Susan D. Harris
Itching for a fight: America under siege before Charlottesville
By Susan D. Harris
August 21, 2017

Long before talk of KKK and neo-Nazis came to Charlottesville, VA, large fights were leaving cities across America battered and bruised. Spring and summer of 2017 saw an epidemic of what the media simply called "large fights" – from Florida to Texas and New York to Utah.

Dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people have been beating the crap out of each other, generally using bare fists, knives, baseball bats and the occasional knife or gun...but always leaving injured or dead in their wake. The reasons for the massive fighting is usually unclear and always senseless, as baffled police continually ask "anyone with information" to contact them.

It almost doesn't matter whether it's gang related, drug related, or "after the bars close." What matters is it's happening; and if you happen to be driving down the wrong street, cutting through the wrong parking lot, or walking through the wrong park or mall when it'll play hell escaping unharmed.

I caught my own local headlines playing down one such fight. The headline read something simple like "Police break up large fight." When I clicked on the story, I nearly fell over reading that an estimated 200 people had been actively fighting along two city blocks! Close your eyes and picture that for a moment: Two hundred people beating the hell out of each other in the middle of a city street. The word is overused these days, but I'd have to say that would be "apocalyptic" to witness firsthand.

And if you're dismissing this frightening scenario as only happening in large metropolitan cities – you'd only be partly right. This is only a partial list of some of the "large fights" from spring/summer 2017:
  • April 2; Gainesville, FL: Three people were arrested and one police officer was assaulted after police "responded to reports of a large street fight." Police did not give an estimate of how many were involved.

  • April 6; Jersey City, NJ: "Cops use pepper spray to break up massive Jersey City street brawl." Many students are involved; one is stabbed, horns honk as the fight between an estimated 50 young people spills into traffic. A police officer overheard reports of planned "large street fight" minutes before.

  • April 6 & 7; Portland, OR: Brazen groups of 20-40 teens fight at a mall and across the street from a police precinct. One report said, "Officers arrived at the mall to find a group of about 20 young people assaulting mall employees, damaging property and fighting with security staff..."

  • April 14; Rochester, NY: A "massive police presence" used Tasers and pepper spray to break up a "large fight" reportedly involving 300 people. "When police initially arrived on scene, they say they found multiple groups of people fighting in the street."

  • April 16; Detroit, MI: A shocking Greektown street brawl gets posted to Facebook as local TV reports, a "mob of young people getting out of control and beating two men on the street."

  • April 16; Centralia, IL: Police call for assistance from six surrounding police departments for a "large Saturday night fight."

  • April 24; Grand Forks, ND: "A large group of people started fighting outside city hall" leaving it damaged.

  • April 26; Syracuse, NY: "Three men were stabbed in a large fight near downtown Syracuse..." Entire city blocks were sealed off with crime tape. An officer at the scene said there had been a "large group fight."

  • April 26; Millville, NJ: Police were called for a "large group fighting." A woman is "punched, kicked and dragged by several men and women." The beating goes viral on Facebook.

  • May 8; New Brunswick, NJ: "Two juveniles were shot in a low-income housing complex, and it may have stemmed from a large street fight that occurred there earlier."

  • May 10; St. Paul, MN: "A large fight between young people, including some wielding baseball bats, broke out near a busy recreation center." Three teens needed medical attention. The neighborhood is left in fear following "other reports over the past week of brawls at St. Paul parks." (This article is quite detailed and frightening.)

  • May 12; Milwaukee, WI: "Police said multiple people began fighting in the street...following a two-vehicle crash...A large group of people appeared to be attacking a woman in the street..." A witness reported, "four or five firemen were standing around watching it, like it was some big show or something."

  • May 15; Coney Island, NY: A stray bullet hits an elderly couple's window who report that "rowdy teens are often fighting in the street below their window." This incident is notable for once again drawing attention to the fact that in New York, "There are some cases where gunfire isn't counted as an official shooting, like if bullets don't strike a person..."

  • May 17; Baltimore, MD: Only two people were arrested after "Citiwatch camera operators observe 'large fight' downtown.

  • May 17; Syracuse, NY: A "large fight" is reported in the early afternoon near the transit hub, leaving two hospitalized.

  • May 18; Cleveland, OH: Police responded to a "large group fighting and exchanging gunfire" in the Hough neighborhood.

  • May 19; New London, CT: Men and juveniles were arrested in a "large New London fight" after police responded to, "reports of a group of males carrying sticks, bats and bottles and talking about assaulting someone."

  • May 22; Maplewood, NJ: "Police estimated about 150 to 200 teenagers crowded into (a) park" after a festival. The mayor said "he saw one altercation involving only a few of the teens;" but according to Maplewood police it took five different police departments and the sheriff's department to break up the crowd. Local media reported it as a simple "melee."

  • May 30; West Valley City, UT: A teenage boy is shot dead after neighbors "heard arguing and threatened to call police after they saw a group fighting in the street..."

  • May 30; Milwaukee, WI: "Police responded to 15 separate shootings." "Two children were shot after adults started fighting in the street and fired guns..." The police chief warns that "disputes escalate too quickly for police to have a chance at intervening."

  • June 25, Manhattan, NY: A police officer is struck by an SUV after responding officers try to break up a "large group of men fighting."

  • July 5, Niagara, NY: After the fireworks, police use pepper spray to disperse 200 people near a park – another 70 to 80 are dispersed nearby, and multiple police units respond to another park where 30 people are actively fighting with "several other" spectators" watching.

  • July 5; Grand Haven, MI: "Grand Haven State Beach was evacuated following a large fight involving 300 people."

  • July 13; Dayton, OH: "Police, deputies escort funeral procession for homicide victim following large fight" at a Baptist church.

  • July 15; Wichita, KS: "Police say a family fight over child care on Friday boiled over to Saturday evening when between 60 and 80 people got into a large disturbance."

  • July 16; Killeen, TX: Riot breaks out at Texas mall involving 30-45 adults and juveniles. Police "were unable to get control of the riot inside, but were able to move (it) out of the building."

  • July 16; Syracuse, NY: A man was shot in the ankle as police responded to "a large fight" with "several groups of people fighting."

  • July 17; Amsterdam, NY: "Police say large fight leaves 5 stabbed in Amsterdam...parking lot brawl."

  • July 20; Syracuse, NY: Thursday afternoon police responded to 911 calls reporting a "big fight where "some people had been stabbed."

  • July 26; Staten Island, NY: "Slashing, shooting were part of large fight in Stapleton."

  • July 26; Austin, TX: Austin police investigated a "large fight" at Fiesta Gardens park. Neighbors say it "happens often" and video footage was available and shown on KVUE TV.

  • July 27; Ellenville, NY: Police responded to a street fight involving "some 30 people." An 18-year-old who allegedly tried to run over another person during a large fight" was facing felony charges.

  • July 29; Buffalo, NY: A 20-year-old man was stabbed during a "large fight" involving 30 to 40 people.
One thing seems obvious: The malevolent forces trying to drag this country back to the social divides of 1968...or 1868...have a restless army at their disposal. When the frenzy is high, there seems little difference in the danger of pointing to a statue or a politician. One need only yell to the madding crowd, "Are you ready? Then light your torches and go!"

Unless the stampede is herded away from the cliff, those caught up in its swell will destroy their friends, their neighbors, their countrymen – and ultimately themselves.

Susan D. Harris can be reached at or you can Subscribe to her YouTube channel here.

© Susan D. Harris


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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