Let’s get one thing straight. People who organize and/or participate in violent and/or self-destructive (to their cause or the community in which they act) protesting are enemies of free speech. In other words, someone who smashes windows or destroys a car or hurts a person ultimately hurts their own cause. But they also challenge the freedom of speech and assembly being used by the vast majority of people who use those freedoms wisely.
That being said, has the threat of violent protests become so extreme that the FBI needs to pay home visits to those who are planning to demonstrate outside of the convention in NY?
There is a fine line between a peaceful protest and going too far. There is an even finer line between being concerned about a potential crime and strong-arming people because of their beliefs.
It will be quite interesting to see how the protesters and the conventioners co-mingle in New York. It will be even more interesting to see how the city itself deals with the convention.
In Boston, pretty much everyone in the city was on the same team. And the team was small. People who actually live in Boston were nowhere to be seen. The convention goers took over the entire town.
In New York, things will be entirely different. New Yorkers aren’t leaving. The city’s political views are largely opposed to the conventioners. And the city is not emptying out or shutting down because of they happen to be having an event at Madison Square Garden. In fact, the tennis U.S. Open begins at the same time.
That’s why I’m begging someone out there to get me a pass to the convention. A live political event and Serena Williams in person (not to mention the Bialys at Kossar’s) during the same week? That’s good stuff, folks.