After left-wing rioters attacked Donald Trump supporters following a campaign stop in San Jose yesterday—beating some of them bloody—Vox editor Emmett Rensin took to Twitter to justify violence against them.
I’ve made it perfectly clear that I don’t have any affinity for Donald Trump. The party-hopping New York businessman and reality show personality hides deep ignorance about both foreign and domestic policy with bombast and he routinely makes bold claims, only to reverse them within days or even hours.
Not agreeing with a political candidate, however, does not justify using violence against them, or their supporters.
If Rensin would dust off the First Amendment, he might find some interesting concepts contained inside it.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
American citizens have a right to both free expression of their ideas and the right to assemble with like-minded people at events, such as political rallies. This is what Donald Trump’s supporters were doing in San Jose yesterday when they were violently attacked by left-wing thugs.
Mr. Rensin and his fellow leftists have every right to assemble and protest outside of a Trump event, using their First Amendment rights to assemble and their right to free speech.
The do not have a right to riot and commit violence against their fellow Americans.
I fear that Emmett Rensin’s encouragement of violence is going to lead to more assaults and batteries by left-wing radicals upon supporters of Mr. Trump and his allies, and that someone is going to be seriously injured or killed as a result.
Should that eventuality come to pass, you can expect Trump supporters to feel—with good reason—that these rioters may pose a lethal force threat.
If a Trump supporter being attacked in a vehicle decides to then punch the gas and drive through the rioters to escape, injuries incurred by the rioters will be on them, and may be justified in the eyes of the law. If these rioters attack someone who is on foot, throwing or swinging impact weapons against people merely attempting to leave a political rally, like this…
…then Trumps supporters may have the legal justification to deploy their own weapons, up to and including firearms.
Vox and other media outlets that have been encouraging these attacks will bear the blame when people on both sides get injured or killed as a result of their support for riots.
It hardly surprises me.
These leftists so intent on attacking the Second Amendment have no tolerance for the First Amendment either.
Update: In a rare moment of moral clarity, Vox has suspended Rensin.
We at Vox do not take institutional positions on most questions, and we encourage our writers to debate and disagree. But direct encouragement of riots crosses a line between expressing a contrary opinion and directly encouraging dangerous, illegal activity. We welcome a variety of viewpoints, but we do not condone writing that could put others in danger.
In this case, Emmett’s tweets violated Vox’s standards and Emmett has been suspended as a consequence.