One of the defining features of the Trump administration is that it has given violent factions of American society the opportunity to come more out into the open than before. We’ve already seen this as Americans in instances like the violence that broke out last fall in Charlottesville, Virginia, which ended with three dead after large numbers of white nationalists gathered to demonstrate in support of a statue of Confederate Civil War hero General Robert E. Lee.
In the months since that violence, white nationalist leader Richard Spencer has attempted to embark on a college speaking tour, although it’s been at least partially thwarted thanks to concerns about security at his events.
This week in Michigan, those concerns proved relevant yet again, with an event featuring a speech from Spencer at Michigan State University getting heralded by a reported Sunday night arrest of one of his supporters.
According to a local news source, 24-year-old Jonathon Kolanowski was arrested Sunday night and charged with carrying a concealed weapon after he wielded a gun at a group of anti-Spencer individuals with whom he’d engaged in a confrontation.
No injuries were reported; the dispute took place at about 7:30 PM according to local police.
This incident is, of course, hardly the first time that there has been violence associated with a Spencer event. He was one of the faces of the Charlottesville rally that descended into violence and ended with three dead.
One of those dead at the end of the days of violence was counterprotester Heather Heyer, whose name became a sort of rallying cry for those opposed to the Trump administration’s apparent acceptance of racism after she was run down by a white nationalist who rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.
The president initially declined to single out the white nationalists for any special condemnation in the aftermath of that violence, instead infamously insisting that both sides were to blame for what went on — even though there were no deaths at the hands of counterprotesters during those days in Charlottesville.
Considering this fact, it’s hardly as though we could expect the president to single out Spencer and his supporters for condemnation in the face of the violence in Michigan.
There has been violence associated with other Richard Spencer speaking events at American colleges, too, including arrests after a street confrontation between Spencer supporters and opponents following an event at the University of Florida.
Tyler Tenbrink and William and Colton Fears, all from Texas, were arrested after one of those in the crowd shot at by Tenbrink managed to record the men’s license plate number.
Spencer himself has personally been involved in a widely publicized in a highly publicized violent confrontation, having been punched in the face in Washington, D.C., during the days surrounding President Trump’s inauguration.
Back in Michigan, there were more violent confrontations between Spencer supporters and opponents on Monday, when the speaking event was set to take place.
Although police sought to have it be otherwise, the two groups made it right up next to each other and scuffled. There are reports of as many as 20 further arrests, although those reports aren’t seemingly confirmed by police.
Police have engaged protesters pic.twitter.com/K1faIQ9ojg
— Colin Beresford (@Colin_beresford) March 5, 2018
Featured Image via Tasos Katopodis/ Getty Images