While Kris “Tanto” Paronto is slated to speak at Victoria College, in Texas, in October, rumors have surfaced that people might be protesting his lecture. One report claimed people are planning to protest the event because Paronto might “talk politics and offend members of the Victoria Islamic Center” in Texas.
“A planned protest has formed to get tickets for the program, but then not show up, to decrease attendance to the lecture,” the Victoria Advocate reported. Tickets are currently sold out for the lecture, which is part of Victoria College’s Lyceum Lecture Series.
Paronto told American Military News this week that any protestors for the lecture haven’t done their homework to learn about him, and that protestors in general don’t always understand what they’re protesting.
“They protest to cause divisiveness, to be accepted into a like-minded group no matter how ignorant the group is or because they have nothing else to do,” he said Friday. “This possible protest in Victoria, Texas, validates that.”
He posted to his Facebook page, as well, and said: “The First Amendment gives us the freedom to speak and also to protest. As soldiers, we fight to protect your rights. Hope to see some friendly faces in Victoria, TX … and hope to change some hearts with the truth.”
Paronto is one of the survivors and heroes of the 2012 terror attacks on the U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, where he was part of the CIA security team there. He fought off terrorists for more than 13 hours and saved more than 20 lives. His account of the attack is told in the book “13 Hours,” and he has also penned the book “The Ranger Way.” He is a former U.S. Army Ranger from the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He holds many public and private speaking events and book signings.
Paronto said those who have served alongside him – including Muslims – “know that I see the person alongside me as a person.”
“I don’t care about their gender, race, religious beliefs or ethnicity. What I see is the person’s actions and their integrity,” he pointed out. “If these possible ‘protestors’ did their due diligence, they would know that. But the majority just continues to believe the things they see on CNN or read in The New York Times, taking it at face value.”
“My advice: get out of your safe space, protestors. Put your false pride aside and challenge your paradigms,” Paronto added.
Notably, the original article, posted to the Victoria Advocate’s website – Texas’ second oldest newspaper – can no longer be viewed.