Not as front and center in the broader conversation are that two state troopers died yesterday in Charlottesville. Their deaths are no more or less tragic than anyone else’s but the circumstances surrounding them ought to be discussed.
Lt. Cullen and Trooper Burke died yesterday while performing their jobs in response to White Nationalist scumbags who decided to interject themselves in a LOCAL issue. More specifically, a LOCAL decision to relocate a statue ( important to note – built 60 years after the end of the civil war and during the height of Jim Crow laws) and rename a city park.
This group of mostly organized outsiders descended on a college town to agitate. They did so armed with chanting and torches. The outsiders were then predictably met with counter protesters. (Mostly local college students but also including out of town club wielding “antifa” members). Because of this catalyst and subsequent predictable chain of events – the town and state were forced to spend large sums of taxpayer money and dedicate resources including manpower to logistics and crowd control. While performing part of that duty two troopers died yesterday.
The city should have DENIED any permits for this event. While you have the 1st amendment right to be a scumbag in this nation, you do not have the first amendment right to command taxpayer resources for your protection because of the style in which you choose to express those rights. For example, when it includes an organized march, chanting and torches.
Apparently as early as Friday night demonstrations which included the white nationalists chanting “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us” were deemed by local law enforcement as unlawful assemblies. Bottom line is when a point is reached that the manner in which you choose to exercise your free speech becomes a public danger, then there is a public obligation to protect the community including the lives of the first responders. Whether on the fringes of the right (white nationalists) or the left (antifa for example) an organization that incites or promotes violence in public spaces should be labeled as domestic terrorists and prevented from organizing.
*UpdateIt appears the community did try to address the issue and move the rally prior to the event but a federal judge intervened.
“A federal judge on Friday granted an injunction allowing the far-right Unite the Right rally to be held in Emancipation Park in the shadow of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.” This seems to me like an unfortunate interpretation of “fire in a movie theater“. Free speech does not include that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action. (riots, violence) The moment this permit was granted that exact scenario became likely.