Aug 18 2017

Republicans Want To Murder You

One of the characteristics of Fascist, Despotic Movements (and Criminal Enterprises for that matter) is that dissent is punishable by death. No due process required.

Note that the legislators proposing these bills are all Republicans.

The Republicans who want to legalize running over protesters
By Catherine Rampell, Washington Post
August 17, 2017

This year, Republican lawmakers in at least six states have proposed bills designed to protect drivers who strike protesters. The first bill was introduced in North Dakota in January, and similar bills have since come under consideration in North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Rhode Island.

They were joined by other states trying to discourage protests — typically relating to Black Lives Matter, the Dakota Access Pipeline or other left-leaning causes — that sometimes obstruct traffic.

The North Dakota bill would shield drivers from civil and criminal liability. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Keith Kempenich, perversely suggested that shielding drivers who kill protesters was a necessary anti-terrorism measure.

Protesters who blocked cars were committing “an intentional act of intimidation — the definition of terrorism,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

Right-wing websites and at least one well-known conservative commentator more gleefully advocated running over protesters, including by sharing a viral video montage titled “Here’s a Reel of Cars Plowing Through Protesters Trying to Block the Road.” (Tank Man didn’t make the cut, alas.)

I wonder: Did the Republican politicians and pundits who backed these measures believe too few protesters were getting hit by cars?

If not, what did they think would happen when they encouraged drivers to use their vehicles as a weapon against the public?

Because that’s exactly what these bills do.

The bills all include language about how drivers who injure or kill protesters must have done so “unintentionally” or while exercising “due care” if they wish to be spared liability. (Hitting protesters intentionally, as the Charlottesville driver appears to have done, could still make one subject to civil and criminal liability.) Even so, the foreseeable effect of passing laws like these would be to change the calculus for any frustrated driver considering whether to plow through a crowd of protesters.

Economists tend to think about decisions in terms of expected costs and benefits. By lowering the expected costs to the driver, these proposed laws would tilt the balance in favor of hitting people.

And not just any people. Protesters specifically.

In five of the six states where bills were introduced, the legislation would shield drivers who hit protesters or demonstrators only. Drivers who kill pedestrians who are not out exercising their First Amendment rights would still be subject to the usual criminal and civil liabilities.
In other words, the purpose of these proposals was to make acts of protest, and acts of protest alone, more lethal.

So far none of these bills has made it into law. Hopefully Heyer’s tragic death this past weekend destroys their chances.

Already, though, white supremacists have latched on to the rhetoric behind these bills to excuse her death. In “Vice News Tonight’s” chilling Charlottesville documentary, neo-Nazi Christopher Cantwell said her murder was “more than justified” because the driver was provoked by “stupid animals” who attacked and then “couldn’t just get out of the way” because they weren’t paying attention.

The moral rot in the Republican Party runs deep.

Maybe the state legislators who introduced these bills are malevolent, and maybe they’re just morons. In politics, I tend to err on the side of the latter explanation. Either way, they advocated reckless bills whose foreseeable consequence was increased vehicular killings.

These politicians are not fit to serve the public, in any level of government.

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