When George Lincoln Rockwell, the American Nazi Party leader, was shot and killed in 1967 it was wrong. Same with George Wallace (who was gravely wounded and paralyzed, not killed) in 1972 or with Meir Kahane in 1990 – precisely because as a society we value free speech and we also don’t allow civilians to kill people they don’t like. But just as with these other worthies, we should prosecute the offenders (perhaps difficult in this case since at least the two on the scene are dead) without valorizing people who run hate groups. It’s really that simple. There is zero contradiction between the two judgments. Pam Geller is a cancerous presence in the US political conversation; same with her pal Geert Wilders, the flamboyant and parodic far-right, racist Dutch parliamentarian she brought for her Muhammed cartoon event down in Texas. Political violence is the greatest corrosive of free and ordered societies. But a hate group is a hate group the day after someone takes a shot at them just like it was the day before.
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