Charlottesville: There but for fortune, continued!


Two ways of seeing a life:
In this morning's Washington Post, the portrait of a life continues.

The life is that of James Fields, the 20-year-old man who seems to have committed a lunatic murder this weekend.

He seems to have done a crazy thing. According to the Post's front-page report, it didn't come out of the blue:
HERNANDEZ (8/15/17): Years before a 20-year-old Ohio man allegedly rammed his car into a panicked crowd of activists in Charlottesville, it was his disabled mother who was terrified.

James Alex Fields Jr. was barely a teenager in 2010 when his mother—who uses a wheelchair—locked herself in a bathroom, called 911 and said her son had struck her head and put his hands over her mouth when she told him to stop playing a video game, according to police records. On another occasion, records show, he brandished a 12-inch knife. Once, he spit in her face.

“Mom is scared he is going to become violent here,” a dispatcher wrote in a log of the November 2011 call
in which Fields’s mother, Samantha Bloom, requested police help in getting her son to a hospital for assessment.

The portrait of a violent teen emerged as Fields was denied bail Monday during his first court appearance in connection with the Charlottesville attack that killed one and injured 19 others...
In 2010, Fields was 13. It sounds like something was already terribly, horribly wrong:
HERNANDEZ: The 911 records indicating Fields’s teenage outbursts, first reported by the website TMZ, cover police calls made while Fields and his mother lived in Florence, Ky., about 20 minutes southwest of Cincinnati. In the past year, they moved near Toledo. The records seem to indicate that he was arrested and held in juvenile detention after the November 2011 call.

In the 2010 call, Bloom reported that her son had struck her in the head and threatened to beat her after she told him to stop playing video games. Bloom said her son was taking medication to control his temper and told authorities that she was locked in the bathroom.

In October of the following year, Bloom called 911 to say that her son was “being very threatening toward her” and that she didn’t feel “in control of the situation,”
according to a dispatcher’s notes.

And in November 2011, police were asked to come to the house because Bloom was said to want her son to be assessed at a hospital, according to the records. He had spat in her face, said the caller, whose connection to the family is not clear in the records.

The previous night, Fields had stood behind his mother with a 12-inch knife, the caller reported.

“Scared mom to death not knowing if he was going to do something,” the dispatcher’s report continued.
In 2011, Field was 14. It sounds like something was terribly wrong at that point.

There seem to be at least two ways you can respond to reporting like this. Over here, we tend to start by saying, "There but for fortune." (For background, see yesterday's post.) Whatever explains such disturbed behavior at such a young age, we ourselves were never so afflicted.

Perhaps we got better help at home. Perhaps this young person had organic medical problems of a type we never had.

If a young person if your own family started behaving this way, you'd probably want to try to get him help. In the case of this young person, such efforts—it sounds like he was on medication—don't seem to have worked in the end.

We'll be honest! When we read about young people like this, we tend to take the "bleeding-heart liberal" approach. We feel sorry for his lost life. We tend to say, "There but for fortune."

We'll make Josh the bad guy again. Yesterday afternoon, in this post, he linked to a report about this early disturbed behavior.

To our ear, his headline—"Fits The Pattern"—seems to signal or suggest our own tribe's tribal greatness. The "pattern" would seem to be that of Those People. We don't sense the presence of a heart mourning a second lost life.

When we saw that post by Josh, we thought of the speech from On the Waterfront, the speech by the Eva Marie Saint character. As she speaks with the Brando character, she affirms the values of bleeding heart liberals. In our view, the reaction of the Brando character forms the heart of the film.

Before the week is done, we'll post the text of that brief speech. Sixty-three years later, we'll recommend the worldview it espouses.

One final point. Last night, speaking with Anderson Cooper, Susan Bro continued to express her moral greatness.

Her 32-year-old daughter, Heather Heyer, was the person who was killed. But she said she had two feeling about the young man who killed her:
BRO (8/14/17): I have two feelings about this young man.

One is, he was extremely young, in my opinion. He's not a child. He's an adult. He made his decisions, and I believe that he thought hate was going to be the answer, and that hate is going to fix things.

But he was wrong, and he will some day come to see that, I hope. And I'm sorry for the pain he will go through when he sees that. I'm sorry for the pain he's putting his mother through right now.

I'm also extremely sorry that he chose to kill my child and to injure a bunch of other people. He didn't have the right to do that. And if you watch the tapes, you can tell he had that exactly in mind.
In our view, Bro just keeps expressing remarkable moral greatness. In our view, we could use a bit more of that within our liberal and corporate liberal tents, where the unwise, self-impressed virtue signalling is running quite high this week.


  1. There is nothing wrong with expressing compassion for the worst of the worst, fatalistic compassion or a different kind. Broad strokes, I have seen in our time a kind of shift in liberals, less from a compassionate take to one which would try to outdo the righties in the preferred mode of vengeance.

    What does any of that change? This wretched creature is in all likelihood a victim of mental illness beyond his control. There are cases where a pure sort of unexplainable evil seems to take root, but they are few and fair between. In any case, in they go to expensive prison to be kept away from people they could harm.
    Bob would like to affix all this to his "we are just as bad (or worse) than their side" hokum, but that's a very tough sell. Were that true, there would have been no march for this to have occurred at the first place. Yet we have lost or compasses, to a great degree, in the matter of compassion. Were it not so, the Clinton Foundation would not have been vilified for saving the lives of poor people by the Right, while a chunk of the media helped them do it and liberals remained silent.

  2. "We'll be honest! When we read about young people like this, we tend to take the "bleeding-heart liberal" approach"

    Sure, but doncha think the "holier-than-you liberal" approach is partly to blame here?

    People come out to protest demolition of a statue, statue of a historical figure respected by many - and all of them are immediately denounced by the likes of you as racists, nazis, and what-not. Harassed and even physically attacked by thugs.

    No wonder a disturbed fella might snap. And by that time it's already too late for your "bleeding-heart" approach; moreover, it has a distinct flavor of hypocrisy...

    1. "... a historical figure respected by many"
      Exactly. Sure, Lee was a traitor to the United States, but since when is a little traitorous action against the United States a worry for Conservatives? Also, making believe Conservatives aren't bigots is getting us nowhere. This is a blog ABOUT the media. When will Bob call out the media for whitewashing the right's bigotry?

    2. Apparently 'the United States' is your God, but most people don't worship geopolitical entities. Also, George Washington was a trator to his country. What of it?

    3. "but most people don't worship geopolitical entities."
      Oh for you to be with us on September 12, 2001, Mao. We could have used more with your thinking during the United States' "Thirst for Revenge" Era.

    4. "Also, making believe Conservatives aren't bigots is getting us nowhere."

      I don't know what 'Conservatives' means in this context (Birtish Tories? Anyone you disapprove of?), and who "us" is, but if you look up the definition of "bigot", you'll find out that it describes a person who acts exactly like you.

    5. "I don't know what 'Conservatives' means in this context..."
      There are a many, many things you don't know, Mao. Picking-up some knowledge of the things you post about might do you some good. Or, is the definition of a "bigot" calling an ignoramus an ignoramus on the internet?

    6. "There are a many, many things you don't know, Mao. "

      Now you sound like you might be into 'white supremacy'. Do you feel you're the Wise White Massah here?

    7. Dear Anon, thank you very much for your suggestion. Please rest assured that it will receive all the attention it deserves.

    8. See, you think you're being clever again.

    9. Mao, perhaps you are Chinese, perhaps not. Chinese people are generally white-skinned. Presumably black Chinese people exist, I have never seen one, although I am certain they are perfectly nice people, and I for one would not oppose a black Chinese person marrying a white Chinese person.

      George Washington was not a traitor to the US, and he was not a traitor to Britain in any way similar to General Lee as their respective goals were strikingly different.

      There is actually a statue of George Washington in Trafalgar Square, London. Hard to imagine anyone get riled up about it were it to be removed. The hypocrisy is clearly with Republicans, as they became obsessed with fighting civil rights since the 60's because they saw how they could attract white southern voters by race-baiting.

      Interestingly, while not a traitor like Lee, Washington did have a lot of people executed for being traitors.

      I do think the word bigot is misused as indicating something similar to racism. dictionary says bigot means:

      "a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions"

      a somewhat mild seeming trait.

      Bob seems unaware that white male southern culture is one of violence and dominance. It is not just the hardships of that young man's life, it is the culture he grew up in. I am proud to say I grew up in South Carolina because I was able to survive and navigate out of an angry redneck culture, move beyond being educated in at the time the 48th worse state for education. In my youth, I worked on a public relations campaign to aggressively educate the (black) public on a SC program that subsidized sterilizing low income (black) people. The short pr video vignettes played at black health clinics throughout the state were unintentionally hilarious. Actual script:

      Man: "Honey, what's for dinner?"
      Woman: "Fried chicken."
      Man: "Fried chicken again!"
      Woman: "Well it's all we can afford with all these kids running around."

    10. I love the southern culture, and I pretty sure most of everyone likes it.

      If you don't, you should probably avoid the region, and voila - the problem is solved.

    11. Silly Boy: FYI: that’s not a Chinese NAME, and his comment immediately above should say the rest.

  3. Way to signal virtue, Somerby!

    A slightly more bleeding heart might know more about the mental health problems of kids because he would care more, even before an incident happens.

    The pattern mentioned is that violent acts are often preceded by domestic violence. But that's a womens issue, so no one cares about it. Being informative isn't in any way about vengeance or whatever Somerby is alluding to in his vague way above. If our hearts bled enough to take domestic violence seriously then perhaps these tragedies might be preventable. We could try, instead of standing around just oozing empathy and wringing hands.

    The mainstream media blacks out the alt-right. Hard to see how to lay this at the media's doorstep.

  4. After today's hideous revelation of Trump's inner cesspool, Bob, don't ever call a liberal "broken-souled" again, because of some God-damned nit-picking criticism. Trump is the one with a broken soul and is irredeemable. You need to work to get this cancer removed from the presidency.