For those who feel compelled to attend public protests and rallies, there are a hundred ways things can go wrong and only one way things can go right. To realize the latter, a person has to be willing to take one for the team and capture it happening on video.
Public sympathy will always be on the side of the perceived non-violent victim of violence. The claim to self-defense is no defense in these situations, as said self-defense will be edited to look like offense. And if there’s no video, it didn’t happen–or worse, it happened in a way completely at odds from how it actually took place.
That’s how Trump supporters were made to look like thuggish instigators with such frequency during the 2016 presidential campaign even though they were on the receiving end of a lot more violence than they delivered.
Andy Ngo managed to do everything right. He showed up with a camera–no inflammatory signs, no taunting behaviors, just a camera–and he was criminally assaulted and abused. He now has corporate media figures like Jake Tapper publicly taking his side and Senator Ted Cruz is very publicly calling for a federal investigation. If the mayor of Portland ends up being found at fault, the city may become the next Oberlin and Ngo may become America’s next millionaire.
The alt-right engaged in violence–whether it was self-defensive in nature or not is irrelevant–that resulted in someone’s death in Charlottesville, and that was the end of the alt-right. Antifa’s end will come about in the same way.