Indianapolis might be one of the last places you’d expect be a hotbed of political violence, the setting of a successful sitcom, or the locus of much excitement at all, but that wasn’t the case this week. On Tuesday, a man driving a Dodge pickup truck on I-465 in the Hoosier State capital was attacked by a passenger in a nearby car. The driver was unharmed, but the motive may have been political. The truck had two flags flying over its bed: Old Glory and a “Make America Great Again” flag from the 2016 presidential campaign.
The victim and a witness informed police that a sedan pulled alongside the pickup truck and a passenger held a handgun out the window and began blasting away, firing five to seven shots according to reports given to the Indiana State Police.
Most of the shots went wide, but one bullet lodged in the driver’s side door frame of the pickup proudly flying the flags. The alleged perpetrators were in a white Chevy Malibu; according to Fox 59, “[t]he driver…was described as a black male around the age of 23. The passenger was described as a light skinned black male with a sleeve tattoo on his right arm.” The Malibu had Louisiana plates. No arrests have been made so far.
As a matter of self-defense, if one is attacked while driving, it’s good to remember that you have a weapon that weighs at least 3,000 lbs. and is capable of speeds in excess of 100 mph. While the temptation may be to fire back if you have a firearm handy, the best strategy is to get away from the other vehicle. Fast. If fighting back becomes necessary, see what I said above about a 3,000 lbs vehicle.
More details may yet come to light on this situation, but assuming this wasn’t an “ordinary” road rage incident, and the attempted murder was motivated by the symbolic speech of the truck driver displaying the flags, this fits the pattern of a disturbing trend toward political violence. That was made plain to everyone by the overtly political attack on the GOP Congressmen this week by a radicalized Socialist aiming to terrorize, but these attacks had been going on for quite some time now.
Indeed, multiple times this year, speeches and other events have been canceled or scaled because of the threat of political violence, most of it coming from the left or groups allied with thet left — from events in California by Milo Yiannopolous, to speeches by academics like Charles Murray. It’s hardly limited to this country, either — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim and victim of female genital mutilation, cancelled her speaking tour of Australia because of fears of violence. (A critic of hers said that she was being “held accountable for ‘divisive discourse’….”)
Make no mistake: a free people aren’t free when their speech is curtailed or suppressed by violence. In the 1980s, El Salvador had freedom of speech guaranteed in its constitution, too. But if you published the wrong thing, los escuadrones de la muerte would show up and burn down your newspaper. That was if you were lucky. They frequently tortured or shot you, too.
The Bill of Rights is a meaningless scrap of paper if one risks being torched by a mob for daring to fly Old Glory or expressing support for the President.
Keep your powder dry.