Column by Connor Jaschen, Editor-in-chief
The ugly face of hate has reared its head. No one can defend these people and no one can defend the violence inflicted – violence that escalated into a terrorist attack, killing a woman and leaving dozens others injured.
Let’s not fool ourselves – this is not a new era of racism or white supremacy. It has been here, lurking in the shadows, crawling around at night like a roach. To think that this kind of ignorance was ever gone from this country is simply naïve.
To me, it was no surprise that these extremists were rallying in the light of day, tiki torches in one hand and batons in the other. In fact, it has been happening more often than we care to admit.
Take Berkley, California, home of the original free speech movement. In the past year, University of California Berkley has at times turned into a warzone, where far-right nationalists clashed with masked ANTIFA rioters and hundreds of innocents were caught in the middle.
For those of you that were surprised by the outright armament of white nationalist protesters, just take a look at what’s gone on at the UC Berkley campus. Berkley is where protesters first began coming armed to fight – in all fairness, they had to. The police were told, uniformly, to stand down.
If it sounds like insanity, that’s because it is. When ANTIFA protesters gathered against Anne Coulter, a Molotov cocktail was thrown. The police simply contained the danger, rather than squashing it.
In the following days, hundreds gathered and the violence was clearly documented.
ANTIFA faced off against those they called Nazis. They threw glass bottles. They tossed M-80’s into crowds. They beat people over the head with sticks. And the police resigned to containing the violence because the administration of UC Berkley didn’t want a public relations crisis if they came down too hard on the students.
This containment philosophy has worked only in creating an environment of violence with no legal ramifications. Being pepper sprayed by the other guys is just the norm now. If you get hit, you better hit back, because the police aren’t coming.
Justice has gone by the wayside and retaliation lays in the hands of a mob of angry people.
We’ve created a new standard of violence where you prepare for a protest like you prepare for a war. Of course the violence has escalated. By allowing violence against extremists, we have justified their own violence in return – we’ve given them a reason to claim ‘self-defense’ and show up with sticks and stones to hurt those they’ve always wanted to.
Hatred cannot defeat hatred, much like violence only begets more violence. ‘Punch a Nazi’ is a slogan only for the morally irresponsible and intellectually dishonest.
Violence falls upon the shoulders of those who committed and supported the violence. The violence in our own rhetoric – especially that we consider acceptable ‘because at least he’s punching the bad guy’ – falls solely upon ourselves.