DC Trawler

Matt Labash Tried Something New With Patriot Prayer: Talking To Them

Amy Osborne/AFP/Getty Images.

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Before last week, I’d never heard of Patriot Prayer, the group who was scheduled to speak in Berkeley last week before it turned into an Antifa-fueled riot. Suddenly, lots of people are telling me Patriot Prayer is a bunch of Nazis and/or fascists and/or white nationalists and/or any other bad thing you’re not supposed to be. And if I ask why, that makes me a Nazi sympathizer. But nobody can give a specific reason why those guys are so awful that they need to be beaten in the street.

As it turns out, the great Matt Labash was right there in Berkeley last week with Patriot Prayer’s founder, Joey Gibson. Labash was right in the middle of that mess, and he just published a terrific write-up titled “A Beating in Berkeley.” Here’s a taste:

As white supremacists go, Joey Gibson makes for a lousy one. For starters, he’s half Japanese. “I don’t feel like I’m Caucasian at all,” he says. Not to be a stickler for the rules, but this kind of talk could get you sent to Master Race remedial school.

And it gets worse. The founder of Patriot Prayer—a Vancouver, Wash.-based operation that sponsors rallies and marches promoting freedom and First Amendment rights along with all-purpose unity—also spews hippie-dippie rhetoric like “moderates have to come together” and “love and peace [are] the only way to heal this country. Joey tends to sound less like an alt-right bully boy than a conflict-resolution facilitator or a Unitarian Sunday school teacher…

Labash introduces us to Gibson and his sidekick Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, a 6’3″, 345-pound Samoan who says of his own generous girth, “I ain’t fat, I’m stab-resistant.” Their message, as near as I can tell, is nothing more than this: People have the right to speak freely without being beaten in the street. That’s it. That’s all they’re calling for. Free speech and nonviolence.

And if you agree with that, now you’re a “Nazi.”

Labash was on the scene when the savage mob of black-clad Berkeley commies descended on the half-Japanese guy and the Samoan dude:

From the moment we hit the square, the “Nazi” catcalls start. Whatever’s happening on the stage seems to cease to exist, and the energy around us turns very dark, very fast. Joey, Tiny, and Pete start walking with greater purpose, on the balls of their feet, almost like fighters entering a ring or Christians entering the Coliseum…

A hundred or so masked-up antifa ninjas and affiliated protesters seem to simultaneously turn. It looks like we’ve interrupted al Qaeda tryouts. Joey, Tiny, and Pete all raise their hands high in the air, and flash peace signs, a conciliatory gesture. But nobody here wants peace. Not with fascists on the scene.

Here’s what that looked like:

Look at that angry, mask-wearing mob attacking and screaming lies at people of color. Remind you of anybody?

These Antifa thugs are no better than the people they claim to despise. But unlike the Klan, Antifa has had the support of the media. (They actually liken Antifa to the brave men who stormed the beaches of Normandy!) It looks like this latest debacle in Berkeley might have changed that, at least temporarily. Earlier this week, WaPo actually reported on Antifa’s violence without making excuses for it. And now, even Nancy Pelosi is distancing herself from these psychopaths. This is not a good look for the Democrats.

You can hate Joey Gibson, or anybody else you want, for any reason you want. It doesn’t even have to be true. You have the right to your opinion. You do not have the right to put on a mask and beat people up. Despite what you may have heard, that ain’t just being “rowdy.”

This madness isn’t even political. It’s just tribal. It’s a mob mentality. “I’m angry and I want to hurt somebody. Anybody, it doesn’t really matter. Look, there’s somebody for me to hate! Get ’em!!!” Justify it however you want. Call me any names you want. It’s wrong. If you do it, you’re wrong.

Read the whole thing. It’s Labash, so you know it’s good. And right now, it’s more important than ever.