Glenn Reynolds, a conservative USA Today columnist and University of Tennessee law professor, was suspended from Twitter on Wednesday for urging drivers to hit protesters blocking a highway in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Reynolds tweeted a link to a live video stream of demonstrators stopping traffic on I-277 during the chaotic second day of protests over the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. His comment read “Run them down.”
Twitter suspended his account shortly after the tweet went up and outraged commenters accused Reynolds, who also runs the Instapundit website, of inciting violence. Several users preserved screenshots of the tweet.
Wednesday’s protest began as a prayer vigil in downtown Charlotte but became more volatile later in the evening, with one protester hospitalized in critical condition with a gunshot wound and camera crews getting knocked down during live shots. Police fired tear gas and flash grenades at protesters in the city’s downtown.
Murdering protesters is, strictly speaking, illegal, but Reynolds has a history of taking a creative approach toward extra-legal killings of people he doesn’t like.
It might (or might not) be worth mentioning that in addition to being a tenured professor at a flagship state university Reynolds is a columnist for USA TODAY, so this isn’t nutpicking in the classical sense of the term, although it’s getting really hard to keep my internet categories straight these days.
….(djw) Reynolds responds. For those who’d rather not click through, he goes on for a bit about a moral distinction between peaceful protests and rioting (a distinction one can appreciate, it seems to me, without calling for immediate vigilante execution of either group) before explaining that he was making point about traffic safety or something. In a world drowning in Frankfurtian bullshit, this:
PC continuing: To be fair to Reynolds, I’m going to quote his response to all this:
“Run them down” perhaps didn’t capture this fully
[B]locking interstates and trapping people in their cars is not peaceful protest — it’s threatening and dangerous, especially against the background of people rioting, cops being injured, civilian-on-civilian shootings, and so on. I wouldn’t actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn’t stop because I’d fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would.
“Run them down” perhaps didn’t capture this fully, but it’s Twitter, where character limits stand in the way of nuance.
Meanwhile, regarding Twitter: I don’t even know that this is why I was suspended, as I’ve heard nothing from Twitter at all. They tell users and investors that they don’t censor, but they seem awfully quick to suspend people on one side of the debate and, as people over at Twitchy note, awfully tolerant of outright threats on the other.
Twitter can do without me, as I can certainly do without Twitter.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Erik Wemple of the Washington Post emails that “Keep driving” would have been a better formulation of what I was trying to say. It would have been, and in only two words instead of three. But I’ve had over 580,000 tweets, and they can’t all be perfect.
No further comment necessary plus it’s too early to start drinking.
YET ANOTHER UPDATE [SL]: Since the beginning of time, Glenn Reynolds has yearned to kill his political enemies.
[PC] . . . and just for the record, how’s this for pure hypocritical self-delusion? (Really needs to be read in conjunction with the link Scott posted just above).
ELIMINATIONIST RHETORIC: Rhode Island prof demands NRA chief’s “head on a stick” — Then declares himself a Twitter martyr because people quoted what he said. Then he softened his stance to say that imprisonment for life would be enough. All for the crime of political disagreement.
The anti-NRA syllogism seems to work this way: (1) Something bad happened; (2) I hate you; so (3) It’s your fault. This sort of reasoning has played out in all sorts of places over the past century, with poor results. One would expect a history professor to know better.
h/t Warren Terra