Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Federal Judge Bears Some Responsibility of Violence in Charlottesville

But That Does Not Exonerate the Bigots and Whose Hatred Caused the Violence

There is a lot of blame to go around for the violence and deaths in Charlottesville.  Almost all of the blame goes to the individual who drove a car into a crowd, killing one person and injuring others.  And that individual shares all of that blame with the KKK, Nazi’s and other bigoted haters who wanted to spew their hatred onto the American scene.  They showed up armed and dressed as militia.  They did not come in peace, they came to fight.

A small part of the blame goes to the people responsible for public safety.  No not the men and women on the front lines, they bravely did their duty.  But their superiors did not adequately train them in how to control a situation like the one that happened in Charlottesville.

And totally unreported by the news media is the role Federal Judge Glen Conrad played in bringing about a situation that was conducive to violence.  See, the city of Charlottesville recognized that the protests and counter protests could clash. So they wisely decided to move the protest of the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee away from a restricted, crowded park near downtown Charlottesville to a much larger part about a mile away.  This would allow police and others to control the protesters and keep them from attacking those who wanted to peacefully counter protest.

Incredibly though, a federal judge denied the city that request.  He was of the opinion that moving the protest would violate the free speech rights of the protesters, that the city’s decision to move the protest was not to protect the public but to somehow punish the content of the protester’s speech.

“Based on the current record, the court concludes that Kessler has shown that he will likely prove that the decision to revoke his permit was based on the content of his speech. Kessler's assertion in this regard is supported by the fact that the City solely revoked his permit. . . but left in place the permits issued to counter-protestors.

The disparity in treatment between the two groups with opposing views suggests that the defendants' decision to revoke Kessler's permit was based on the content of his speech rather than other neutral factors that would be equally applicable to Kessler and those protesting against him. This conclusion is bolstered by other evidence, including communications on social media indicating that members of City Council oppose Kessler's political viewpoint. At this stage of the proceedings,· the evidence cited by Kessler supports the conclusion that the City's decision constitutes a content-based restriction of speech.”

The was absurd to the nth degree.  The city did not actually revoke the permit; they modified it to move the protest to a safer place.  The city did not deny Kessler and his merry band of bigots the right to speak.  They did not attempt to control what they would say.  They simply wanted to preserve the right of free speech by moving to a better place.  The fact that they let the counter protests remain where the original speech was planned supported the idea that the city was interest in keeping the peace.

Events tragically proved the city right and the judge wrong.  The deaths and injuries should forever be on his conscience.

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