Violence, Government Violence, and Anti-Government Rhetoric

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Thanks to the folks at the Show Me Institute, CoMoCitizens, and Keep Columbia Free for obtaining and posting this video and the information surrounding it. It’s footage of another raid carried out by the Columbia, Missouri Police Department.

Like the widely-viewed video released in May, this was a drug raid. Unlike the prior video, it appears that in this case the police found strong evidence that someone in this house was dealing drugs. But I think that actually makes this video particularly important. If we’re going to continue to fight the drug war, America ought to see just how literally the government is taking that war to our homes, streets, and neighborhoods. (Note the presence of children in the home.)

As with the first video, this raid isn’t specific to Columbia PD. It’s typical. It employs the same violent, volatile tactics used 100-150 times per day in this country to serve search warrants for drug crimes. They’re the same tactics that have led government employees to terrorize, injure, and kill dozens of nonviolent drug offenders. Below is video of such a killing. Todd Blair, a meth user, was shot and killed by Utah police during a SWAT raid on his home last year. There’s no evidence he was dealing. He had four dollars in his pocket when he died. When police broke into his home, he confronted them with a golf club. So they shot him in the head and chest.

They’re the same tactics that, last week, caused Framingham, Massachusetts police to shoot and kill 68-year-old Eurie Stamps, an innocent, unarmed man whose only apparent transgression was to have allowed his girlfriend’s son to live with him. And they’re the same tactics that led police in Georgia to shoot and kill Jonathan Ayers, a pastor whose only transgression was to have ministered to a woman the police were investigating for drugs and prostitution. Below is the map I put together for Cato, which I’m certain is not comprehensive, of other completely innocent people killed in drug raids. These are people who weren’t even using, much less dealing. Click here to read their stories.

Of course the drug war is merely one of a number of government policies that result in violence against its own citizens. We’re going to hear a lot of talk in the coming days about putting an end to anti-government rhetoric. I’ve been listening to it all morning on the Sunday talk shows. Let’s get the obvious out of the way, here: Initiating violence against government officials and politicians is wrongheaded, immoral, futile, and counterproductive to any anti-government cause. As is encouraging or praising others who do. I ban anyone who engages in that kind of talk here.

But it’s worth remembering that the government initiates violence against its own citizens every day in this country, citizens who pose no threat or harm to anyone else. The particular policy that leads to the sort of violence you see in these videos is supported by nearly all of the politicians and pundits decrying anti-government rhetoric on the news channels this morning. (It’s also supported by Sarah Palin, many Tea Party leaders, and other figures on the right that politicians and pundits are shaming this weekend.)

I hope Rep. Giffords—and everyone wounded yesterday—makes a full recovery. It’s particularly tragic that she was shot while doing exactly what we want elected officials to do—she was making herself available to the people she serves. And of course we should mourn the people senselessly murdered yesterday, government employees and otherwise: U.S. District Judge John Roll, Dorothy Murray, Dorwin Stoddard, nine-year-old Christina Green, Phyllis Scheck, and Gabe Zimmerman.

That said, I long for the day that our political and media figures get as indignant about innocent Americans killed by their own government—killed in fact, as a direct and foreseeable consequence of official government policy that nearly all of those leaders support—as they are about a government official who was targeted by a clearly sick and deranged young man. What happened this weekend is not, by any means, a reason to shunt anti-government protest, even angry anti-government protest, out of the sphere of acceptable debate. The government still engages in plenty of acts and policies—including one-sided violence against its own citizens—that are well worth our anger, protest, and condemnation.

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56 Responses to “Violence, Government Violence, and Anti-Government Rhetoric”

  1. #1 |  CyniCAl | 

    “But it’s worth remembering that the government initiates violence against its own citizens every day in this country, citizens who pose no threat or harm to anyone else. The particular policy that leads to the sort of violence you see in these videos is supported by nearly all of the politicians and pundits decrying anti-government rhetoric on the news channels this morning.”

    And leopards have unchangeable spots.

    The very EXISTENCE of government makes this situation necessary.

    Just as dogs will continue to be shot because of their potential capacity for violence, so too will humans, until the day when humans can learn to live without violence.

    I will wait, but not too long. I figure at my age I have approximately 40 years of waiting left (unless the State or nature abbreviates that) before it doesn’t matter to me anymore.

  2. #2 |  jb | 

    You nailed it.

  3. #3 |  Tweets that mention Violence, Government Violence, and Anti-Government Rhetoric | The Agitator -- Topsy.com | 

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by radleybalko, Ben Smith and others. Ben Smith said: RT @alexmassie: Superb Radley Balko post on "violent rhetoric" vs *actual violence.* Guess which gets more attention? http://bit.ly/enk7Dl [...]

  4. #4 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    Radley, your take on yesterday’s events is the most measured assessment I’ve read yet. A far cry from some of the amoral and borderline-inhuman comments I read at Hit and Run yesterday.

  5. #5 |  Bob | 

    So that’s a ‘justified’ killing, huh? The cops run in yelling “WREEEE! We’re the frat boys!” (That’s what it sounded like to me at least.) see a guy holding a golf club and just fire away. He wasn’t attacking them or anything, the guy was cowering with his back to a wall, clearly scared shitless. The cop just opened up the instant he saw the golf club. That’s great threat assessment, jack ass.

    Wow, this guy better be a king pin of organized crime to get that kind of treatment… Nope, just a drug user.

    Some of the comments are disgusting. I could only try to read a few of them.

  6. #6 |  Marty | 

    ‘That said, I long for the day that our political and media figures get as indignant about innocent Americans killed by their own government…’

    I would change ‘Americans’ to ‘people’- Illegal aliens are killed far too often, Aghani and Iraqi citizens are being slaughtered…

    this article looks very reasonable to me. well done.

  7. #7 |  TJ | 

    OK… Let’s just get this done. When “we” do a drug raid… shoot and kill everyone present… men, women, children, and dogs. If “we” do this for a year or two, no doubt we will eliminate all of the “druggies” and end the drug culture in America. Yeah, right… and I’m gonna win the lotto every time I buy a ticket.

    This country is seriously f’ed up. This “drug war” is all about power, money, and big guns. Now I love my guns, don’t get me wrong… but when the government is all about power, money, and big guns… we are ALL in mucho trouble.

    How much power are we, the American public, rationally going to yield to the Feds? We have already given them way more than we should. If we do not reign in the Gov’t, and really soon, you will be able to spell USA this way — 1939 Germany! Mark my words, we are just steps away from this.

  8. #8 |  Marty | 

    the SWAT videos deserve a much wider audience- I can’t fathom these videos not having at least some of the impact that the other columbia, mo swat video had or the iraq helicopter video released by wikileaks.

    horrible- the guy was murdered.

  9. #9 |  Bob | 

    One of the problems is that a lot of people actually think it’s perfectly OK to gun down drug users and suspected criminals. Because you know… THEY’RE not a drug user or a criminal, so it can’t happen to them. In their mind, if all the drug users and criminals were gone, the world would be a paradise.

    These people don’t seem to realize that they could be sitting at home, minding their own business when a bunch of heavily armed men break in yelling “WREEE! We’re the frat boys!” or some equally unintelligible shit… and if they have ANYTHING in their hands, they could be dead in the next second.

  10. #10 |  Marty | 

    we need video footage from the poker raids to be released, also!

  11. #11 |  Henry Bowman | 

    SWAT teams have evolved into simple execution squads. The situation reminds me of Richard Rhodes’ book Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust, which describes how the Einsatzgruppen of the SS was methodically and slowly trained to kill civilians. Initially its members had difficulty killing innocents, but with sufficient practice became methodical and unrepentant killers. That’s what I see happening here. Unfortunately, the general population supports these goons.

  12. #12 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    We need to make it clear to our elected representatives at all levels that we no longer tolerate videos of police misbehavior being censored, of police who bungle ‘drug raids’ and kill civilians being allowed to escape prosecution, of prosecutors who break the law hiding behind ‘immunity’. We can change this, if we are willing to vote as if it were important to us, and keep voting that way. And if we can’t, THEN it will be time for violent rhetoric.

    But they don’t make it easy to keep a lid on, do they?

    *fume*

  13. #13 |  Rachel | 

    When will we admit that the “war on drugs” is a complete and utter failure?? Until then the swat teams will continue to kill innocent people. Besides that, has anyone stopped to consider how much money towns and cities would save if these foolish raids were stopped? Just seems stupid on so many fronts.

  14. #14 |  André | 

    Actually, maybe it’d be a nice idea to mandate they send someone with a video camera every time a SWAT team is deployed, and provide some mechanism for releasing it whenever people are shot or there are discrepancies between the official police report and what witnesses claim to have seen.

    I think the only way that could become law is through a ballot initiative, but it might be worth exploring.

  15. #15 |  SJE | 

    The logic of the police is that when they do it, its reasonable and measured, and when someone else does it, its an outrage. This is the same reasoning behind the treatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its torture when someone else does it, and “enhanced interrogation” when we do it, unless there is a camera and you are a lowly grunt.

  16. #16 |  Patriot Henry | 

    Based upon his videos and written statements, the Arizona shooter was and is completely insane – legally, morally, and practically speaking. Completely bonkers. Guano crazy.

    His actions are still despicable, but at least he has the valid excuse of being completely incompetent and having no control over his actions.

    What excuse do government officials have?

  17. #17 |  Roberta X | 

    Well, they’re very fond of sovereign immunity — helps if you’re on the same side as the judges, I’ll bet.

    What Bob said at #9: too many people think it’s hunky-dory. Possibly too many to change it; put that vid on the Nightly News and for every person thinking it’s not right, there are 99 cheering the SWAT-cops on.

  18. #18 |  Bill | 

    Excellent post. Couldn’t agree more.
    Violence is immoral and won’t achieve anything. The State has mastered the use of violence.

  19. #19 |  Elliot | 

    Well put.

    We need more people to say this.

  20. #20 |  J.S. | 

    “wrongheaded, immoral, futile, and counterproductive to any anti-government cause.”

    I would ask you Radley, do you have a line in the sand? Where talk, holding hands etc. will stop the violence the government commits every day? For me, its when they ban gun ownership completely or possibly another random nonsensical “assault weapons ban”. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about another ban on high capacity magazines after this arizona crime.

    The obamacare mandate is a close second. That mandate is outright slavery IMHO.

    Ban me if you wish, tis your website. It’ll probably lower my blood pressure given all the gov abuse cases you post about.

  21. #21 |  Bambam | 

    @20, firearms don’t have to be banned to make them effectively banned. Take, for example, the AB 962l signed by Schwarzenegger, who we are told is an R labeled person, that goes into effect Feb 1, 2011 and bans ammo sales from out of state and requires a thumbprint for every ammo box sold to Joe Consumer. This is an easy way for CA ammo sellers to raise prices because there is no competition except with CA borders. Incremental steps towards making ammo too expensive for the average Joe Consumer, which has the net effect of making that firearm useless.

    Incremental steps are the usual manner in which tyranny takes root over decades. Each generation thinks their problems are new because they are too lazy and/or dumb to analyze what previous generations dealt with, when in fact it’s the same problem but pegged at the next notch towards tyranny.

  22. #22 |  Bob | 

    #20 J.S.

    …I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about another ban on high capacity magazines after this arizona crime. …

    I’m half expecting someone to come up with “The Giffords Bill” that will require all handgun purchasers to get a psychological evaluation. I also expect a knee jerk reaction of support for it.

  23. #23 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “That said, I long for the day that our political and media figures get as indignant about innocent Americans killed by their own government—killed in fact, as a direct and foreseeable consequence of official government policy that nearly all of those leaders support—as they are about a government official who was targeted by a clearly sick and deranged young man.”

    That’s a wonderful summation, and a great overall analysis of the issues at hand Radley. Well done, and thanks again for all of your hard work.

    What happened in Arizona was a terrible waste of human life. I sincerely hope that the congresswoman and other survivors will recover, and I hope that the community will be able to heal eventually. The tactics used to carry on the fight against plants, narcotics and various psychoactive substances that the government doesn’t approve of also leads to needless death, injury, ruined futures and uninhabitable neighborhoods. Let’s hope that that violence can be curtailed soon too.

  24. #24 |  Bunce | 

    “Let’s get the obvious out of the way, here: Initiating violence against government officials and politicians is wrongheaded, immoral, futile, and counterproductive to any anti-government cause.”

    So, Mr. Balko….just what would you have advised the minutemen at Concord Bridge to do?

  25. #25 |  J.S. | 

    I like that bit at 730m in the first video from MO. “We’re not arresting you or detaining you” as he puts the cuffs on grandma. Then at the end they’re reading all of them their rights in the same room.

  26. #26 |  Bambam | 

    One has to wonder if this brutal attack was a paid hit by the Mexican drug cartel. Tucson is a gateway for the drug business. Every angle is worth consideration.

  27. #27 |  matt w | 

    The problem isn’t “anti-government rhetoric.” It’s violent eliminationist rhetoric directed against Democrats by Republicans, conservative media figures, and Tea Party types, and it starts at the very top of the GOP — see Boehner’s comments about Steve Driehaus.

    Which is why talking about the (very real) violence that police departments perpetuate against citizens is beside the point. The people who are responsible for today’s virulent rhetorical climate are all in favor of that violence, too.

  28. #28 |  Dan | 

    Where were the calls of tone down the rhetoric after the discovery channel shooting?

  29. #29 |  random guy | 

    These raids are nothing more than pretense for violent fetishists in uniform. Shooting the guy with the golf club is completely unjustified. Whats he really going to do to five officers tacked out in swat armor? They must be terribly afraid of bruises. Its the same reason they shoot dogs, I’m sure that bulldog would be a terrible inconvenience to someone wearing combat boots, better just shoot it. No, the truth is they created a dangerous situation and waited for the slightest of pretenses to kill someone.

    They couldn’t wait for the man to leave his house and have two uniformed officers arrest him in the driveway. They had to charge in dressed like stormtroopers because its a fucking game to them and they will always get away with it. Every single cop in that video is an accessory to murder, the judge who signed the warrant too.

  30. #30 |  Violence has become a way of life | DWI Lawyer Raleigh | 

    [...] Radley Balko has an excellent post on the very violent culture in which we live: a culture in which various governments across the United States conduct something like 100 militarized raids each day in the war on drugs. Certainly, drug addiction is a serious problem. [...]

  31. #31 |  Highway | 

    I honestly cannot see any potential upside to raids carried out like the Columbia MO one in the first video. So you have armed men burst into a house, causing buckets and buckets of stress for everyone involved. There were at least what, 8 people in that house? And given the reactions like we see in the other video, if one of those police sees something that looks the least bit threatening out of the corner of his eye, he’s likely to turn and shoot.

    I just can’t believe that a lower tension, lower stress environment isn’t better and safer all around. Or that a slower pace of encounter isn’t always going to be safer. Making people make split second decisions always ends up worse than more considered decisions.

    And the fact that this is done in the name of puritanical holier-than-thou prohibition just makes it more infuriating.

  32. #32 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #25 J.S.

    I like that bit at 730m in the first video from MO. “We’re not arresting you or detaining you” as he puts the cuffs on grandma. Then at the end they’re reading all of them their rights in the same room.

    I noticed that, too. He said, “We just need to put these cuffs on you so we can control you. It’s for your safety and ours.” I guess that means, “Although we might blow your head off even if you’re unarmed, we probably won’t do that if you’re wearing handcuffs.”

    Then it looks like they are all going to be arrested even after the cops told some of them they didn’t do anything would and would be let go very soon. Maybe the ones they were arresting were different from those in the first part of the video. I couldn’t tell.

  33. #33 |  LibertarianBlue | 

    There are three knee jerk reactions that will probably come out of it

    1. Another attempt at gun control, these high profile attacks almost guarantee an attack on the 2nd Amendment

    2. Turning up the drug war, drug warriors will use this to argue that the war must be fought with more money and more thuggery

    3. Buchananites will attempt to tie this to immigration

  34. #34 |  Dave Krueger | 

    CNN interviewed Neil Boortz about the comments made by Sheriff Clarence Dupnik that there was too much vitriolic rhetoric in politics these days. I don’t dispute Boortz’s libertarian credentials, but I have come to hate hearing him speak for libertarians. He’s way too full of himself for one thing, but he’s also one of the most vicious and arrogant of libertarian personalities on the airwaves. I quit listening to his radio show years ago because I just couldn’t stand how he would shout down anyone who had a credible counterargument to his position. In other words, he’s a prick (yes, I’m know I’m the pot calling the kettle black).

    After years of Boortz being one of the very few libertarian voices on the airwaves, it would be impossible to overstate the improvement in civility and respectability that has been brought to the libertarian cause by the folks at Reason, who are now becoming regulars in many mainstream outlets. The difference is like night and day.

  35. #35 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #20 JS:

    “I would ask you Radley, do you have a line in the sand? Where talk, holding hands etc. will stop the violence the government commits every day? For me, its when they ban gun ownership completely or possibly another random nonsensical “assault weapons ban”. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about another ban on high capacity magazines after this arizona crime.”

    “The obamacare mandate is a close second. That mandate is outright slavery IMHO.”

    A couple points. First off, investigative journalism and public shaming of officials (which are the effects of Radley’s work) hardly amount to “holding hands” as you put it. Discussions of jury nullifcation and other forms of civil disobedience are also tangible and quite effective options to countering drug war excesses.

    As to your proposed lines in the sand. A total ban on gun ownership is pretty much unthinkable. Some states are more restrictive than others (I live in IL, so I know), but a “total ban” will not happen. And are you really saying you would advocate assassination and other terrorist tactics if they try to pass an “assault weapons ban” of some sort. Really? I think that original law was transparently absurd AND ineffective, but would you advocate violence to counter absurdity and ineffectiveness?

    And would you really respond to Obamacare with violence? I think the individual mandate is unprecedented, but slavery? I think Frederick Douglas would be tempted to slap you upside the head if he was around to hear that one.

    Maybe you need to adjust those lines in the sand just a bit, cowboy. Remember, violent revolutions have a fairly miserable track record. The American Revolution, in spite of its shortcomings, was acutally one of the more successful efforts, IMHO.

  36. #36 |  Matt | 

    “I would ask you Radley, do you have a line in the sand? ”

    The chinaman is not the issue here, Dude!

  37. #37 |  Nancyinwi | 

    Is it legal, and if so, how and why, for police to handcuff someone who is not under arrest or otherwise in custody? Even when it’s not a SWAT tiype situation, they seem really big on restraining people. In the Columbia video, they give a number of reasons, any of which could have been accomplished without restraint.

  38. #38 |  Bambam | 

    2. Turning up the drug war, drug warriors will use this to argue that the war must be fought with more money and more thuggery

    It’s like I always say, Politician X feels s/he does not have to justify statements and data to people, uses magical Metrics Y to measure success of Item Z, measures it at 1%, and concludes that 100x more effort/money/liberty must be sacrificed to achieve 100% success for Item Z. Surely you can’t dispute the math.

  39. #39 |  Why Anti-Government Sentiment Exists « The Blog For Truth, Justice, & The Josh Way | 

    [...] This analysis by Radley Balko does better than I could to sum up my feelings on the atrocious shooting that took place over the weekend in Arizona. [...]

  40. #40 |  PW | 

    The government engaging in violent and violence-inducing behavior? How dare you sully their good name by holding them to the standards they expect for us commoners!

  41. #41 |  RWW | 

    I think it’s about time for me to buy a handgun before it’s too late.

  42. #42 |  Mike T | 

    You missed another lesson (reminder) to be learned from this: most people are idiots (MPAI). They call this the consequence of “anti-government rhetoric” while reporting that the man’s two favorite books were the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf.

    That makes as much sense as saying that an abortion clinic bomber whose favorite book is the Koran was clearly influenced by radical Christian fundamentalism…

  43. #43 |  Government and Violence — The League of Ordinary Gentlemen | 

    [...] Jason Kuznicki on January 10, 2011 Radley Balko writes: [I]t’s worth remembering that the government initiates violence against its own citizens every [...]

  44. #44 |  Highway | 

    The more I think about it, the more I am wondering why the police think it’s a good idea for EVERYONE to be yelling on one of these ‘dynamic entries’? Maybe if there was one loud person who clearly repeated instructions, people might understand what was said, but how can any person, even mid-day perfectly awake and *paying attention* be expected to pull a coherent “We are the police” message out of that cacophony of shouting, banging, and screaming? Then let’s add sleepiness and unexpectedness to the equation.

    It’s a wonder anyone ever figures out it’s the police.

  45. #45 |  Cyto | 

    I love the map…. just so long as you don’t use crosshairs to denote the locations of police violence….

  46. #46 |  Cyto | 

    #43 | Highway |

    I like the expectation they have (supported by the courts) that mere act of saying “police” creates a legal onus on the citizen as if they have full knowledge that the people assaulting their home are police and that the police have a legal right to be there and that it is criminal (and possibly deadly) to offer any resistance. That’s a pretty high, even ridiculous set of requirements.

    Even if you were to understand the cacophony and pull “police” from the mayhem, is it really reasonable to assume that someone kicking in your back door yelling “police” means you no harm? (particularly if there are no accompanying police lights, sirens or uniforms)

    I’ve seen commenters argue with passion that the word “police” across the back of an otherwise unremarkable dark blue windbreaker is unmistakable proof that a “criminal cop killer” knew he was dealing with the police. As if a person confronted with an armed intruder in a dark windbreaker has magical powers of x-ray vision that allow him to read the back of the intruders jacket. In fact, these “uniforms” are specifically designed to appear “not police” from the front, with “police” visible from the back. This is to allow stealth in approaching the target while preventing mistaken friendly fire from behind. This intentional double-think on the part of our leaders is appalling.

    Once again I put the call out to anyone who has authority in these situations: do not put your people or the citizenry into positions where violence is likely unless there are no other alternatives. It is stupid and wasteful. These drug raids are the definitive example of counterproductive use of force. In almost every case a little better planning would have resulted in a search without the use of violent entry.

    The odds of something going wrong in any one raid are extremely low – so they continually get away with it. But it is exactly akin to drunk driving: Just because you manage to make it home without wrecking “every time” (so far) doesn’t mean it is a safe or wise practice.

  47. #47 |  Cyto | 

    #34 | Dave Krueger |
    Boortz is a talk show host. An entertainer. Being nice and civil is boring and doesn’t draw an audience. He has a huge audience because he knows how to stir the pot. He also happens to be on the right side of most issues, but that is incidental to his job. To his credit, he fully acknowledges this (or at least he used to, it has been a decade since I lived in Atlanta) and will regularly remind listeners that he is an entertainer and bullshit artist.

    Al Franken tried the opposite approach – all the vitriol without the entertainment. It didn’t work for ratings, but he did manage to get a Senate seat out of it. So I guess it is down to priorities. If you want to make cash the honest way, you have to be entertaining. Otherwise you can use the power of the state to extract money for yourself by joining the halls of power.

  48. #48 |  Pablo | 

    #47 Cyto–good points about Boortz but the qualities that make him an entertainer do not make him a good public spokesperson for libertarianism. I quit listening to/reading his stuff because I got tired of hearing him call everybody losers, welfare brood sows, idiots, etc. One can disagree with or criticize others without belittling or dehumanizing them.

  49. #49 |  If You’re Going to Do It Digitally, Do It Right | Truth and Justice For All | 

    [...] perpetrates against innocent or undeserving citizens frequently and as a matter of course:  “Violence, Government Violence, and Anti-Government Rhetoric.” [I]t’s worth remembering that the government initiates violence against its own citizens [...]

  50. #50 |  Sarah Palin’s targets and Gabrielle Giffords « Phil Ebersole's Blog | 

    [...] by people with uniforms and badges at any given time than by anti-government extremists.  Click on Violence, Government Violence and Anti-Government Rhetoric for his full statement on The Agitator web [...]

  51. #51 |  MattN | 

    Thanks for putting this out there, Balko.

    In response to ‘matt w’ #27, but also more generally:

    First, in this particular instance the gunman appears to be totally detached from reality. So that should end the story, but it doesn’t, of course — politicians use the occasion to imply that the attack was provoked by speech critical of government, in a disgustingly cynical attempt to silence that criticism.

    It kills me every time I hear a statist (right or left, but usually left) attack free speech on the pretense that it might provoke the occasional extremist into acts of violence. Balko glaringly points out that the state not only condones violence by its own agencies, but actually approves and funds the tactics.

    But that’s only the explicit portion of the violence. The rest of government is a gestapo of implied violence. For every law that is passed there is the explicit legal requirement of punishment for non-compliance… perhaps a fee. But does someone who disagrees with a law pay the fee because they agree with the punishment, or because it is the easiest way to avoid the next level of punishment… jail? And does someone go to jail because they agree with the punishment, or only because it is preferable to being killed? If the “criminal” says, “anh… I don’t agree with that law and I refuse to be punished for it,” does the government shrug and go on it’s merry way? No… ultimately it pursues non-conformists into their graves.

    Think of that… Obama and his statist friends in congress passed a law legally requiring everyone to buy insurance. Those that don’t must pay a fine, but that’s only an option to let you avoid jail, which is only an option to let you avoid being killed. Their ultimate goal is to convince you to participate in the program even if you don’t agree with you, by making the consequences uncomfortable. Most people are going to choose compliance or the fee, even if they disagree, because it’s less painful than jail or death. But the implication is there.

    [Now that's just an example. This isn't a rant against liberals or Democrats. It's a rant against statists, which can be applied to conservatives and Republicans just as well.]

    So I slip into a subtle rage when a statist sycophant complains about anti-statist rhetoric supposedly provoking some anti-government violence. Statists live and breath violence on a daily basis. Their entire BEING is consumed with the use of state power to force people into compliance. Implied violence lies behind the veneer of “compassion” and “benevolence” of every state action. The explicit and implied violence behind state action is apparently so completely absorbed into the being of those who wield and support that power that they are able to completely compartmentalize it out of conscious mind. PARDON ME if I don’t feel an OUNCE of remorse for speaking out against the state. If the state wasn’t shitting all over people on a daily basis, I wouldn’t have to.

    Now, dammit, I am NOT an anarchist, or some right-winger. I’m just a dude who believes in FREEDOM, and I won’t live in a f-ing world where politicians and their god-dammed sycophants get to run around using and threating violence with impunity, while at the same time criticizing (and threating the rights of) people who simply SPEAK in criticism of government.

    Now, to people who love government and think it is a great source of good for solving all kinds of human problems, I submit to you: using coercive power, and the associated explicit and implicit violence, to achieve your goals is not “success,” it is not “progress,” it is not “good,” “right,” “just,” or benevolent in any sense. It is a complete capitulation to abject failure.

    WHEW… I feel SO MUCH BETTER! Now that I was able to SPEAK, maybe I won’t go out and SHOOT someone!

    [to anyone reading, that last comment was sarcasm aimed at making a point about speech being an important outlet... I'm not planning to, nor have I ever planned to, shoot anyone... fuck all that I even have to say that]

  52. #52 |  When Politicians turn Murder into Opportunity | Thoughts on Liberty | 

    [...] writing I have seen thus far that mentions all six of the dead victims in the shooting was made by The Agitator. Most of the seven other news stories I have open only mention Gabrielle Giffords, who was injured [...]

  53. #53 |  Why Arizona and not Massachusetts? « Blunt Object | 

    [...] Radley Balko writes on the same topic I just addressed, though a couple days earlier: Let’s get the obvious out of [...]

  54. #54 |  Michael Ejercito | 

    I’ve been listening to it all morning on the Sunday talk shows. Let’s get the obvious out of the way, here: Initiating violence against government officials and politicians is wrongheaded, immoral, futile, and counterproductive to any anti-government cause. As is encouraging or praising others who do. I ban anyone who engages in that kind of talk here.

    While there have been situations in history (the Holocaust, the Rape of Nanking) where initiating violence against government officials and politicians was justified, these conditions do not exist currently in this country.

  55. #55 |  My Letter to the Long Beach Press-Telegram - eHarmony Advice | 

    [...] of society to see how this works out, a subset that has a proven track record of abusing guns. That subset, of course, is government. If we find that eliminating guns from all levels and agencies of government dramatically reduces [...]

  56. #56 |  Divorce Authority | 

    We can and do hold officials at all levels accountable for their actions. That doesn’t mean that they are saints, but they do have to think twice before abusing authority.

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