Barbarian at the Gates: Why Equating Vandalism with Violence Justifies Police Brutality

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    • #323771
      Ohio Barbarian
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 17,319

      Violence is a tricky word, and capitalist and authoritarian propaganda have exploited it. It comes from the Latin verb for “to violate,” meaning to use unjustified force against a person, object, idea, or custom. Obviously that means there are different types of violence, and some forms of it are worse than others.

      Ludwig Wittgenstein taught that the meaning of a word depends on how it is used, and I’ve seen the word used in different ways by different people. Some only use it when they are describing unjustified force used against human beings, be that force physical, emotional, or economic. Others, especially conservatives and capitalists, routinely use it to mean the destruction of property as well. Both are technically correct, depending on the way one wishes to use the word.

      Capitalist propaganda equates violence against persons with violence against property. Both are bad; in fact, one is equally as bad as the other, according to this way of thinking. This means that if one uses violence to prevent another from doing violence against a person, as is justified in the common law concept of self-defense, then it is only a very short step to saying that if one is justified in using deadly force against a person in order to protect oneself or another person, then one is also justified to use deadly force against one who is intent on damaging property.

      Only the owner of private property has the right to damage or destroy his own property in most circumstances. In America, that application of old English common law has a dark history, for it allowed slaveowners to do whatever they wished to their slaves, who were only property, after all. That history still rhymes in this country to this day.

      This confusion of violence against persons with violence against property is quite intentional. It allows capitalists, politicians, and police to think and act as if they are the same thing, which means police or the National Guard are whoever are completely justified in executing vandals and looters on the spot because the violence against property by vandals and looters is just as bad as the violence against a person of a lynch mob.

      There’s no real moral difference in this framing, and most conservatives subconsciously equate the two because that’s what they’ve been taught to do by the authorities all their lives. That’s why you hear some people saying that the people who pillaged the Target and police precinct in Minneapolis are just as bad, or maybe even worse, than the four cops who publicly lynched George Floyd.

      According to most religious and humanist moral standards, such an equivocation is not only absurd on its face, but immoral and just plain wrong as well. How can the value of a human life be the same or less than the value of a glass window or a police car or a building? How would the Buddha or Jesus of Nazareth answer that question? I’m sure neither one of them would answer it in the same way as either the police or the President of the United States.

      In sum, we need to be very aware of how another person uses the word “violence.” Perhaps the easiest way to handle this definitional quagmire is to use other perfectly good English words. Those four Minneapolis cops assaulted, tortured, and murdered George Floyd. Some people used the protests against his murder as an opportunity to vandalize and pillage buildings and vehicles.

      Describing it that way is much more accurate, both logically and morally, than saying both police and looters committed acts of violence. There should be no moral equivalence between the two, for one is clearly far worse than the other, and the responses to each should be different.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

    • #323789
      mmonk
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 890

      .

      Fear not the path of Truth for the lack of People walking on it. - RFK

    • #323795
      elias39
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 5,100

      I always look forward to the Barbarian at the Gates.

    • #323893
      Mr. Mickeys Mom
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 4,349
    • #325277
      Bubba
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 20

      Will you still feel the same way, Ohio Barbarian, when the thugs and rioters torch YOUR car?? When they smash YOUR windows?? When YOUR kids are threatened, intimidated, and bullied simply for being white??

      • #325287
        Mr. Mickeys Mom
        Moderator
        • Total Posts: 4,349

        So far, I haven’t seen a real video of a thug coming from the protest side, and it sure is funny how I haven’t seen any real videos of looters, or head-cracking coming from demonstrators.

        Why don’t you unfurl your mask and tell us one and all right now what you  r e a l l y  meant by that statement?

        Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

      • #325305
        Punxsutawney
        Moderator
        • Total Posts: 1,846

        Getting gassed and shot at by the police with regularity. So no, I’m not afraid of what the protesters might do but your post is all about fear. And using the term “Thugs” smacks of dog whistle racism to me.

        Your post reeks of fear. But who should we be afraid of? I don’t condone theft or destruction of property, but add up everything that has been lost in the last week and it won’t register against what has been looted from the people of this country in just the last couple of months. And to not be partisan here, with the approval of both political parties. Both are happy to shove money up from the bottom to the top, offshore our jobs and get tax breaks for doing so. So “protesters” are the big worry here?

        Blaming the poor and minorities, the least powerful in this country for this is absurd. That they are protesting being hunted and murdered in the streets, well I won’t blame them. But hey, Authority??


        @bubba

        In America, “Liberty” means “Free to Die in Service of Capital” - Amfortas the hippie.

        Most of today’s elites have the moral and social reasoning capacities of spoiled toddlers.

        “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage...but the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing c

      • #325423
        Ohio Barbarian
        Moderator
        • Total Posts: 17,319

        @bubba Smashing my car would piss me off, and I’d want the motherfucker to pay for it one way or the other, but I wouldn’t want them tortured to death like George Floyd was. Torching my car is not the same as torching my house, and it is certainly not the same as having my kids “threatened, intimidated, or bullied,” as you so gaslightingly put it.

        Protesters were threatening, intimidating, and bullying kids? Where? For that matter were looters and vandals threatening, intimidating, and bullying kids? Where? You’d better be able to produce some hard evidence for your iniquitous claims on this forum.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

        • #325487
          Bubba
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 20

          You’re absolutely right, Ohio Barbarian. I googled, “Did rioters threaten or harm kids??” and got zero hits. So I guess that means you’d have no problem with your kids strolling to the park while the mob is in your neighborhood??

          I am appalled and disappointed in my fellow Americans. Thugs and rioters are destroying property, driving small businesses to ruin, and committing acts of violence, including murder of police officers. And people on this web site and others are DEFENDING such behavior. Governments are giving into them. Here in Portland, the Chief Of Police resigned so a black man could take the post.

          It saddens me greatly.

           

           

          • #325953
            Ohio Barbarian
            Moderator
            • Total Posts: 17,319

            Now, you are just insulting our intelligence. @bubba

            You mean this Portland Police Chief resigned?

            Screen_Shot_2019-12-30_at_10.28.54_AM.png

            It seems she left Portland because the City of Philadelphia made a better offer. She’s going to be police commissioner of Philadelphia. She didn’t resign so a black man could take the post in Portland. She resigned because of a better career opportunity because she has the reputation of being a reformer and fighting racism, not inflaming it.

            At least, that’s what this story from the Portland Mercury says:

            https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2019/12/30/27731608/portland-police-chief-danielle-outlaw-has-resigned

             

             

            It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

            Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

            • #326040
              Bubba
              Participant
              • Total Posts: 20

               

              No, I don’t mean that Chief. The Officer in the picture, and in the Mercury article, is Danielle Outlaw. She was Chief for about four years. She left for the Philadelphia job in Dec of last year. Jami Resch took over the position. If I recall correctly, her first official day on the job was New Year’s Day 2020.

              I was referring to Chief Resch, who did in fact resign a few days ago so a black man could become Chief. (Maybe she was forced to resign – I really don’t know.)

              Regarding your first sentence, Ohio Barbarian, do you truly feel insulted because I asked a civil question?? And whom do you mean by “us??”

    • #325449
      Thom Paine
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 280

      Once again you nailed if OB.  I would like to add that the police are rarely if ever defending property.  It’s one thing if the police get in scuffles with individuals actively damaging property, but than never happens.    The police are using the protests as excuses to brutalizing people that are peacefully protesting even in areas where no property is being damaged.   This is what the Elitist Establishment wants.  Punish those that dare protest.

    • #325711
      So Far From Heaven
      Keymaster
      • Total Posts: 7,039

      Curiously enough, I never equate violence as an act against property. I equate it with the action that is being undertaken. So I would probably state something like “He commenced on a violent campaign of random vandalism and destruction of property.”

      In other words, he was acting violently, and the resulting damage is a separated piece of the conversation. I don’t think torching a car is violent, but the act of torching the car may be a component part of a violent behavior. I don’t have to be on a rampage to burn a fucking car to the ground, now do I??? Shit, my nephew burned a VW bus when he decided to light a fire in a bunch of brush on the ranch. Brains weren’t his long suit as I’d say….

      So, to make a short story even longer, I agree that using words such as violent, violence and the like should be done carefully.

      Then again, once upon a time I literally beat the shit outta a tree with a sledgehammer. A poor innocent tree got mutilated and even disfigured in my act of violence against it, and it was just a bystander. I didn’t want to beat the shit outta the crummy.

      on edit: Oh, and don’t even start on what I’ll do if you threaten or actually hurt anyone in my family. Ever. I may not be able to find a tree in time.

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