• Phil Latham

When a man hits a woman, there's no excuse at all

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Violence reared its ugly head right here in our part of the world Sunday when officials decided it would be wise to double-book opposing demonstrations in Tyler’s public square.

The county government is responsible for that and my guess is that no one involved in making that decision care

s a whit about happened. That’s just a guess, of course, those people might be wracked with regret.

Not likely.

The two groups – those opposed to secret federal agents acting in Portland, Ore., and those who wanted to “Back the Blue” – both have their rights to demonstrate.

And, actually, the two groups are protesting and-or supporting two vastly different issues.

Being opposed to uninvited federal agents in Portland, Ore. acting independently of local police has nothing to do with “backing the blue.” Indeed, it could be said that the federal agents are an affront to the local police, there, at least in part, because someone isn’t backing the blue at all.

I cannot tell that anyone in the cities where they have been sent wants the federal agents there. This is a classic case of federal over-reach.

That’s what led Hank Gilbert to call for a protest, hoping to put a thousand people into the square. People were urged to wear masks but it seemed like a particularly bad idea to put that many people together to protest in the time of surging Covid-19 cases.

Sorry, Hank. I call them like I see them.

Still, the cause for the demonstration was – and is – solid. If a city (or state) doesn’t want the federal help it should not be forced upon them. That’s as pure of a conservative attitude as can be had. You would think Republicans would be marching against that, too.

Well, no. The demonstration was Democrats protesting the fact that the federal agents were unidentified, arresting people without proper cause in unmarked vehicles and taking them to undisclosed locations for goodness knows what.

Understand, these were not suspects that the police (the “blue,” remember) were looking for. The agents weren’t helping the police they were acting on their own agenda. Why would anyone demonstrate to support that kind of activity?

Perhaps the people in Tyler were really there because Gohmert’s supporters thought it would be a great idea to harass and disrupt what Gilbert was doing. Maybe they thought they could bring out their rifles and frighten off a few of the older folks who might be worried about getting shot.

That worked to some extent. For a fact, most of us would shy away from an event where counter-protestors were carrying guns.

The gun-toters had every right to do that, in case you are wondering. There’s no law against carrying long guns in public. It’s handguns that require a permit to carry, not rifles.

Just because you can do something does not make it the proper thing to do. Clearly the only reason they brought the rifles was to intimidate or frighten. No protection was necessary and they knew it.

I’m not exactly clear on how the violence started, though there may have been several instances of fights caused by multiple reasons.

One I know about involved a guy who looked half-crazed in a photo in the Tyler Morning Telegraph. He may be a perfect gentleman but at that moment he had lost control. His daughter posted a video that said it began when she unplugged a cord on a speaker system and a Gilbert supporter cursed at her.

Her father apparently felt it was necessary to uphold her honor. The picture tells you all you need to know about his reaction.

In another hotspot was Nancy Nichols, who I’ve known personally for a few years. She’s active in Democratic politics, that’s for sure, and it passionate about it.

She’s a slip of a woman, just over five feet tall and probably weighs about 100 pounds, if that much.

Still, though she be but little, she is fierce with her words. Words are one thing, getting punched in the chest by a man three times your size is another thing completely.

Why one of those men who supposedly “backs the blue” would decide to break the law by punching her, I’ll never know. You cannot respect the police if you don’t respect the law, that’s for sure.

We ought to take a dim view of any honcho hitting a woman, at any time for any reason whatsoever. Sorry, that’s the “old-school” in me.

This is all likely to get worse as we march toward November. Expect to see more rifles out and about at political rallies or demonstrations. The intimidation has just begun but don’t be afraid or cowed.

Above all, don’t return violence with violence. Let that be “their” way and their sin to bear. I doubt they will lose much sleep at night worrying about it.

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