How I became part of a Trump rally fight

Brandon Hladik
Staff Writer

Video Link: http://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2016/04/12/82934934/

Never before in my life had I been surrounded by so much hate and bigotry until I attended the Donald Trump rally at the Times Union Center last Monday.
Despite attending the rally with no intentions of trouble or protest, I was involved in three separate altercations at the venue. I cringed at Trump’s multiple utterances of the words “get him out” after watching the first protester in the venue being screamed at, badgered and pushed.
Besides myself, another teenager who attended the rally was protesting down the aisles of the venue, only to find himself in a sea of violence. The boy was pulled from all angles, being grabbed and pushed by people twice his age. In an attempt to help the teenager, I decided to share my thoughts by yelling, “this is not how you get that man elected,” and “you cannot do this through violence, You have to vote.”.
Little did I know just this act of speech would lead to being pushed by an older man, despite my efforts to de-escalate the situation. Finding my way back to my seat, the fear for my safety didn’t end, with two men discussing whether or not they wanted to punch me. My first reaction was not of fear, because I wasn’t afraid of being hit by anyone, it was more the shock of the intense rage within the venue.
The anger towards me only got worse after my reaction to the end of Trump’s rally. Trump concluded his rally with one question: “Is anyone voting for someone other than me?”
Although I had gone into the rally not wanting to start trouble, the acts I had seen within the Times Union had bothered me so much, that I decided to speak out by saying things like, “first amendment.”
This not only gathered the anger and attention of people in the audience, but also made Trump focus in my direction from my noise and clapping. After saying the things I did, I was only left with being called offensive things and yelled at with violent threats.
Being surrounded by so much hate and offensive slurs being shouted in my direction made me feel the need to exit the venue. However, exiting didn’t seem to make much of a difference, as violence proceeded into outside the Times Union Center.
Surrounded by protestors, I witnessed two other altercations outside the venue. My friend and I found ourselves attempting to break up a fight between three men outside the venue, which ending in Albany Police officers showing up to diffuse the situation.
I left the rally of Donald Trump with scarring across my hand, but worse than that, a distorted view on my country and its people.

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