Some people believe that aggression is physical force and nothing else. From this they derive the notion that only physical violence should be prosecuted — or, more generally, retaliated against with force.
But it is obvious that some invasions of private property or personal space, with malice and anger and alarming unhinged-ness, are aggressive.
And should be prosecuted in law.
Take the current case of Timothy Trybus, who is testing a further point of law that especially concerns those of us strongly motivated to focus on initiated force.*
“It is pretty clear,” writes Jacob Sullum in Reason, that the man “broke the law when he harassed Mia Irizarry for wearing a T-shirt featuring the Puerto Rican flag at a park in Chicago last month.”
Mr. Trybus was drunk, and he “got in her face,” so to speak, challenging her in a not-unusual nationalistic/pseudo-patriotic/jingoistic fashion that seems old-fashioned and up-to-date Trumpian:
- “Why are you wearing that?”
- “This is America!”
- “If you’re an American citizen, you should not be wearing that shirt in America.”
Puerto Rico may not be a state, but . . . the proper reaction might have been to challenge the not-Saint Timothy to a bit of patriotic one-upmanship: “How can you be so un-American as to object to an American commonwealth flag?”
He’s now being prosecuted for a hate crime as well as assault. Though he may never have touched the woman, his aggressiveness is legally regarded as a threat of force.
Understandably. But if the hate crime thing sticks, will antifa and other obvious anti-American thugs be given that extra legal consideration in similar situations?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* Which, I confess, I like to think of as “all civilized people.” But I may be optimistic. Reducing violence is an almost universal desire, and the question of who started violence is nearly universal. But the focus is, well, in our times called “libertarian.”