Hugh Hewitt Jumps Shark After Charlottesville

by Dave Blount | August 16, 2017 12:41 pm

Whoa. I knew Hugh Hewitt was awful, but not this awful:

[A] great number of people are at risk of being charged with felony homicide beyond the driver of the car that killed one person during Saturday’s protests. Anyone who incited the driver, indeed anyone whose actions obliged the state troopers to be airborne in defense of the public’s safety, should lawyer up.

I celebrate Brandenburg when I teach it each year.

In the KKK-related Brandenburg case, the Supremes upheld the right of free speech unless it “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Hewitt combines this exception with a Virginia statute according to which the “killing of one accidentally, contrary to the intention of the parties, while in the prosecution of some felonious act … is murder of the second degree” to reach his conclusion that speech = murder.

The speech at the core of that case was every bit as odious as that used by the bigots in Charlottesville this weekend. But those bigots in 1964 lacked the present ability to incite violence.

Maybe violence had not been invented yet in 1964.

Those in Charlottesville had that ability to incite violence, and they used it. Now three are dead, including two state troopers.

The troopers died in a helicopter accident. No matter; someone must be punished.

Lots of people should be charged if they contributed to the mayhem that led to these deaths. Only when criminals are held responsible for the foreseeable consequences of their hatred and the violence they incite will the peddlers of bigotry and barely disguised violence coursing through the country reconsider their assumed immunity from consequence.

Hot Air discusses some implications of this insufferably sanctimonious twit’s irresponsible posturing:

As I read Hewitt, he wants to extend that exception to virtually anyone who participated in the protests — or counter-protests! — in Charlottesville on Saturday regardless of anything specific that they might have said. He’s not drawing the line at someone whispering in James Fields’s ear that he should take out a bunch of progressives with his car. A neo-Nazi/antifa showdown contains a high enough risk of violence, he seems to be saying, that participating and saying anything that raises the antagonism between the groups may qualify as incitement — and, by extension, felony murder due to Fields’s actions. Imagine showing up at a rally to yell F-bombs at some Nazis, watching a bunch of people get run over by a crazed white supremacist, and then finding yourself facing a murder charge. Or, to take a harder example, imagine being a white nationalist who attends the rally with every intention of behaving peacefully and hoping that everyone else behaves that way too. Should that guy face a murder charge for Fields’s actions?

Why stop at people who were present in Charlottesville? Maybe Fields read something online that inflamed him. Whoever wrote it is guilty of murder.

This screwball teaches law.

On a tip from TCS III. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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