The last time that I wrote anything about the Proud Boys, I got into some hot water.
There was a young man from the Bon Air Fire Department in Delaware County who had attended one or two Proud Boys meetings, and decided that it wasn’t for him. However, the mere fact that he had dared attend a meeting was considered sufficient grounds to treat him as a Nazi, which is what many people called him.
When the YouTube video of me defending this young man’s First Amendment rights was made public, several Antifa sympathizers started trolling me on social media, and I responded in kind. That was a big no-no for a news organization that thought I needed to be “nice” to people who hated me, and eventually they decided I was too much of a liability to keep.
Score two (the firefighter and the columnist) for Orwell.
I haven’t paid much attention to the Proud Boys since that incident. Nothing in their platform seems remotely legitimate, and their involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol make them repellent, repulsive and stupid. And, they have too many tattoos.
That being said, their members also happen to be U.S. citizens entitled to all of the protections of the laws including the First Amendment.
They deserved to be convicted, and sentenced, commensurate with the gravity of their crimes.
But in order for us to have some sense of confidence in our legal system, we need to believe that the laws are applied fairly, and consistently.
We need, for example, to believe that someone who is rioting in the streets of Philadelphia, smashing store windows and stealing flat-screen TVs under the guise of social justice, is going to be charged with a crime.
We are not asking that they receive 17-year prison sentences. We are not asking that they be kept in solitary confinement. We are not calling them traitors to the state.
We just want them to, at the very least, have a criminal record that can later be expunged if they stop acting like vandals.
We also want the Justice Department to stop targeting pro-life fathers who protest outside of Planned Parenthood clinics, get into tussles with obnoxious old men who lie about being injured, and have the audacity to preach about the sanctity of unborn human life.
We would have no problem whatsoever if one particular pro-life father was charged with simple assault, assuming that the victim of the assault really did suffer some injury.
We would be fine with this father being ticketed and forced to stay beyond a 25-foot radius of the clinic.
What we have a big problem with is when federal agents, in a SWAT team maneuver, wage a pre-dawn raid upon his home, in front of his terrified wife and young children, and charge him with felonies under a statute, which was essentially designed to protect clinics from annoying (but legal) protesters.
Although the FACE — Freedom of Access to Clinics — Act was purportedly enacted to address the wave of violence against clinics, it has been used as a way for pro-abortion advocates to silence dissent, including the peaceful dissent of rosary-carrying grandmothers.
That’s because if you think there is even the slimmest possibility that you will be charged with felonious trespass, you might just stay home. End of protest.
You might be saying to yourself, what does any of this have to do with the Proud Boys and their involvement in Jan. 6?
And the answer is simple: the laws should be applied to everyone on an equal basis, without fear or favor depending upon your race, class, gender or political persuasion.
If the women who defaced churches after the Dobbs decision, beheading statues and writing obscenities on walls were hunted down and prosecuted the way that the Jan. 6 protestors have been, I would have no issue with the execution of American justice.
If, again, the vandals who set our cities on fire after George Floyd was killed had been charged with actual crimes, instead of receiving apologies and payments for the “violation of their civil rights,” I’d be celebrating the glory of the legal system.
If women who lied about being raped were actually prosecuted for filing false reports at the same rate that men are being falsely accused of being rapists, I’d throw away all of my books about the horrific Kavanaugh hearings, and write a column praising Gloria Allred.
But that is not the case.
The Proud Boys have no reason to be proud. They are repugnant. But so are the George Floyd protestors who, in their own way, tried to destroy the foundations of our society with their hatred. Or in other words, your terrorists are no better than mine.
Copyright 2023 Christine Flowers, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at [email protected].