After delivering the final address at the Liberty International World Conference in Puerto Rico, Friday night, I learned that there had been violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A dozen people required medical treatment after being sprayed with mace.
Then, after traveling to the airport with new friends from Kazakhstan, China, and socialist-torn Venezuela, I began my eight-hour trek home. I had the subject for my weekend column, I decided: the lack of reports of even one arrest.
Last I checked, dousing folks with a chemical agent was a crime.
“Men in combat gear, some waring [sic] bicycle and motorcycle helmets and carrying clubs and sticks and makeshift shields,” the Washington Post reported as I landed for my connecting flight home, “fought each other on the downtown streets, with little police interference.”
By the time I touched down in Washington, DC, James Field had driven his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and seriously wounding many others. A searing and sobering event.
My column, mostly written in transit, focused on the police response to political violence. From Trump rallies last year to the events at UC-Berkeley that “shut down” planned speeches . . . to attacks on Charles Murray and others at Middlebury College . . . to this Saturday’s events in Charlottesville, policing has been tepid at best.
People have a right to speak, to assemble, to protest, to let out a primal political scream. Our governments must protect that right, without regard to viewpoint, by preventing and policing against acts of violence.
When violence succeeds without consequences — garnering tons of attention for its perpetrators — we are likely to see more violence.
Government is not doing job one.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.