Last weekend’s protests and counter-protests in Charlottesville, VA ended in violence and, unfortunately, death. What started out as aa discussion of whether to remove a monument of Confederate and US General Robert E. Lee turned into something more. Much more.
Set aside for a moment the question of whether we should pull down monuments of Confederate generals. The real issue in Charlottesville this weekend is one of race. The KKK and neo-Nazis decided that this was the place to make a statement. And in doing so, it showed the ugly side of fringe radicalism.
The biggest tragedy of the weekend came when a terrorist drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others. When asked if this was domestic terrorism, National Security Council head H.R. McMasters did not hesitate and said “Of course.” And Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a federal investigation.
I have seen it said–and it would be sort of cute if it weren’t so tragically true—that you can’t be a good American and a Nazi. We fought a whole war about that. And the whole world was involved.
Our First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech, no matter how repugnant (and no matter how much some people argue that they should be the judge of who should be able to speak). It is rightfully one of our most treasured freedoms. When those freedoms cross over into violence and murder, then those that cross that line ought to be brought mercilessly to justice. Let the murderous Nazi meet his deserved end.