Letter to the Editor: Political violence has indeed come from "many sides"

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

To the Editor:

Jesse Salomon's sensationalistic letter about Charlottesville is wrong on so many levels.

Salomon calls Heather Heyer a "pro-democracy activist". Heyer's death was tragic, but she was at the scene as part of an anti-First Amendment mob, there to deprive others of their right to free speech. To me, that's kind of the opposite of "pro-democracy". The free speech in question was vile and hateful, but it's still protected by the First Amendment - just look up "Skokie Nazi march".

Salomon condemns President Trump for mentioning violence "on many sides". Where has Salomon been for the last 2 years? There's been plenty of political violence, and it has indeed come from many sides, and frankly, most of it has come from Salomon's side - the so-called "progressive left". A few examples:

In June, a Bernie supporter shot up a Republican baseball practice, nearly killing Representative Steve Scalise.

In May, a violent leftist mob forced professor Bret Weinstein to leave the Evergreen State campus in fear for his life.

Multiple conservative speakers, including Heather MacDonald, Charles Murray, and Ann Coulter, have had their speeches shut down by violent mobs.

In Portland, the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade was cancelled, because organizers received this email: "bar the Multnomah County Republicans or we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade and drag and push those people out."

Black Lives Matter chanted "What do we want? DEAD COPS!", and Micah Johnson, who "wanted to kill white people", gunned down 5 Dallas cops as they were guarding protesters at an anti-police brutality march.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. So please, Mr. Salomon, get off your high horse and remove the plank from your own eye before complaining about the speck of dust in the President's eye.

Maggie Wilson


Anonymous,  August 15, 2017 at 11:55 PM  

This is the text of the first amendment. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." It prevents the government making laws to abridge free speech. It does not grant people the right to say things without facing any consequences, such as counter-protests. Heather Heyer was not "anti-first amendment". She was there exercising her right to free speech. She was there to condemn neo-nazism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism. It is illegal to kill someone. It is repugnant to imply she had it coming because you disagree with her political beliefs.

False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which two opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not. Neo-nazism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism are responsible for more than 6 million deaths in the last century. They are responsible for the theft of 12.5 million African lives due to slavery in North America alone.

Should someone shoot at congressmen, or anyone? No.

Should people call for the death of the police? No.

Those events you cite are in no way comparable to the toll of neo-nazism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism.

Neo-nazism, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism are evil. The only way to stop these things is for all Americans, and especially white Americans like myself, to stand up and say loudly and clearly that these ideologies are morally reprehensible. They must stop.

Evelyn Prozora-Plein

Melinda August 16, 2017 at 4:55 AM  

False equivalence again. There are many more examples of violence against people from the far right:

"But overall, far-right extremist plots have been far more deadly than far-left plots (and Islamist plots eclipsed both) in the past 25 years, according to a breakdown of two terrorism databases by Alex Nowrasteh, an analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute.

White nationalists; militia movements; anti-Muslim attackers; I.R.S. building and abortion clinic bombers; and other right-wing groups were responsible for 12 times as many fatalities and 36 times as many injuries as communists; socialists; animal rights and environmental activists; anti-white- and Black Lives Matter-inspired attackers; and other left-wing groups.


And there is a huge difference between speech advocating hate and violence towards specific minority groups and those who protest against such hate. If that isn't obvious to everyone it should be.

Anonymous,  August 16, 2017 at 5:39 AM  

Good lord Maggie. False equivalent indeed. Nazis came armed. Everyone else defended themselves.

BTW when you threaten someone? It's no longer freedom of speech. It's criminal and every Nazi at the rally should be arrested for making threats.

Anonymous,  August 16, 2017 at 6:47 AM  

In Charlottesville, there was one side that was the cause of the death and chaos. Don't believe it? Watch this documentary.


Anonymous,  August 16, 2017 at 11:13 AM  

Oscar Wilde said it well. Patriotism is the virtue of the violent.
Lis Johnson

Elaine Phelps, Shoreline,  August 16, 2017 at 11:13 AM  

Maggie Wilson has not addressed the subject of Jesse Salomon’s letter, namely, Trump’s responses to the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 11-12.

I wonder why she chose instead to list violent acts in other places, other times, by other people – could it be because she is not willing to face the facts about Trump’s three different responses?

Trump’s responses went from (1) prepared in advance but inadequate, as judged by members of his own administration, partly because he did ad lib his infamous “many sides” to implicate the counter-protesters as equally responsible; followed by (2) the next day calling out by name the groups forming the “Unite the Right“ coalition of various neo-nazi groups, anti-semites, Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists – a response prepared by others in his administration, not Trump himself– and finally (3) an unplanned, unrehearsed news conference at which he totally undid the second response.

This left some courageous Republicans and former presidential candidates (Rubio, Kasich), former Republican presidents (Bush 41 and Bush 43) no choice but to repudiate Trump’s unrehearsed self-justifying rant.

America must first agree that our country can and will do better for all its people and on this basis look for solutions that will get us there. We need leaders who share this goal, and who reject hatred and divisiveness as governing principles.

Anonymous,  August 16, 2017 at 11:55 AM  

Well, when the alt-right comes back to Seattle/Shoreline to march, I'd like to see those of us who disagree with their message protest in a different way. Instead of bats and shields we would stand on the sides and create street theatre, mocking them and their message. A few ideas - conga and can-can lines, simulated sex acts among bi-racial couples (groups), remind them that dunces wear pointed hats, etc. Just a few thoughts but I'm sure the creatives among us can come up with more.

Maggie Willson,  August 17, 2017 at 8:53 PM  

My apologies for the delayed response. I've been out of town without a computer.

1) False equivalence

It is not a false equivalence to equate political violence with political violence. Both sides were violent:


And like white supremacists, antifa has a long history of political violence:


2) Straw man argument

"False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which two opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not. Neo-nazism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism are responsible for more than 6 million deaths in the last century. They are responsible for the theft of 12.5 million African lives due to slavery in North America alone. "

Of course neo-nazism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism are horrible, but I was not defending them.

I was defending the white supremacists' right to free speech. Defending someone's constitutional right to free speech is not the same as defending the contents of his speech. Period.

The Supreme Court and the ACLU both agree with me that the white supremacists have a right to speak:



3) "It is repugnant to imply she had it coming because you disagree with her political beliefs. "

I did not say that Heather Heyer had it coming. I said that protesting others' First Amendment rights was the opposite of being pro-democracy, and I stand by that statement.

For most people, disagreeing with someone does not mean that you want them dead. This is not true for everyone, however, and especially not for Trump-haters, such as protesters who burned Trump in effigy:


or Kathy Griffin:


or Missouri Democratic Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who said today that she hope President Trump gets assassinated:


4) "Nazis came armed. Everyone else defended themselves."

It's true that the Nazis came armed, but it's not true that everyone else just defended themselves:


5) Vice video

Thank you for suggesting the Vice video. It gave a good look into what the white supremacists are all about, and it is indeed really ugly, but I don't think anyone is denying that, and it still doesn't mean that they shouldn't have a right to speak. In fact, I think that the more they speak, the better - they expose themselves for what they really are.

A couple other things to note - the Nazis don't like Donald Trump. He has a Jewish son-in-law and Jewish grandchildren, so that makes him their enemy.

At about 17:00 in the film, a woman says " You can't stand in one corner in this city and not look at the master sitting on top of Monticello. He looks down on us. He's been looking down on this city for God knows how long. This is Charlottesville." So there you have it, President Trump was prescient when he suggested that statues of Washington and Jefferson might be the next ones to come down.

ELAINE PHELPS, SHORELINE,  August 23, 2017 at 4:48 PM  

Maggie Wilson ends with: "
"So there you have it, President Trump was prescient when he suggested that statues of Washington and Jefferson might be the next ones to come down."

Prescient? Nonsense.

This is illogical, once we remember the actual category of monuments that Trump attempted to redefine as those of all slave-owners, but this was as false as his huge inventory of "alternate facts".

The monuments subject to removal - by a vote of the local residents or by their locally elected representatives - are limited to public monuments in public places of Confederate leaders who participated in the failed insurrection against the U.S. government for the purpose of maintaining and expanding slavery, 1861-1865. Washington and Jefferson are not part of that group - and could not be because they were dead long before the Confederacy came into existence. Either Trump did not realize this when he spoke or he wanted to change the subject. Trump has demonstrated that he is willing to use racist ploys if he perceives them to be to his advantage.

These monuments were mostly put up decades after the Civil War as a slap in the face to all whose families had suffered under slavery. That's the local tradition that Trump regrets is being attacked by the removal of these offensive tributes to losers. Trump of all people should understand why they must go since we know how he despises "losers", as he calls Sen.John McCain.

Trump's mixed responses to Charlottesville may turn out to be his Waterloo, especially since he's still lying about it as we saw at his rally in Phoenix. Trump turned that into yet another Trump version of what he saw and what he said after Charlottesville.

Truthless Trump deserves to fail because his agenda is anathema to everyone who treasures democracy and government that works in the public interest.

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