Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Leftist protesters are trying to shut down conservatives.

Protesters in Albuquerque. AP

Once again, leftist protesters are trying to shut down conservative events. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a riot erupted at a Donald Trump event. Rioters stole t-shirts from vendors, attacked the police and even threw a bottle at a man in a wheelchair. Six police officers were hurt. A second riot, this time in Anaheim, California, was broken up before any violence could happen. 

In another incident, protesters shut down at Chicago's DePaul university where Breitbart's Milo Yiannopoulos was set to give a speech. Black Lives Matters protesters attacked Milo and threatened to hit him. The event was shut down and Yiannopoulos and his followers marched to the Chancellors office to complain. 

These incidents have a lot in common. Both Trump and Yiannopoulos are major figures on the right. Trump's obviously a presidential candidate while Yiannopoulos is a popular pundit. Both of them often say things that people on the left do not like. Trump says a lot about immigration and Islam while Yiannopoulos focuses on countering Social Justice Warrior beliefs and practices. Both of them aren't immune to criticism. And both of them have had events attacked by leftist protesters. 

Now I don't have a problem with people exercising their right to free speech. If people are angry with what Trump and Yiannopoulos have to say, then I have no problem with trying to counter that argument. You can even do it with marches and crude, vulgar signs as long as you aren't shutting down their events. Peaceful protest has a long history and I wouldn't ever want that to change.

But there is a limit of what people should be allowed to do and that line is violence. No matter what anyone says, you don't have the right to attack someone or their supporters. Just because Trump said something about immigration you didn't like that doesn't mean you can throw a bottle at a man in a wheelchair. Just because Milo Yiannopoulos is a troll, doesn't mean you can threaten to punch him and shut down his event.

This behavior is completely unacceptable, but you wouldn't know that if you watched the news. Indeed, I was amazed that this AP/Washington Post article I linked in the first paragraph was as balanced as it was. I turned on CNN for a bit this afternoon and they had the gall to blame Trump for the riot in Albuquerque. And other then the conservative media, nobody even covered the attack on Yiannopoulos. 

What the media should be doing is criticizing these protesters, but that never happens. Why? Because they like the beliefs of these protesters more then they like the victims of these attacks. Trump's also a major thorn in their side and Yiannopoulos is a direct competitor. That kind of explains the lack of negative coverage but it doesn't make it right. 

Of course these protesters never seem to understand that these protests and riots often convince people to oppose them. People wanted police reform before the riots in Baltimore and Ferguson. I decided to vote for Trump after the riots in Chicago. And I am guessing more then a few people like Milo Yiannopoulos for standing up to people that want to shut him down. I know that I personally am extremely motivated this year to vote for people that are opposed to left wing tactics like this. 

So what can be done to counter these protests? I think talking about them in this way is one way. Criticizing them on their behavior without talking much about their cause is the right thing to do. Even though I am opposed to these protesters on the issues, I don't have a problem with them saying what they have to say. But I do have a problem with them trying to silence speech, and I would have a problem if someone on the right was doing the same thing. 

I also think that it is critical for the targets of these attacks to not fight back. Some of Trump's supporters tried to do the same thing and it backfired. The media, along with politicians on both sides opposed to Trump ended up trying to paint Trump as violent himself and his supporters being the actual cause of these riots and attacks. 

Indeed, that is classic protester behavior. One of their major goals is to get that kind of reaction from people so they can play the victim card. If a protester throws a Molotov cocktail at a cop and the cops pepper spray him the media will make it look like the cop was just being brutal for no reason. Attacking a protester is the worst thing anyone can do, even if it is self defense and justified. 

One thing is for sure, this is probably going to get worse before it gets better. I am expecting violence at both the Democrats and Republicans conventions. And I expect more attacks at Donald Trump rallies throughout the election season. Finally, I also think that there will be more shutdown of conservatives at colleges throughout the country. 

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