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Censorship by mob rule is still censorship
A man who was arrested in Martinsville for distributing Ku Klux Klan literature last summer (the charges were dropped on free speech grounds) staged a one-person "rally" on the Monroe County courthouse square on April 7. He was met with two hundred people who showed up to counter-protest him.
This could have been a powerful statement of solidarity against the sinful racism of the KKK. But it degenerated into a farce when Leftist radicals could not control their emotions and managed to humiliate themselves. What is sad is that the extremists do not even realize how badly they lost in the arena of ideas with their shameful behavior. Instead of a peaceful protest to show how much in the minority this one dude is, Leftist terrorists snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Some Leftists whine that this was not a free speech issue because both Buhls and his opponents spoke and were heard. They are wrong. This absolutely is a free speech issue. Violent extremists surrounded Buhls, destroyed his sign, stole his property, physically assaulted him, threatened him with weapons, and followed him down the street after his protest was over. You can see pictures of the near-riot on this Flickr photo stream. It is genuinely disturbing.
The difference between these Leftists and Osama bin Laden is only one of degree - same basic mentality. Both Osama bin Laden and the Leftist extremists who behaved so shamefully on April 7 use violence and threats of violence to frighten people into doing what they want.
I shudder to think what would have happened had the police not been there to intervene. But not nearly enough was done. Censorship by mob rule is still censorship, especially when accompanied by violence and threats of violence. The police should have stepped in to put some space between Buhls and his opponents, because no one should expect to be put in danger for his free speech. Government must not permit this shameful and anti-American behavior.
Speaking against Buhls is completely appropriate, but there is simply no excuse for this. A loud but peaceful protest would have been infinitely more effective to show how much in the minority his views are. It was 200 to 1, for crying out loud!
Buhls got exactly what he wanted. Had no counter-protesters shown up at all, he would have been completely ignored and no one would have even known he was there. Had this been a peaceful protest, he would have been embarrassed. But the "Occupy Bloomington" idiots simply could not leave well enough alone. They could not control their emotions and threw a childish temper tantrum. They had to surround him, destroy his sign, steal his property and physically intimidate him. Now the KKK can claim a public relations victory, as a peaceful KKK member was accosted by an angry mob.
None of this, of course, can excuse Buhls' wickedness. Man was made in the image of Almighty God and hatred against someone because of his skin pigmentation is therefore a direct insult against our Father in Heaven. Since the KKK specifically claims the name of Jesus Christ, it is important to note that Jesus was almost certainly dark-skinned.
This incident was a black eye for our community. The Bloomington City Council, the Monroe County Council, the Monroe County Commissioners and the Mayor of Bloomington should in no uncertain terms denounce this shameful behavior and make it very clear that this is not welcome in a "save and civil" community where all views will be respected and no one has to fear for his safety because he espouses unpopular ideas.