It’s already worse.
This is even more deplorable and wrong than the Las Vegas incident.
Dozens of art lovers and First Amendment defenders turned out Saturday outside a San Francisco gallery to bolster the flagging spirits of owner Lori Haigh, who has been under siege for the past two weeks for displaying a controversial painting depicting the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers.
The supporters had hoped to persuade Haigh, 39, to reconsider her decision to close the Capobianco Gallery, which came after she was threatened, spat upon and, most recently, punched in the face for showing Guy Colwell's painting of torture. [SNIP]
Two days after the painting went up, Haigh arrived at her gallery to find broken glass, eggs and trash strewn outside her storefront. Haigh also began receiving the first of about 200 angry voice mails, e-mails and death threats.
A week ago, a man walked into the gallery and spat in Haigh's face.[SNIP]
Just two days later, another man knocked on the door of the gallery and then punched Haigh in the face, knocking her out, breaking her nose and causing a concussion.My prediction is that, no matter how much some are reminded that free speech—and its cousin, freedom of expression—are reputed to be revered in this country, those who would quash such will make exercising that right more difficult. “Free speech for me, but not for thee.” Such incidents will increase in frequency up to the November election, perhaps beyond it, no matter who wins.
It’s likely that I would personally not care for Mr. Cowell’s work of art, however, who would I be to deny him (or Ms. Haigh) the right to display it? Who are these “men” who would physically assault a woman for exercising her right of free expression on her own property?
(One of the commenters in the previous thread judged it to be cowardly to go to the police under these types of conditions. I suppose that Ms. Haigh should have attempted to beat her attacker—likely much larger than she—to a pulp. The likelihood that I might have tried to do such a thing in her place is irrelevant. She did something much more intelligent: she told others and got the attacks publicized. However, were she allowed to and inclined to keep a fire arm in her place of business, such Brown Shirts—that’s what they are--might have thought twice before attacking her.)
Public discourse is circling the bowl and knuckleheads on both sides of the fence are making it happen. Do we on the right want SA-types to promote our causes? Do you on the left want SA-types to stand for what you believe in?
I know what it’s like to live with violence right outside the front door. If reasonable people do not want this whole country to slide down into such an abyss, we have to take a stand against those who would see it happen, no matter whose "side" they're on.
(Thanks to reader Actus and to David Neiwert)