In the wake of the disaster in Charlottesville, I was still a supporter of the Alt-Right and was still trying to hold the cratering movement together. I blamed what happened at Unite the Right on the Charlottesville police who refused to control and separate the crowds. As an experienced activist, I had never seen anything like what I saw that day. Unlike Auburn, New Orleans, Pikeville and later Shelbyville, the police in Charlottesville wanted a collision and stood around and watched fights take place.
If that same rally had taken place with the same people in a different city and state, there wouldn’t have been any violence. The White Lives Matter rally in Shelbyville which was held by the Nationalist Front that October was uneventful. There was no violence because the police were careful to separate the crowds. We even cancelled the Murfreesboro rally because the point had been made and it wasn’t worth taking another risk. There were still people there who looked embarrassing and who did stupid things that overshadowed the political point we were trying to make, but no one got hurt or killed. Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer declined to participate. Mike Enoch came to Shelbyville though.
A week before, I had attended Richard Spencer’s event at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The University of Florida was the next stop on the Spencer Tour. Cameron Padgett and a local attorney in Gainesville had threatened to sue the University of Florida on First Amendment grounds to allow Richard Spencer to host an event there. The University of Florida eventually caved and allowed the event to proceed. As with Auburn and Charlottesville and every other tumultuous event Spencer was involved with in which our people got hurt, killed or arrested and sent to prison, the irony was that Richard Spencer himself never even believed in free speech. He never believed in anything he was saying. He was simply ripping off MILO and organizing these events to promote himself to become famous.
Once again, I drove to Gainesville with my wife to “support the cause.” We wanted to support the movement and watch it get back on track. Mike Enoch was there. Cameron Padgett was there. Eli Mosley was there. Greg Conte was there. Evan McLaren was there. Jack Corbin was there. Thomas Rousseau was there with Patriot Front which was just getting started at the time. We were expecting to see William Fears there who we knew from New Orleans and Charlottesville. Richard Spencer, of course, was there. Most people except Spencer were there because they supported the movement.
This is a key difference between Richard Spencer and Mike Enoch. There are lots of people who hate Mike Enoch, but he was always there to support the cause. He was with Richard Spencer in Auburn, Charlottesville, Gainesville and other places. He was even with Richard at that torch march the time he went back to Charlottesville. He was in Pikeville and Shelbyville. He went to events which he knew would cause him grief and where people there hated him and which were far away and expensive. Mike Enoch came to the White Lives Matter rally in Shelbyville because he was genuinely angry about that church shooting. Years later, Mike Enoch still goes to events like this and organizes his own events like the one in Waukesha long after everyone else who was around back then has ceased to be active.
Here are some things that I remember about Gainesville:
- The Patriot Front guys slept on the floor
- The Fears brothers were in town, but were told to come in to the event separately through general admission due to concerns about optics
- I remember it cost us $200 to stay the night there. I didn’t mind. I was there to “support the cause.” I think we paid Evan McLaren who was working for Spencer.
- Greg Conte had an elaborate entry and exit plan.
- The New York Times was there filming Eli Mosley for the hit piece that they eventually ran on his claims of military service
- The event itself was a disaster due to the constant disruptions of the protesters and hecklers who were allowed inside the building.
- We went shuttled into and out of the event in white vans.
Here is what I don’t remember:
- Anything that Richard Spencer said in his speech. It left no impression on me
As we departed the University of Florida, I remember nervously checking my phone. Based on what I had seen and experienced at Auburn and Charlottesville, I was concerned that there might have been more problems with entry and exit. I was worried that there might be another incident with someone getting swarmed or attacked by counter protesters while trying to leave the area.
Sure enough, there was a shooting after the event. The Fears brothers and Tyler Tenbrink who came in through general admission were leaving the event and got into a confrontation with counter protesters. It escalated into Nazi salutes and shouts of Heil Hitler. A counter protester attacked their Jeep with a baton. Tenbrick got out of the vehicle and fired a warning shot. All three of them were arrested.
The concerns about optics were not unwarranted. It was reasonable to assume that one of those guys might be a loose cannon. If those three had been shuttled into the building in the vans, the incident might not have happened, but you can’t babysit all of your supporters. Eventually, the movement as a whole internalized the lesson after bitter experience that it can’t trust its own supporters due to the autism of immersion in internet culture. There are no more organized events which are open to the public because you never know who on your own side will show up and make poor decisions.
After the University of Florida event, I remember Richard Spencer giving interviews to the media. He struck me as someone who loved to talk to the media. Elle Reeve was there that day. I have no doubt that Richard was happy that she was there. He was always far more interested in talking to liberal journalists. He also didn’t seem to care that the people who were coming to support him were getting in trouble. The whole purpose of those people being there was always just to draw attention to Richard Spencer.
Character is destiny. Spencer finally admitted to Elle in a heartfelt interview during the Charlottesville trial that he was only using these people as a means to become famous. Dick is still a narcissist and a racist. He just has no other redeeming qualities which is why no one including Elle likes him.