example of how vigilant citizens can provide law enforcement with the tools to defeat white supremacists, if only we had had such people in Charlottesville. Except, as I wrote, we did: me.
To compare, in Idaho, Patriot Front was intercepted because of a single anonymous phone call, which may have come from the group itself as a way to get a free police escort. In Charlottesville, I handed Mike Signer a sourced and detailed dossier of clear threats of violence. Signer’s continual erasure of Charlottesville’s activists who told him so serves only to pad his ego and to further traumatize a community that put their lives on the line to protect the city from neo-Nazis while he stood by and did nothing.
Mike Signer is an asshole.
Not long after Signer’s lie parade was finished, the City of Charlottesville was graced with a lawsuit by former police chief RaShall Brackney. During her press conference, she revealed, among other things, that a City employee had attended the January 6 insurrection, and the city did nothing. The employee had supposedly claimed he was there as a videographer, and he was let into the building, according to city officials. It didn’t take long for Molly Conger to identify the employee, of course, and quickly video was uncovered that showed that the city employee was actually surrounded by Proud Boys who illegally breached the building. In fact, the employee, who is alleged to be one Donald Allen Groat II, is visible in a video used as evidence in the Seditious Conspiracy case against Proud Boy Ethan Nordean and his fascist gang brothers.
Not long after, I found court records that showed that Groat had been involved in a road rage incident in 2020 where he allegedly drew a gun and pointed it at a woman. He pleaded to an amended charge of reckless driving with intent to injure, and at the time of the January 6 insurrection, was on probation with a suspended sentence of 6 months in jail hanging over his head. It remains to be seen what comes next, but of course, the City’s knee-jerk reaction, led by its mayor Lloyd Snook, was simply more of the same of what we saw in 2017. In the meantime, the city keeps in its employ someone who pleaded guilty to a violent road rage crime, one which involved a firearm.
The week capped itself off with the eternally-millennial schadenfreude-poisoned Jezebel finding Richard Spencer’s Bumble profile interesting. Unfortunately, they did a poor job at filtering Spencer’s retort through a bullshit sieve, running with the narrative that Spencer has changed and isn’t it oh so shocking that he thinks he’s a moderate now. Spencer isn’t a moderate and the article continued to be more of the same faux surprise at the political philosophies of a neo-Nazi. Spencer hasn’t changed. If he has, he would have apologized to me by now.
Beyond the usual Charlottesville drama, I feel incredibly privileged to have met legendary Puerto Rican activist Tito Kayak this week. And I got to see my father-in-law play Fridays after Five downtown, which is always a nice way to cap off a week.
At any rate, I’m writing this during a vicious eight-hour layover in Heathrow. I’m back to Berlin for a day before heading off to Southwestern Germany for some refugee support and some work events for a few days. I’m exhausted, but only from jetlag and redeyes. I’m looking forward to sleep, tying off some loose ends in Germany, and getting back to studying German.
What I’m learning
I resumed German classes this week, and polished off my B2.1 Lingoda module, as review/skills maintenance.
- Deutsch üben (Progress: 74%)
What I’m reading
No progress reading this week. The mountains told me all the stories I needed to hear.
- Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie (Progress: 12%)
What I’m writing
I banged out a few pieces about the white supremacist bullshit that keeps infecting Charlottesville:
The week ahead
Back in Berlin, delivering some stuff to the refugees who were staying with me but had to move, and readjusting to Central European Time. A slow week, I’m hoping for minimal stress at work.