Although they know that they will not make as much money this weekend as they normally would, because the Charlottesville downtown area is going to be locked down for the anniversary of last years Unite the Right rally that saw Heather Heyer lose her life, many store owners still intend to have their stores open anyways. If they were to stay home and let their businesses stay closed this weekend it would be the same as if they were hiding underneath their covers with their pillow pulled over their head. Hate and fear are two things that no American can ever allow themselves to surrender to. The people of Charlottesville understand this better than most Americans after what happened last year.
With near 1,000 members the police presence in Charlottesville will be felt strongly this weekend as they will be there to make sure any violence that may occur is quickly brought under control. Last Summers Unite the Right rally that was intended to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee turned Charlottesville into a virtual war zone. There were chaotic street brawls that got out of control as tempers between protesters and counter protesters flared. Heather Heyer saw her life end prematurely after an Ohio man rammed his car into a gathering of counter protesters.
Jason Kessler, the man who organized last years Unite the Right rally was denied a permit in Charlottesville this year, however he will be holding a separate Unite the Right rally in Washington D.C. across the street from the White House. The local police in the nations capital are expecting near 2,000 people this weekend between the Unite the Right rally and three planned counter protests. According to Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham his officers intend to do everything that they can to keep the two groups separate while keeping everyone as safe as possible. Guns are banned from the demonstration area.
There are many who still hold sensitive feelings after what President Trump said last year when he said that both sides were responsible for the violence that placed Charlottesville on the map last year. Social justice warriors and liberals across the nation were not happy when the president would not place the blame solely on the shoulders of white supremacist. As unpopular as this view is and regardless of how much it will upset people who still hold those sensitive feelings, the president was absolutely right. Both sides are responsible for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville last year.
Officials have announced the lock down that will take place in the down town district of Charlottesville this year. No vehicles will be allowed in the area and only two check points will allow pedestrians to pass through them. At these check points there will be officers posted who are there to confiscate any contraband that is not permitted in the area over the weekend. The list of items that will not be allowed in the downtown area include everything from metal pipes and swords to fireworks and skateboards. However, after a failed attempt to pass a bill that would allow firearms to be banned from major public events tensions among city officials and the local police are running high.
There is no way for anyone to know for sure whether any white nationalist will be in Charlottesville this weekend, but officials and local police are trying to prepare for any and all possible situations that may arise. The police found themselves highly criticized after what happened last year when a number of their members did not intervene to stop physical confrontations between the two groups. This year Virginia Governor Ralph Northam took the initiative to declare a state of emergency, a procedural move that has freed up additional resources that will be used to maintain the safety of the people this weekend.