October 16 2005

Freedom of Speech goes both ways

I can not stress this enough, I do not agree with neo-Nazis, white supremacists or any of their ilk. I think a fun evening would be to transport them all back to 1940’s Germany and mark them as being Jewish to see how they enjoy it.

That being said, what in the world happened in Toledo, Ohio this weekend? For this of you who do not know yet, the city had approved a march by a neo-Nazi group known as the National Socialist Movement. They were wanting to march through a certain neighborhood, under police protection, to protest recent gang violence. Around the middle of the week, the police got word that gang members and other assorted folks were planning to protest the protest. The police came prepared, but things quickly spiraled out of control. After the neo-Nazi’s were surrounded by protestors hurling rocks, the police asked the NSM members to get out of there for everyone’s safety, which they did.

Here is where I personally get confused. The locals had accomplished what they wanted by stopping the march, but they continued to riot. Twelve police were injured by flying rocks and once received a concussion while sitting in her cruiser from a brick coming through the side window. Cars were vandalized, a gas station had it’s windows busted out and a local pub was burned down.

How did all of this relate to the neo-Nazis in any way? How does burning down a local business serve any purpose. One person summed up the anger heard in many articles though:

“This never should have happened,” 80-year-old Ed Kusina, who has lived in the neighborhood nearly all his life, said Sunday. “They should have never let them march here.”

And there’s the problem, they couldn’t be stopped. Like it or not, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution gaurentees that the goverment may not infringe the freedom of speech or limit the right to assemble peaceably. No matter how disgusting this group of people may be, they are protected by those rights, just like anyone else.

People have asked why Mayor Jack Ford did not do anything to stop the march before it even started, and this was the only defense of his I could find:

“Mayor Jack Ford said there was little the city could do to stop the supremacist group because they did not apply for a parade permit and instead planned to walk along sidewalks.”

I guess the point I am trying to make here is that I am just boggled by this. I understand the neo-Nazis are idiots and they had soemthing to say, got that part. I understand residents of Toledo were unhappy about this, I don’t blame them one bit. What I don’t get is why they continued destroying property after the idiots left? What possible purpose did all of that serve?

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