james fields
James Fields, 20-year-old driver of a notorious Dodge Challenger.

Since the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA on August 12th-13th, one of the biggest headlines across news outlets everywhere is the allegedly nefarious plot of car-wrecker James Fields. A quiet Kentucky-born Ohio resident, Fields is an outspoken supporter of President Trump; however, when the right-wing rally quickly turned into an ugly session of violence, footage shows Fields stomping on the gas pedal, killing one and injuring 19. Some news outlets have considered this instance to be an attack of intentional, or premeditated, assault on the counter-protestors who arrived on the scene. However, a closer look at footage taken from the instance may offer a pliable defense for Fields. 

The following footage does not belong to us, and was gathered from the internet, mostly from a recent 4chan thread concerning the defense of James Fields. For the sake of brevity and convenience, credit for the following content goes to /pol/. The first video shows the vehicle before it accelerates, moving down the road at a regular speed before being enclosed by an angry mob of counter-protesters. 

Video 1: 

It is evident by Video 1 that there is no apparent plot initiated on behalf of the driver, and that Fields is clearly attempting to make his way through the street, driving at an appropriate speed, and slowing down when surrounded by counter-protesters. Moreover, Fields clearly applies his break light after being hit, showing that he did not intend to enter into the situation with any violence. 

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Video 2: 

In the second slowed video, one of the counter-protestors can be clearly seen striking Fields’s vehicle with considerable force, perhaps sparking the well-known instance that followed shortly thereafter. 

Video 3: 

Note that before putting his vehicle in reverse, Fields’s car receives a hearty blow from one of the counter-protester’s baseball bats on the back windshield. It is only then that Fields puts his car into reverse, as any sane individual would do in such a situation.

The three videos above hopefully shine a helpful light on the entire situation. Fields is not a malicious man who intended to wreak havoc, and should be charged with manslaughter rather than second-degree murder. The young man was clearly provoked by counter-protesters who 1) hit his vehicle with a club hard enough to dent its backside, 2) surround his vehicle for an unknown reason, and 3) smashed a hole in the back of his window with a baseball bat.

As the above data highlights the fact that the vehicle had been dented before it ran over anybody, it is clear that Fields’s private property was violated before he retaliated in kind. Never mind the fact that the counter-protesters are all wielding weapons such as clubs and bats, clearly prepared for violent confrontation. Rather, let us proceed to the main point of Fields’s defense: castle laws. 

In the United States, homicide is generally justifiable if the perpetrator in question is legitimately in fear for their own life. Defense of habitation laws revolve around the right of an individual to protect his or her life with lethal force if their lives are being threatened while dwelling in a habitation wherein they have the legal right to be. The implementation of these laws are intended to make it to where individuals are not forced to retreat from the safety of lawfully indwelled habitations due to the threat of violence.

In the State of Virginia specifically, the Supreme Court ruled that “the statute [of forcible entry] does not in express terms deprive the owner of the common-law right to take possession by reasonable force of premises to which he may be entitled.” This would presumably imply that individuals, including Fields, has the right to use “reasonable force” to preserve or reclaim that which it being taken or is under threat of being revoked from his possession – in this case, is life and/or vehicle. 

Fields should not be held guilty for murder, as he cannot be proven to have held malicious intent towards any of the counter-protesters, and surfaced footage implies that his violent actions were the result of being spurred on and threatened by counter-protesters. The injuries obtained by the counter-protesters is at the hands of Antifa, not the Right. 

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