JOHN DERBYSHIRE: Why It’s Time To Repeal The 1964 Civil Rights Act After The Brunswick Three Atrocity   
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[Excerpted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively through]

Earlier: JOHN DERBYSHIRE: The Brunswick Three—Monstrous Miscarriage Of Justice Shows “Civil Rights” Now Just Means Anti-White Spite

Last week’s posted a long indignant rant by me about the federal sentences handed down on the Brunswick Three: Greg and Travis McMichael and Roddie Bryan, the three white male residents of Brunswick, Georgia who attempted a lawful citizen’s arrest on a black man named Ahmaud Arbery, and got two life sentences apiece for their trouble, one state and one federal.

I got some dissenting emails about that. The defendants had no business chasing the poor guy down like that, said one. No, Sir. Since the citizen’s-arrest law was on the books—it’s since been taken off, of course—they did have business—lawful business—pursuing and trying to stop him [The ‘Citizen’s Arrest’ Law That Protected Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Is Finally Getting Reformed, by Trone Dowd,, February 17, 2021].

They should have let the cops handle it, said another. Well, that’s what they wanted to do: detain Arbery until the cops arrived. But the last time you called the cops in a sleepy suburb, how long did it take for them to show up? In my own sleepy suburb it’s between a quarter and half an hour. Or you could ask the parents of Uvalde, Texas… [Uvalde school shooting video shows police waiting in hallway, Associated Press, July 13, 2022].

Alexis de Tocqueville, visiting the young U.S.A., marveled at how, when something needed doing, Americans just got together and did it. He contrasted that with Europeans, who much more often just waited passively for the authorities to act.

There was a last guttering flicker of that old American spirit in the Brunswick Three attempting a lawful—I repeat, lawful—citizen’s arrest on Arbery.

Well, there’ll be no more of that in 21st-century America! You’ll wait for the authorities, comrades, if you know what’s good for you.

If you live in a communist country, as I have, you notice how, when someone suffers an assault or a misfortune in public—a traffic accident, perhaps—passers-by cross over to the other side, even when the person affected is lying in the roadway groaning in agony.

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In countries like that, it’s a rational course of action. If you do get involved, the authorities will likely frame you up as having caused the incident, just to make their clearance rates look good.

That’s where we’re now headed in the U.S. In fact if you are white and the affected person is black, we’re pretty much there. You could ask Roddie Bryan.

Well, that’s all to do with the incident itself. If you want a refresher on that I direct your attention, as before, to Jared Taylor’s excellent VDARE posts from January and last November.

What I was mainly ranting about on last week’s podcast was the federal sentences that had just come down. Having already been tried, found guilty, and sentenced to life imprisonment in state courts, the Brunswick Three were then prosecuted by the federal government on charges of violating Arbery’s civil rights. They were found guilty again, and got three more life sentences.

What was the purpose of this federal prosecution? That was the main point of last week’s rant, channeling Christopher Caldwell’s book The Age of Entitlement.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act had been passed for purposes good and reasonable at the time. There had been some grave injustices. All-white juries in local courts had acquitted white killers of blacks and civil rights volunteers.

At the time, white law enforcers and juries were as reluctant to lock up their own bad actors as...their black counterparts are today. In a post called Locking Up Our Own” AKA Justice—White People Do It, Why Not Blacks?, VDARE’s James Fulford wrote that

Hung juries or not guilty verdicts in cases where whites were accused of crimes against blacks were condemned as ”Southern justice.” (See the cases of Emmett Till, the Birmingham Church bombing, and Viola Liuzzo—the book at right was published in 1965.)

The Civil Rights Act gave the feds a tool to right those injustices.

Sure, it violated the constitutional prohibition of double jeopardy; but that was thought a small price to pay for justice, and some legalistic word salad was devised to counter complaints on that score.

Forward 58 years to the Brunswick Three case. Whatever you think of the state trial—I’ve made my own opinion plain—you can’t say it resulted in unjust acquittals. There weren’t any acquittals at all. The Brunswick Three were all found guilty.

So what was the point of a federal civil rights prosecution? These guys were already going to prison for life (effectively).

Yes, they might have had their state sentences reduced on appeal. Given that state appeals-court judges come out of the same Lefty, anti-white, Affirmative Action–loaded law schools as the trial prosecutors, it’s not likely. Even if it happened, the feds could then swoop in with a civil rights prosecution.

So what was the point of the federal prosecution? From a legal point of view, there wasn’t any. It was just vindictive—as I said last week, it was prosecutorial spite.

It was also monitory: a reminder to nonblack Americans that blacks are privileged above us and that offenses against blacks will be double prosecuted.

Equal justice under the law? It is to laugh.

Or if this is not so, when shall we see federal civil rights charges against blacks accused of crimes against nonblacks?

This is life, this is ”justice”—mockery quotes there, please, Mr. Editor—in Jim Snow America.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.

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