When it comes to violence, full-throated condemnations work
I will note that I said just recently that just because we’re so close to the elections doesn’t mean that we’re not going to get a steady stream of Tea Party candidates doing evil, headline-grabbing shit. Granted, holding a woman down and stomping on her head isn’t something that Rand Paul did, but being a weasel about it (as evidenced in the video above, which also features an excellent interview with Lauren Valle, the stomping victim) is grade A wingnuttery. I’m as annoyed as anyone by the routine calls for this to be condemned by a candidate or that, but I do make an exception when it comes to the actual followers of a candidate engaging in violence or hate speech. In these cases, when a candidate issues a full-throated condemnation, it can go a long way towards dissuading violence. Violent, hateful thugs believe that they have the quiet support of leaders and their community, and if you issue half-hearted condemnations, they read that as support. Which can incite more violence.
If you want a classic example, check out how the stomper himself is behaving. Sure, he was dismissed from the campaign, but clearly he feels that his community has his back. And that’s because they do. Getting a solid dose of shaming early on from Paul would have probably squelched this, but now it’s out of control. The stomper is now demanding an apology from his victim, which is the logical result of the wingnut “look what you made me do!” mentality. Which, I would like to point out, is basically the standard issue mind fuck that wife beaters and child abusers play on their victims, issuing a beating and then demanding an apology from the victim for driving them to it. If a group of big ass men who gang up on a much smaller woman and curb stomp her think that they’re so justified in their actions that she owes them an apology, that’s creating an environment conducive to further violence.