A group of guys walks into a bar, doesn’t like another group of guys, and a fight breaks out. Police officers stop the scuffle, and everyone goes home a little worse for wear. This is a nuisance so common that it could have happened anywhere.
For most of our letter writers, the scene that played out July 14 at a bar in Atwater Village could be described in those ordinary terms, but in this charged political environment, the belligerents were anything but ordinary: As reported in the L.A. Times, a group of progressive activists learned that a gathering of Proud Boys, a far-right all-male organization known for violent street confrontations, was taking place at the Griffin, and showed up to demand the Proud Boys’ ejection. Altercations ensued.
Take all the complicating facts away, say our letter writers, and what happened was that one group simply could not abide sharing a bar with another group.
Los Angeles resident Phillip May faults the Democratic Socialists:
So there now is a dress code for drinking at local bars? You can't wear a polo shirt and a “Make America Great Again” hat like the Proud Boys without a social justice warrior trying to get you thrown out of a bar?
The 1st Amendment doesn’t give Democratic Socialist organizer Josh Androsky the right to confront other patrons in a private establishment and make them leave. But now he’s emboldened and what is to prevent him from trying to make anyone leave if he doesn't like their group or their clothes?
People who truly believe in individual rights should be worried about this.
Jane De Haven of Los Angeles agrees:
The Times report fails to question Androsky’s assumption that “Nazis” cannot peaceably assemble based on their ideology. In this country, we don't presume that we can read thoughts and ban people from public gathering places.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court decided that actual Nazis could in fact, peaceably assemble when they were given the right to march in predominantly Jewish Skokie, Ill., back in the 1970s, where Holocaust survivors — who actually do know what Nazis are — lived.
The reporter questions the statement by the Proud Boys that they were not at the bar to cause trouble, the reason being that fewer than 20% of voters in Atwater Village supported President Trump. Are we now expected to patronize establishments only in neighborhoods that mirror our own voting preferences?
Paul Leslie of Burbank was the lone reader to target his criticism at the Proud Boys:
Now we have a group called Proud Boys to contend with. By “we,” I mean civilized society.
What exactly are they proud of? Apparently for “creating the modern world.” And yet their unnamed president eschews racism and states, “I think that racial pride is stupid because how can you be proud of something you took no part in creating?”
These boys had no role in creating the modern world. They are simply living in it and making a mess of where they eat. And they are so proud to be men, but they are only men because “the stars were aligned and you happened to come out” a man.
And yet they are still so proud of something they did not accomplish.
Jordan Goodman of Burbank asks for a clarification:
Was this story about children or adults? I'm confused.