On February 21, a little-known Louisiana state legislator introduced a bill that would add at least two new legal justifications for murder.
The first, if someone – anyone, presumably – suspects a protester might be damaging property (or “imminently” about to), under this new law – House Bill 101 – proactive vigilantes can kill them without the worry of any pestering criminal investigations thereafter.
The second – and perhaps the most audacious – new justification for the slaughter of one person at the hands of another is if a person – presumably, even a random, out-of-state 17 year old with a semi-automatic rifle, for example – suspects that someone (but almost certainly one of those beatniks calling for racial justice or action on climate) is engaging in, or about to engage in “tumultuous and violent conduct during a riot”, said hero can give this theoretical troublemaker the ole’ Rittenhouse treatment.
How, you might be asking, does the state of Louisiana define a riot?
A riot is a public disturbance involving an assemblage of three or more persons acting together or in concert which by tumultuous and violent conduct, or the imminent threat of tumultuous and violent conduct, results in injury or damage to persons or property or creates a clear and present danger of injury or damage to persons or property. (LA Rev Stat § 14:329.1 (2017))
Seems pretty clear, right? An average Jane or Joe (or both #teamwork), observing what they believe to be a disturbing “assemblage” of people who, in concert – you know, with their militant chants of “Black Lives Matter!” and “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” laying bare their dangerous, almost “tumultuous” intentions – decides they will prevent the clear and present danger that is approaching by whipping out the ole streetsweeper and preventing the inevitable calamity from ever occurring in the first place. Prior to HB 101, you might have incorrectly called them murderers or psychopaths. But thanks to this new bill in Louisiana, if passed, murderers no more: they’re heroes.
The author of this bill is Republican Danny McCormick, who has represented the northwest corner of the state in the Louisiana House of Representatives since 2019. While he is not, at least as of the publishing of this article, a legal professional or expert in the diagnosis of what is or is not “riotous” behavior – nor has he, as of March 2, 2022, published any authoritative works on any particular subjects of relevance to the plethora of interests his proposed bill would affect – McCormick is, however, an oil & gas executive and a very big supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Ironically enough, that amendment comes right after the one McCormick’s bill would effectively make a capital offense.
Defending Rights & Dissent vehemently rebukes the proposed HB 101 in Louisiana and the disturbing rise of similar anti-protest legislation that has quickly gone from an intention of “mere” quashing of public dissent to the apparent green light to vigilante that public dissent is punishable by death. Whether through dangerous vigilante “justice” or the state-sanctioned suppression of speech through other anti-protest bills like those that redefine critical infrastructure and criminalize those who protest near or on it, the dangerous culture of anti-democracy and anti-free speech is permeating our political system at all levels.
DRAD stands against such efforts at the federal, state, and local levels of government to curb or criminalize your rights – including the right to dissent – and will continue to lead the fight against dangerous and deadly legislation like Louisiana’s proposed HB 101.