September 23rd, 2016

Cars, riots, Glenn Reynolds—and the law

Glenn Reynolds—known in the blogosphere as Instapundit—is probably one of the most widely read, if not the most widely-read, conservative bloggers. He’s also a law professor at the University of Tennessee. And he’s also (like so many pundits, politicians, celebrities, and just regular folk today) a user of Twitter.

I’ve written before what I think of Twitter, and it’s relevant here:

I don’t use Twitter, and rarely read it. But I certainly check it out now and then, when there’s a tweet in the news that catches my eye. Right from the start Twitter held little interest for me, although a lot of bloggers took to it immediately…

I’ve not only not been drawn to it, but something about it repels me…

…Twitter favors snarky one-liner put-downs and/or bragging. Those of you who like Twitter may say I’m selling it short, but every time I go there, that’s what I see and that’s about all I see.

Reynolds is a smart guy, a very smart guy. Ordinarily he’s a mighty thoughtful and yet straightforward guy, too. But in this case, my best guess is that the medium of Twitter—its atmosphere of pithy snark—encouraged him to say something quickly that was not really what he meant. Here’s what Glenn now has to say about it (I reproduce the whole thing here):

Wednesday night one of my 580,000 tweets blew up. I didn’t live up to my own standards, and I didn’t meet USA TODAY’s standards. For that I apologize, to USA TODAY readers and to my followers on social media.

I was following the riots in Charlotte, against a background of reports of violence. Joe Bruno of WSOC9 interviewed a driver whose truck had been stopped by a mob. Trapped in her cab, she “feared for her life” as her cargo was looted. Then I retweeted a report of mobs “stopping traffic and surrounding vehicles” with the comment, “Run them down.”

Those words can easily be taken to advocate drivers going out of their way to run down protesters. I meant no such thing, and I’m sorry it seemed I did. What I meant is that drivers who feel their lives are in danger from a violent mob should not stop their vehicles. I remember Reginald Denny, a truck driver who was beaten nearly to death by a mob during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. My tweet should have said, “Keep driving,” or “Don’t stop.”

I have always supported peaceful protests, speaking out against police militarization and excessive police violence in my USA TODAY columns, on my website and on Twitter itself. I understand why people misunderstood my tweet and regret that I was not clearer.

Twitter favors simplification of complex issues. Twitter favors punchy one-liners. That appears to have been what happened with Glenn, and all it takes is one time out of thousands and/or millions (in Reynolds’ case, half a million tweets and perhaps that many posts on his blog, too) and people who are out to get you will do their best to get you. We’ve seen that happen time and again.

Reynolds has made his statement and I very much hope the furor now dies down. But the larger question is how to talk about issues that are nothing if not complicated, such as the law of self-defense in difficult situations like a riot.

I tend to write long posts and to be long-winded. Maybe too long-winded. Yes, probably too long-winded. That’s my tendency anyway, and that’s what interests me, and I’m glad I’ve found at least some people (hello, stalwart and patient readers!) who are interested in coming along with me for the ride. Twitter doesn’t favor that, so I don’t use it. But I totally understand that if I did, I might end up saying something I regret, too. Hey, even on this blog I might end up saying something I regret, and probably have now and then.

Yesterday I linked to this post by Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection on the same topic Glenn was writing about: the law of self-defense when caught in a car surrounded by rioters. Branca was of course writing a post and not a tweet, so he took his time to explain the law of the thing in his usual thorough way. It ordinarily takes a lot of words to explain something like that, which is unfortunate but true. Read the whole thing and the links he provides at the end of you want to know the pros and cons of various actions if you’re unfortunate enough to be caught in a mob that makes you feel threatened.

People often don’t like lawyers, and there are lots of reasons for that. But one of those reasons is that law isn’t simple and explaining law is most definitely not simple. To those not legally inclined it sounds like a bunch of blah-blah-blah claptrap. But it’s not.

I went to law school a long time ago—long time—and I never practiced except as a law interne for a semester. I didn’t think law was for me, although I finished the three years. But I’ve never regretted what I learned there, even though I went to law school when I was extremely young and knew virtually nothing about law when I got there (some would say I didn’t know that much when I got out, either). I learned to appreciate the remarkable and logical (mostly logical) edifice that is the law, the striving to be clear and to be fair and to be thoughtful. I learned to understand that this is sometimes violated, and that it is almost never easy even when everyone concerned is trying his/her best. I learned that one of the reasons legal language tends to be so very wordy is the effort to be clear and to cover all possibilities and exigencies, and how it is never possible to do either.

On yesterday’s thread, commenter “Frog” had this to say:

What, Dear Mr Andrew Branca, great legal guru, are the drivers of those immobilized vehicles supposed to do? Flee their vehicles, thus exposing themselves to the mob? Sit there and await a windshield smash, having no defense? What? Oh, Branca of the Ivory Tower, you did not say, did you?

The lawyers have the luxury of chin-stroking at leisure. And of course debating. What they do.

The victims of this black mob do not have the same pontificating hair-splitting luxury.

No, the potential victims of any mob, black or white, have no such luxury. But as I wrote to Frog in my response:

Do you think he’s telling you what you should do? Do you think he’s telling you what’s right and wrong? He’s not telling you anything of the sort, nor is he suggesting that he’s telling you that.

He’s telling you one thing and one thing only: what the law is. And yes, lawyers do that. Knowing the law—and therefore the possible consequences for their actions—helps people to make informed decisions.

I’m in favor of information. Knowing as much as you can about the law not only tells you the possible consequences of what you do, it tells you what a lot of fairly brilliant minds have thought about what’s reasonable under the circumstances (“reasonable” is a big big word in law). I’d certainly want to know, and I concede that in order to write articles and posts about the law a person needs a bit of chin-stroking leisure. Posts are not ordinarily written while sitting in a car in the middle of a riot (although I suppose tweets could be).

[NOTE: A personal note here, for what it’s worth. I’ve been trapped in a car in a demonstration that felt as though it could easily turn into a very threatening situation. It was a long time ago, I’d say either 1970 or 1971, during the antiwar protest years. Some of these protests were big and angry, although not as angry as the later racial riots (I’ve certainly seen the Reginald Denny beating footage and was horrified by it).

The situation in which I found myself initially was having to halt in gridlocked city traffic. I was the passenger and my boyfriend (later to be husband) was driving his car, a very very small fabric-topped convertible sports car (MG) that probably could have been lifted with both of us in it (our combined weight in those days was barely 250) by just a few people. We didn’t know why the traffic had stopped, and then after a few minutes we saw it coming—a wave of humanity, marching and screaming, coming right at us and washing over us.

I don’t remember what they were saying, but some of it was to us. I recall some of them pounding on the car and looking very angry. I considered our options, but there didn’t seem to be any good ones. I felt completely vulnerable to whatever they would decide to do, which fortunately ended up being limited to shouting and pounding. It took minutes for them to all pass by; it was a big demonstration. I don’t remember seeing any police; I couldn’t see much of anything except the sea of people flowing past us. I don’t remember if my boyfriend tried to drive the car, but I recall that between the crowd and especially the stopped cars all around us there seemed no way to do it even had we wanted to.

It the crowd had gotten physically violent I honestly don’t know what would have happened. But I don’t see how being aware of the law would have harmed me; I would have been happy to have been able to consider my options with some knowledge behind me.]

36 Responses to “Cars, riots, Glenn Reynolds—and the law”

  1. expat Says:

    I can’t believe you wouldn’t have the right to blow your horn and keep driving slowly unless you are blocked by other cars. That would seem to give the protesters time to get out of the way. If they are trying to get into your car, I’d probably give gas.
    I am so sick of protests fueled by out-of-towners who don’t wait for the investigations to be completed before making trouble. I saw Wolf Blitzer’s release of the Charlotte video toninght, and I couldn’t tell what was going on. You have to be able to slow those tapes down and focus on individual areas. Those jumpy cell-phone tapes are practically worthless.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    expat:

    Of course you have the right to do that and allow people to get out of the way. But sometimes people can’t or don’t get out of the way, and that’s where the decision comes in. The crowd is too thick or the traffic is too gridlocked. The crowd literally blocks you and you and/or the crowd cannot get out of the way. I’ve been there, believe me.

  3. Vanderleun Says:

    “I tend to write long posts and to be long-winded. Maybe too long-winded. Yes, probably too long-winded…”

    GANDHI
    (a step)
    “Take a fourth step, that we may be
    ever full of joy.”

    http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/Gandhi.txt

  4. Vanderleun Says:

    A little more detail on “what to do:”

    Rioters looted stalled trucks of their cargoes, taking what they wanted and torching the rest. Hundreds of vehicles backed up behind the scene of the crime. If yours was among them, what would you do? Many of those present abandoned their vehicles and fled on foot. That’s all well and good, if they had the space and time to do so . . . but what if they didn’t? What if the rioters swarmed their vehicle before they could get out? What if they, or a member of their party, had limited mobility and couldn’t escape and evade fast enough?

    In such a situation, resistance may be your only option. Make sure you have a firearm handy, plus enough ammunition to defend yourself and your loved ones. That may be difficult. It’s an unpalatable, raw, brutal fact that you may not be able to offer enough resistance to save yourself in such a situation. If there are a couple of dozen rioters within feet of you, you probably can’t shoot fast enough to get them all. Distance is your friend. Even if you use a firearm successfully to defend yourself, whilst that may solve Problem One (immediate survival), it’s likely to land you neck-deep in Problem Two. The aftermath of such a riot is likely to see political and social leaders screaming for a scapegoat. If you shoot a few rioters, guess what? You’re probably it.

    You’re just about certain to be arrested and charged with all sorts of crimes, even if all you were doing is trying to save your life and the lives of your loved ones. You may find it very difficult to defeat the charges in court, particularly if witnesses are scarce (or intimidated), and video footage of your activities (from nearby security cameras, hovering helicopters, etc.) is deliberately edited to portray your actions in the worst possible light. Think that won’t happen? You’re naive.

    More thought on this at

    http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2016/09/lessons-from-charlotte-riots.html

  5. Artfldgr Says:

    I’ve not only not been drawn to it, but something about it repels me…

    yeah, the limit on size of posts is a great example of what happens when that happens… and each restriction of size is different… so even if one is allowed larger, at some point the point must be censored and what is left is restrictive.

    even worse can be seen when one realizes that responses are often larger than questions or points, and een larger when one is trying to prove something…

    “how does one plan and build a space shuttle” – fits in twitter, the response cant..

    the same happens here because the more serious the question, or the more proof needed or if the answer is correcting wrong events and so must detail them, either the blade cuts it short at random, or one starts to self center.

    of course everyone loves to think.. can you make it shorter, and then wants it. and never ever wants to realize that shorter is not the same as longer, and that the size of something is not defined by an arbitrary limit by by whats needed to express that..

    can you give me the short version of war and peace and cut it in half and still have a great novel? nope.

    in the movie Amadeus, they said his piece had too many notes… which ones should he remove that wont be missed.

    i know.. why not just do the first act and second act of Swan Lake, not like they would miss the middle which makes it too long..

    and dont think that what you read is not great because you think so, that doesnt wash, and even things held not great int heir time, ended up great later. rembrandt, jimi hendrex…

    and this doesnt even touch on the idea of freedom of expression requires that one is free to express, even if its too long or so forth.

    why not shorten the constitution?
    its kind of long for today

    speeches are three minutes long to five, but in the past, frederick douglas speech in scotland was 16 pages long…

    so in reality, shorter is for a dumber population
    its also for a population that wants everything to be entertaining, even funerals, and trajedies and so on

    THAT is why it bothers..
    it bothers everyone that way..
    but few can put a finger on what the deal is
    and the deal has to do with conveyance, expression, style, and all that.. which is clipped by size unless the persons conveyance, expression, style and all that are that size intentionally…

    to quote billy joel..
    Today I am your champion / I may have won your hearts / But I know the game / You’ll forget my name / And I won’t be here / in another year / if I don’t stay on the charts” === It was a beautiful song, / but it ran too long / If you’re gonna have a hit, you gotta make it fit / So they cut it down to 3:05

    would this
    IRON BUTTERFLY – IN A GADDA DA VIDA – 1968 (ORIGINAL FULL VERSION)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIVe-rZBcm4

    be the same cut down?

    how about Wagner? you realize his opera is a day long…

    what about the silent movie greed? (one of my favorites)… nine hours long in its cut version..

    Erich von Stroheim: Greed (1924)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40KOxkqh1u4
    Greed (film)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greed_%28film%29

    Greed is a 1924 American silent film, written and directed by Erich von Stroheim and based on the 1899 Frank Norris novel McTeague.

    Stroheim shot more than 85 hours of footage and obsessed over accuracy during the filming. Two months were spent shooting in Death Valley for the film’s final sequence and many of the cast and crew became ill. Greed was one of the few films of its time to be shot entirely on location. Stroheim used sophisticated filming techniques such as deep-focus cinematography and montage editing. He considered Greed to be a Greek tragedy, in which environment and heredity controlled the characters’ fates and reduced them to primitive bête humaines (human beasts).

    Originally almost eight hours long, Greed was edited against Stroheim’s wishes to about two-and-a-half hours. Only twelve people saw the full-length 42-reel version, now lost; some of them called it the greatest film ever made. Stroheim later called Greed his most fully realized work and was hurt both professionally and personally by the studio’s re-editing of it

    and now we wont ever know..

    The uncut version has been called the “holy grail” for film archivists, amid repeated false claims of the discovery of the missing footage. In 1999 Turner Entertainment created a four-hour version of Greed that used existing stills of cut scenes to reconstruct the film. Greed was a critical and financial failure upon its initial release, but by the 1950s it began to be regarded as one of the greatest films ever made; filmmakers and scholars have praised it for its influence on subsequent films.

    as i said… the people of the time didnt like it so much, but in 25 years it was great… but cut down, we wont ever see what is mising or how much greater it could be..

  6. Artfldgr Says:

    Running time
    462 minutes (original cut)
    140 minutes (original release)
    239 minutes (restored)

    🙁

    Edited by
    Erich von Stroheim and Frank Hull (42-reel and 24-reel versions)
    Rex Ingram and Grant Whytock (18-reel version)
    June Mathis and Joseph W. Farnham (10-reel version)

    you think the others who cut someone elses work did as good as that someone?

    🙁

  7. junior Says:

    We’ll see whether the University decides to do anything further to Professor Reynolds.

    If it does, then we’ll see whether the state government decides to do something to the University. And given that the state legislature has already intervened in the University’s business on one occasion by zero-lining the Diversity Department (to the howls of SJWs everywhere, I might add), the University will hopefully be keeping that in mind when it decides what to do about Professor Reynold’s tweet.

  8. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    The law and its reasoning is clear enough.

    I confess to having a somewhat similar reaction to the Legal Insurrection post, as did Frog. The law is stating that you don’t have a right to self defense until it may be too late.

    It’s the kind of non-nonsensical reasoning that states you have a ‘duty to retreat’. That states that if a man pulls out a gun at a traffic stop, the police have to wait till he points it at them.

    The law is insufficient because it assumes that it can be applied to barbarians. It rests upon the premise that American citizens are not barbarians. But some are barbarians.

    My rights stop where yours begin and vice versa. We all have a perfect right to peaceful protest. None of us have a right to impede the rights of other citizens.

    When the ‘protesters’ impede traffic, they are no longer protesting but engaging in a level of criminality that denies others their rights and in doing so, have abrogated their own right to citizenship. While also proving through their actions to be barbarians, rather than law-abiding citizens. Escalating violence simply compounds the original offense.

    Physically blocking traffic is an attempt to force other people to comply with the protester’s POV.

    In a sane society, the police would arrest every one of those protesters, using whatever level of force was necessary. They would be charged with felonious assault, imprisoned and then upon release… having demonstrated their contempt for citizenship, ejected from the country.

    Send them to Antarctica.

  9. Ymarsakar Says:

    Vox Day’s SJW book and other people recommend that you do not apologize to Leftist character assassinations.

    In this circumstance, sometimes people feel genuinely regretful and they apologize not because society makes them, but because Reynolds honestly thought he had made a mistake. A serious one at least.

    But to the Left, it sounds like blood in the water for sharks.

    Hrm, how to deal with that one, I do not know. Trum’s magnetism is the part where he Refuses to Apologize, and just Drives over his opponents or lukewarm supporters even.

  10. Ymarsakar Says:

    In a sane society, the police would arrest every one of those protesters, using whatever level of force was necessary. They would be charged with felonious assault, imprisoned and then upon release… having demonstrated their contempt for citizenship, ejected from the country.

    Send them to Antarctica.

    Many people criticized the US military in Iraq for not stopping looters.

    Maybe they hadn’t looked at the King riots or the other riots recently. The US ain’t any better than Iraq.

    The guts it takes to use military and police firepower to “gun down rioters and looters” is something one founds in a hero king, not in a bureaucrat or politician.

  11. OM Says:

    Y-nut

    Cast your great mind back to the late 1960’s and the riots that happened then with the National Guard in many cities. I remember that time and the race relations. If you don’t know it consider the consequences of martial law; it is a blunt instrument as are many tools of the military.

  12. OM Says:

    Y-nut

    Oh by the way the USA is not Iraq, just a reminder, trivial detail I’m sure. /s

  13. parker Says:

    Grandchildren are asleep, so I will slip in a comment: be armed everywhere and in the scenario under discussion show those blocking egress you are willing to administer a subcutaneous lead injection. Willingness to provide sudden death typically ends all disagreements.

  14. Oldflyer Says:

    OM, Martial Law may be a blunt instrument, but that does not mean that it is not necessary or appropriate at times. Personally, I think that when mobs are rampaging through the streets that is the time. Sooner rather than later.

    I also believe that anyone trapped by an out of control mob is justified in any action they deem necessary for self protection. Mobs have no rights; and I suggest that people who join mobs have abrogated their rights. I said in another post that given the postulated situation, I would take my chances in court; and we would see where the law draws the line.

  15. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Better to be judged by twelve, than carried by six.” Col. Jeff Cooper

  16. OM Says:

    GB:

    At least your recognize the realities of martial law, some others may not. Being prepared and having situational awareness aren’t a bad thing either.

  17. Conrad Says:

    Reynolds made another disturbing comment recently when he advised folks in Venezuela to be prepared to inflict violence on the FAMILIES of their governent oppressors. He’s still my first read every day, after Drudge, but he lately seems to be indulging in a bit of hyper-masculine bravado that I never noticed before.

  18. Matt_SE Says:

    I’m not so sure Reynolds didn’t say what he meant. There has been concerted effort to subordinate his site to the Trump camp, and I’ve seen him slipping into that sphere.

    Everyone not enthralled by Trump knows of what I speak. We’ve all seen people we respected change in the last year.

  19. FOAF Says:

    I’m not going to to defend Glenn’s tweet but as usual there is a gross double standard at work. Has Al Sharpton ever been made to apologize for having the blood of nearly a dozen people on his hands?

  20. SLR Says:

    and the left isn’t above pushing that you said something you did not… if they can get away with making it stick and causing damage. Phoney soldiers and such.

  21. Sergey Says:

    Nobody is obliged to pay by his life or seriously risk it for reckless or outright criminal behavior of other people. So, run them down is a valid response.

  22. Sergey Says:

    It is better to go to jail for violating the law than be lynched by a mob. That how Israeli soldiers serving in Judea and Samaria are informally advised after being formally instructed about ROE.

  23. Sergey Says:

    What the law says about some specific situation is one question, and important one, but what to do is another question, and it is not always “obey the law”.

  24. Sergey Says:

    “`It is false, ‘says Napoleon, `that we fired first with blank charge; it had been a waste of life to do that. Most false: the firing was with sharp and sharpest shot: to all men it was plain that here was no sport; the rabbets and plinths of Saint-Roch Church show splintered by it, to this hour. Singular: in old Broglie`s time, six years ago, this Whiff of Grapeshot was promised; but it could not be given then, could not have profited then. Now, however, the time is come for it, and the man; and behold, you have it; and the thing we specifically call French Revolution is blown into space by it, and become a thing that was!’”

  25. Sergey Says:

    OM: USA as a whole is not Iraq yet, but the towns taken by rioting mobs look on TV not much different, IMHO.

  26. Sarah Rolph Says:

    I love twitter. The key to enjoying twitter is to realize that it’s all in who you follow. If you go to the twitter platform at random you can find some ugly things and it’s easy to get the impression there’s nothing there. It does take some effort to build up a set of people worth following, but once you do that it can be a nice source of information.

    One of the great things about twitter is that it takes very little effort to change what you see. You don’t need permission from others to follow or unfollow them, and a lot of times they don’t even notice. So you just adjust your follows to the people whose tweets you appreciate. There are some people whose writing or thinking I like who I don’t follow on twitter because I don’t appreciate the way they tweet (too snarky, or too frequent, or too negative, or whatever).

    I like one-liners. There’s a long-standing one-liner tradition in humor, so a lot of what people try to do on twitter is be funny. Of course a lot of people are nowhere near as funny as they think, and a lot of one-liners are just snark. So just unfollow the unfunny people.

    One-liners are also a really great test of whether someone understands what they are talking about. There’s an old saying, You don’t really have an idea for a business unless you can write it on the back of my business card. In other words, when something has been fully thought through, it’s generally possibly to express it simply. Twitter thus helps identify good thinkers. It’s exciting to find even a few of those.

    And you can easily vary your sources of information depending on what’s up. I started following some good Iran analysts last year, for example, so now I have a lot more knowledge on that topic than I would otherwise.

    Twitter is also really great for connecting with people you admire. If you can make it clear in one line why you appreciate their work, they will appreciate that. It’s fun to have that access.

    Everyone uses twitter differently. I like to have conversations, when I can, and I like to learn. I have an adversary who uses it as a popularity contest, and she was furious when I tried to get into a conversation with her on twitter. She asked me to call her on the phone, and then said, all offended, “I have 18,000 followers on twitter!” As if that means I shouldn’t tarnish her brand with my truth.

    It’s quite clear that she purchased those followers, essentially, with a follow-back scheme–there are tools that do this for you, you tell them you want, say, environmentalist followers, and they follow everyone who follows the Sierra Club, etc., then culls the ones who don’t follow you back and follows a new set. I can tell my adversary built her following this way because very few of them actually engage with her. But that’s fine with her, she is just using it as a publicity channel.

    There are many different twitter experiences. You can design the one you want.

    Twitter is also an amazing platform for learning about people. For anyone you are interested in, you can learn what they think and care about pretty fast by reading their twitter stream and then looking at who they follow.

    And that’s a good way to find interesting people to follow, too–the people you admire may follow interesting people you didn’t know about.

  27. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Reynolds should have known, does know, that one’s enemies will insist you said something awful and their followers will pretend to believe it.
    Apparently his enemies include some of the U/T admin.

  28. CV Says:

    I am sure there are many, many people at his university who have had it in for Reynolds for a very long time. They see this as an opportunity to take him down, or at least muzzle him, and will do their best to leverage this tweet to do so. I assume he has tenure, but that might not provide the protection that it would for his colleagues on the left.

  29. OM Says:

    Sergey:

    The US is a very large country.

    Are the “towns” of Baltimore, Ferguson, Charlotte still under the control of the mob’s that have “taken” them. TV and the media are in the business of selling advertising content is optional. So perceptions and though powerful may have no ground truth. Stack up the bodies in Chicago; that may look more like a low intensity third world war zone, but no national coverage in the media, why?

    And to ramble on further, where is the “insurgency” in Tulsa? And who serves as the proxie for Iran in the US is Iraq, Mexico?, Canada? in the “USA is Iraq conjecture?” Just asking the obvious questions it seems to me. Appreciate your perspective in any event. Time to leave the soapbox. 🙂

  30. NeoConScum Says:

    Amen in Spades to your Twitter critiques, Neo!! More, I’m afraid, symptoms of the rampant social narcissism of the current age. I purchased the “Facebook & Twitter for Seniors for Dummies” book figuring it might help “get it” for both. Fell asleep within 10-pages and haven’t been back. My BAD. Unapologetically, I should add. The Donald’s inability to NOT pound out tweeties at midnight to those who’ve dared to criticize him says much about King Baby. (*To my sometimes horror, I’ll be voting for him.*)

  31. J.J. Says:

    Back in the bad old days of the anti-war 60s I was caught in three student protests where the anger and venom (They stole and burned our literature, spit at us, threw eggs at us, defaced our vehicles, and more) directed at my crew of Navy recruiters was enough that we considered it possible that they might overwhelm us and beat us up or worse. One was at Berkeley, one at San Jose State, and one at San Francisco State – all hotbeds of anti-war protest. It would have been nice to have had a weapon or a police presence, but we were unarmed and quite vulnerable. We were under strict orders to never react to the protestors because we were being filmed by the always present TV cameras. The protestors would have loved to have us react violently towards them. The fact that the TV cameras were there probably saved us in the end. The protest leaders were very smart about optics and narrative.

    We planned our visits after those experiences to have a quick and simple retreat plan in mind and coordination with the campus or local police, who were fed up with the student protests too. They were our allies in not letting the protestors drive us off campus.

    Since those days I have had a special place of contempt in my heart for demonstrators or protestors who violate other people’s civil rights. Protest is as American as apple pie, but when you block roads, threaten/do bodily harm, destroy property, and worse; you have become a criminal yourself.

    In Charlotte they are discouraging the criminality with overwhelming force (National guard, state police, and outside police forces) and it’s working. At least so far. It’s an outrage when people peacefully going about their business are forced to make life and death decisions because of criminals and anarchists.

  32. Ray Says:

    “all hotbeds of anti-war protest”
    Actually they weren’t anti-war protests, they were anti-draft. Did you notice that the protests ended when the draft ended? The writer of a Washington Post article accidently told the truth. He said he graduated from college in 1971 and he was terrified of the draft and afraid he would be sent to Vietnam. The protestors were just frightened they might be sent to Vietnam, that’s all. They lacked courage, to put it politely. As Winston Churchill said, ” Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend.”

  33. NeoConScum Says:

    Ray: Really..? Seriously..? Those millions of women/girls in the anti-VietNam protests were scared of the draft?? WOW, Neo, that what’cha were riled up about?! ROTF’ingFLMF’ingAO…!!
    ______________
    Thanks, Ray, for my Today Entry in my Daily Memoir entitled:
    “You Cannot Possibly Make This S*** Up!!”

  34. Stan on the Brazos Says:

    During the 6 day war in 1967 I got caught in a demo in Tripoli Libya while in my car. Fortunately nothing happened because the demonstrators were school kids about middle school age. But during the same time period 3 or 4 people were killed just a few blocks from where I was. From about 1961 to current only one American was killed in Tripoli demos and that was a lady.

  35. OM Says:

    JJ:

    I appreciate that you made the distinction between criminal behavior of members of a mob in a riot and did not leap to the “such criminals are no longer citizens response – deport them to Antarctica” to paraphrase.

    Hell the Turks just marched the Armenians out into the desert to die, they didn’t have to ship then to Antarctica.

    Summary execution of terrorists/unlawful combatants used to be the rule of war, now it would be rule 5.56 not rule 7.8 or rule 303. Exaggeration and hyperbole seems to have bled over from the election.

  36. Ray Says:

    If the Vietnam anti-war protesters were really against war on moral principle, why did they stop protesting? Why didn’t they demonstrate and protest the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1978 or the Chinese invasion of Vietnam in 1979? When the USSR invaded Afghanistan in December of 1979 nothing was heard from the supposed antiwar protestors. Same thing when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. These people were not really against war as they claimed.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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