Thursday one of my 580,000 tweets blew up. I try to be careful and precise in my language. I didn’t do that this time, and I unfortunately made a lot of people in the law school community sad or angry, something I certainly didn’t mean to do, and feel bad about.
I was following the riots in Charlotte, against a background of reports of violence, which seemed to be getting worse. Then I retweeted a report of mobs “stopping traffic and surrounding vehicles” with the comment “run them down.”
Those words can be taken as encouragement of drivers going out of their way to run down protesters. I meant no such thing, and I’m sorry it seemed to many that I did. What I meant was that drivers who feel their lives are in danger from a violent mob should not stop their vehicles. I remember Reginald Denny, a truck driver who was beaten nearly to death by a mob during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. My tweet should have said, “Keep driving,” or “Don’t stop.” I was upset, and it was a bad tweet. I do not support violence except in cases of clear self-defense.
I have always strongly supported peaceful protests, and I’ve spent years speaking out against police militarization and excessive police violence in my USA TODAY columns, on my blog, and on Twitter itself. I understand why people misunderstood my tweet and regret that I was not clearer.