If we can’t unite against rioting, we can’t unite at all

In the United States of America, rioting to stop free speech is unlawful and reprehensible. Period. Full stop. It’s not “understandable.” It’s not excusable. There should be no tolerance and no sympathy for people who pepper spray young women, beat bystanders senseless, and tear up property because they’re mad that another human being is speaking.

Last night’s spectacle in Berkeley, Calif., was disgraceful. In response to a planned speech by Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos, a “peaceful” protest turned rapidly violent, and by late evening on the East Coast, television and Twitter were filling up with images of people and property being attacked by black-clad thugs, part of the so-called “black bloc” and “antifa” (anti-fascist) movements.

For those who don’t know, the black bloc refers to the practice of gangs of rioters who show up to protests clad entirely in black (often armed with bats, Molotov cocktails, and other weapons), hide their identities, and move as a group to attack people, destroy property, and intimidate the public. A media that’s intent on whitewashing their growth and influence often refer to these gangs as just a “few dozen” malcontents, the tiny few who pollute otherwise-peaceful movements.

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