Nov 7, 2005

To Our Next Mayor

Left: Photo of October 15 NSM rally taken by historymike

(Toledo, OH) Voters tomorrow will select the person who will lead the city for the next four years. I am writing this open letter in the hope that you will take a few items under advisement with regard to the October 15 riot in North Toledo, and what can be done to avoid future problems involving white supremacists.

Disabuse youself of the "outside agitators" theory - Organized groups like the ISO and ARA were only a small component of the crowd, and many of them were Toledoans. The anger of the rioters, while expressed in unacceptable ways, owes more to unemployment, poverty, and perceived police repression than a couple of drum-beating socialists.

Do not repeat the mistake of allowing white supremacists (or any other hate group)unlimited free speech: Like the metaphorical shout of "fire" in a crowded theater, the racist rhetoric of the NSM was permitted to be spewed in a neighborhood park and on the grounds of Woodward High School; this went against the original plan. Future visits by similar groups should be confined to a neutral site away from neighborhoods. Members of any group that refuse these reasonable limits should be prosecuted if they attempt to invade a neighborhood.

Realize that there are racist elements in this community who would dearly love to see more violence: Ignore the fact that hatemongers exist in Toledo at your own peril. While Bill White and some NSM members traveled a long way to participate in the event of October 15, they had a Toledo welcoming committee. Keep a close watch on certain centers of neo-Nazi activity, and be aware that there is more going on in some establishments than meets the eye; rumors abound of criminal activity associated with some of the local white supremacists.

Thank you for your time, and good luck over the next few years.


Anonymous said...

the information you used was in good faith. anyone could have made the same mistake, i understand it was hard to predict what may have happened at the original time the information was posted.

Hooda Thunkit said...

That was one sobering post Mike.

Let's hope that it doesn't fall on deaf ears...

historymike said...

Thank you for your kind words, anonymous, but I made a potentially dangerous mistake.

(the writer referencd a portion of the post that I have since deleted at the request of another interested party).

Let it be known that these people are armed, dangerous, and not averse to using violent means to push their ideology. They do not operate according to the rules of "civil" society, and I need to exercise greater caution.

Hooda: how true, how true. Too many local politicians fail to appreciate the threat posed to society by those who use violence as a modus operandi.

Lisa Renee said...

Yep, that you do.


Anonymous said...

While I often agree with you, I can not endorse your call for censorship.

While yelling "fire!" is a crowded theater is an oft-used metaphor, it is not appropriate.

Loathsome as it is, hate-speech is political speech and therefore should receive the greatest protection in a free society.

While the message should not be censored in any way, I do believe the city should reserve the right to establish the proper venue as to cause the least amount of public disruption. I'm thinking the steps of Government Center on a Saturday afternoon.

BTW, thanks for one of the classiest blogs in the area.

historymike said...

Thanks, anonymous. I use this blog to fill in reporting gaps in our local media, or for short essays on topics that pique my curiosity.

Oh, and the occasional shameless self-promotion thing. :-}

I think that limitations on free speech are not inherently a form of censorship. We are not talking about the League of Women Voters here; NSM is a group whose "free speech" advocates genocide and forced immigration of anyone not fitting their model of Aryan purity. Here is a recent example from the lips of Bill White, Roanoke spokesperson for NSM (in reference to the French rioting):

Any reasonable country would have begun slaughtering the blacks and systematically expelling the African immigrants by now.

We routinely place limitations on free speech, such as when a law is passed prohibiting direct threats on the President, or the various laws against inciting riots.

I struggle with finding a balance between free speech and public safety.