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I’m facing a self-defense conundrum

How do I defend myself or others from violent white supremacists and their ilk if self-defense can be spun against me?

Charlottesville, VA, August 12, 2017 – this man led a charge of shield and stick-wielding white supremacists into counter-protesters (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

I’ve been struggling with something ever since Donald was elected and it became clear that there was a chance I’d need to defend myself or others physically – should I attend marches, protests, counter-protests, and the like?

See, I’m not the kind of person who can practice non-violence when facing violence against myself. I don’t have it in me to stand there and take a blow without responding. If someone tries to punch or kick me, I’m going to defend myself. If someone swings at me with a baseball bat, I’m going to assume that my attacker is trying to put me in the hospital, and I’m going to do everything I can to prevent that, up to and including putting my attacker in the hospital instead. If someone comes at me with a knife, I’m going to assume that he’s trying to kill me, and I’ll step up my response accordingly.

And if I’ve decided that I’m there to protect others, I’ll respond similarly to threats against them as I would to threats against myself.

But is that kind of response counter-productive? Any violence, even in self-defense, can be spun by Infowars, Breitbart, Fox and Friends, and their ilk to make my allies look bad. And however much I would want to protect others and myself, I wouldn’t want my actions to be turned around and used against my own allies.

Maybe put me in the 2nd or third row, where I can step up if the shit hits the fan? I don’t know. But it’s something I should probably figure out before the next white supremacist and Nazi rally comes to the Colorado Front Range.

3 replies »

  1. There’s a typo in the fourth graf. You say “But is that kind of response counter-productive? Any violence, even in self-defense, can be spun by Infowars, Breitbart, Fox and Friends, and their ilk to make my allies look bad.” I believe you meant “But is that kind of response counter-productive? Any violence, even in self-defense, can be spun by Infowars, Breitbart, Fox and Friends, and the president of the United States to make my allies look bad.”

    Other than that, better a live enemy of the state than a victim of fascism. Lock and load…

  2. Get a GoPro and a head or chest mount. Carry extra batteries. Turn you phone into a voice recorder. Document, document, document. Understand the legal basis for using force in defense of self or others. Ironically, the best place to get that information is at a good concealed carry class, most of which are run by NRA certified instructors. Remember that, by voluntarily placing yourself in a dangerous situation, you may make it more difficult to claim legal defense of self or others. Especially if you or those around you are engaged in activity that may not be legal (not dispersing, blocking streets or sidewalks, initiating the use of force).

    According to the local expert on right wing extremism, showing them that the community is NOT with them is a critical part of stopping them — if they can be stopped. So showing up may be the most important thing of all.

  3. I’m with you. My family does not want me to attend rallies or marches, etc., for fear of violence. I am a pacifist, so I don’t know if I would defend myself, but I’m pretty sure I would jump in to help someone else.

    I agree with Evan, record everything! A go-pro is a perfect option, especially if you can be discrete. You don’t want some Nazi Neanderthal to take it from you. And the phone as a voice recorder is also great advice. I’ll remember these next time I attend an event.

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