Violent Thugs On Both Sides In Charlottesville Have No Excuse — Not Even “He Hit Me Back, First!”

Written by Greg Hopkins on August 16, 2017

“When both sides show up equipped to bust heads, there ain’t no ‘good guys’, there ain’t no ‘bad guys’. There’s just violent, angry, a–h-l-s.” Marc MacYoung.

This weekend’s violent confrontations in Charlottesville, VA, showed a dangerous side of America. Instead of following Voltaire’s maxim, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!”, BOTH sides engaged in violence to silence the other side. I don’t intend to assign blame or wrong to either side — I hate racist Nazis as much as I hate Commie totalitarians. Besides, all the facts aren’t in yet. Instead, let’s discuss, “What would Jesus have us do?”

If you’re a 2d Amendment supporter, you’ll read lots of articles about “the concealed carry lifestyle.” You’ll learn that part of it is realizing the terrible responsibility you assume when you wear a gun on your hip. You learn that every disagreement, push, shove, or even hit DOES NOT require retaliation when you’re packing a gun. Instead, it requires a peaceable, tolerant, mindset.

One reason I wrote my book on the Bible and self-defense was to get those adapting to the concealed carry lifestyle to adapt as well to the Christian carry lifestyle, so they can avoid having to adapt to the prison lifestyle! The same goes for going out to do literal political battle. It will get you in more trouble than you know how to deal with.

Now look at the two groups squaring off in Charlottesville this weekend. It’s like two guys in a bar who have one too many and get in an argument. Words turn to shoves and they’re asked to leave. On the way out, they agree to “Take it out back and settle it.” Did you know that the laws of every state will NOT allow either fighter to claim self-defense at this point? Why not? Because this is what the Law calls “an agreement to combat”, (or, “an affray”) i.e., a duel. Dueling has been illegal in every state since well before the Civil War.

If you’ve agreed “To settle it like men,” you can’t use “He threw the first punch!” as a defense. Nor can your opponent excuse himself with, “He hit me back first!” Neither can claim self-defense in court. Like a game show host, the judge will tell both (in their separate trials) at sentencing, “Wrong-O! But thank you for playing!”

Legally, the same goes for violent political groups who, instead of debating their causes, decide to show up prepared to settle their differences by combat. (After all, why bother to convince those you KNOW are Bad Guys since you’re THE Good Guys and blah,blah,blah?) The law doesn’t change from the two guys in the alley to this. Anyone who shows up to do mutual battle in America’s streets are equally, legally, wrong!

So what does God tell us about this? First, be discriminating about who your friends are and who you hang out with. “Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals.” 1 Cor. 15:33. Or, as my Dad taught me, “Don’t go to stupid places, doing stupid things, with stupid people.” Remember that there’s such a thing as “mob mentality” – stupid people in large groups tend to get people hurt and killed easily.

When opposing groups gather, armed and armored and expecting combat, innocent onlookers or folks going about their business tend to get hurt as well. Often, their property becomes part of the collateral damage too. Urban combat isn’t a fair fight because both sides “know” the other side is evil and DESERVES to be hurt! Consequently, there are few rules and no boundary lines. Enraged, self-righteous people have little judgment or regard for non-combatants.

You’re in the way of the fighters and any police and emergency responders as well — not to mention a target for a mass terror attack like a car driven into the crowd. Beware! Your insurance may refuse to pay your medical bills because you “Assumed the risk.”

Here’s what Solomon said:

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood. [‘Cause we’re the Good Guys which gives us the right to bust some heads.] Let us ambush the innocent without cause. [Who cares if they have a legal parade permit? THE MAN is on their side! They are Bad Guys and need silencing. So what if some bystanders get hurt and their stores burned? This is revolution, baby!] Let us swallow them alive like Death…. [A few harsh examples and these Bad Guys will quit.] We shall find all kinds of precious wealth. [Political advantage and maybe even a book deal out of this.] We shall fill our houses with spoil. My Son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, for their feet run to evil and they hasten to shed blood….But they lie in wait for their OWN blood; they ambush their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence. It takes way the lives of its possessors.

Prov. 1:10-19

Jesus says, “Love you enemies, and do good…and you will be sons of The Most High, for He himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father in Heaven is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36.

God does not want us gaining our political goals by “busting a few heads.” Paul counsels to

hate what is evil, and cling to that which is good…bless those who persecute you, instead of cursing them…don’t think you’re the smartest one in the room…never repay evil for evil, but respect what all men know to be right behavior…as long as it depends on you and unless it’s unavoidable, live peaceably with all men…leave payback to God, He’s the only one with perfect justice…do good to your enemy, supplying his needs, it will drive him nuts and you may win a friend…don’t be persuaded to do evil, rather overcome evil with good.

Rom. 12:9-21.

Friends, there’s a lot of tension in America right now, let’s not add to it. “Let every man be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for the anger of man doesn’t accomplish the will of God.” James 1:19-20. Finally, listen to the prophet Micah: “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.

Image Excerpted from: Ilya Repin – [1], Public Domain,

Share if you wish everyone would remember Jesus’ word in the face of the Charlottesville chaos.

Greg Hopkins
Greg Hopkins is a recovering lawyer, city prosecutor, police Use-of-Force law instructor, former city judge in two towns and criminal defense lawyer. He’s been teaching the Bible to teens and adults for 40 years. He now trains CCP holders and armed church security teams in self defense law. He also does expert witnessing in firearms and self defense cases. His book is A Time To Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism, on the Bible and Self Defense.