White supremacist Richard Spencer held a rally at the University of Florida in Gainesville last week. The rally marked his first appearance since the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where a counter-protester was killed. The lead up to Spencer’s appearance in Gainesville saw authorities taking extra precautions to prevent a similar tragedy, including Florida governor Rick Scott declaring a state of emergency.
But Spencer’s supporters were outnumbered by his detractors outside the venue, and was shouted down as he tried to spread his message of racial hatred and ethno-nationalist dogma. There were a few small scuffles between supporters and protesters, but nothing close to the terror in Virginia.
According to the Gainesville Sun, Spencer ended his talk early after being shouted down, drowned out, and interrupted, and accused the university of failing to uphold free speech. Spencer, however, was a private individual renting a conference room at the university, not a scholarly presenter sponsored by the university; the school’s administration had no particular obligation to ensure that the crowd he invited didn’t turn on him.
The people of Gainesville and the students of the University of Florida demonstrated what we’ve said before: that the best response to a white supremacist is you and a few thousand others with signs, protesting the hell out of him.