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After all the mess, the most questionable B.S. about supposed ‘Free Speech’ rally

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Had the Crissy Field gathering occurred, Patriot Prayer members would’ve been nowhere near counter-protesters. (Courtesy photo)
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Of all the B.S. tossed in defense of the Crissy Field “Free Speech” rally that was ultimately canceled, the biggest mound of horse hockey was that Patriot Prayer claimed it canceled its Aug. 26 rally out of fear of violence.

“We don’t want to walk into a trap,” Patriot Prayer lead organizer Joey Gibson told reporters at Crissy Field when he finally showed up late last Saturday with only a handful of supporters.

“We don’t want to walk in there and start a huge riot,” he said.

That’s a funny thing to say — violence was the concern officials had in the two weeks leading up to the protest. From Mayor Ed Lee to Board of Supervisors President London Breed, city leaders warned that Patriot Prayer was inviting white nationalist speakers to incite violence from left-leaning anti-Trumpers.

SFist capped off this worry with a brilliant headline: “Alt-Right Wants Photo Op Of Battle Royale With Golden Gate Bridge As Backdrop And The Left Should Not Give It To Them.”

But Patriot Prayer’s fear of violence was as good as crying wolf. Sources with knowledge, who wish to remain anonymous, shared with me the security plans for the event.

I’ve seen the map of Crissy Field, where Patriot Prayer and the counter-protesters were set to “do battle,” and I can tell you this: They wouldn’t have been anywhere near each other.

Patriot Prayer was set to rally within a fenced off area by the Coast Guard Pier, right by Planet Granite on the far west end of Crissy Field. Gibson would provide the National Park Service with a list of those he wanted to attend the rally, and they would’ve been checked and escorted from the far west of the park at a separate checkpoint from the counter-protesters.

No “violent extremists,” as Gibson put it, would be allowed.

The counter-protesters would’ve been fenced off more than 600 feet away, by Battery Sherwood, at the edge of Crissy Field’s marsh.

That’s a length of about two football fields. If you were any farther from the dreaded “Antifa,” you’d need a damn telescope to see their black masks.

This didn’t stop Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman, who critics allege is a white nationalist, from decrying the bad security for the event to his supporters as he sat next to Joey Gibson in a streaming video conference.

“In a situation like this, what you want you want to do is to set up two separate areas, one for the people holding the rally, and another one for the counter-protesters,” Chapman told his right-wing flock. “You want to keep them separated by a good amount of space, defensive space.”

“The park service did nothing to do that,” he said.

Uh-huh.

Gibson slipped during that webcast, and though he repeated there was a high chance of violence in interviews, he acknowledged that leftist counter-protesters may be “on the outside” — which he still decried.

Then, he reiterated Chapman’s line, “The fact that there could have been Antifa, our supporters, all these random people mixed together, I felt like it would’ve been a huge riot.”

Sorry, fellas, the facts are in: The rally would’ve been far apart from counter-protesters.

And no counter-protesters means no photogenic clash. “Based Stickman” would’ve had no one to whack with his lead-filled stick. So you went home.

Good riddance.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at joe@sfexaminer.com, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.

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