Disclaimer: I'm still a free speech fundamentalist. If some idiot racist knothead wants to get up on a soapbox or a stage and preach his nonsense, I believe he has a right to do just that and that anyone who attempts to forcibly stop him is at least as much an enemy of humanity as he is. On the other hand, there's a good chance I will be found standing nearby with a sign pointing out that he's an idiot, racist, and knothead, which I also have a right to do.
Over the last few months I've been told by some -- including some I respect -- that the above position is too lenient, and that to the extent that these idiot racist knotheads are allowed to organize unmolested, they are being empowered to actually pursue their actual goals, e.g. boxcars and gas chambers.
There's a respect in which I'm beginning to come around to the possibility that the people telling me that are at least partially right and that I've been at least partially wrong. Here's my current thinking:
In February, Augustus Invictus publicly threatened to murder his political opponents (between the 7 and 8 minute mark in this video):
A few weeks ago, Augustus Invictus announced, in conspiracy with others, a "March on Charlottesville" to "Unite The Right":
The night before the scheduled march, Augustus Invictus announced, in words and graphics, that his intention was no longer just to hold a "march on" Charlottesville but to fight "The Battle of" Charlottesville:
The people named on the poster above, including Augustus Invictus, came to Charlottesville with an army, looking for a fight, and they got one. One of them even strapped on some testosterone and actually did what Augustus Invictus and his co-conspirators have been threatening, both explicitly and implicitly, to do, murdering a 32-year-old woman in the street. Of course, now they're pulling their typical identity politics schtick about how they're really the victims in all this, but the record is pretty clear.
Now, one of of Augustus Invictus's co-conspirators, Richard Spencer, is coming to my town (I'll be surprised if Augustus doesn't show up as well).
I remain a free speech fundamentalist. I respect Spencer's right to babble nonsense in public and will, to the extent I'm able, defend that right.
But I rather expect that he's going to show up with a gaggle of morons in tow, sporting their gang colors and implements -- helmets, baseball bats, swastika flags, etc. -- and looking for a fight.
I plan to be among the natives waiting here to greet said gaggle of morons. And based on what happened in Charlottesville, I'm of the eminently reasonable belief that they intend to engage in the use of unlawful force and the commission of forcible felonies, and that they represent a threat of imminent death or great bodily harm to others present.
Gee, that language sounds familiar. I wonder where I've heard it before?
Florida Statute 776.012: Use or threatened use of force in defense of person
(1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.
(2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
If it's trouble they're looking for, they probably shouldn't expect to get off quite so smart and easy in Gainesville as they did in Charlottesville.
Note: I'm told that the word "climbdown" in the title may be unfamiliar or, due to multiple definitions, confusing. I'm using it to mean "a retraction of a previously held position."