Charlottesville terrorist gets a break with life sentence

There’s no difference between the Charlottesville, Va., terrorist and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists other than this: James Alex Fields Jr. gets to live, while the 19 Middle Easterners all died in the execution of their evil deeds.

In 2017, Fields drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing a young woman and injuring dozens. He pleaded guilty three months ago to 29 of 30 federal hate crimes.

As part of the plea deal he reached with prosecutors, the 22-year-old resident of Maumee, Ohio, will spend his life in prison – rather than face the hangman’s noose.

If there’s any doubt about the similarities between his actions and what occurred on 9/11, consider the words of Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division:

“Hate crimes violate the most fundamental American values of freedom and human dignity. … The bigotry and ideology of neo-Nazism, Nazism, white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan are a disgrace to this country, and the illegal acts based on those should be eradicated from the United States.”

Fields drove from his home to attend the “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 12, 2017, which drew hundreds of white nationalists to Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Hundreds of counterprotesters showed up as well.

President Donald Trump sparked controversy when he blamed the violence at the rally on “both sides.” It was a statement that critics saw as a refusal to condemn racism.

By contrast, the condemnation of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks of America’s homeland was swift, unequivocal and widespread.

Nineteen militants tied to al-Qaida, the Islamic extremist group led then by the world’s leading terrorist, Osama bin Laden, carried out suicide attacks using fuel-laden jetliners. Two of the planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed.


Then-President George W. Bush responded by leading an international effort to oust the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, where bin Laden had established training camps and enjoyed the protection of the government in Kabul.

Operation Enduring Freedom was the necessary response to the crimes against humanity. The deaths of the 19 Middle Eastern terrorists who perpetrated the attack on the homeland spared the American people the pain of having to relive that fateful day when almost 3,000 innocent people perished.

There’s no difference between an act of terror perpetrated by an American living in Ohio, or one orchestrated by a group of Islamic militants. The goal is the same: death and destruction of innocent people to engender fear and despair.

Thomas Cullen, the U.S. attorney for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, called the car ramming by Fields a “hate-inspired act of domestic terrorism.”

The white supremacist killed Heather Heyer and injured more than 24 others.

And yet, the Ohioan sought mercy from U.S. District Judge Michael Urbanski. The killer’s lawyers asked Judge Urbanski for a sentence of “less than life,” hoping he would take into account Fields’ troubled childhood and mental health issues.

Fortunately, the judge wasn’t swayed by the sob story or Fields’ apology offered in court just before sentencing.

“Every day I think about how things could have gone differently and how I regret my actions,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

But Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, said she did not believe Fields’ apology was sincere, but instead was a last-ditch attempt to get a lighter sentence.

Rosia Parker, longtime civil-rights activist in Charlottesville, was standing feet away from Heyer when Heyer was struck by Fields’ car.

“You could have done anything else but what you did,” Parker said, her voice breaking as she started directly at Field. “So, yeah, you deserve everything that you get.”

While we are pleased that this racist, hate-ridden individual will be imprisoned for life, we do wonder why the prosecution agreed to a deal that took the death penalty off the table.

The white supremacist has no soul, as evidenced by a comment he made during a high school trip to the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.

A classmate testified during a grand jury proceeding that Fields appeared happy during the tour of Dachau and made the remark: “This is where the magic happened.”

And when he viewed the camp’s gas chamber, he said, “It’s almost like you can still hear them screaming.”

His screams in prison would be poetic justice.

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