When the Ku Klux Klan was powerful in the South and parts of the Middle West, one of its rallying cries was the slowness of law enforcement officials to arrest and try blacks suspected of criminal action, especially crimes against whites. In the worst cases, white lynch mobs descended on the homes of blacks to take justice into their own hands. It's hard to think of anything more inimical to real justice.
Therefore, one of the most disturbing things about the Trayvon Martin killing recently is the willingness of some on the left to hint at vigilante action. For example, those who Tweeted the supposed address of George Zimmerman, who claims he shot Martin in self-defense, clearly aimed to provoke some kind of action against Zimmerman and his family, whatever form that action might take. A couple of celebrities later backed off (Spike Lee and Roseanne Barr), but not before they had made fools of themselves.
One might point out that the media got much of the story wrong, using sensationalized treatments that have embarrassed them. The bias thus exhibited may have backfired.
Then there is the way Media Matters organized a pseudo-popular outcry against Rush Limbaugh for his on-air chastisement of a woman at Georgetown University. Limbaugh apologized, but the campaign ramped up anyhow. Advertisers' employees were harassed; innuendoes were made about the safety of company executives and their families. Fortunately, at least one advertiser decided to fight back in public, a rarity in modern corporate America. (Jeff Lord at American Spectator has the full story.)
Now I get an email today about a planned Holy Saturday occupation of Borrachini's, a local, family-owned Italian bakery here in Seattle. A self-proclaimed Socialist Solidarity Network aims to shut the place down. They already sent fifty people to disrupt the popular bakery two weeks ago. The ostensible reason is that an employee fired for cause complains that she was not allowed sufficient breaks when she worked there; a contention the 82 year old owner, Remo Borrachini, says is false. Local talk show host Dori Monson of KIRO has called attention to the bakery owners' plight and already the neighborhood community is rallying to their side. Another backfire is in store for the militants.
But meanwhile, one sees an increasing pattern of abuse of due process and free speech rights by the organized and belligerent left. It's not about justice, it's about power: destroying existing authority and institutions and taking over. There surely are some nasty people on the right, and shame on them. But the trend is mostly one way. The good news is that ordinary Americans don't like it.