Before leaked messages from an Identity Evropa chat led some members of the local Antifa group to accuse local farmers of being part of the white supremacist group, no one felt “unsafe” at the Bloomington Farmer’s Market. Had the messages never been leaked and no one connected the farmers to white supremacist groups, the market would be operating as smoothly as always and there would have been no need to close it for two weeks – or to clean up where Antifa vandalized property owned by people who had nothing to do with the controversy.
The reason no one felt “unsafe” is because the owners of Schooner Creek Farm have never discriminated against anyone at the market or espoused racist beliefs at the market. They have not threatened or committed violence against anyone at the market. There was no need to feel “unsafe” because there was no legitimate threat to anyone’s safety. The obvious conclusion is that there is no reason to feel “unsafe” because someone might disagree with you, even if they (allegedly!) hold beliefs that are morally abominable.
This will not stop with Schooner Creek Farm and this will not end well. If we can force people out of commerce because we do not like their beliefs, what is next? Should pro-life people be banned from selling at the market because we are allegedly misogynist? What about people who support restrictive zoning laws? I am sure that people who have lost use of their property would not want to be around vendors who support the regime that restricts private property rights. What group will be surrounded by black-clad and masked Antifa thugs standing around intimidating people?
Mayor Hamilton handled this poorly from the beginning. There should have been a heavy police presence at the market from the second tensions started rising, and it should have been made very clear that screaming obscenities at vendors would not be tolerated. It should have been made very clear that wannabe “gangstas” would not be allowed to wear masks and would not be allowed to physically intimidate people. It is fine to hand out literature and peacefully encourage a boycott. It is not fine to act like thugs and destroy private property, and otherwise disrupt free enterprise. Hamilton must be fired from his job in 2023. Who will step up to challenge him?