Yesterday we all saw the news of what happened when Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk attempted to have breakfast at a restaurant in Philadelphia. At the time I didn’t feel particularly inspired to write anything about it because it just all seemed so predictable at this point. But I noticed one headline from the Independent in Britain this morning which caught my attention because it contained such an obvious, glaring error in the headline. “Candace Owens chased out of restaurant by left-wing protesters.”
Why are we sticking with this idea that any group of people who decide to gang up on someone they disagree with are “protesters?” Since we’re all supposedly in the business of demanding honesty these days, far better to take the approach that John Sexton did yesterday and just call them what they are… a left-wing mob.
The Owens/Kirk incident was hardly an isolated event. We’ve all seen what’s happened to White House officials recently when they show up in public on their own time. Whipped into a frenzy by Maxine Waters’ barely disguised calls for violence, this is becoming the new normal. But here’s a few clues for the oblivious. If you are engaged in blasting a bullhorn inches from somebody’s ear or dumping drinks on them, you are not “protesting.” That is technically a battery. If you are banding together to utter “primal screams” you are not engaging in “speech.” That’s a sign of someone who is either in a strange form of therapy or badly in need of a therapist. Showing up at a gathering with your face covered in black rags and carrying a baseball bat doesn’t make you an activist. It makes you an armed thug.
Chasing people down in public for no purpose other than to make them miserable is not a message. It’s not a call to political action. It’s not an effort to promote an alternate policy. It’s harassment, plain and simple. And when large groups of people get together to engage in this sort of toxic behavior, we already have a word for that. It’s a mob.
I noticed a number of people this morning pointing to an article by Hamilton Nolan titled, “Someone is going to get killed.” But he’s talking about reporters. While it’s true that some conservative mobs at rallies have been yelling at reporters lately (a practice which needs to come to an end), nobody to my knowledge has actually attempted to kill a reporter during all this Trump era angst. But somebody has shot up a baseball field. And mobs of Antifa have engaged in violence and committed assaults on actual, peaceful demonstrators. I agree with Nolan that sooner or later, somebody really is going to get killed, but we’re fooling ourselves if we limit the conversation to just members of the media.
We’ve slipped into an era of mob rules and history clearly shows us where that road ends. So let’s put an end to this polite labeling of abusive gangs doing what we saw during the attack on Owens and Kirk. They’re not demonstrators. They’re not protesters. That was a mob and we should call it what it is.