It might be Friday the 13th, but it’s Tommy Robinson’s lucky day: he’s free!
For those unfamiliar with Tommy Robinson, he is a journalist-activist. Robinson was jailed once before, ostensibly for contempt of court. In fact, his “crime” was calling the defendants in an then-active child grooming trial “Muslim child rapists.” For having the pique to critique Islam, Robinson was jailed.
During his first prison sentence, he nearly died. Because the British system is filled with radical Islamists—who wanted Tommy dead—he was placed in solitary confinement for as much as 23 hours a day. He would only eat canned tuna, fearing that his food would be poisoned either by Muslim inmates or the British penal system. During the ordeal, he lost a shocking amount of weight, and his overall health suffered accordingly.
So, when Tommy was arrested a second time—this time it was because he was interviewing convicts awaiting sentencing—many of us believed it was the end. I seriously thought it was a calculated attempt to kill Tommy through the penal system—it failed the first time, but given how Epstein died in a maximum-security federal facility, surely a peon like Tommy Robinson could be rubbed out. Upon his sentencing, Gavin McInnes proclaimed Tommy’s death—I believe he said, “Well, Tommy Robinson is dead.”
The Tommy Robinson cases make me thankful to live in America, where we at least have the pretense of the Bill of Rights to protect us. Consider: Tommy was arrested twice for, essentially, exercising free speech and freedom of the press. Britain has virtually no speech protection—police departments spend weekends scanning social media for wrongthink while Muslim immigrants stab Englishmen in the street—and if you have the wrong politics or say the wrong things, the system won’t hesitate to clap you in irons, hoping their inmates will take care of the dirty work the bureaucratic dictators aren’t quite ready to perform themselves.
In the United States, our censorship is of a softer, though no less dangerous, variety: tech companies deplatforming controversial figures and the like. There’s also the suffocating sense of self-censorship, as people are afraid—increasingly so since Trump’s victory in 2016—to espouse the most mild of right-of-center ideas publicly.
But Tommy survived the system—twice. We can celebrate that, at least.
Any bets on how quickly the authorities will slap him back in jail on trumped up charges?