Enforcing the peace

| April 29, 2008

A week ago, I first republished an email I received ostensibly from the Swartout family who were attacked while filming an anitwar demonstration in Edinboro, PA. I won’t recount the story, but a link to the first post is here, so you can refresh yourselves. I felt at the time that there was probably more than what we were being told. My buddy Bostonmaggie wrote me earlier that a video was in the hands of Fox News and that O’Reilly planned on doing a story about it tonight, so I thought I’d wait to see the tape before I passed judgement.

Well, a friend of this blog sent me a link to a copy of the video yesterday on the condition that I wouldn’t make it public until after Fox News broadcast their story on the incident. I’ve been getting antsy all day, everytime I saw an O’Reilly commercial tempting viewers with the tape, but I like getting tips and stuff before Fox News so I kept my trap shut as I promised. If you missed the O’Reilly broadcast, here’s the video.

(Editor’s note: Apparently, whoever put the video up changed their mind and marked it “private”, but I found the link at GOE-NY)

The Swartouts weren’t exactly angels, but it’s clear from this video that the antiwar folks clearly escalated the confrontation to violence. I’m surprised that the police didn’t at least take one of those folks off in handcuffs to make a point. As I said last week this will only encourage the antiwar types.

What put an end to the protests of the seventies was after the unfortunate events at Kent State, at a demonstration in New York City, constructions workers were tired of listening to the constant whining and climbed down from their steel and started beating hippies in the streets. The police were reticent about forcing the Left to behave themselves and decent citizens were forced to put an end to the useless bellyaching and anti-social behavior.

Am I threatening the Left or inciting the Right – absolutely not. I’m just drawing lessons from history, something the Left has failed to do in this escalation of reactions. The police have a responsibility to establish and enforce boundaries of civil behavior. Throughout history when the authorities have failed to enforce those boundaries, people have taken it on themselves to enforce those boundaries, with much more disastrous results.

Crossposted at Talon

Category: Antiwar crowd, Historical, Politics, Society

Comments (20)

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  1. So WHAT are you exactly saying when you said “The Swartouts weren’t exactly angels”?????????????????????

    WHAT CRIME DID THEY COMMIT?????????????????????

    Jonn wrote: Settle down. I didn’t say they should be sent to jail. See, that’s a part of the problem – there’s no room for any criticism in the debate. “Weren’t exactly angels” was pretty harmless – not deserving of countless question marks. If you haven’t noticed, I’m on the same side you’re on.

  2. I AM settled!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Do you REALLY want toi see me get pissed off?????

    I believe you’re on my side and the Swartouts side, but come on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s VERY CLEAR based on the video EVIDENCE who the REAL criminals are here!!!!!

    Jonn wrote: Where did I say the Swartouts are criminals – I said they weren’t exactly angels. How does not being an angel make them criminals. I really don’t care if you get pissed off…this is the internet. Now if you have any other questions, please act like a mature adult and ask without pounding the punctuation keys.

  3. Yikes.

    Jonn, I got what you were saying.

  4. Maggie says:

    Paul – At the risk of inciting more yelling, I’d like to say that this video is not black and white. One can be very patriotic and very pro-military, as I am, and still see that there is a little gray area here. Yes, the so-called “peace protesters” were anything but peaceful. Yes, the young ladies in the video need to spend more time at their college studies (I am making assumptions as to their being college students) before they go spouting off. Yes, based on the tape there should have been arrests. My understanding is that the investigation is still ongoing. I base that on an Edinboro official’s email to Col. Harry Riley. In addition I would think tonight’s coverage on Fox will most certainly spur some action.

    Now that we have all those caveats out of the way. Have you watched the video? Have you watched the other videos that this family has on YouTube? The young man filming has every right to be there and film and not be bothered, much less assaulted.

    Now, if I could ask a few questions? Why is he there? What purpose is served by getting in their midst? How do his actions move the “Pro-Victory” agenda forward? How do his actions move any dialogue forward? Isn’t the point of a counter-protest to show people another view? Isn’t the point of counter-protests to show that rational, clear-thinking Americans support our soldiers and back the GWOT? Did the actions you see in this video accomplish any of that?

    I would submit to you that no one comes out of this incident in a positive light.

  5. I agree with you Maggie, but I’m a lover not a fighter. Well, actually, that’s not true either. But, so it goes.

    I only use multiple exclamation points thusly: RED SOX WIN IN 9TH!!!!! Yeay YOUKILIS!!!!

  6. Rosemary says:

    Jonn, great post over at Talon’s! You did let me know that it is wise to wait until all the facts are out (which I usually do), but I got pretty hot under the collar myself. Before I had any facts! That is why I called my ‘article’ a Rant instead of a story! lol. I’m sure there is more to come, but you have done a very responsible and good job in the handling of this issue. Thank you.

  7. 509th Bob says:

    The Swartout was still available at a New York GOE website.

    Did the son have a right to go over and film the anti-war people. Absolutely. There is no constitutional right of privacy for acts publicly committed. The woman screaming about not signing a waiver is an idiot. A waiver is necessary for commercial use.

    The same woman who kept punching the wife, even assuming she had a colorable claim of self-defense against the wife, continued her attack after the wife was down. This alters her assumed self-defense into an un-justified assault.

    If the Swartouts are charged with an offense (which appears to be the case), they need to file criminal Civil Rights charges against the local government, and against the involved women “students” for conspiracy to injure the Swartouts’ exercise of their Constitutional rights. 18 USC 241.

    At the GOE events I’ve been to, I haven’t seen the veterans assault or steal the property of “peace” protestors. It has been the “peace” types who do it to veterans and counter-protestors.

    As for the Swartouts’ decision to go to the “peace” types’ “side of the street,” was there a permit involved that clearly divided the two groups? Or was the “peace” protest on a public park? If there was no legal prohibition against intermingling, then he/they had every right to cross the street. If we don’t exercise our rights and privileges as citizens, but instead forever cede our rights to people who think that their “rights” have precedence over our rights, then we have two options: surrender our rights, or fight a civil war for our rights. This type of tactic (the “peace” protestors supposed superiority of the exercise of their Constitutional rights at the expense of everybody else’s) is how Europe is surrendering to Islam.

  8. 509th Bob says:

    I noticed that the Talon blog said that comments were closed, and speculated upon the legal issues that would arise.

    The exercise of self-defense is LIMITED to those actions which are REASONABLE (as defined by law) to those actions which are necessary to STOP the presumptively unlawful assault committed against the individual. The woman in the white dress did NOT stop at the reasonable exercise of self-defense (based upon the video I saw). There are certainly hints (clues, hits, whatever) at more videos available (based upon Boston Maggie’s comments and others) that might show more. But, based solely upon the Swartout video, the woman in the white dress clearly exceeded her presumptive right to self-defense.

    I hate to pass judgment on local D.A.s, but two decades of experience has taught me that they aren’t exactly the sharpest blades in the kitchen.

    Because I work for the Federal Government, I am prohibited from representing the Swartouts. [Hello, TSO, if you are looking for a niche audience, this might be it, but I cannot say that this practice would support you.] But, if allowed, I would TAKE this case, and pursue charges against the Edinboro D.A. and the local government, and the woman in the white dress.

    Please, if you get access to contra video showing that the attack was legally provoked, please show it. The law is supposed to be politically neutral. No special favors for Lefties or Righties. I impose that “rule” on issues that I consider. Our credibility (upon Righties and bloggers) depends upon displaying the integrity to call “BS” upon events when we see it. If there is justification for charging the Swartouts with criminal charges, then I will fully support such charges. But, until I see such proof, I cannot say that they were in “the wrong.”

    Off Topic – John, your Blog-Roll keeps growing by the day! Some day soon, you’ll be FAMOUS! Us mere-commentators will have to beg permission to post comments.

    BTW, this week has, so far, been a pure week from HELL, and I can’t predict the future, but I SHOULD be free on Friday for lunch. Send me an e-mail for where we should meet for lunch with you and TSO.

  9. Sorry Maggie, but I have to ask; WHO’S SIDE ARE YOU ON???????

    And YES, I HAVE seen the video; WHAT ABOUT IT?????????? And I’ve PERSONALLY spoken to both Carrie and Jason regarding the CRIMES committed against them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And the video CLEARLY shows to ANYONE with working eyes that the Swartouts were CLEARLY the ones who were BRUTALLY ASSAULTED by gutless, hate-filled, un-American, anti-military EXTREMISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    AND………..I interviewed Carrie and Skye (the young woman BRUTALLY ASSAULTED in West Chester, PA, on 3/22 by a gutless, hate-filled, anti-military extremist) on my Blog Talk Radio show this past Sunday night, so if you want to hear Carrie’s side of the REAL story, listen to my show from Sunday night here—-> http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ICRadio/2008/04/28/g

    Get the story straight from Carrie, not 4th or 5th hand!!

    Jonn wrote: I really don’t care how many punctuation marks you use, it doesn’t add weight to your argument. I’ve been in the same situation that the Swartout’s found themselves countless times…even before 9/11…and would never get my children involved, and when I’d see the situation escalate, I’d leave. Did I have the right to stay? Of course. But what good would it do? If I were you, I’d stop questioning people, like Maggie, about which side they’re on. That’s about the most childish thing I’ve seen written on this board that isn’t about Ron Paul. You’re perfectly welcome here, but only if you act like you’re an adult.

  10. Maggie says:

    Paul, I have seen Skye’s video and I feel that she was completely in the right when she was assaulted. That is a completely different issue.

    As far as the interview you did with Carrie, I have already bookmarked it and I was planning on listening.

    Since you say you watched the video, let me ask again:
    Why is Carrie’s son over there? (Yes, I know he has every right to be there.)

    What purpose is served by getting in their midst?

    How do his actions move the “Pro-Victory” agenda forward?

    How do his actions move any dialogue forward?

    Isn’t the point of a counter-protest to show people another view?

    Isn’t the point of counter-protests to show that rational, clear-thinking Americans support our soldiers and back the GWOT?

    Did the actions you see in this video accomplish any of that?

    While I have not yet listened to Carrie’s interview with you. I do not feel I have gotten this story 4th or 5th hand. I have read Carrie’s own emails and posts. I have watched the other videos Carrie chose to put up on her YouTube channel. I watched Carrie’s interview on O’Reilly. As a matter of fact the only input I have received that wasn’t Carrie herself was from the local newspaper and one short post written by the DeWalt’s son (which I took with a huge grain of salt since he chose to post on something with Michael Moore’s name on it). So I do not feel that I am ignoring Carrie’s side of it.

    Lastly, your use of capital letters and multiple exclamation points make me think that you intend to convey yelling. That is the generally accepted interpretation of such text and puctuation. So I will tell you that yelling and questioning “whose side I am on” does not intimidate me in the least. I will continue to discuss this matter as a rational adult who knows that life is not a cowboy movie and the Swartouts did not ride up to this protest on white stallions wearing white hats. I think they are fundamentally good people trying to defend a priciple they hold dear. However, I think in their (understandable) frustration they have lost sight of a bigger picture. The incident in question did not take place in a vacuum. It has context. Sometimes when people are upset and overwhelmed, they lose sight of that context.

  11. 509th Bob says:

    I just saw the other video of the Swartout confrontation. The Swartouts do appear to be the aggressors. The woman in the white dress, however, after fighting the mother, then went over and kicked the husband. That is undeniably an assault. She cannot claim to be acting in defense of a third person.

  12. 509th Bob says:

    Marooned in Marin has the “other side’s” video. Based on that video, the Swartout mother/wife clearly initiated the physical confrontation. The leftie in the white dress, however, after disengaging from the wife, then went over and kicked and struck Mr. Swartout. That is an assault. Both of the leftie girls AND the both Swartout adults have been charged. It looks like the Edinboro D.A. is doing his duty in a correct manner.

    Jonn wrote: Someone just emailed me the link, too. It’s at Erie Tube.

  13. Elyse says:

    Paul, please step back for a minute and take a breath. Noone is for a moment saying that Carrie being assaulted and injured is right, not at all. What is being said is that the who, what where and how in all this needs to be examined with a critical eye, not just the emotion of knowing that another patriot and his wife were involved. It makes for a very volatile situation that calls for cool heads to prevail right now. Anything otherwise could damage whatever the case Carrie and Jason have in place now.

    You and I Paul have been on that line more times than I think we both care to count, we both know how easily things can spiral out of control when emotions rule over clear thinking. Heck I’ve come close to losing it myself and every time we face them I pray for the strength to stay focused and hold my temper.

    From experience I can tell you the best way to handle this first will be through the court system. When one of our members had his camera stolen right out of his hands by a Leftist who crossed the street to deliberately do so, we did everything by the book. Incredibly enough, the anti-war protestor thought it was a good idea to hightail it right into…a military installation LOL! Bill’s knee ligaments were torn in the pursuit of the thief so there was a hospital stay, police reports and tapes that were handed over to the police. We did not react in kind. As a result, the civil case was resolved to Bill’s satisfaction in court and the assailant was convicted of simple assault and some other minor charges.

    My point is simply that the last thing we need to do is be divided amongst ourselves. We are all patriots here and all of us want to see a fair resolution. So let’s do what we do, take it through the normal channels FIRST and see where we go from there.

  14. repsac3 says:

    As a peace protester, I applaud the level heads of most here, and 509th Bob & Maggie, in particular. After seeing both videos, I agree that the correct four people got charged… All of ’em misbehaved in ways that led, inevitably, to the physical conflict.

    Maggie’s questions in comment 10 are good ones, and should be considered by all who feel that strolling among those who disagree with your position–be it “Eagle/Freeper” or “Anti-Occupation/Peace”–is somehow a good idea that advances your cause. As I’ve said elsewhere, “legal to do” is one thing, and “smart or helpful to do” is another.

  15. Maggie says:

    Just watched the other video. Holy crap! How are they not charging “white dress” with “deadly weapon/shod foot”?

    On a different note – why is stuff not on YouTube always so crappy? LOL I had to watch three times before it stopped stuttering.

  16. Skye says:

    Why is it the ‘peace protestors’ hit first, then ask for peace?

    Jonn wrote: Because they never expect to be held accountable.

  17. 509th Bob says:


    First, be aware that my work e-mail system was suffering from MAJOR problems today. I didn’t see this earlier. That is why I sent the apparent double-post.

    Second, I’m AVAILABLE for lunch tomorrow! (Friday, e-mail me! USE my work e-mail, and I’ll HOPE that it’s working!)

    Third, Mr. Swartout apparently laid his sign over the display he anti-war protesters, thus “permitting” “White dress” to remove his sign. Her action, in removing the overlaying sign, was justified. Once she took it, however, he was entitled, by law (theory of replevin, which may be misspelled, but its been far too many years since law school) to recover his sign. But, on the other hand, he grabbed “White Dress’s” arm, which is an assault (instead of calling the Police, which is what he SHOULD have done). Mrs. Swartout then engaged in an apparent (legally) unjustified assault (defense of Third Party only justified when original self-defense is lawfully justified). Mrs. Swartoff then
    attacks “White Dress” (not lawfully justified, at the moment she engages, there is no (in my observation) a legal defense of Third Party. White Dress legally defends herself from Mrs. Swartout, but then turns her attack to Mr. (Sr.) Swartout — NOT legally justified. As Boston Maggie pointed out (“shod foot” assault”), “White Dress” engaged in excessive force and should have been charged with a more serious offense. But the local prosecutor has the discretion to weigh the relative merits of the offenders and bring the appropriate charges. “White Dress’s” sister, who appears to be “Green Shirt,” had been subdued at the point when “White Dress” attacks. Those are all JURY issues, however.

    As I have noted above, I believe that the local D.A. has treated the offenses appropriately. As much as it pains me politically, the legal resolution of this incident appears to have been handled correctly. Thus, the interests of Justice are sufficiently served. Whatever criticism I may have said before, I now withdraw.

    As to the son, who was video-taping the protesters’ “exhibits,” I still stand by my original opinion that he has EVERY legal right to go over and examine them and film the anti-war activists, and film them. This is where I depart from Boston Maggie’s questions/challenges. The son has “standing” (a legal concept) to sue the anti-war for Civil Rights violations, but the parents do not.

    Like I said in previous comments, we preserve our integrity by factually or accurately assessing the issues that are presented to us. If somebody screws up, they (Leftie or Rightee) deserve the consequences.

    Enjoy your evening, John. I look forward to knowing where to meet tomorrow. If you have to impose “registering,” please include me.

    509th Bob

    Jonn wrote: I emailed Wednesday night, Bob, but I resent the instructions again this morning to your work email along with my cell#.

  18. Maggie says:

    I have never argued the son’s right to be there and to videotape.

    That’s not the point though is it?

    The point should be to show support for our Troops. Going over and videotaping doesn’t do that.

    The point should be to show the people in that area that while the anti-war people have supporters who care enough to stand out there with signs…..so do the pro-military people. Going over there doesn’t do that.

    Why are we even doing this stuff (standing, holding signs, etc.) in the first place? Isn’t it because we are not going to allow a repeat the mistakes that pro-military people of the Vietnam era made. The mistake of not responding. The mistake of letting Mr. & Mrs. America sitting home in their living rooms think that the “peace movement” was sweeping the nation. The mistake of letting only one point of view take all the attention.

    You are never going to persuade the “anti-war” people and they are never going to persuade us. We (pro & anti) are both hoping to influence the fence sitters. We are both hoping to influence Congress. We pro-military supporters are out there to refute the MSM propaganda that America wants the Troops home no matter what. We want our message (we want the Troops home victorious) to be front and center/

    What is our goal? The intimidate other US citizens who air views that we disagree with? Because that’s what I see when I view Mrs. Swartout’s full body of work. I thought our goal was to make sure Congress never forgets that the majority of America wants to win in Iraq (in specific) and in the GWOT (in general). I thought our goal was to let everyone know we want to let the Troops WIN!

    The Swartouts using the letter of the law to violate the spirit of the 1st amendment out of frustration does not accomplish that goal.

  19. Maggie,

    The Swartouts will use the court system to KICK THE ASS of every gutless, hate-filled, anti-military extremist who GUTLESSLY asaulted them last week AND THEY WILL WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Once again, the video CLEARLY shows that the Swartouts were gutlessly ASSAULTED; no amount of downplaying what happened to them can change that!

    Last time I checked, REAL Americans who support the troops AND THEIR MISSION are sick and tired of the VIOLENCE and HATE SPEECH that spews forth from gutless, hate-filled anti-military extremists!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And we intend on fighting back AND WINNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    To everyone here who’s left comments; if you really DO support the troops AND THEIR MISSION, please show it by fully supporting the Swartouts! Like Elyse, I don’t want the Side of Good to be divided amongst ourselves either, but PLEASE, we need to choose our words VERY CAREFULLY!!!!!!!!!!

    Our gutless, hate-filled, anti-military extremist enemies are watching us (one has already posted here); please let’s not give them any ammunition to use against us (even though we can kick their ass BIG TIME :oD )

    Jonn wrote: Your testosterone-soaked rant is not as inspiring as you might think. If there’s any “ass-kicking”, you can count me out – completely. The only divisiveness in this discussion is yours. Apparently, if we don’t completely condone the actions of the Swartouts, we’re somehow not American enough. I don’t like extremism on either side and I think the Swartouts and you are on the extremist edge of the anti-anti-war movement. You’re demanding that we “choose our words very carefully”, yet neither you nor the Swartouts have done that.

    Apparently there are videos of the Swartouts floating around the internet that put them in a less flattering light than they would like – videos that they removed from YouTube.

    I’ve said from the beginning that the anti-war people need to be arrested and punished, however, the whole thing should have been avoided. “Our side” doesn’t need this kind of behavior and we don’t need martyrs. If the left attacks completely unprovoked (as I believe they did in the case of Skye at Midnight Blue) that’s different.

    I know you only read part of what I wrote, so go ahead and start throwing around exclamation points again.

  20. repsac3 says:

    I listened to your blogtalk show on this subject as well, Paul… …and I’m telling all my commie pinko friends about all this, too.

    Again, thanks to those of you who are able to avoid the CAPS & exclamation points, both online & in person. Respect is a two way street… The more we come out of the corners we paint ourselves into & listen to each other a little bit, the better off we’ll all be.