What should we make of this?
Is this an infringement of civil liberties?
Is this a reasonable and sensible law that is necessary to restore order?
“TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate on Thursday approved an “anti-riot” bill championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, sending it to him for signature into law over the objections of Democrats and civil rights groups who say the measure infringes on the fundamental First Amendment right to protest.
The hotly debated measure passed 23-17, largely along partisan lines.
The parts of the bill (HB 1 ) that most upset Democrats grant civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road; prevent people arrested for rioting or offenses committed during a riot from bailing out of jail until their first court appearance; and impose a six-month mandatory sentence for battery on a police officer during a riot.
DeSantis, when he unveiled the proposal, emphasized the need to prevent bail for rioters, so they aren’t able to rejoin the unrest. …”
“The Florida Senate on Thursday passed, largely along party lines, a controversial anti-riot bill that was pushed by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests last summer.
The bill would increase criminal penalties for assaulting law enforcement officials while engaging in a “riot” and defacing monuments and other public property during riots. It would also penalize local governments that interfere with law enforcement efforts to contain riots and set up a citizen’s appeal process when cities and counties try to reduce police budgets in response to riots.
The final vote in the Senate was 23-17, with one Republican voting with Democrats in opposition. The bill passed the GOP-controlled House in late March. Democratic legislators argue that it would create a chilling effect on First Amendment rights and restrict political dissent. Republicans argued that it would protect law enforcement officers and prevent public disorder. …
In addition to Florida, legislators in Arizona, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington filed bills that critics say use the violence at the Capitol to target social justice protests more broadly. Many of the bills are similar or identical to the ones introduced in those states last year. …”
I have a great deal of experience with heated protests in Florida.
In the Obama years, I repeatedly attended protests in Florida with the League of the South and we never had any trouble. There were liberals who often came out to counter protest us which was fine. It is a free country and they have a right to peacefully assemble and express their point of view. In fact, I later became friends with one of the people who came out to protest us in another state.
We never organized any protest with the intent of getting into fights with the opposition and always cooperated with law enforcement. We simply wanted to hold demonstrations about issues like free speech, refugee resettlement, immigration, state sovereignty or Southern heritage. Every single one of these heated issues which we were drawing attention to back then is now completely mainstream. We were also raising the issue of secession which may have seemed a little wild back in those days.
In the Trump years, we didn’t change and continued to hold protests and demonstrations around the same issues, as we had been doing peacefully and without any problems throughout the Obama years. It was the Left that changed after Donald Trump was elected president. The change seemed to happen almost overnight. The Left became violent, militantly anti-police and groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter exploded in size. The Left became far more intolerant and censorious than we ever were. The Left began showing up at our events with the intent to disrupt our events and engage in violence.
Once again, this was a new development in 2017. The people who we had mocked in the early 2010s as SJWs, snowflakes and crybullies became woke Antifa militants in the late 2010s. This culminated in Charlottesville where Antifa and Black Lives Matter showed up and succeeded in disrupting the Unite the Right rally after the police stood down that day. In the chaos that followed, James Fields, Jr. crashed into that crowd because his GPS was rerouting him around closed off streets in Charlottesville.
The corporate media declared what happened in Charlottesville was a “domestic terrorist attack.” It happened again in Gainesville at the University of Florida when Richard Spencer attempted to speak there in the fall of 2017. Violent leftists surrounded the the building and harassed and assaulted anyone who dared to enter the event. They tracked down and attacked the vehicle of the Fears brothers who were leaving the event. They got out and one of them fired a warning shot and ended up going to prison over it. The Left was turning any rightwing protest into a potentially dangerous and volatile event and it continued with other groups like Patriot Prayer or the Proud Boys in the years after we changed tactics.
During the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots last summer, there were dozens of similar incidents involving violent leftwing protesters disrupting traffic. It happened all over the country. There were nearly a hundred cases of “protesters” being struck by vehicles like in Charlottesville. There were several cases where the protesters or people who were stuck in traffic opened fire on each other. Garrett Foster (was/were) was shot and killed in Austin. Summer Taylor is now Resting in Power after being killed while protesting in traffic in Seattle. We stayed as far away from the action as possible.
Clearly, something has to be done to get a grip on this disorder before anyone else has their lives ruined by violent leftwing protesters like James Fields, Jr. The Left is outraged over this new law because it creates harsh new penalties for disrupting traffic, vandalizing monuments, striking police officers and using violence to intimidate others which are their preferred tactics. It creates a new crime called “mob intimidation” which is “defined as three or more people “acting with a common intent” forcing or threatening to force another person from taking a viewpoint against their will.” This new law appears to be designed to have a disparate impact on Antifa and sweep them from the streets of Florida.
We’ve been demanding action from Republican lawmakers on the policy front. This is a new policy which appears to be interesting and worth discussing. What do you think?