Can Trump rally violence be justified?

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By Kaydee Donohoo
Staff Writer

Many people believe as a principle that violence is never the answer. Those same people, however, may adjust this default situationally when hearing how some specific violence might be justified.

There may be reasons you want to justify war, or an older sibling kicking a shin or two to release a younger sibling from a bully’s death grip. Plus we’ve probably all punched our fair share of shoulders on road trips for various license plate and punch buggy games.

What about the violence that erupted during Donald Trump’s rally? Did the tone of the messages behind Trump’s campaign justify violence against them?

First and foremost, I wholeheartedly support the anti-Trump peaceful protesters. The minute people can’t protest within a reasonable right, democracy is in danger. Citizens need to be able to express their views of unfairness and unrest in order to not be taken advantage of.

As I more or less described above, I don’t believe violence is the answer as a general rule. I would personally never choose to commit a violent act or encourage someone else to. My empathy goes out to anyone physically affected by rally violence, regardless of party. Waking up sore from bruises is brutal.

Yet the deepest parts of me, that are felt, and then rationalized, rather than felt, after rationalization, are quite glad that violence broke out.

It happened regardless of my beliefs, and I’m thankful it wasn’t up to me. I appreciate that I can step away from the aftereffects in no position of power to address the repercussions.

People need to see that a campaign that is fueled by hate, violence, and fear, will lead to consequences involving hate, violence, and fear.

The spell needs to be broken. Trump supporters need to realize the dark road they are encouraging. Only 11 percent of Florida’s Republican voters said they were less likely to vote for Trump in light of the breakout, according to a Monmouth University survey. Sixty-six percent said it had no effect, and the remaining 22 percent actually said it increased their willingness to vote for Trump.

Those are terrifying numbers, and I want the instances of violence at a Trump rally to exist if Trump becomes president. It would be something for his supporters to refer back to, when a large Trump related-disaster strikes that brings them to their senses. It is a chance for them to understand what everyone else was seeing the entire time.

People with the authority to help thwart a Trump presidency need to be woken up from the planning and the hypothetical mind-set and see that violence and fear are happening now. Eligible non-Trump voters need to be called into action too. Voting is the most assured way to stop him.

Outside of any violence that broke out, some are still weary of the protesters’ presence. They cry that free speech should have shielded the rally.

In rebuttal to this argument I first must point out that the first amendment doesn’t protect free speech alone. The right to peacefully assemble, i.e. protest is also part of the first amendment. You can’t just pick and choose which pieces of the same amendment you like to benefit your current stance.

The right to protest is a form of free speech. You can’t deny someone’s else’s free speech because you don’t like what they are saying. Free speech (with no imminent danger) has to be unconditional. If things that you don’t support now are shut down, it may lead to your voice being shut down later when the popular or “threatening” opinion changes.

The argument for which protesters and rally supporters shut down whose free speech is arbitrary, regardless. The first amendment mentioned earlier? That’s protecting free speech and protest from being infringed on by the law. The free speech of the Trump rally was never constitutionally threatened by those wanting to protest it.

The first amendment doesn’t mean that you can say whatever you want and then get mad when others disagree with you. It doesn’t protect the fact that what you have to say might be so biased and hateful towards masses of other people, that there is going to be backlash. For every action there is a reaction.

What is illegal, however, no matter whose name is on the cardboard sign you’re holding, is  punching someone else in the face.