During the Republican convention in St. Paul, many of us expected to see a level of violence similar to that of the Seattle WTO riots a few years back.  When that violence never materialized, we knew that law enforcement managed to penetrate the organizations of tinhorn terrorists who have to rely on bombs and rocks to make their arguments.  The trial of two conspirators has revealed one successful penetration that saved lives and property — and of course the nutcase Left in Texas considers the informant a traitor:

In a federal courtroom in Minneapolis this month, the public transformation of Brandon Darby of Austin will become complete.

In four years, he has gone from a never-trust-the-government activist to the confidential informant who helped the FBI arrest two Austin men on suspicion of building firebombs during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul in September.

“I feel like, as an activist, I played a direct role in stopping violence,” Darby, 32, said in his first interview on his role.

Darby was the government’s chief informant in the case against David McKay and Bradley Crowder. The two are scheduled to go on trial in U.S. District Court on Jan. 26 on accusations they built Molotov cocktails during the convention. They are being held without bail.

Regardless of Darby’s politics, he rightly saw political violence as illegitimate and un-American at its core.  Being an activist, Darby took action to protect lives and to allow for the peaceful exercise of democracy for those with whom he disagrees.  That is the essence of being an American, at least in a political sense.

Unsurprisingly, his former allies on the extreme Left don’t see it that way:

Darby’s admission shocked Austin’s activist community, which includes people who have worked with him on a variety of grass roots organizing efforts for years.

“Everyone that knew Brandon has gone through a whole range of emotions. Clearly, he’s betrayed the trust of the community, and all the communities he’s worked with,” said Lisa Fithian, a social-justice activist who worked with Darby in Austin.

Byron York wrote an enlightening column about Fithian in 2005, when she worked with Cindy Sheehan in the first months of her anti-Bush jeremiad and as it expanded to embrace Hugo Chavez and the radical Left.  She helped organize the WTO riots in 1999, as well as several other notable demonstrations.  Fithian gave her philosophy on political action in her own words:

And she was a tough-minded leader, not at all a peace-and-love type. Her specialty was action; she wanted to break in, cut through fences, and shut things down. “You don’t go to Fithian when you want to carry a placard,” the Times profile said. “You go to her when you want to make sure there are enough bolt cutters to go around.” Asked for a fuller explanation of her role in the protests, Fithian said, “When people ask me, ‘What do you do?’ I say I create crisis, because crisis is that edge where change is possible.”

That sometimes involves breaking things. In an July 2001 interview with The International Socialist Review, Fithian — who told NRO she’s been arrested “probably at least 30 times” — spoke of moving beyond the tradition of civil disobedience as practiced by Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr.; her inspiration, she explained, was not so much those leaders as the anarchist movement in Spain in the late 19th and early 20th century. And that meant different ways of doing things. “Nonviolence is a strategy. Civil disobedience is a tactic,” Fithian said. “Direct action is a strategy. Throwing rocks is a tactic.”

“I guess my biggest thing is that as people who are trying to create a new world, I do believe we have to dismantle or transform the old order to do that,” Fithian continued. “I just fundamentally don’t believe it will ever serve our interests as it’s currently constructed.”

We have a political system in which people can freely express ideas and work to gain support for them.  We hold elections at regular intervals to give the people an opportunity to select the leaders that best suit the will of the electorate.  Fithian knows her radical anarcho-socialist views can never win people through intellectual argument, mostly because they’re ridiculous.  Instead, she wants to destroy the system so that she can impose her own ideas on a vast majority of unwilling citizens by force, intimidation, and terrorism.

Between Darby and Fithian, I’m pretty sure I know who qualifies more as a traitor. (h/t: HA reader Gregg G)