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Statement by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of California

 August 17, 2017 (San Diego) -- Our country’s greatest strengths are the diversity of its people and the principles of equal dignity and inclusion that unite us all. There are troubling events planned in our state in the coming weeks. This is an incredibly painful and difficult time for millions of Californians. 

For those who are wondering where we stand – the ACLU of California fully supports the freedom of speech and expression, as well as the freedom to peacefully assemble. We review each request for help on a case-by-case basis, but take the clear position that the First Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence.

If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution. The First Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence.

- Abdi Soltani, Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California

- Hector Villagra, Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California

- Norma Chávez-Peterson, Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties

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Ramming a car into a crowd was not "free speech."

Carrying torches and swastikas, pepper spray, bottles filled with urine, some filled with chemicals, both hurled at counter-proteters,  toting machine guns in a public rally were meant to intimidate at best, hurt people at worst.  The police were outgunned, limiting their ability to intervene without putting officers at risk.

Those are not protected actions, though offensive speech is protected. If they'd showed up unarmed and merely marched, thir message would still be obnoxious to most people, but the actions would not illegal. They are getting to be like the anarchists at G-8 summits that foment violence and hate.

words are not violence nor do they equal violence

no one has said running a car into people is or was free speech , if there is a link I would like to see that

they were NOT carrying machine guns, the police were NOT outgunned, there are pictures on the web of police armored vehicles standing by and the police were armed with appropriate weapons. The Virginia State Police has already said the governor did not tell the truth regarding a pretend weapons stash.

there is no excuse for ANY violence, the left is as guilty as links below show, the times and the atlantic are hardly right wing politics

Thank you for mentioning the criminals that show up at the G-8 meetings , antifa is no different, remember the criminal actions in DC after President Trump's inauguration

words are not violence , political beliefs are not violence, only those who start the violence are to be condemned for it.

Only liberals suppress speech they don't like. In The Friends of Voltaire, Hall wrote the phrase: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"


they lump everything into one bucket while defending the racist group la raza, the terrorist and racist black lives matter group, islamic terrorists and illegal aliens. too bad they hate the taxpaying citizens

You Can't Win An Argument With A Troll

There are trolls online. Not the fairytale kind that sits under bridges: we’re talking about the mean, nasty individuals who use online anonymity to be cruel, spread their own brand of hate, destroy reputations and products, and generally try to upset and crush as many people and companies as they possibly can.

Trolls agitate to start fights between friends or strangers; they torment those struggling with illnesses or with the loss of a loved one, people unsure of their identity or their looks, or any other weakness a troll can find. They disrupt forums with off-topic comments, brag nonstop about themselves, ridicule the thoughts of others or insert controversial comments to disrupt conversations.

Trolls spread lies, deceive and cause damage, and they enjoy every minute they can make someone else miserable. They may be obnoxious teens, but more often than not they’re seemingly “normal” adults who use internet ANONIMITY to shed their veneer of decency and show their ugly selves. Trolls are basically cyberbullies on steroids – cowards afraid to show their face but nastier and more dedicated than garden-variety bullies. They are often fairly tech savvy, willing to dig up a comment or information to distort, thereby “justifying” their actions.

If you’ve spent any time online, you’ve probably run across trolls even if you didn’t know the term. You may have tried to reason with them, be nice to them or virtually shout back at them. Don’t bother. You’re more likely to win an argument with a tree than you are with a troll.

What trolls need
In order to attack others, trolls need a victim pool and a public forum of some kind, and they usually want an audience.

This means trolls gravitate to anywhere online users interact - like blog sites, social networks, multiplayer games, discussion forums, hobby sites and so on. They are found on sites that primarily target adults like news sites, company sites and forums.

the one trip pony does its act

insult, never speak to the real issue, trying to silence all the people and ideas that frighten them
complain but never offer a solution

time for a new shtick