The main blame for the violence and rioting that happened in Charlottesville doesn’t belong to the permitted protesters. And it doesn’t belong to the unpermitted counter-protesters either. Here are three reasons why it belongs to the local government that issued the permit, and by legal extension, the county and state governments that allowed the permit:
▪ The strong prohibitions against weapons-carry and torch-carry that should have been in the permit apparently were not in there.
▪ The governments behind the permit that were duty bound, and should have been ready to strictly enforce compliance with its conditions by the protesters, were either unprepared, weak-willed in their execution, or both.
▪ The governments behind the permit that were duty bound, and should have been ready to unequivocally protect the free-speech rights of the protesters against any counter-protests, were either unprepared, weak-willed in their execution, or both.
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President Trump had it right when he observed that, no matter how repellent it may be, everybody has the right to press their cause in public. I just wish he’d have said the rest: That the wonderful freedom of speech rights we so prize here carry certain good behavior responsibilities for the listener as well as the speaker.
Brad Frederic, Paso Robles