Sunday, June 26, 2016

White Supremacists Attacked in Sacramento

Things got violent and bloody in downtown Sacramento this afternoon not more than five miles away from my house. A white supremacist group assembled in front of the state capitol building to demonstrate white power or some such idea, and they were met by a large group of protesters who physically clashed with them.

I don't know all the details, but as of this writing, I understand that at least five people were transported to the hospital with stab wounds and/or other injuries, and two of the victims were said to be in serious if not critical condition. I've also read unconfirmed reports that the victims in question were all protesters stabbed and/or clubbed by the white supremacist demonstrators in self-defense.

In any case, the video I've seen shows quite the melee. It took state police on horses and city police to break it up. And in one video, I saw a young Asian woman representing the protesters triumphantly saying words to the effect that white supremacists aren't welcome to march in Sacramento and that if they do, they'll be turned away forcefully if need be.

As you might expect, Facebook abounded with a spectrum of opinion about the confrontation. Some blamed Donald Trump for creating a climate of anger and hatred. Others said the dastardly supremacists got what they deserved, with one of my "friends" calling the female Asian protester a "heroine" and saying, "To arms if necessary." Others said that while they detested the white supremacist message, they believed that everyone has a right to nonviolently express their opinion without being physically attacked. And then there were those who went further and excoriated the evil liberals who think only they have a right to free speech and that everyone who disagrees with them should be silenced in any and every way necessary. Before you knew it, the commenters were busy insulting each other. Suffice it to say that these kinds of discussions seldom bring out the best in humankind, and this was no exception.

I agree with those who said that the skinhead supremacists had a right to march nonviolently without being assaulted and battered. But I can also empathize with those who say that some views are so repulsive and provocative that they shouldn't be tolerated. I admit that a part of me felt a hint of glee that those odious supremacists were attacked. For not only were some of them injured, but the police prevented them from marching and dispersed them after the violence broke out. But another part of me felt saddened that people were seriously hurt by the violence and that human beings can't disagree with one another without turning physically and verbally violent about it.

Next time, if there is a next time, let the white supremacists march, and either just ignore them or hand them flowers and figuratively shower them with love bombs. But don't give them any grounds for legitimizing their derogation of non-whites and their liberal supporters.

But what if they were the local pastor and his congregation at a gay parade shouting and waving signs to the effect that all gays should be rounded up by the federal government and shot by firing squad? Or what if they were NAMBLA members demonstrating for the right of men to have legal sex with young boys? Or what if it was a group of white skinheads in Ferguson, Missouri marching down the street yelling "Ni**ers" when race relations there were already running very hot?

I guess a principled person would say that they should have that right no matter how provocative their demonstration happens to be, but one would nevertheless be hard-pressed to blame protesters for posing very vociferous if not physically violent opposition to them.

I just hope that if this sort of thing has to happen somewhere else, it doesn't happen anymore in my fair city.

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