The Republican Embrace of Vigilantism Is No Accident

Although it is possible the jury made a mistake when it handed down a guilty verdict, neither Carlson nor Rittenhouse nor Abbott tried to argue the case on the merits. Instead, they made a simple assumption: that any violence against a left-wing protester is justified on its face. Perry had lived out the right-wing fantasy of lethal violence in defense of “order.” By their lights, he had done nothing wrong.

Prominent conservatives have taken the same view of Daniel Penny, the 24-year-old assailant in the killing of Jordan Neely in a New York City subway car this month. What we know is that Neely, who was homeless, was erratic and acting hostile toward other passengers. Witnesses say he had not attacked anyone. At some point, Penny, a former Marine, placed Neely in the chokehold that killed him. Two other passengers restrained Neely while he struggled on the ground. Penny is now charged with second-degree manslaughter.

We don’t know much, yet, about Penny’s mind-set or…

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This article was written by Jamelle Bouie and originally published on