Violence: The wrong way to counter a white supremacist rally

Protesters who gathered to counter Neo-Nazis become a Mob
Protesters who gathered to counter Neo-Nazis become a Mob

April 17, 2010: Protesters who gathered to counter Neo-Nazis become a Mob (Photo credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

The fact that the anti-White Supremacy crowd decided to beat down a few people who may or may not have been Neo-Nazis is just awful.

Just before noon, a bare-chested, middle-aged man with Nazi insignias tattooed to his chest and back entered a crowd of counter-demonstrators near the corner of First and Spring streets.

Counter-demonstrators surrounded him, chanting, “Nazi scum.” One pushed a sign in his face and another jostled him. He was bobbing his head mockingly as the crowd chanted, when pushing suddenly broke out and about a dozen protesters began showering him with punches and kicks as he fell. The wood handle of one sign was smashed so hard into his back it snapped.

Other protesters tried to protect the man. “You can’t fight hate with hate,” shouted one.

After about a 15-second beating, an undercover police officer began shouting and flashed his badge. He pulled the man, bleeding from a gaping wound in the back of his neck, from the mob and past the yellow tape blocking the protesters.

via LAPD enters tactical alert as white supremacist rally prepares to start | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times.

For the paranoid, everyone but our fault white supremacists, this incident will be used as evidence that a race war is brewing between whites and non-whites. Another LA Times update from later today describes even more violence:

Several fights preceded the appearance of the supremacist group. One involved a man holding a sign with flames and a swastika. The man, who was carrying a bullhorn, was suddenly rushed by a mob of counter- demonstrators and beaten near the corner of Spring and 1st streets.

The man, who appeared to be in his 30s, was punched in the face and kicked for about 20 seconds by protesters, many of them wearing bandannas.

About a dozen police in riot gear rushed from near City Hall, running straight into the center of the mob.

“Police!” members of the mob screamed, running down Spring Street.

Once police broke up the mob, the man with the sign began running south on Spring Street. One man caught up with him and slugged him in the face; he collapsed and his face hit the curb. He was quickly surrounded by a mob again until police caught up and pushed the counter-protesters away with their batons.

The man was then escorted away by police as blood spilled from the back of his head.

via White Supremacists stir up oppositon on the lawn of Los Angeles City Hall | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times.

The men being beating in any of these incidences may indeed be bigots, but they have a right to free speech and not to be beaten. We, as Americans who would in earnest like to strive for a better country, have a responsibility to keep our anger in check and channel our passion into constructive activity. Mob violence is tyrant’s replacement for justice. Kudos to the protesters that tried to stop the beat down, but those protesters won’t be remembered.

The wire images fit into the white supremacist/militia paranoid narrative of yellow, brown and black thirsting for the blood of white people. The bigots won this day.