Left: NSM rally in June 2005, which drew an estimated 150 supporters in Yorktown, VA
More tongues are wagging in Toledo than at a Gene Simmons lookalike audition, and, despite the superficial and rather sparse local media coverage, most of the Toledoans I have encountered are keenly interested in the events on the North End this Saturday.
Here, then, is a collection of the conspiracy theories, predictions, and observations offered by Toledo pundits from all walks of life, followed by historymike's mini-analysis:
1. The gangs will be out in force: This, of course, is the nightmare scenario, with a crowd of protesters whose ranks have been swelled with angry gangsters. Let's hope that the Toledo Police Department is taking this seriously.
2. The Gang Task Force will strike a deal with gang leaders: In this scenario, known gang leaders will be cajoled, threatened, and/or discouraged into keeping their followers out of the area.
3. Left-leaning groups will show up en masse and challenge barricades: Another wild card will be just how many union activists, anarchists, and socialists show up to confront the Nazis. From what I have seen and heard (on the streets, over the phone, and on the bulletin boards) there will be a minimum of 75 hardcore activists.
4. It will rain and all we will have will be a dozen wet Nazis: Fat chance. Forecast - sunny skies and 68 degrees.
5. The police will attempt to force the groups into a confined area, like a park: Fairly likely; several knowledgeable TPD sources ascribe to the "a moving Nazi is too hard for police to protect" theory. However, it looks like TPD is playing this one very close to the Kevlar, and may also be engaging in an active disinformation campaign to keep everyone off balance.
6. NSM may make a last-minute announcement that it will boycott its own rally: For credibility reasons, NSM would be hard-pressed to explain a no-show.
7. Very few neo-Nazi and white supremacist supporters will join NSM: Much more likely. There seems to be a significant number of supremacists who view Bill White and NSM with disdain, although I am hearing rumors that Michigan Militia members may show up incognito to offer NSM some protection and support. Most of the far right (or circumvented left, or third positionists, or however you want to characterize this politcal realm) seem to be jeering at, rather than cheering on, NSM. There is also a related argument that this is a last-ditch effort for Bill White and NSM to reestablish credibility among the supremacists.
8. Thomas Szych might face prosecution in the earlier gun-waving case next week: This is the biggest rumor flying around, but the prosecutor's office is not quacking. It would make sense to wait, so he won't be a martyr, but we'll have to wait and see. It's odd, though, that activists Bruce Beatty and Michael Franklin Green would face charges for gun offenses, but Szych has had nary a misdemeanor filed against him, and he actually pulled his weapon. Beatty and Green merely had guns in their possession.
Finally, a quote from a reader with ties to the anti-Nazi protesters:
""Kommen Sie herein, Herr Nazi ! Wir sind bereit fur Sie!" (Translation from the writer: "Come on in, Mr. Nazi. We're ready for you!" My German is horrible, so I am trusting that this is what it is purported to be)