Photo taken by Lori Howell in San Jose, California. June 3, 2016

With all of the debate on the happenings in Charlottesville, VA over the past weekend, it makes me wonder why people intentionally gather to violently protest. Why do people put themselves in harms way? What is their intent? What is the purpose?

By all of the accounts that I have personally read and listened to, the original gathering consisted of conservative citizens of this country. They had obtained a permit from the city of Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue. It had been approved. Then for some reason, the permit was revoked. These conservative citizens lawfully took the issue to a federal judge and the permit was reinstated. All of this was done consistently within the rule of law. The ACLU even sided with the group that they were allowed by law to peacefully protest the removal of the statue.

As the event began to unfold on Saturday, buses began showing up and letting people off who had covered their faces, carried signs and flags opposing what the conservative group was protesting and also carried items that ended up being used as weapons on the people whom they opposed. From the accounts that I have heard, it didn’t seem like the conservative group (and I don’t mean that these people are deemed white supremacists) knew that this group of protesters were coming to protest the rally. Why did this group that was bused in want to hurt other people?

I have personally seen this type of situation play out at Trump rallies in San Jose, Anaheim. Fresno and Sacramento, California last year. The Anaheim rally was fairly secure, but at the end of the rally, people were on top of a parking garage throwing rocks at the people leaving. The people at the rally were good people. They were of all different races, creeds, religions, and sexual orientations. They were polite and helpful towards one another. There was no animosity and they all had an eagerness to get into the venue to hear Mr. Trump speak. I know this because I was standing at the entrance watching and speaking to people going into the rally.

This video was filmed by Robert Jeter and myself in San Jose, CA on June 3, 2016. We were near the entrance to the Trump rally that was held there.

Fresno and San Jose were some of the scariest public events that I have ever been to. The protesters at these events circled the venues using megaphones to scream and chant slurs at the people who were waiting to attend the event. They knocked over vendors tables and stands who were only there to try to earn a living by supplying people with Trump gear. They threw garbage and food at people, spit in their faces and burned flags and Trump shirts and hats. They would get into people’s faces taunting them to try to get people to lash out at them. All the while they had people who were with them taking photos and filming with their cameras. I never saw any people who were there to actually attend these rallies try to start conflict with the protesters. At each of these events there were young and old, handicapped, wheelchair bound, veterans, extremely well dressed, some not so well dressed. They had only come to listen to Mr. Trump speak.

Craigslist ad dated 8-7-17. Is something going on in Charlotte, NC soon?

So, going back as to why people want to come and protest so vehemently that they want to physically hurt others. In all of my experiences, money is a very good motivator. Last year there was talk of people finding ads on Craigslist looking for people to attend rallies or events to protest. These ads offered to PAY people to do this. Well it looks as though it is happening still. Who is paying these people? What is there to gain by doing this?

We need to find out who is having these ads placed. Only then will we be able to help stop these violent protests.

Thank you to The Red Elephant page on Facebook for asking to have the following video to be shared everywhere.

Lori Howell is an American who is always out to seek the truth. She is a midwestern mom, daughter and sister. Lori is an executive director of the Coalition For Trump and America First Coalition.

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