On August 12, the “Unite the Right” group gathered to protest the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee in a local park in Charlottesville, Virginia. Violence quickly broke out at what was the largest white supremacist movement in decades. The Virginia governor quickly called a state of emergency and counter protesters took to the street.
It was then that James Fields Jr. drove his Dodge Challenger through the crowd of people who took to the streets in protest of “Unite the Right”, killing one and injuring 19 before fleeing the scene.
This was a horrible act of violence and a slap in the face for those naive enough to think that racism is all but dead in this country. However, if the first reaction is on the topic of racism, a larger point—a bigger issue—is easily missed. The problem outlined in the Charlottesville, one that is becoming more apparent throughout the country, is the lack of respect and consideration for human life. People everywhere are losing their concern for their fellow man, the very thing that binds us together as communities.
Yes, a man driving a car through a crowd of people shows a lack of concern for other’s well-being, but it is apparent when extended beyond. Before both sides clashed—not protested, but clashed—to overpower the other side with the message they came to deliver. It does not matter what you believe or who you are with, for endless months now the point has simply been to shove your ideals down everyone’s throat until they agree with you. Think I am wrong? Or maybe just ignorant?
What about the Black Lives Matter protests at Brown University in the library that left students doing homework bloodied? What about the riots in Baltimore that destroyed countless of store owners’ property along with all the people harmed in the wake of the destruction? What about the Ku Klux Klan leader rejoicing over the death of a girl for the furthering of their cause?
I am not advocating for racism, nor am I saying that marches and peaceful protests are out of place. The freedom of speech in this country is one of our most valuable rights.
The point I am trying to stress, begging you to see, is that people no longer care about others’ well-being when in pursuit of making their own voice known; they only care that their message is heard. What we are seeing is a lack of compassion for our fellow man, and a rising opinion that the voice we stand with is the only one that matters. The problem our society faces runs so much deeper than racism or equal rights. The problem is a lack of respect for life, for health of our very own.