Rand Paul and the ignorant mob

In yet another example of the intolerance of the Black Lives Matter movement, Senator Rand Paul was attacked by an angry mob of over 100 people while leaving the White House after the Republican National Convention. As he and his wife were trying to make their way back to their hotel, the mob swarmed around them, screamed insults, profanities, and death threats, and physically prevented them from moving.

The Daily Caller tweeted a video of the incident.

Senator Paul also described his ordeal on Fox & Friends:

They’re attempting to push the police over to get to me, so at one point they push a policeman backwards, he stumbles and he’s trying to catch his balance and I catch the back of his flak jacket to stabilize him to make sure he’s OK because he’s our defense. If he’s down, the mob’s loose on us. I truly believe this with every fiber of my being, had they gotten at us they would have gotten us to the ground, we might not have been killed, might just have been injured by being kicked in the head, or kicked in the stomach until we were senseless… They were shouting threats to us, to kill us, to hurt us, but also threats shouting “say her name,” Breonna Taylor, and it’s like you couldn’t reason with this mob, but I’m actually the author of the Breonna Taylor law to end no-knock raids, so the irony is lost on these idiots that they’re trying to kill the person who’s actually trying to get rid of no-knock raids.

That’s right, a mob of Black Lives Matter supporters threatened and harassed the very person who has authored 22 criminal justice reforms, including abolishing no-knock raids, which led to Breonna Taylor’s death. Apparently completely ignorant of this, the mob told the libertarian-leaning Republican senator, “We’re not going to let you go alive unless you’ll say you’re for criminal justice reform.” Paul’s actions over the years demonstrate quite clearly that he is. As Paul wrote in an opinion piece for Fox News, “almost no one has said Breonna Taylor’s name as often or sincerely as I have.”

His wife, Kelley Paul, gave additional disturbing details in an article for the Washington Examiner. “As the mob grew and became more threatening, we literally could not move,” she wrote. “The rioters were inches from us, screaming in our faces… They called me a ‘bitch’ and ‘racist wh—‘ alongside an endless torrent of ‘f— yous.'” She said that the experience “felt like being in a terrifying dystopian novel.” And demonstrating how widespread this behavior is, she pointed out that several of her friends were attacked by mobs that night as well, “including one who had his glasses slapped off his face, another who was pepper-sprayed by a rioter, and a woman who was punched in the back.”

Naturally, in today’s political climate of hatred and bigotry, numerous people denied that what happened was an attack. Even more disgustingly, some ridiculed and criticized Paul.

For example, the Associated Press article about the incident, written by Deb Riechmann and Dino Hazell, is titled, “Sen. Paul complains about ‘angry mob’ encounter after RNC.” The article states:

Sen. Rand Paul, who was surrounded by screaming protesters when he and his wife left President Donald Trump’s Republican National Convention speech at the White House, claimed without evidence on Friday that he had been “attacked by an angry mob”… A video of the encounter with the protesters, who were yelling for Paul to say Breonna Taylor’s name, shows no attack on Paul… Paul alleged, without offering any evidence, that the demonstrators were paid to create trouble on the streets of the nation’s capital.

The fact that such a biased account was allowed to be published by one of the largest media outlets in the world is embarrassing. Instead of providing facts and details about what happened, the authors fixate on Paul’s word choices, his supposed lack of evidence, and the fact that he dared to complain. The article is more critical of Paul, the victim in this situation, than it is of of the screaming, swearing mob. As Mrs. Paul pointed out in her Washington Examiner article: “This is disgusting and utter proof of their bias. When you are surrounded by throngs of people screaming in your face and preventing you from getting away, that is an attack.”

Reaction online to the mob encounter has been disturbing as well. Here is a sampling of despicable tweets (most of these courtesy of Brad Polumbo at FEE who wrote an excellent article condemning partisan hatred such as that demonstrated by the mob):

“I want to be clear when I say this that I mean it literally: Rand Paul, like all Republican Senators, should never go anywhere for the rest of his life without getting screamed at by literally everyone who sees him,” wrote @JuliusGoat.

“I’m sorry but this image of the little crybaby hiding behind a cop because protestors said things like ‘say her name,’ and the hysterical ‘attacked and almost killed by a mob’ tweets are fucking cracking me up,” wrote @LaurentheHough.

“I am still team Rand Paul’s neighbor,” tweeted @tonyposnanski.

“Rand Paul is so annoying his own neighbor broke Rand’s ribs in a lawn dispute about leaf piles,” wrote @RealKHiveQueenB.

“The way this works is that a loud group of protesters angrily heckling an elected official on a public street is abhorrent and threatening, but masked gunmen menacing legislators inside the state capitol is peaceful protest,” tweeted @ChrisLHayes. He also tweeted: “Very crucial difference between this scene and the protest of the stay-at-home-order at the Michigan Statehouse this spring is that *these* protestors aren’t brandishing long guns.”

These tweets (and others too numerous to quote) are ridiculing a victim of bullying as opposed to the bullies. They are expressing praise for Rand Paul’s neighbor, who in 2017 beat him, broke six of his ribs, and caused him to have part of his lung removed, and blaming Paul for that assault. And bizarrely, Chris Hayes (an MSNBC host) favorably compared the mob’s attack on Paul to a protest against Michigan’s stay-at-home order that took place this spring. In that protest, people entered the state house and held pro-liberty signs and chanted pro-liberty slogans. They did not surround, threaten, insult, swear at, or aggress against anyone. How can Hayes think that it is worse for people to express opposition to totalitarian government policies while carrying guns than for people to surround, threaten, insult, and swear at an individual? In one case, protesters simply expressed their (correct) views; in the other they verbally attacked a specific person who did nothing to deserve it. That is the crucial difference.

“The ignorance and bigotry of this behavior is manifest,” Polumbo correctly writes of the tweets.

Paul urged the FBI to investigate the mob members because they were likely paid by an organization to come to Washington, D.C. to cause mayhem. “This is disturbing because really, if you’re inciting a riot that’s a crime, but if you’re paying someone to incite a riot that person needs to go to jail as well,” he pointed out. Even if you don’t think the behavior of this mob rises to the level of criminal charges, it is morally reprehensible, and there is absolutely no reason to defend, minimize, or make light of it as so many people have done. This is not freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is for individuals who have unpopular views. It is not for mobs who hold the popular, establishment, politically-correct views and decide to surround, scream at, and insult two individuals and threaten to kill them unless they conform to those views as well. That is bullying, it is aggression, and it is inexcusable. And it is, indeed, an attack. To argue that because no physical contact was made, no one did anything wrong, is simplistic, ignorant, and intellectually dishonest. How can the same people who consider tiny, unintentional gestures to be “microaggressions” also consider it perfectly fine to swear at and insult someone for having different opinions than they do?

I could not put it better than Mrs. Paul, who had the following message for the mob members and all those cheering them on: “You have become exactly what you say you hate — violent, closed-minded, authoritarian, and utterly lacking in empathy.”