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.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Tribune
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