About That “Punching Nazis” Thing…
Alleged Nazi Richard Spencer got punched last month. Then rioters at UC Berkeley beat people for going to see conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopolous, who is apparently also a Nazi. Since Milo’s a Nazi, the people who wanted to see Milo must also have been Nazis. One of the Nazis who wanted to see Milo was beaten unconscious, others were bloodied. For the last month, there’s been tons of Nazi-punching going on.
Who likes to see Nazis gets punched? Everyone, right? Well, not exactly. It turns out, punching Nazis isn’t as good an idea as one might think.
Before I get into why it’s not such a good idea, you should know I pledged my life to defending America from enemies, including Nazis, for 27 years. Some relatives I’m most proud of spent their formative years shooting Nazis. In our current political climate anyone who speaks out against punching Nazis is likely to be called a Nazi himself, but I actually hate Nazis. Not only have I studied World War II and the Holocaust for years and know what horrible crimes Nazis actually committed, I’ve also heard Holocaust survivors speak, visited Holocaust museums in America and Europe, and personally argued with neo-Nazis. I recognize that Nazis think they’re inherently superior to me, which kind of gets on my nerves. So before some “antifa” (“anti-fascist” rioter) gets all jacked up and calls me a Nazi, they should know that Hispanic Nazis fall under the category of “people unclear on the concept.”
Since I don’t care much for Nazis, it might seem surprising that I don’t think they should be punched. To be more precise, I don’t mind punching actual Nazis; the problem is, the people getting punched lately aren’t Nazis. Richard Spencer is in fact a white nationalist, but he doesn’t actually do anything except talk. Milo Yiannapolous is a gay Jew with an affinity for black men, which would have gotten him killed three times over in Nazi Germany. The people who went to his event at Berkeley weren’t Nazis at all, they were just regular people who wanted to hear a dissenting opinion. One was just a young girl who didn’t agree with the mob. She wasn’t punched, she got pepper sprayed for it.
And therein lies the problem. When we cheer a violent rioter because “he punched a Nazi!”, without having any actual evidence the victim was a Nazi, what we’re really saying is, “It’s okay to use violence on people because I think I know their opinions, and I’ve decided some opinions aren’t allowed.”
But hey, Nazi opinions shouldn’t be allowed. Right?
Yes, they should. Nazis suck, and Nazi opinions suck, but we live in America. ANY opinion is allowed; not every opinion is valid, not every opinion is respectable, not every opinion is or should be safe from well-deserved ridicule. But an opinion – ANY opinion – is harmless. In America, we don’t beat people up for their opinions.
There are plenty of opinions I’m not fond of. I don’t like communists, since they murdered more people than Nazis ever even tried to. But if I encounter these people, I won’t beat them for their incredibly stupid opinions.
Unlike many fringe leftists, I don’t care for the idea of killing every last white man, woman and child. At least one well-known member of the New Black Panther Party, on the other hand, has advocated white genocide on video on at least two occasions. So should we punch any NBPP member we see, since by association they advocate genocide?
Richard Spencer advocated “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to create a white nation. Just having that opinion means you should get punched, right? Oddly enough, a current major American political figure once advocated the creation of a black nation in the American south, with the caveat that “peaceful whites would not be compelled to move away,” which was awfully nice of him. But since he didn’t define “peaceful,” and we see that much of the left considers language itself “violence,” it’s not much of a stretch to see whites with wrong opinions ethnically cleansed from the black nation.
Think this modern political figure is some far-left loon? Nope, it’s Keith Ellison, in the running for chair of the Democratic National Committee. Since he advocated what sounds like ethnic cleansing, is anyone going to sucker punch him like they did Richard Spencer?
“Nazis” are not the only people who say incredibly stupid or offensive things. But once you decide to beat people for being Nazis, without evidence they’re Nazis, your definition of what constitutes a Nazi tends to broaden. As we’ve heard repeatedly during and after the election, Spencer is a Nazi. Since he supports Trump, Trump must be a Nazi. Since Trump is a Nazi, anyone who supports him must be a Nazi. And since Nazis can be justifiably beaten in the streets, about half the country has now become legitimate targets for violence in the eyes of the radical left.
This violence has already gotten so bad, Trump protesters literally set a Trump supporter on fire the day after the inauguration. But since it’s okay to use violence against Nazis, which includes any Trump supporter, my ears are still ringing from the left’s deafening silence about a Trump protester literally setting someone on fire for their political opinion.
Two Trump supporters were beaten unconscious by leftist mobs within three days. And yet UC Berkeley students are writing essays justifying violence against unarmed people solely for their opinions as “self defense,” and protest organizers are proudly calling for even more violence against people for their opinions.
Long story short, 1) Americans shouldn’t get beaten for political opinions even if they’re Nazis, and 2) the people currently getting beaten aren’t Nazis anyway. I’d point out that the same liberal/leftist/democratic side of the aisle that was justifiably aghast at any violence by a Trump supporter is too busy watching the Flintstones or something to loudly condemn the mass violence, arson and looting being committed by radical leftists, but that’s too easy. So instead, I’ll do the radical leftist rioters who like to punch Nazis a favor, and tell them this:
Mob violence against people for having forbidden opinions is great fun and all, until your forbidden opinion is the one facing the angry mob. So stop it. Stop covering your face, joining up with your gang and beating up innocent people because you don’t like what they think. This isn’t just a moral issue, it’s a practical one. I’ve watched what you people do, and to be honest you suck at fighting.
Don’t get me wrong; you’re great at being cowards and forming large groups to attack individual unarmed people, you’re highly skilled at breaking windows, you’re proficient at arson, but you suck at actual fighting. And since your groups are made up of people who hate guns and hate the military, you don’t have armed, trained people experienced in the use of violence.
But your targets do. The people you consider Nazis are far more likely to be armed, trained, and prepared to fight than you are. And the more incidents of mass violence you commit, the more likely regular Americans are to fight back. Those regular Americans will be better at fighting than you are. The only reason you people haven’t been beaten down en masse in the streets is because regular Americans are following the rules and expecting the police to stop you. It won’t always be that way. Some day, probably very soon, you’ll encounter people who are intimately familiar with the kind of violence you think you’re capable of. And you won’t win.
“Antifas” and “Nazi punchers” are currently marching toward today’s equivalent of the L.A. Riot’s “roof Koreans,” people who didn’t just roll over and take it when rioters tried to loot and burn their businesses.
Unlike way too many people on the fringes of both the right and left, I don’t want to see violence in the street against any American citizen for their political opinion. I don’t want to see Trump protesters assaulted at his rallies, or Trump’s supporters beaten unconscious by black-masked rioters who violently oppose pretty much anyone who doesn’t think Lenin is the mother of all thats holy. So please, if you support beating up “Nazis”/aka “regular American citizens with opinions you don’t like,” think about what you’re doing and what response you’re likely to provoke.
Chris Hernandez is a 22 year police officer, former Marine and retired National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and Iron Mike magazine and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve, Line in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).
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