A Few Brief Notes on a Terrible Weekend


Paul, I agree. I think the black vs blue vs black narrative misses the point entirely... it's a dangerous distraction.
I thought the whole reason the NRA and their supporters lobby against gun laws was that and armed citizenry is the last (or is it the first?) defense against government tyranny. So an apparently disturbed, angry and violent individual exercises his second amendment 'solution' against what he perceived to be a tyrannical government. Why isn't the NRA also being blamed for this? And what about Cliven Bundy and the yahoos that faced off against BLM rangers? This is the America that NRA wants, people shooting people, people shooting cops, people shooting anything that pisses them off, because 'freedom.'
Same as it ever was. Those who want peace will see "one injustice, many tragedies". Those who don't will claim "us vs. them."
empathy and the ability to self-reflect are required to rethink one's strategy and recognize the humanity of your opponents. if you had these abilities, you wouldn't be a conservative.

where, and how, did this crazy fuck get his gun?
I'm not going to concern troll the white supremacist wingnuts. Go right on mocking Eric Garner's death. Show your true colors. Go, girl.

I would never ask racist reactionaries to pretend to have any decency just to make themselves relevant to 21st century society. It would be dishonest. Be yourselves, guys. Let that prick flag fly, proudly.
It is not even a little hypocritical to be sad for all the lives which have been lost needlessly, including Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, as well as Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice...
Of course, there's also this guy, a protester who when asked by The Stranger, "What do you want?" answered "a dead cop".

So it would seem it's also possible to not mourn the deaths of Wenjian and Ramos, while still mourning the death of Brown and Garner.
...and yes, the other way 'round, of course, as legions of right-wing lunatics have been busy demonstrating for the past four months.
Oh, and this, too, in NYC on Dec 12. They're marching behind a black and red anarchist flag, surprise surprise.
Is anyone surprised that someone who would make a shirt that says "I can breathe" would do so in Comic Sans? Apparently poor taste applies to ALL of their decisions.

The term "self defense" applies here. If anyone, uniform or no, is violating ones rights and about to kill someone unjustly, they have the right to use lethal force for self defense. For example: during the Civil Rights Movement many cops in the South were also members of the KKK. Some African-Americans formed an armed group called the Deacons for Defense to defend themselves.

Liu and Ramos were just cops minding their own business and not hurting anyone. That was a senseless act of terrorism essentially. That is not what the NRA, anarchists or anyone is talking about.

And nice job bringing the complicated matter of Cliven Bundy into a completely unrelated matter. May as well blame Obamacare while you're at it.
@ 8,9, 10:
Yes, the Stranger has just let the rhetoric turn vile and is only now making a half-ass attempt at sounding like reasonable adults. However, not all the protestors are advocating hurting police and I would say those people are in the minority. I was at a rally in Seattle and most of the crowd was reasonable.
But the anarcho-fascists are the problem, I agree. Those wealthy white brats in masks do not speak for the majority of Americans who have legitimate concerns about police brutality. Also, the anarcho-fascists do not represent all anarchists to say the least. I would prefer a stateless society based on voluntary association (i.e., free-market anarchism) but understand such things are not possible in my life time. Most of us are normal, rational people. It is the wealthy white fascist kids in hoodies who are the problem and I guarantee you if another cop is murdered, it will be the anarcho-fascists who do it.
@12: The term "self defense" actually does NOT apply here.
The point screed made is that encouraging private citizens to use lethal force against a perceived threat often leads to unnecessary loss of life due to false positives, where a threat is perceived but does not really exist. That was (arguably) the case here, where a mentally ill and dangerously volatile man perceived a threat and responded to it when no real threat existed from the officers he murdered. The NRA and the Tea Party, among other groups, glorify the use of theoretical force against LEOs seen to be tyrannical. Unfortunately for that narrative, John and Jane Q. Public don't generally have the training to reliably recognize a valid threat.
The whole point of the State is to have a monopoly on the use of violence, to tightly control the application of violent force and minimize the harm incurred. When you not only permit the individual use of violence (as in self-defense) but glorify it and encourage its use against ostensible peacekeepers, you're all but asking for such false positive murders.

I think we've probably heard the last from the ACAB-banner-waving smashists, at least for a while.

You're right, though, to say that the smashists are only a minority even amongst anarchists. But so long as majority anarchists show no interest in finding ways to keep smashist ideology and action out of their prefigurative societies*, I won't want to live in any society they're prefiguring.


* it seems reasonable to take anarchists at their word when they say that every Action is "doing anarchism," that every march and event embodies a prefigurative anarchist society.
#12 The NRA has been fanning the flames of fear and paranoia and hate of our representative democracy for many years now. They encourage citizens to buy guns to defend against what they consider government tyranny. The NRA has even gone so far as to push for a law in Indiana that allows homeowners to kill cops they think entered their homes 'unlawfully'.


The police union is saying the act of protesting against police brutality and extrajudicial killing of citizens is inciting violence against cops (despite no evidence to support this wild-ass claim), and therefore protesters are to blame for the murder of the two police officers. As long as we're blaming people other than the shooter, I'd say the NRA and other right-wing hate groups (including Fox News and right-wing talk radio) and their toady politicians are more responsible for the murder of those two cops than the protesters. These hate groups have been actively creating a climate of racism, fear and paranoia for decades now, which only encourages disturbed individuals to take the law into their own hands and mete out justice in what they might perceive as a broken and hateful world.

The Cliven Bundy case is not complicated - the judicial system found him guilty of being a scofflaw. The facts of the case are clear and not in dispute. He won't pay because he doesn't recognize US government authority, and is using the threat of violence to defend against what he considers a tyrannical government. This is straight out of the NRA playbook. He's had multiple days in court and has lost every single time. Only a right-wing tool would find this case 'complicated.'

The police union is not looking to deescalate the conflict between citizens and the police force. No, they are trying to politicize it and make it worse, to justify additional violence against the citizenry. I don't understand you right wingers - you complain against government overreach, of government tyranny, and yet it seems to me you are perfectly ok with cops, acting as agents of the state, killing unarmed citizens based on little or no provocation. You make no sense.
"The whole point of the State is to have a monopoly on the use of violence, to tightly control the application of violent force and minimize the harm incurred"
That is an asshole belief to have and is just shy of being fascism. But that is what the state is: a monopoly on violence with the purpose of oppression. In the absence of central government, human beings can and have historically created their own self-defense systems (see "The not So Wild West" by Terry Anderson: http://mises.org/library/american-experi… )
And what is to stop a government from using force to implement violence against gays? If the people vote for it, it happens. There is no way someone with your beliefs should have anything against the people of Uganda voting to have gays put to death. It is state violence and democracy, what you are advocating.
Ultimately the state is a currently necessary evil that we should work to slowly do away with.
And no one needs training to see a threat for what it is. A cop in a car not bothering anyone is obviously not a threat, and the killer did not indicate any threats when he talked about his desires to kill cops in his social media. He was simply deranged.
Compare that to this woman, who you probably think was a total asshole for what she did: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=12584…
Under your logic, she should have just let herself get raped and talked to the police afterwards, because only they can use violence.
And no, that old myth about less gun deaths in self defense than accidents is just that, a myth. Most times guns are used in self defense the gun is not fired but just taken out and the chump runs away, so they are not counted in liberal statistics. Dr. John Lott talks about it in "More Guns, Less Crime."
And gun deaths in America are declining, despite easing gun laws: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/0…
There is no real evidence that banning guns does anything to prevent violence, as places like Chicago prove. We as human beings have a fundamental right to self defense, and should not have to wait for big brother to save us.
Here is a guy also suggesting people buy guns and defend themselves...his he too a "right-wing hater"?


"The whole point of the State is to have a monopoly on the use of violence..."

Where have you been for the past 200 years? Yes, the State would like to have a monopoly on the use of violence. So that only it can administer violence as the State deems necessary. To think that the state doesn't have the inclination, in fact the incentive, to remove the individual's violence-making capability for the State's interest (not yours and mine), is to fail to understand what States tend to become.

Have you ever noticed that the Constitution was formed in 1787, but the Bill of Rights wasn't amended to the Constitution until 1789, and ratified in 1791?

Wonder why it was done in two separate steps?

That's because when we formed the Constitution, all of the power was given to government. And in a fit of reflection -- knowing what governments become -- the Framers went on urgent mission to codify the inviolable rights of people, to prevent government from becoming too large, and too intrusive.

I encourage you to read through them:

Notice: Each one uniquely reflects a healthy and reasonable fear of what governments eventually become. What they would do to you.

The fact that you think government should have a monopoly over the means to coerce people shows an astonishing naivete about what your governments interests in you really are.

Eric Brown was killed for not paying an exorbitant cigarette tax. If you don't pay the king, apparently the king's forces have the right to kill you. "I can't breathe" has as much to say for the State suppression of an individual, as it does a statement of his physical condition.

Look around at this Administration and you'll see government more frequently, substantially and with impunity violating the Bill of Rights. (Want me to list the instances?) -- and yet you don't find it curious that the Second Amendment is the one they've been most outspoken about?

I'm sure you think this comes across as some tinfoil hat paranoia about government. Fine, but I'm not really surprised by the vastly growing number of government agencies that listen-in, obstruct, incarcerate, restrict, pat-down, video-tape, and choke-hold in violation of your Rights.

And you think they should have the only means of violence-making....

Wow. Naive.

Max Weber's coinage of "a monopoly on the legitimate use of force" was not an attempt to describe what The State does, or seeks to do. It was a definition; it is what The State is, it is the bare minimum of what Weber thought a person could mean when referring to something as a "State."

Carry on.
@17: I'm glad we got the resident expert on being an asshole to weigh in on how I hold an asshole belief. It's very nice to be recognized by the SLOG Asshole Laureate.

Your cited paper "The not So Wild West", by the way, is a load of tripe. While much of the West in the era discussed was for most intents and purposes outside the effective reach of the federal authorities, there WAS government at the municipal level at least in most towns of decent size. That's not "anarcho-capitalism"; that's just government on a small scale (which is different from small government, to be clear). Also, it cites small numbers of murders in frontier towns as evidence that the peace was kept even in the absence of government, completely ignoring the fact that without effective record-keeping organizations murders could very easily be drastically underreported, and also skimming conveniently over the fact that due to the small populations of the towns concerned, a fairly small gross number of murders could correspond to a shockingly high murder rate. To emphasize this last point, there are about twice as many murders in the USA each year as in Honduras, but Honduras's murder rate is actually 19 times that of the USA. Rates per 100,000 are far more informative than raw numbers in situations like this.

Your homophobic Uganda boogeyman is blown smoke. That is exactly why we do not rule by plebiscite, and instead subscribe to a form of representative government with constitutional documents and an active judicial branch. More to the point, I put this question to you: if the majority of people in a country believe that gays, a small and not particularly powerful minority, should be put to death, how exactly will the ABSENCE of a state prevent their slaughter? You can worry about the machinery of government being brought to bear against a helpless minority, but how exactly would they be better off without any governing body? I'd love to know your answer to this.

You admit that self-defense was never a valid point of discussion in this particular instance. Why then did you say it was applicable here? Also, just because SOME situations make it easy to decide whether or not a threat exists doesn't mean that all such situations do.
As for the case of the woman who defended herself against a rapist, I believe she was entirely in the right (not to mention fortunate to have gotten the gun away from her assailant). In an ideal world, the state DOES have a monopoly on violence, and so self-defense is nonexistent. Of course, we do not live in an ideal world (something which your libertarian views seem to forget), and so application of violent force by private individuals is sometimes sadly necessary. She was subjected to violence including assault with a deadly weapon; she responded with appropriate and entirely justifiable use of force. If you cannot tell the difference between theory and practice, well, that's not my fault and it certainly explains a lot about your views.

I see you casting opprobrium on "liberal statistics" but you fail to provide any statistics of your own. That guns in the house are far more likely to be used in a crime or accidental injury than to be used in self-defense is well documented. Your claim that guns are so frequently simply brandished at an intruder but not fired has no evidence to back it up; you'll forgive me if I don't take your word for it. John Lott's studies, by the way, have been thoroughly discredited; he's been caught mislabeling and manipulating his data, inferred causality from minimal effects, used faulty coding models which when corrected showed much weaker effects than originally claimed, and posed as a former student of his to defend his research on an online forum. (THAT, by the way, is what a sockpuppet is.) The very fact that you'd resort to bringing up Lott shows just how little you have to work with. (source)

And hmm, you say gun violence has been declining since 1993? Hey, you know what was signed into law in 1993? THE BRADY HANDGUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION ACT. If you want to play games with correlation and causation, I can beat you at that game. I'm also confident that I can beat you at backgammon, go fish, and probably mancala. Come at me.
@17, @21

Our particular embodiment of a State, like many others throughout history, confers legitimacy on violence deemed by The State to have been undertaken in self-defense. Thus there is no incursion on The State's monopoly on the legitimate use of force in such cases. Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of Weber's construction can grasp this easily.

In ancient Rome, if you were a male Citizen (i.e. not a slave) and you walked in on your wife fucking your neighbor (also a Citizen) then The State said you were allowed to kill your wife, but not your Citizen neighbor. The State had a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, but The State's determination of what was legitimate was rather different than that of our own State today.
"Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."