Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A complicated matter of free speech, work around

Neo-Nazis marched in Washington. About 30 of them, from Michigan.
At midday, about 50 demonstrators found several march supporters next to the Washington Monument, and an angry confrontation erupted... "People marching in brown shirts and swastikas is a tool of intimidation and terrorism. We came out here to oppose them so they won't feel they can do it safely," said Dan Peterson, 23, a D.C. resident who was arrested.
This is not how to handle Neo-Nazis. They like the confrontation, feed off it. The problem is not that they can feel safe while spouting such vile messages. Provided they aren't making threats, they should feel safe, even though their goal is to make others not feel safe. The problem is that they feel they can be effective.
Periodically, hecklers watching from a distance shouted "racist pig" or vulgar slogans. But a far more powerful reproof came from a protester who played a tape of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech from the March on Washington in 1963.
That's how to handle Neo-Nazis.

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