On July 25, 2020, libertarian activist Garrett Foster stood his ground: With his wheelchair-bound wife nearby, and his rifle held at “low-ready” position, he told a driver who had run a red light and driven into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in Austin Texas, to “move along.”
The driver, Daniel Perry, proceeded to shoot Foster three times with a pistol, killing him, then claimed “self-defense” and protection under the state’s “stand your ground” law.
Police apparently bought Perry’s “self-defense” claim, but a prosecutor didn’t, and neither did the 12 jurors who unanimously convicted Perry of the murder in early April 2023.
Why? Perhaps it had to do with Perry’s prior social media messaging:
“I might have to kill a few people on my way to work …”
“I might go to Dallas to shoot looters.”
“Send [protesters] to Texas we will show them why we say you don’t mess with Texas.”
He even speculated, in a Facebook chat, that he could get away with it by, you guessed it, claiming “self-defense.”
Daniel Perry is no Kyle Rittenhouse, who made a poor decision to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, but was rightly acquitted on charges of murder after defending himself from violent attackers.
Nor is Perry a Michael Drejka, imprisoned for manslaughter in Florida for defending himself from a violent attacker.
Perry’s just a cold-blooded killer who publicly fantasized about murdering protesters, pre-fabricated a bogus “self-defense” claim, went through with his scheme, and couldn’t sell his garbage defense to a jury.
Perry has yet to take any responsibility for his actions, or express remorse, or demonstrate the possibility that he might ever stop posing a clear and present danger to the public.
But, hey, it was a Black Lives Matter rally.
So, naturally, Texas governor Greg Abbott has indicated his intent to pardon the courageous killer of an “antifa terrorist,” decrying the killer’s purely political persecution by a “Soros-backed” prosecutor.
Is Abbott plotting a presidential run? Or jockeying for a cabinet position in a future Republican administration?
Those two possibilities — both instances of “owning the libs to please my base” — seem like the only plausible explanations for his plan to put a known, confessed, convicted killer back on the streets among a law-abiding public whose population that killer has already reduced by one.
If Abbott was a Democratic governor pulling these kind of shenanigans in the name of “criminal justice reform,” Republicans would rightly have his hide.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter:@thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.