Saturday, October 22, 2005

Racism making strides in Toledo

I’m not normally one to use profanity, at least not in print, but I have to make an exception for this post starting with: What the fuck?

For those not familiar with the story, here’s a basic run down. A neo-nazi group called the National Socialist Movement, or NSM, had plans to march in Toledo, Ohio in, what they claimed was protest of black gangs targeting local whites. They were met by a larger group of locals protesting their presence. Before the march could even begin the count-protest started throwing stuff at the NSM protesters and the situation escalated eventually degenerating into a riot. (http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/10/15/nazi.march/?section=cnn_topstories)

Where to begin with this one.

Okay, first off, as much as the police deserve credit for containing the riot, which they did very successfully, city officials deserve some blame for creating the situation. While all Americans have the right of free assembly and free speak, the Supreme Court long ago determined that free isn’t quite free. That’s why we can have laws against things like inciting to riot. City officials also have the right to establish march routes and rally sites. Knowing full well that a racist group was going to march through their city they allowed a situation to develop that, where it to have happened in a different section, say one further from the gang population they were protesting, would have been an incident involving fewer than a hundred people rather than the thousands it became. I’ve been in several marches and rallies in New York City and it’s common fair for them to occur far from the locations the organizers intended. In all fairness, it’s Toledo, Ohio, protests simply aren’t that common there. With all honesty, a lack of recognition and mismanagement of a potentially volatile situation simply isn’t all that surprising.

Now, on to the NSM. What exactly they thought they were doing marching through a predominantly black area in protest of gang violence I don’t understand. On their face, their actions were inflammatory and destructive. I’m also adding in pointless if their stated goal was their goal. Maybe someone can explain to me how a march and a rally can get gangs to throw up their hands and stop attacking people, but I doubt it. Maybe they hoped to draw attention to the issue, more likely they meant to exacerbate it and draw in members. If so they did a bang up job.

The counter protesters were, perhaps the most atrocious. Members of the International Socialist Organization and the One People’s Project distributing items to the crowd to throw at the marchers and police goes beyond inappropriate to simply disgusting. This is the United States and everyone has the right to speak and be heard, even white supremacist racist assholes like the NSM. They speak their minds, you speak yours and democracy flourishes. Start throwing shit and behaving like animals and rights that people fought and died to ensure start to erode. That’s the reason why there are limits on free speech and free assembly, because idiots like these can’t use them responsibly.

Finally, on to the rioters. The most remarkable thing is I’m sure some people actually ask “what were they thinking.” Hint, they’re a rioting mob, they weren’t thinking. Mobs don’t think, they break stuff, beat people up and try to migrate, they don’t have goals. Still, to everyone in Toledo that participated in the riot, I want to thank you, with dripping sarcasm and more than a little anger, for furthering the cause of racists everywhere. Thanks to each and every one of you, next time the NSM chooses to march, maybe they’ll have a few more members.

So bravo to everyone for causing massive property damage and fucking it all up. Thank you to the city and the protesters and the counter-protesters and especially the rioters. I guess living in a civil society was getting a bit boring for you.

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