Pictured here is the cold-blooded right-wing racist murdering terrorist, James Alex Field, Jr. Either a member of Vanguard America (a Nazi organization) or a wannabe member. For my purposes, it doesn’t matter. He acted in the name of the alt-right racist motherfuckers that have been crawling out from under the floorboards and refrigerators of America like cockroaches in the night since the Ol’ Pussy Grabber began dog whistling out of his ass at them. True, they have been emboldened by others before him, but it has been a veritable deluge since.
Our purpose is to look at the causes of his horrific act of violence, to try to understand what would drive another human being to act in such a way, to try and make sense of the death of young, Heather Heyer, and the grievous injury of so many others. I will not be posting video, stills, or photographs of the injured. There are some very dramatic and graphic media out there, but it only serves to further traumatize the sensitive and desensitize the callous. We don’t need either.
My research — as in reading extensively in a field, not as in conducting studies or collecting and analyzing data — points us in several directions: prejudice norm theory. empathy, and normalization.
The Life and Times of James Alex Fields, Jr.
Young James Alex Fields, Jr was a 20 year-old who spent four months in the Army when he was 18. Originally from Kentucky, he and his mother moved to Ohio last year because of her job — that would’ve put him at 19 and discharged from the Army after four months of service. His father died before he was born.
Derek Weimer, a history teacher in Randall K. Cooper High School in Union, Kentucky, claimed to the Cincinnati Enquirer that he had taught the young lad. He reported that as a freshman Fields had written a report that had reflected neo-Nazi ideas. He also described Fields as bright but disillusioned suggesting that he had an unnatural interest in Nazism.
His mum said that he had told her he was going to a “rally.” She tried to keep out of his politics — don’t make much of that, my mum tries to keep out of my politics, too — but she had assumed it was related to the Ol’ Pussy Grabber who, according to her, is not a white supremacist. What does all that tell us? It tells that Young Fields was a neo-Nazi racist.
While he was photographed in the regalia of Vanguard America (a shield with their symbol (it looks like crossed rolling pins, no shit, look it up) and a white shirt), Vanguard claims he wasn’t a member. It don’t matter.
Prejudiced Norm Theory
Prejudiced norm theory is the premise that when people who have high levels of prejudiced feelings are exposed to disparagement humor (humor disparaging a group, you know, racist or sexist jokes) then they are more likely to act in prejudiced ways.
Hmmm… so this young man, who doesn’t seem to have very bright prospects — until a few months ago, he was living with him mum, moved states with his mum, discharged from the Army after four months — has a deep-seated hatred of non-whites and is an anti-Semite, goes to a white supremacist rally. What does he hear there? A lot of white people are the best, everybody else sucks, white supremacists are going mainstream, white supremacists are taking their country back, and what ever god awful misguided delusional BS these motherfuckers can come up with while standing around in the hot sun and skirmishing with liberals.
According to prejudiced norm theory, he is now primed to act in prejudiced ways. He’s angry. He’s feeling the hate. He’s with his in-group. There are members of the out-group swarming around them all heckling them and calling them all sorts of names. Everybody is kung-fu fighting with fists as fast as lightning. And, maybe, he is rejected by Vanguard America? So, he hopes in a car and plows down a bunch of people.
As an aside, how does he afford a Dodge Charger?
Zero-Degrees of Empathy
So, the old in-out thing plus disparagement humor and prejudiced norm theory explain aggression against the liberal scum that is trying to oppress middle class white boys, but running over a bunch of people and then backing up over them again?
In order to produce that kind of harm, you must have zero-degrees of empathy. We know that empathy is fluid ebbing and flowing depending on the situation, genes, and disposition. He’s a neo-Nazi racist mo’fo, he don’t got the most empathetic disposition or genes to begin with, but that situation of being immersed in a gaseous ton of racist anti-Semitic white supremacist methane caused his empathy to zero out. All the fighting, skirmishing, pepper spraying, pushing, shoving, name calling, and cursing that had gone on before, left him seeing the other side as enemies, foreigners, disgusting sub-human foreigners. And, that was all he needed.
This kid found himself imbibing an intoxicating brew of hate, dehumanization, and heightened impulsiveness. And, then he was behind the wheel of a car…
Normalizing Hate and Violence
One of the chiefest problems with witnessing this kind of hate and violence is that it normalizes it. We become calloused. We are desensitized to it. It ceases to leave us feeling shaken and concerned. The more often we experience something, the less effect it has on us. And, any feelings — and we all have ’em, we’ve gots to admit that — we have, any feelings of hate and fear of the OTHER, start to become stimulated.
These neo-Nazi motherfuckers want to draw a line in the sand and force us to choose a side. They are betting that they can sow discord, hate, and fear so that the division goes tribal and splits along racial lines.
They are betting that they can repeat their lies often enough that people who are on the border will begin to step across the line to their side. If you won’t side with them, you’ll at least look the other way as they commit their atrocities.
They are betting that they can get people so wound up that more James Alex Fields, Jr’s will be driven to homicide.
We’ve been down this road before. We know what the terminus station of this train looks like. We don’t want to go there. We must fight against this madness. We must resist and denounce these immoral weak-minded insecure pathetic creatures with everything we’ve got. We are in the fight of our lives, the fight for our lives, the fight for our way of life.
Helping the Survivors
We’ve experienced these events way more than any of us is comfortable with. There are several crowd sourcing drives to help the survivors with their medical bills. And, if Congress has its way, they’ll need even more help in the near future after their insurance is ripped away from them and Medicaid benefits are shrunk to nothing. Here is a on such fund, though I don’t personally endorse or vouch for any fund:
Unity Cville is a group of Charlottesville community members raising funds to help support the victims of the August 12th terrorist attack and Alt-Right demonstration events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
At least one person was killed and 19 others injured when a vehicle plowed into a crowd of people leaving a protest in a park. Two Virginia State Troopers also gave their lives in a helicopter crash while on duty protecting our community.
Charlottesville is by and large a peaceful and diverse town that suffered a visit from out of town violent Nazis, white supremacists, and racists. We want to help in any way we can. Please share and consider giving.
All funds will be transferred to the City of Charlottesville or an appropriate body once collected. Thoughts are with the families at this difficult time.