What happened in Charlottesville last weekend was a sad example of the failure of the American legal system. The far right demonstrators had a permit to hold their demonstration. Although they showed up in force, there is no indication that they started any violent confrontation. The violence started when the demonstrators were attacked by the protesters against the legal demonstration. It appears that the Jewish mayor of Charlottesville and his black police chief encouraged the protesters to attack the far right groups. The police failed to protect the right wing groups who had permission to assemble as authorized by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
There is no excuse for the far right participant who drove his car into a crowd of protesters, but there is no indication that his act was connected to the peaceful demonstration. His was a personal, vindictive act, but not encouraged or condoned by the leaders of the demonstration. The demonstration leaders could have done more to weed out crazies like him, but the real responsibility lies with the city and the police of Charlottesville. Given the number of attacks carried out in Europe by vehicles against people on the street, Charlottesville should have taken measures to prevent a similar occurrence there. One news report said that Charlottesville streets were supposed to have been closed off, but for some reason they had not been. Whether they failed to plan or failed to implement a plan, the city is at fault. They should have protected citizens from crazy visitors like the driver.
I don’t believe that racism trumps the Constitution. Americans are free to believe that one race is superior to another if they want to. However, they cannot act on those beliefs unless they do so legally, and if there is on legal way to act on them, so be it. But freedom of thought and expression should not be restricted, although actions may be restricted. Currently, many Americans seem to favor some kind of mind control, especially in universities, where freedom of expression is strongly suppressed.
Trump has now condemned the far right groups who organized the demonstration, the KKK, Nazi party, etc., That’s appropriate for him to say he does not agree with their ideas, which are mean spirited and wrong, but holding these beliefs does not make them criminals, as long as they do not act on those beliefs in some criminal way. Holding an officially permitted demonstration is Charlottesville was not criminal. Killing a bystander in the anti-demonstration protest group was clearly a criminal act. An anti-demonstration protester attacking and punching the demonstration organizer at his press conference seems to me to also be a criminal act of assault, although much less serious than driving into the protesters. I have not heard that any charges will be filed against the protesters who resorted to violence against the demonstrators. It appears to me that the so-called peaceful groups were more violent than the far-right groups during the confrontations.
If the far-right demonstrators had been allowed to hold their rally without outside provocation, the day would probably have passed peacefully. They would have registered their objections and gone home. Thus, I believe liberal groups wanted violent confrontations and provoked them. It appears the city also wanted to direct attention of the far-right groups, and thus did little or nothing to stop the violence.
It worked. The national media has talked nonstop about “white supremacists” and “white nationalists,” rather than abou Constitutional freedom of speech and the right to assemble. I have not heard anyone on TV or seen in print media any reference to the Supreme Court case regarding a Nazi demonstration in Skokie, Illinois. According to Wikipedia, “National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977) (also known as Smith v. Collin; sometimes referred to as the Skokie Affair), is a United States Supreme Court case dealing with freedom of assembly. The outcome was that the United States Supreme Court ruled that the use of the swastika is a symbolic form of free speech entitled to First Amendment protections and determined that the swastika itself did not constitute "fighting words". Its ruling allowed the National Socialist Party of America to march.” Charlottesville and its protesters tried to deny these right-wing demonstrators the right to assemble. I guess they don’t read Supreme Court decisions in Charlottesville. Or they just don’t care about the Supreme Court and the Constitution. The media have joined Charlottesville in wilful ignorance about Constitutional law.