By John A. Winters, Publisher

So I asked the Youngest SON of Thunder if he wanted to go downtown and help me photograph the demonstration.

“You think it will be safe,” he asked. I paused, thought about it, and then said, “It’s probably the safest place in America right now.”

“Yeah, but aren’t they like Nazis or something,” he said, adding, “aren’t you worried about them starting a riot?”

I told him it wasn’t the neo-Nazi group I was worried about, but rather the so-called “counter-protestors.”

I’ve covered my share of protests, KKK marches, white power, black power, fill in the blank protests/rallies over the years. The results have always been the same. It is not the group holding the protest that starts the trouble, it’s those holding the “peaceful” counter-protest where problems begin.

A few observations from the April 21 National Socialist Movement rally at Greenville St. Park and the counterprotest. And a comment or two.

Who’s the problem?: Of the 10 or so arrests, all were counter demonstrators. Only a couple of those gave their hometown as Newnan. News reports said they were found with fireworks, wasp sprayers with a 25-foot range and smoke bombs. Typical picnic supplies.

How many? Not a single neo-Nazi protester was arrested.

How many II? If there are more media present than neo-Nazis at a neo-Nazi rally, you’re doing it wrong.

Don’t be rude: If you are going to hold a rally for the sole purpose of spewing your propaganda, at least have the courtesy to show up on time. The neo-Nazis reserved the park for two hours. They were 45 minutes late. There were about 700 public safety employees and hundreds of counter-protesters and the curious waiting on you. You lose a lot of credibility in your message if you can’t just be on time. Plus it’s rude.

Don’t need you: I got really tired hearing over and over, “Power to the people. Newnan strong.” The leaders obviously weren’t from Newnan, many said so to the television news cameras. Plus you could tell by their accent. Stay home.

Get your own: Notice how evil always tries to confiscate something good? Those counter-protesters were all over #newnanstrong. Some community leaders in Newnan came up with that slogan, heck they even sold t-shirts. More importantly, that was the theme of an incredible community rally the night before. #newnanstrong is for us, get your own term.

The definition of irony: Dozens of public safety personnel watched as counter-demonstrators marched through downtown chanting, “Cops and the Klan go hand in hand.” Basically, protesters protected by the very ones they are protesting against. Bless their little hearts.

Wait, what:? Going through a security checkpoint? 9mm strapped to your side? No problem. But no knives of any kind, no bottled water, no pens, no pencils.
#newnanstrong: We are an awesome community. The way people from all walks of life, religious or atheist, liberal or conservative, came together united against hate was a sight to behold.

Thank you: To the hundreds of public safety personnel who came down with the sole purpose of protecting life and property, thank you. Professional, polite, courteous, firm, with a “don’t test me” air tied to a “you get one shot” theme. Youngest SON summed it up best: “I can’t believe how polite the cops are … but there’s no way I would ever want to mess with those guys.”

Until next time …