Streetwise Professor

June 2, 2020

A Modest Proposal

Filed under: Uncategorized — cpirrong @ 11:58 am

Shit’s getting real out there, and it’s hitting close to home. Not so much in Houston, which has been relatively quiescent. (My tennis partner/rapper friend says Houston is chill compared to other Texas cities. A comparison to Dallas suggests that’s true.). No, in Chicago, where my younger daughter witnessed the looting of a jewelry store located directly beneath her apartment in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and who today went to go grocery shopping only to find several of her usual stores either burned out or ransacked. And they weren’t in Englewood or Austin.

And of course, there are scenes of destructive orgies in other major cities, including notably at the very gates of the White House in DC.

I have a modest proposal to address the situation: shoot all white rioters on sight.

I make this proposal in the spirit of bringing America together. For after all, who can possible object? (Except for a few pigment impaired ruffians–but they won’t be in any position to object!)

Think about it. The left apparently believes that the riots are the work of their bĂȘtes noires (heh), white supremacists. (Cf. statements of the governor of Minnesota, the mayor of Minneapolis, or the mayor of Seattle, who blamed the recent riots on “white men.”) Certainly the left will rejoice at the summary dispatching of their arch enemies.

The non-left believes that the pasty-faced (and largely sunken-chested and pipe cleaner-armed) rioters are far left Antifa radicals who deserve a good whacking.

Speaking for myself, I hold no truck with either. So let God sort ’em out.

There is also a Solomonic angle to this. It is a way of getting at the truth. Just as Solomon’s threat to split the baby was meant to reveal the truth about who the actual mother was among the contenders, we will know from who screams loudest at this proposal just who the perps are. So I would take Seattle mayor Karen–sorry, Jenny–Durkan far more seriously if she were to endorse this modest proposal.

Further, implementing this proposal is a form of redress for centuries of state violence directed against black people. Evening the score.

So bring America together!

Putting my attempt at Swift (or Juvenal) aside, I am completely serious about focusing law enforcement efforts on white rioters: to me the most striking racial aspect of what I have seen in numerous videos is just how many white punks, mainly dressed in black and wearing backpacks and masks (but not for Covid-19 reasons) are at the center of the violence. As for these being white supremacists. Please. I know Bubbas. These ain’t Bubbas. They are Antifa, right out of central casting.

These have all the trademarks of Antifa or Antifa wannabes. They should definitely be the target of law enforcement, both at the point of action and behind the scenes. Their financers. Their support groups. Their lawyers. They are the schwerpunkt of these riots, and should be attacked and taken down. Hard. By all means necessary. And not just because of this time. But to reduce the probability of a next time.

There is obviously planning and support here. Consider the Miracle of the Bricks, whereby pallets of bricks have magically appeared on streets, handy for rioters and looters to use. No business leaves bricks in the street. Even construction companies don’t leave bricks in the street–they aren’t stupid. No, the bricks were acquired and distributed to strategic locations for the express purpose of providing ammunition for thugs.

It should not be that hard to track down the sources of at least some of these caches. Street surveillance cameras. Old fashion police work identifying who bought lots of bricks recently. Drones–or are they all being deployed to catch people violating stay at home orders?

One would hope that the FBI and other federal and local law enforcement agencies have devoted at least as much attention to these groups as to the KKK or other knuckle-dragging (and almost completely marginalized) white supremacist groups. Perhaps they can pry themselves away from chasing Russian hobgoblins and chase the anarchist left instead.

I shouldn’t say anarchist, really. Anarchism has a semblance of intellectual coherence. These thugs are nihilists, pure and simple: read Dostoevsky’s The Devils/Demons/Possessed to get a better understanding of them. All of the actions we have seen them commit are completely nihilistic, and these individuals have been encouraging nihilistic behavior by others. Not that these others lack agency or are not responsible for their own wantonness, but the white agitators in their midst are definitely accelerants pouring onto burning embers. The nihilists are cynically manipulating the discontented and the criminal in order to advance their agenda of destruction. (There are many in the black community, including those who could be described as radical, who understand this.)

And just who are the fascists that the soi disant antifascists are fighting? In their fevered minds, the United States is fascist. Every business is fascist, right down to the last convenience store. Every government at every level is fascist. You are a fascist if you aren’t Antifa.

This isn’t like Spartacists fighting the SA on the streets of Weimar Germany. They are going after you, and every civil and commercial institution in the country.

Many on the left tolerate them–hell, encourage them–apparently on the principle of the enemy of my enemy, or out of some deluded belief that Antifa storming the White House allegedly inhabited by an orange Nazi is the modern equivalent of the Big Red One storming the Nazis at Omaha Beach.

They should take heed Churchill’s remark about crocodiles. He who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind.

As for the spark of these events, the horrific death of (Houston native) George Floyd (a Houston legend rapper back in the day, in fact) created the conditions that Antifa can exploit. Large crowds of understandably angry people. Police forces that are reluctant to create more racial incidents. An inability or unwillingness of many people to distinguish between legitimate protest and nihilistic political violence.

These factors are underlying conditions to the violence, perhaps necessary conditions, but not sufficient conditions for it. Absent the malign acts those of who want violence and destruction for their own political reasons, legitimate protest would not have exploded into this bacchanal of violence. The nihilists are opportunists, and are exploiting this opportunity.

So get whitey. Especially if s/he is dressed in black.

One last remark. Events like Floyd’s death, and the reaction to it, leave the impression that unlawful police violence is purely a white cop-on-black victim phenomenon. This is not true. There are many tragic stories of non-blacks being killed under questionable circumstances by police officers (white and black)–e.g., Daniel Shaver, Dillon Taylor, Dylan Noble, Isiah-Murietta Golding, to name a few.

Making this issue a black-white narrative (literally and figuratively) impedes rather than promotes addressing it. The problems are systemic in nature–training, the personalities of people attracted to police work, stress, and in particular the cumulative psychological impact of stress, the ambiguous and largely deferential legal treatment of cop shooters (or kneelers or chokers). Making it all about race prevents dealing with these real causes.

One factor that I bet dimes-to-donuts played a factor in Minneapolis is police unions. The policeman who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, had been involved in numerous complaints, and multiple shootings. That he was still on the force with such a record is almost certainly due to the ability of his union to shield him from termination.

To reduce the frequency of such events as those that triggered this nightmare, police have to be meaningfully accountable. Yes, I know that they will be the subject of numerous false accusations; that some of the actions that have tragic outcomes (as with Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO) represent legitimate use of force; that some actions are the result of mistakes or negligence or panic rather than depravity. But a rebalancing of legal and institutional protections seems to be in order to improve accountability and take the bad actors off the streets, or to deter them from engaging in bad acts.

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