June 12, 2024
Unmask Antifa and Watch the Cowards Retreat
While anti-masking laws aren’t a perfect cure, one thing is definitely true — it’s hard to throw a punch when you’re hiding your face with your hands.
While anti-masking laws aren’t a perfect cure, one thing is definitely true — it’s hard to throw a punch when you’re hiding your face with your hands.

I’d urge everyone to read my colleague Jim Geraghty’s post on the thuggery this weekend in Portland. It was appalling to watch masked Antifa thugs attack Andy Ngo, and it was also appalling that the police weren’t immediately present to arrest his attackers. Antifa’s propensity to violence is well-known, and while I’d love to hear a sympathetic explanation for the absence of police, the lack of response looks a lot like a dereliction of duty.

There is, however, a simple and well-known legal reform that will go a long way towards deterring Antifa violence — even when police aren’t close by, but iPhones are. It’s called an anti-masking law. They’ve long existed in the South as a check on Klan violence, and they not only make it easier for police to immediately identify and arrest criminals, they also allow witnesses to preserve the pictures and videos of violent attackers for later criminal or civil action.

When I tweeted over the weekend in support of an anti-masking ordnance in Oregon, a number of correspondents asked me if the laws were consistent with First Amendment protections for anonymous speech. The answer is generally (though not always) yes, and there’s relatively recent on-point case law in the Second Circuit saying so. While court of appeals cases aren’t nationally dispositive, the panel in Church of the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan v. Kerik included Sonia Sotomayor, and its reasoning is instructive.

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See Also:

(1) If You Don’t Stand Up for Andy Ngo, You Could Be Next

(2) By Any Means Necessary: Left-Wing Violence Won’t Stop with Andy Ngo

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