Another day, another white guy living with his mom threatening to shoot up a synagogue. This one, James Reardon, a 20-year-old Nazi-wannabe threatened to shoot up a Jewish Community Center in Youngstown, Ohio. He was caught because someone brought the threat he'd posted on Instagram to the attention of the police, and police took it seriously enough to search his house (his mom answered the door.) When they found all the weapons and ammo, they arrested him, having also seen all the anti-Semitic content he gleefully posted on his social media accounts.
On Thursday, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Justin Herdman, announced charges against Reardon, but what made this presser unusual was his message for the other pathetic Hitler-ites who think that they can not only say whatever they want, but do whatever they want with impunity. Here are some excerpts from Herdman's remarks, which were unusually powerful because of their strength and determination, but also for the way they cut white supremacists down to the size they deserve. Dare I say, the size of insects?
Democracy allows you to test those ideas in a public forum. If you want to submit your beliefs to the American people and get their reaction, please be our guest. Keep this in mind, though. Thousands and thousands of young Americans already voted with their lives to make sure that this same message of intolerance, death, and destruction would not prevail. You can count their ballots by visiting any American cemetery in North Africa, Italy, France, or Belgium, and tallying the white headstones. You can also recite the many names of civil rights advocates who bled and died in opposing supporters of that same ideologies of hatred. Their voices may be distant, but they can still be heard.
Go ahead and make your case for Nazism, a white nation, and racial superiority. The Constitution may give you a voice, but it doesn't guarantee you a receptive audience. Your right to free speech does not automatically mean that people will agree with you. In fact, you have a God-given and inalienable right to be on the losing end of this argument.
Threatening to kill Jewish people, gunning down innocent Latinos on a weekend shopping trip, planning and plotting to perpetrate murders in the name of a nonsense racial theory, sitting to pray with God-fearing people who you execute moments later - those actions don't make you soldiers, they make you cowards. And law enforcement does not go to war with cowards who break the law, we arrest them and send them to prison.
Together, we are united to ensure that you commit no further acts of violence in the name of your beliefs. When you wake up tomorrow morning, no matter what time that is, I want you to remember something. You can’t set your alarm clock early enough to beat us out of bed. The men and women of law enforcement don’t wake up. We never go to sleep. We are always awake. And arm in arm with the public, when your hatred leads you to break the law, we will do everything we can to be there to stop you.
If only our president, attorney general, and Senate majority leader agreed.
You can see a fuller version of the speech here: