When Tyranny Comes to the United States


Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby has some worthwhile things to say about the anti-free-speech mob in Boston last weekend.  Many people praised the Boston police for preventing street battles, but it wasn’t the police work that did that, but rather the fact that the nature of the planned free-speech rally had been promoted falsely as white supremacist by local politicians and news media across the country:

Result: The free-speech rally took place in a virtual cone of silence. Its participants “spoke essentially to themselves for about 50 minutes,” the Globe reported. “If any of them said anything provocative, the massive crowd did not hear it.”  [Journalists were also kept away.]

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Even some of the rally’s own would-be attendees were kept from the bandstand. But when Police Commissioner Bill Evans was asked at a press conference Saturday afternoon whether it was right to treat them that way, he was unapologetic.

“You know what,” he said, “if they didn’t get in, that’s a good thing, because their message isn’t what we want to hear.”

Think about this, folks.  Here’s a government agent deciding that a particular message isn’t worth hearing, and rather than ensure that the angry mob could not interfere with the message of the group, the police created a “cone of silence” that even journalists weren’t permitted to enter.  This is censorship, cut and dried.

All it takes is for some reckless talk from political elites’ affixing an implied swastika on a group, and that group apparently loses its constitutional rights.  The reaction of the local authorities is “unapologetic,” not intent on reevaluating the actions to determine whether more could have been done to preserve those rights.

Perhaps that’s not surprising in a city whose people tolerated door-to-door raids while “sheltering in place” after the marathon bombing.

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  • Rhett Hardwick

    I think this goes deeper into our society than is realized. I noted a news article today about a howitzer which had been placed in a Veteran’s Park in Seekonk, MA. Citizens were objecting because they were “scared” by it. They even went so low as to say “children could fall off it” and the town would be liable. Is the entire world to be totally neutered, and rendered inoffensive?

    Years ago, my daughter and I stopped to look at what I recall as a howitzer at the former monastery in Cumberland. While my daughter was crawling over it, without falling, I noted it was still “live” and capable of being fired.

  • Merle The Monster

    I agree with the columnist. Katz, however goes overboard. First is the headline he gives this. The fact that we are discussing the First Amendment and the words of a police official (not a government agent as the overwrought Katz describes Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans) is one the ways that we strengthen our right to free speech. The hapless organizers of the event were clueless and in way over their heads. The efforts of the police and the city should be scrutinized but also understood in light of the Charlottesville episode just a week earlier. In contrast the lack of engagement by law enforcement in Virginia was what was criticized and not limiting free speech. I certainly hope we can provide public safety and free speech.. At least there is a discussion about this across the country.