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Of course, if Penny had reacted the same way countering a perceived threat from a white man, the tragic event would be a blip; it’s the catnip of a purported racial incident and the opportunity to put Penny, with no justification, in the company of long-ago racists acting extralegally to intimidate and kill Black people that makes the case irresistible for progressives.

Penny’s appointed role is to be an archetype, the “white vigilante,” with no room for nuance or complication — or even an accurate definition of vigilantism.

Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.

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