I knew they were a bunch of pussies: the National Socialist Movement AKA a bunch of Neo-Nazis planned on holding a rally in Newnan, Georgia on April 21st, 2018, but word of their gathering seemed to have been revealed way too early, and facing massive opposition and counter-protesting, when April 21st rolled up, only like, 25 Neo-Nazis actually showed up.
I kind of wish I cared enough to seek out the message boards or the online chatter among the National Socialist Movement as April 21st approached. I imagine at some point, it was decided that Atlanta would be a great target region to hold a rally, but obviously not too close to Atlanta, because Atlanta has a lot of black people and other minorities, and when it really comes down to it, they’re a bunch of pussies and don’t really want to go toe-to-toe with actual real life black people.
So they chose Newnan, a suburb nearly 40-50 miles south of Atlanta depending on where you decide to start or end. Because it was close enough to Atlanta to draw the local media, but it was just far enough outside of the city to where they might be able to still attract country bigots and be far enough away from the blacks – or so they might have had second thoughts about, considering only like 25 people actually showed up.
I want to imagine that there were conversations about how Newnan wasn’t completely exactly like Charlottesville, and that Richmond and Atlanta, the two major cities they tried to troll, have a pretty big difference in number of scary black people in them. And then be it through message boards or Facebook Live chat rooms or whatever means of communication the Neo-Nazis prefer using, they begin bickering and second-guessing each other about whether or not it’s a good idea to converge on Newnan or not.
After all, word of their gathering became news as soon as the very start of April, and three weeks is more than ample time for hostile counter-protestors to immobilize, organize and plan to meet them when they get there.
I saw the chatter happening on my old neighborhood’s NextDoor community, and they’re closer to Newnan than the rest of the city of Atlanta is; these predominantly black residents weren’t the least bit shy about putting in text the degrees of bodily harm that they’d love to put down onto a Neo-Nazi. And they more than were willing to make the 25-30 mile drive down to Newnan in order to see if they could get away with some violence in a crowd.
And then at some point, clearer heads among the Neo-Nazis had to break the reality that their gathering was too well known, and there was definitely no chance that this was going to be anything remotely like Charlottesville. And then the fear of coming face to face with real-life angry black people began to creep into the minds of these bigots, and one-by-one, regardless of what they said to each other on the internet, began dropping out of the gathering.
I don’t like to overuse the whole “picture worth a thousand words” cliché, but the above picture is an aerial of the actual rally, when it occurred. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was probably like 25 total Neo-Nazis that actually showed up, and when all of them are on stage, just who are they trying to rally? The counter-protestors, being barricaded away by the police, nearly a hundred yards away?
Although it retains my faith in humanity to some degree that Neo-Nazis are pussies who decided to stay home, I have to say it is a little bit concerning to see the hostility coming from the countering side as well; sure, they have just reason to be furious with the fact that the law allows and the law protects even Neo-Nazis to be able to gather and speak their bigotry, but at the same time, despite the fact that the media outlets constantly referred to the counter-protestors as peaceful, it’s hard to ignore the fact that there were still several arrests made – and not on the Neo-Nazi side.
See if I were on the counter-protest side, I’d have taken a more ambivalent approach. Instead of acknowledging the Neo-Nazis at all, I’d have tried to get some bands or performers or something to set up opposite to the Neo-Nazi rally, and hope that through music or performance, the hate speech being spouted by the Neo-Nazis would simply get drowned out or ignored over the presence of shiny objects on the other side.
Counter-protesting to me is basically like when a person on the internet gets successfully baited by an online troll, and gives them the attention that they so desperately crave and desire, but on a much grander scale. 25 people showed up and commanded the attention of hundreds who showed up, expecting to counter-protest against many more, but regardless of the numbers, they still did their thing, and everyone saw it. Wouldn’t it have been more entertaining to ridicule their numbers and collectively laugh at them? Wouldn’t it just have been more fun just to have drowned them out?
Regardless, a Neo-Nazi gathering still occurred, but hardly to the effect as they probably would have hoped it would have been. People were still arrested, and there was still a shit ton of tensions between sides, so things probably could have gone better, but considering only 25 people showed up to spout hate, things most certainly could have been way worse too. I guess take the small victories where they can be had, huh?