On Christopher Cantwell’s nearly deadly video

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Edit May 17, 2015: Just so that it is clear, any positive things I say about Chris Cantwell are not in any way a reflection of how I feel about his character, which in my opinion is morally empty.

Edit August 16, 2017: To make it even more clear, Cantwell fills me with disgust and I wish I never wrote this, not because my opinion of the situation changed, but because he deserves no attention and deserves nothing but contempt instead.  That said I don’t believe in deleting things like this since it kind of acts as erasing history, so I’ll just add comments instead.

I am normally a critic of Christopher Cantwell, but I need to give him credit for a video that he just posted. Here is how he describes things got started:

Recently, there have been some thefts at my friend Ian’s house. So I have been taking it upon myself to sit on his porch at night in an effort to catch the crooks in the act. Last night I was there until around 3am, and on my way home, I heard women crying, and men yelling at them on Main Street in Keene New Hampshire.

I approached them with my camera phone recording the scene. There were two men, and two women. I stayed in the center divide of the street and only spoke when spoken to. They asked me to stop recording, but I refused because I feared the incident might turn violent. I told them “I’m just here to make sure nobody gets hurt”.

At that point, a few of the people became aggressive and started to charge Cantwell. He retreated as far as he could, yelling at them to not come any closer. When they refused to comply, he alerted them that he had a gun on his hip and pulled it out. Not surprisingly, this stopped them in their tracks. The police were quick to arrive after this and Cantwell immediately put his gun down and cooperated with the police.


Here is Cantwell’s video of what happened. As you might expect in such a situation, there is some harsh language used.

Before getting into anything else, if you’ve read my posts before you know that I do not have a very high opinion of the police, but like Cantwell, I thought they handled the situation very well. Given the situation that they came upon, they acted reasonably and professionally.

Most people will take this video and use it to show that an average person can carry a gun and resolve a situation without firing any shots. And that is true. But what I am more concerned about is the unfair criticism that Cantwell has taken from more people than I would expect condemning him for even “getting involved” in the first place. According to those people, it was none of his business.

It is way too easy to see how the situation escalated and then be an armchair quarterback pointing out how the women probably weren’t actually in any danger, but I commend him for stopping and filming. I have been in a somewhat similar situation and I “got involved” too. There is no way on earth I wouldn’t have.

A few months ago, a friend and I were in the alley behind his house talking as we were talking to my car. Up on a small hill behind where I was parked, there was a couple having a loud argument next to a van. We kind of just hung around while they were exchanging words—we were not quite sure what was going on, but we wanted to make sure that the girl did not get hurt. The situation was not getting any calmer, so we inched our way closer. Soon they moved around behind the van so that we could not see them anymore and we heard loud banging as if someone was hitting or was getting hit into the van. When we heard that, we both immediately started running towards them only to see that it was the woman smacking her hand on the side of the van. We stopped; since we were closer and could see and hear better, we saw that it was the woman who was carrying on and that the man was being calm and non-aggressive. We agreed that the girl was not in danger and we left.

Now obviously that was not nearly as dramatic as what happened to Cantwell (and I’m thankful for that), but either situation could have played out either way. We didn’t know going into it. Cantwell didn’t know going into it. But none of us could have walked away from our situations in good conscience.

I believe that Chris Cantwell was trying to do the right thing and keep people from getting hurt. When the situation escalated to a point where he obviously did not want it to, he showed restraint and good sense. How you can find a way to criticize that, I do not know.