Initially, I went to the Donald Trump rally in Orange County hoping to get some insight into the Donald and understand what his platform is truly about. However, I had a very different learning experience when my friends and I experienced an assault firsthand.
The first sign of foul play was the smell of burning tires outside the event area. Upon leaving the event, supporters in our vehicle chanted “Trump 2016” along with the others who were leaving. Within seconds, our vehicle was hit by rocks and coins. Several panels were dented, and our windows and mirrors cracked from the repeated impacts.
We promptly left the scene as police vehicles were broken into, and a mutual aid call was made to surrounding law enforcement agencies. Breitbart News‘s Michelle Moon, as well as other mainstream media outlets, reported the amount of damage that was done over several hours. Other reporters also documented the damage:
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) April 29, 2016
As a student who has been to many emerging countries and places where crime is frequent, I have never felt this threatened. Orange County is widely considered a safe and great place to live if you can afford it. As a resident myself, I am at a loss of words to express my disappointment for our community.
Violence is never justifiable, and the events that happened in Orange County are no exception. Saying “Trump 2016” should not instigate a violent response, but should spark a discussion that leads to some kind of closure. As the general election nominee becomes clearer, volatility is only growing, and the events that I experienced have solidified my fears for the future.
Whether you support Trump or not, it is clear that the rally’s attendees are generally not violent. In fact, some of the people I met at the Trump rally are the most supporting and unifying individuals I have ever met. Many are simply genuine Americans who are upset with the current state of the country. Racism is not part of this campaign, nor is it something these people believe in.
After this event, and what I experienced first-hand, my previously moderate vote is shifting to the Donald. I believe the greatest thing about the USA is our identity, our freedom, and the values we hold dear. The divisive nature and extremism I saw only validates the claims that candidates like Donald Trump make.
Seeing people waving Mexican flags over an intersection does nothing but incite an already divisive situation. If someone honestly wants to #StopTrump, they should pursue discourse before violence.