1977 KKK Law Unmasks Anti-Trump Antifa Rioters In 2017, Checkmate Liberals
The Antifa movement has been running rampant over America for quite some time but particularly since the election of President Trump. The violent group is blatantly geared towards stopping what they deem the fascist right. They have repeatedly called the president, and all those who support him, racist, bigoted, and a whole lot of other names.
In a sheer delightful twist of irony, it may be a 1977 law designed for the racist KKK that will be the downfall of the Antifa.
This little gem of a law exists in the Alabama State Code, Title 13. Other states have similar legislation but not many that originated in 1949. That is when Alabama Governor Jim Folsom signed a law that made wearing a mask in public a misdemeanor. The crime was punishable then by a year in jail and a $500 fine, about $5,000 in today’s economy.
There is no doubt who Folsom was targeting, he was a fierce opponent of the KKK. The law was the first of this type in the south since Reconstruction. It was intended to hinder the white supremacists from donning their masks in public to intimidate and panic citizens.
The current law, updated in 1977, continues to ban congregations of masked people in public. In a book about the KKK, author and historian David Mark Chalmers explained that Governor Folsom also made covering license plates an arrestable offense.
Now, it could be argued that many states have outdated laws on the books that are rarely or never used; relics of the past no lawmaker has bothered to get rid of. In this case, though, a similar law in Georgia was upheld as recently as 1990. The Supreme Court heard a case brought by the KKK challenging the law under the First Amendment. The court ruled in favor of the state.
Alabama pulled this law out, dusted it off, and proceeded to use it earlier this month in Auburn. The Antifa had turned out in force to protest a speaking appearance by Richard Spencer. His mere presence had been contested from the beginning. To be fair, Spencer does have a history and reputation for being a white supremacist; that does not mean he doesn’t have the right to speak.
The arguments in Auburn began when an Atlanta resident named Cameron Padgett rented out an auditorium on Auburn University campus for the infamous speaker. Students from Auburn expressed concern that the event might result in violence. Initially, the university’s officials did the right thing, citing the First Amendment despite their personal opinions.
“We strongly deplore his views, which run counter to those of this institution. While his event isn’t affiliated with the university, Auburn supports the constitutional right to free speech.”
Pressure increased as the event got closer. The Antifa movement has been quite successful with their threats at institutions like Berkeley. There was sufficient evidence to believe the same tactics would work in Alabama and they did; four days before the event, Auburn canceled with this explanation;
“In consultation with law enforcement, Auburn canceled the Richard Spencer event scheduled for Tuesday evening based on legitimate concerns and credible evidence that it will jeopardize the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors.”
Spencer responded in his typical bold fashion. “I’m not going to allow that to happen. Auburn is going to rue the day that they made this total bulls*** decision. I will not back down. I will be there. This is going to be so much bigger than they ever imagined.”
Presumably with Spencer’s encouragement, Padgett sued. An Alabama District Court judge ruled in their favor and the speech was set to happen.
There is no telling if Auburn University students would have protested peacefully, in contrast to Berkeley, or if Spencer’s speech would have incited violence as presumed, the Antifa did not leave anything to chance. They showed up to the event in typical antagonistic fashion; including their signature black masks to conceal their identities.
They were met at the entrance of the venue and introduced to some serious southern justice. The police refused to allow them to enter if they did not remove their masks; thank you, Governor Folsom.
Some complied and entered the campus. This unfortunately didn’t prevent violence. At least three people were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The police have made clear that the people were not AU students or affiliated with the university in any way. While not stated, that tends to indicate they were Antifa. So while the unmasking didn’t stop all the violence, it certainly made the arresting officer’s jobs easier.
This is the first time since November that authorities have been successful in disrupting the Antifa’s intimidation tactics. The university also must be commended for, at least initially, acknowledging that free speech is allowed whether we agree with the ideas or not.
The hope is that other states will follow Alabama’s lead and either find or enact similar laws. While Spencer may be offensive or even evil, the precedent is solid; the left cannot continue to act as judge, jury, and executioner of free speech.