According to The Blaze, a group of President Donald Trump’s supporters attempting a political march barely made it two blocks before they were violently attacked by left wing radical associated with the so-called “Antifa”or “anti-fascist” movement in Berkeley, California on Saturday.
A small riot erupted Saturday afternoon in Berkeley, California, after violent protesters confronted pro-Trump demonstrators and allegedly began a confrontation that turned violent.
The confrontation occurred on a day when Americans across the country held peaceful demonstrations in support of President Donald Trump, free speech and America.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the pro-Trump demonstrators participating in the “March 4 Trump” rally began marching at 2 p.m. PST Saturday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. Just several blocks up the road, they were met by counter-protesters dressed in masks and black clothing who began the confrontation.
Photos and videos posted to Twitter and other social media showed fistfights, shouting matches, people being beat with sticks and signs, people pulling hair and some counter-protesters pepper-spraying the pro-Trump marchers, including an elderly man.
I was then asked on Twitter whether the sort of violent attacks leftists keep committing against President Trump’s supporters during protests could justify the use of deadly force.
I then watched several of the videos posted to social media in the linked story from The Blaze, including the following two.
— Aaron Davis (@BaronBavis) March 4, 2017
— Oakland Photo Vault (@BlackKangoPhoto) March 5, 2017
I also saw numerous videos and still photos from other social media posts that suggested the outbreaks of violence shown here were fairly representative of the clash.
Both sides came to this incident prepared for a fight. Heavy wooden tool handles were thinly disguised as protest signs, when they were clearly brought as clubs. Protestors on both sides also went shopping at “Shields R Us.” Many wore padding, eye protection, and were clearly aware they were walking into a situation where the probability of mutual combat melees breaking out was high.
— Aaron Davis (@BaronBavis) March 4, 2017
Now, compare the melee-type skirmishing we see in these (and other) videos of the Berkeley attacks by the ironically-fascist “antifa” protestors against what California says justifies the use of deadly force.
The defendant is not guilty of (murder/ [or] manslaughter/ attempted murder/ [or] attempted voluntary manslaughter) if (he/ she) was justified in (killing/attempting to kill) someone in (self-defense/ [or] defense of another). The defendant acted in lawful (self-defense/ [or] defense of another) if:
1. The defendant reasonably believed that (he/she/ [or] someone else/ [or] <insert name or description of third party>) was in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily injury [or was in imminent danger of being (raped/maimed/robbed/ <insert other forcible and atrocious crime>)];
2. The defendant reasonably believed that the immediate use of deadly force was necessary to defend against that danger;
3. The defendant used no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.
Belief in future harm is not sufficient, no matter how great or how likely the harm is believed to be. The defendant must have believed there was imminent danger of great bodily injury to (himself/herself/ [or] someone else). Defendant’s belief must have been reasonable and (he/she) must have acted only because of that belief. The defendant is only entitled to use that amount of force that a reasonable person would believe is necessary in the same situation. If the defendant used more force than was reasonable, the [attempted] killing was not justified.
When deciding whether the defendant’s beliefs were reasonable, consider all the circumstances as they were known to and appeared to the defendant and consider what a reasonable person in a similar situation with similar knowledge would have believed. If the defendant’s beliefs were reasonable, the danger does not need to have actually existed.
During these scuffles, there were punches and kicks thrown as small groups attacked individuals with punches and kicks, before other people would swarm back to protest those who were down. There were sticks and tool handles used as clubs and even held defensively as thrusting spears (below).
At no point did I see any attacks that I think a reasonable person would interpret as the kind of assault that put anyone on either side in “imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily injury.” These were scuffles among heated political opponents, and during these fights, I saw nothing that would justify introducing firearms into the scene from a legal, ethical, or moral standpoint.
Both sides acted childishly and violently, but there was no violence that came close to justifying the use if firearms to stop a deadly force attack. Put simply, the fights I saw weren’t nearly as bad as bar fights I’ve seen in real life.
These were mostly incidents of very brief mutual combat where no one was seriously hurt.
No, introducing firearms to such a scenario is not justified. It’s frankly stupid, as you’re much more likely to hit innocent bystanders downrange than you are likely to hit the person you’re shooting at in such dense crowds.
Note: The male Trump supporter with the “V” shield and broken tool handle being used as a spear was arrested shortly after this picture was taken.