Non-Violent Protests

At what point does a demonstration become something else?

Dave Schuler is tired of the media frame that police are cracking down on “non-violent protests” when, in fact, the protests are violent.

In a posting (“‘Largely Non-Violent‘”) yesterday, .he observes,

I recently read one of the most foolish things I have ever encountered, characterizing the situation in Portland as months of “largely non-violent” demonstrations. Demonstrations are either violent or non-violent. By the standard the author is laying down the First World War, famously characterized as “months of boredom punctuated by moments of terror”, was largely non-violent.

That was on the heels of another post titled “Peaceful Protests,” on the situation in Chicago, where he’s lived for decades. He cites a report from the local NBC affiliate wherein “What started as a peaceful demonstration led to several clashes between police and individuals who were protesting the presence of the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park” and which notes, “Chicago police released video Monday that appears to show protesters jabbing officers with PVC pipe from a banner and throwing items such as rocks, fireworks and frozen water bottles.”

Dave observes,

I think I would claim that pre-sharpened PVC and certainly fireworks constituted Class II weapons, those who employed them against the police are guilty of several felonies, and anyone who knew that the pre-sharpened PVC and fireworks would be brought to the event, for example through social media, is guilty of conspiracy to commit armed violence. That was no peaceful protest.

Over the weekend, in a post titled “Non-Violent Protests vs. Violent Protests,” he laid out the argument in more detail. He contrasts the protests in which the late John Lewis participated in the 1960s with what’s happening in his city:

Protests in which cans, bottles, or explosives are used and in which people are destroying or attempting to destroy property including public property are not non-violent. The moment the first rock is thrown or when people start actively rather than passively resisting police a threshold has been crossed. Those who set out to protest non-violently have been coopted into a riot. The media is dissimulating when they characterize a protest in which some of those protesting are non-violent but some are violent as non-violent and they are dishonoring the non-violent protesters of the civil rights era. They are on the wrong side.

I’m sympathetic to the argument here but am not sure I agree.

It’s entirely possible for a group of people to peaceably assemble to protest police violence and have their protest coopted by rioters. I think that happened several times early on in the ongoing demonstrations prompted by the killing of George Floyd.

While I worried that the rioters would become the face of the movement and undermine its message—which hasn’t happened—it never occurred to me to blame the protesters for the rioting. That was largely outside their control.

It seems absurd to suggest that, at the “moment the first rock is thrown,” good citizens must disburse lest they be seen as part of a mob. It’s an extreme form of a heckler’s veto. Further, it would be an invitation for those who disagree with the message of the protestors to literally throw the first stone.

At the same time, there comes a point where Dave is right. If it’s widely known that a significant number of thugs with sharpened PVC pipes are going to show up to commit acts of mayhem, something other than a “peaceful protest” is at work. And, regardless of good intention, those who attend with nonviolent intent are coopted.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Finally, somebody decides to speak the truth about these events – both what they are and what they are not.

    6
  2. mattbernius says:

    It’s entirely possible for a group of people to peaceably assemble to protest police violence and have their protest coopted by rioters. I think that happened several times early on in the ongoing demonstrations prompted by the killing of George Floyd.

    This is most definitely the case.

    It seems absurd to suggest that, at the “moment the first rock is thrown,” good citizens must disburse lest they be seen as part of a mob. It’s an extreme form of a heckler’s veto.

    Correct as well. Additionally, we have also seen a number of cases where police escalation has more or less initiated the violence. The key difference we appear to be seeing is that unlike in the case of Lewis and Bloody Sunday, where the protesters were specifically trained in non-violent tactics and generally speaking “took the beatings,” crowds have members who are explicitly fighting back (for a number of reasons) when police escalate to asymmetrical violence.

    I also think a lot of the dialog and concerns around this (i.e. the emphasis on “looting/rioting” versus “police violence/instigation”) really shows how deeply rooted “law and order” ideologies are within American cultures. For some people, no matter what the police do, if there is any escalation to violence, it means the crowd deserves what it gets.

    Sadly, these are also the people who, when pushed, will tell you that George Floyd and Eric Garner ultimately deserved what they got for resisting the police. After all, they had criminal histories and if they had just complied they still would be alive today.

    24
  3. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    For clarification, are you referring to Schuler or Joyner?

    4
  4. drj says:

    Why on earth should we take Dave Schuler seriously?

    His “observations” are moronic. To wit:

    Demonstrations are either violent or non-violent.

    This is just dumb. If were were to assume that one guy out of a thousand throwing a brick could make the entire protest violent, how could we ever distinguish between a “violent protest” and a “violent protest” where hundreds of people using improvised weapons start causing trouble?

    How does it assist us in understanding what is going on to call both kinds of protest “violent?” (Hint: it doesnt.) In short, this is just a blatantly transparent attempt at guilt by association.

    By the standard the author is laying down the First World War, famously characterized as “months of boredom punctuated by moments of terror”, was largely non-violent.

    During WW1 there were on average ca. 20,000 military casualties per day. Nobody is going to call that “largely non-violent” Obviously, this includes the unnamed author who Schuler (for obvious reasons) doesn’t bother to cite.

    Also, for his “takedown” to work, Schuler needs to pretend that a thrown brick and a thousand-gun artillery bombardment can be reasonably compared. After all, violence is violence, amirite?

    This is kindergarten-level reasoning.

    37
  5. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kurtz:

    Both. The time for pretending that these people follow in the footsteps of, or can even remotely be compared to, civil rights protestors in the 1960s has long passed. Time to recognize them for what they are.

    5
  6. DrDaveT says:

    Dave Schuler:

    I recently read one of the most foolish things I have ever encountered

    Me too. It came right after those words…

    characterizing the situation in Portland as months of “largely non-violent” demonstrations. Demonstrations are either violent or non-violent. By the standard the author is laying down the First World War, famously characterized as “months of boredom punctuated by moments of terror”, was largely non-violent.

    If there are (hypothetically) 27 demonstrations, and 21 of them are non-violent, would it not be reasonable to describe those demonstrations as “largely non-violent”?

    And if there are 1200 demonstrators, and 1000 of them behave nonviolently and do not support those who are being violent, isn’t it accurate to describe the demonstrations as “largely non-violent”?

    Schuler’s war analogy says more about his own biases than it does about the situation on the ground in Portland. It shows that he thinks of the demonstrators as a unified and homogeneous group — a “them”, like one side in a war — rather than as a heterogeneous collection of individuals.

    In general, a spontaneous protest is not one thing — it is many simultaneous things, because it is made up of many diverse people with different values, different goals, different grievances, different preferences. Focusing on the worst of them to dismiss the rest of them is logic on a par with “all men are rapists”.

    26
  7. Blue Galangal says:

    @DrDaveT:

    If there are (hypothetically) 27 demonstrations, and 21 of them are non-violent, would it not be reasonable to describe those demonstrations as “largely non-violent”?

    And if there are 1200 demonstrators, and 1000 of them behave nonviolently and do not support those who are being violent, isn’t it accurate to describe the demonstrations as “largely non-violent”?

    Aren’t we told repeatedly that police officers who extrajudicially execute black people for sleeping in their car or driving without a tail light or playing in a park are just a few bad apples, and police officers are largely law-abiding servants of the people?

    20
  8. Slugger says:

    Crimes should be punished, and vandalism, graffiti, etc are crimes. The police should act in such situations, and the police must act lawfully themselves. Tear gassing large numbers of people, swinging batons at people standing quietly, firing “nonlethal” bean bags into a crowd, and flash-bang grenades are weapons that are indiscriminate and outside the legal processes. I am against mobs, but I’m also against unrestrained police actions. we all have an obligation to act lawfully, and this obligation falls most heavily on the authorities and cops.
    I have the sense that the Portland unrest was dwindling with time until the federal authorities decided to crack down. Whacking a hornets’ nest is not a good step.

    11
  9. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    Aren’t we told repeatedly that police officers who extrajudicially execute black people for sleeping in their car or driving without a tail light or playing in a park are just a few bad apples, and police officers are largely law-abiding servants of the people?

    The data well bears that assertion out.

    4
  10. de stijl says:

    JFC, Schuler?

    This is an important topic. We can discuss this, but you are spoiling the waters.

    James, you are likely the most institutionalist person I have ever encountered. You side with the Man always and instinctually. After much feedback you acknowledge your first take was hasty and hyperbolic.

    A lesser person could say that you are enabling police violence and murder.

    Garner was selling unlicensed loosies on the boardwalk, ffs. A boot strapping entrepreneur. Not a crime to be choked to death for in my mind.

    It is reasonable to assume that people will be upset and angry at his death. At Floyd George’s. Will want justice. Will demand change.

    This is so frustrating.

    11
  11. James Joyner says:

    @DrDaveT:

    If there are (hypothetically) 27 demonstrations, and 21 of them are non-violent, would it not be reasonable to describe those demonstrations as “largely non-violent”?

    I think I’d describe 21 protests as non-violent and six as “violent.”

    And if there are 1200 demonstrators, and 1000 of them behave nonviolently and do not support those who are being violent, isn’t it accurate to describe the demonstrations as “largely non-violent”?

    Honestly, no. The violence would clearly outweigh the nonviolence there.

    In general, a spontaneous protest is not one thing — it is many simultaneous things, because it is made up of many diverse people with different values, different goals, different grievances, different preferences.

    Yes, that’s at the core of the problem.

    2
  12. James Joyner says:

    @de stijl: I honestly don’t understand what point you’re trying to make. Where have I said killing Garner or Floyd was okay?

    I’m not at all “institutionalist” on the matter of police brutality. As noted in the update to the OP, I’ve written dozens, if not scores, of posts over the years about the militarization of police and its ill effects.

    I am, I suppose, “institutionalist” on peaceful protest vs. rioting.

    5
  13. KM says:

    The protests are not some monolithic thing. You can have several protests going on simultaneously, sometimes in the same “crowd”. Does a protest end when the original protesters leave at the agreed upon time but hangers-on and agitators that showed up stay to break windows or is the same protest? If some randos show up to set fires during your peaceful protest, is it now considered violent even if you tried to stop them? Are alt-right dudes allowed to infiltrate your protest and get you labelled violent because they decided to break some windows and blame BLM?

    Who gets to make that call – the people who want to discredit the protests or those who look at the numbers and realize that for the most part, the media’s characterization has been correct?

    10
  14. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Wow, you really are this out of touch…
    Or ignorant of the actual reality of protests in the 1960s…

    10
  15. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92: No, it doesn’t.

    The data bears out that the overwhelming majority of police tolerate and accept brutality on the part of their fellow officers. They do not repudiate it or take any action to stop it. They elect, as union representatives, leaders who protect and promote immunity for bad actors. They are complicit.

    They believe that they are entitled to use violence against anyone at any time for any reason if they have any concern at all of threat to themselves, even if that threat is irrational, racist or unreasonable. They justify and protect those who commit violrence in their name and in their uniform. The majoritry are the problem.

    25
  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    I seem to recall that the overriding theme of protests in the 60s was non-violence with respect to civil rights protestors. I’m not sure that the same can be said for the hippies / anti-war folks, but I never deputized them into my argument to begin with. They are, however, probably a much more apt comparison to today’s protestors.

    As I’ve said many times, you and I will never agree regarding civil disobedience and mayhem, and I do not wish to rehash that pointless argument yet again here. The ends do not justify the means. When your protest impedes my ability to exercise my rights as an equal citizen in any way, it becomes illegitimate. If it’s possible to have a dialogue with the understanding that I will not move one millimeter off of that position, then we certainly can.

    4
  17. mattbernius says:

    Two thoughts:

    (1) Since we tend to process the present through the lens of an “imagined” past, its worth looking at actual contemporaneous opinion studies. This Gallup one from 1961 touches on people’s views on any form of confrontational protest and their impact on the Civil Rights movement:

    https://www.crmvet.org/docs/60s_crm_public-opinion.pdf

    (2) It’s worth noting that a lot of people tend to compartmentalize the 50/60’s civil rights movement into a “non-violent” crowd phase (pre-MLK assassination) and a riot phase (starting with MLK’s assassination in ’68). However, violent protests/resistance were happening in conjunction with the non-violent movement. The Rochester, Harlem, and Philadelphia “riots” all occured in 1964 during the “Summer of Freedom.”

    16
  18. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    I honestly don’t understand what point you’re trying to make. Where have I said killing Garner or Floyd was okay?

    I’m not sure about that one either. I was the one who brought Garner and Floyd into the discussion and I did not intend to suggest you would defend either of those incidents (given the available facts).

    1
  19. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    Poppycock. You’re seeing what serves your agenda.

    Out of an estimated 375 million unique police/citizen encounters in 2019, a whopping 55 of them resulted in the death of an unarmed individual. 0.00001% . That isn’t even statistical noise.

    A whole 14 of those 55 were African-American. 0.000006% …

    An unarmed person in the US is 38 times more likely to be struck and killed by lightning than he/she is to be killed by a police officer.

    So much for endemic brutality … It’s ludicrous.

    2
  20. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I seem to recall that the overriding theme of protests in the 60s was non-violence with respect to civil rights protestors.

    You are ignorant of the reality. Riots and violence were absolutely a large part of the civil rights movement. They may not be in the disney version of history taught in grade schools but they were a significant factior and impetus in forcing the underlying issues to begin to be addressed.

    MLK in 1966:

    “I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.”

    You don’t like to be inconvenienced. Why is your convenience more important than someone else’s oppression?

    16
  21. Northerner says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    If a small percentage of a group determines whether a group is peaceful or violent as a whole, does that mean that our society as a whole is violent given that some citizens are violent (as a glance at the crime rate will show). If not, then why hold protests to a different standard than society.

    The evidence seems pretty clear that most citizens don’t engage in violent crime, and most protesters don’t engage in violent protests. So what is gained by saying society or these protests are violent? In fact, isn’t that exactly the same as saying that since some police use excessive force (to the point of unnecessary killing or even murder), that the police as a whole should be considered guilty of using excessive force?

    6
  22. JohnMcC says:

    Since the ROTC building on the campus at Kent State in ’69 was burned down on May 2d it is clear that Dr Shuler supports the protective efforts of the Ohio National Guard May 4th.

    He is in a vanishing small minority.

    5
  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Northerner:

    The evidence seems pretty clear that most citizens don’t engage in violent crime, and most protesters don’t engage in violent protests. So what is gained by saying society or these protests are violent?

    The evidence also suggests that, while the majority are non-violent, they implicitly approve of the violent tactics while declining to actually engage in them. Otherwise they would attempt to intervene, but they overwhelmingly do not.

    If you stand by and watch a woman being raped, but take no action to attempt to stop it from happening, aren’t you equally culpable for it – if not in a legal sense then at least in a moral sense?

    What is gained is accuracy.

    2
  24. James Joyner says:

    @JohnMcC: That’s a non sequitur.

    Schuler isn’t calling for protestors—even violent ones—to be gunned down. He’s saying the media are making a category error.

    3
  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    You don’t like to be inconvenienced. Why is your convenience more important than someone else’s oppression?

    It’s not more important. That having been said, it’s also not any less important.

  26. Monala says:

    @HarvardLaw92: there were 10 million arrests in the US in 2018. That’s less than 3% of 375 million. Granting that many police encounters are for things like traffic violations that generally result in a ticket, not an arrest, 375 million still seems high. It’s higher than the entire population of the US. Where did that statistic come from?

    5
  27. dazedandconfused says:

    ” Demonstrations are either violent or non-violent.” is a binary strawman, taken literally, which Dave, whom I respect, has left no choice but to take as literal by first stating there is no such thing as “mostly peaceful”. It’s absurd to say that 10,000 people are instantly transformed from a peaceful protest to a violent one the moment one clown tosses one rock.

    It’s an analog world. Deal with it.

    8
  28. de stijl says:

    @James Joyner:

    Feigned obtuseness is not an appealing characteristic.

    I really need to back off. I am way too angry and frustrated to communicate well. Grr aagh

    3
  29. Monala says:

    @HarvardLaw92: this point weakens your argument. A big complaint about the police is that they don’t restrain or discipline their members who brutalize the public. In fact, there are several cases in which an officer tried to stop a colleague from using excessive force, and found themselves disciplined or fired. So by your argument, all police officers are equally culpable for the brutality of a few.

    24
  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Monala:

    There are more than 800,000 sworn police officers now serving in the US. Even if each of them has a single officer/citizen encounter per day, that’s already 292 million per year. You ever met a cop who only interacted with one person per day?

    1
  31. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Monala:

    And you get to the crux of my point – the hypocrisy. You expect police officers to hold each other accountable, but give these “protestors” a pass on the same expectation. Why is that?

    Note that I have never argued that police officers shouldn’t be expected to hold each other accountable. I’m just tired of the self-serving hypocrisy.

    2
  32. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    these people

    Interesting phrasing. Don’t take it the wrong way. I’m not condemning you–I don’t think you meant it that way.* But I do think it’s worth pointing out.

    But your criticism is based upon a distorted view of the Civil Rights movement of the 60s and King.

    I’m not going to pull quotes from it. I trust that you will read it when you have time. And before you say it, I’m not entirely sure that Sebastian’s arguments in the piece are air-tight.

    You argued the other day that you aren’t that far removed on your family tree from those who faced bigotry. Indeed, Baltimore wasn’t the friendliest place for Jewish immigrants. But I implore you to spend some time thinking whether your success colors your positions on current race relations. Indeed, you remind me of the northern liberals Sebastian mentions.

    Here is where I also remind you that the full description of your immigrant family was essentially penniless, but well educated. That latter part is a key distinction between them and many black people then and now.

    *In the Deep South, the phrase “I don’t mean anything by it,” is (or at least was) a common response to objections to the casual use of the N word by whites. I don’t put you in that category, but would understand the inclination to do so.

    3
  33. de stijl says:

    @JohnMcC:

    Jerry Casale later from Devo was there that day at Kent State.

    As was Chrissy Hynde later from The Pretenders.

    On a Monday in May the state decided to kill some kids because they were uppity.

    3
  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:
    Schuler has zero credibility. He’s yet another clueless old white guy who abandoned his principles the minute Trump was elected.

    Either/or? Either violent or non-violent, no shades of gray, no nuance? That’s absurd. That’s not data, that’s propaganda written to justify a law n’ order approach which has been utterly ineffective.

    Old white dudes just love them some law n’ order. Unless it’s the authorities who are violating law n’ order in which event they are blind, as is @HL92. Deaf, dumb, blind and clueless.

    Again: the entire civil rights movement was civil disobedience. It was at times ‘violent’, contra the narrative, because not every black protester was happy to be beaten. Stonewall was civil disobedience, violent. AIDS protests were violent. Why do protesters resort to violence? Because it’s the only thing that penetrates the thick blubber of privilege and indifference that surrounds people like Schuler and @HL92.

    Yelling for crackdowns is the simple-minded go-to for old men afraid of their own decline. Buy a fucking sports car.

    22
  35. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Wow, going full nutjob are we. Notice you don’t cite your source for those numbers. Could that be because you recognize Heather MacDonald is not a reliable or honest source? That she isn’t an actual data scientist but a conservative grifter pushing a narrative? That her schtick is to limit the discussion to a ridiculously narrow point (unarmed deaths) to try to get everyone to ignore all the other facts and data.

    She, like you right now, is a troll – trying to change the subject from police brutality and systematic racial issues in US policing to a cherry-picked inaccurate statistic – unarmed deaths. Not unreasonable or wrongful dearths but “unarmed”.

    So Philando Castile doesn’t count because he had a gun in the glove box. Tamir Rice doesn’t count because he had a toy gun in the park. The definition of “armed” that is used: “whether the victim had a weapon (including objects used as weapons, such as vehicles, or perceived as weapons, such as toy guns)“.

    Does possessing a toy gun or being in a car mean that the killing is justified in your view? It does in MacDonald’s narrative.

    More importantly, she – and you- insist we ignore the actual lived realities of blacks in this country and tries to change the subject. Driving while black – an actual real thing doesn’t matter or play any role in this narrative because it isn’t being shot while unarmed. Being beaten or manhandled or strip-searched doesn’t matter.

    The fact that blacks are 2.8 times more likely to be killed by the cops than whites (2016 study) doesn’t count because (A) more whites are killed or (b) the cops must have had a reason.

    She, and you, are looking at a very real problem and trying to find ways to say it isn’t serious. It is akin to looking at someone with skin cancer and saying we don’t have to deal with it because it isn’t a gunshot wound that nicked an artery.

    Do you deny that we have an major issue in our policing practices? That the burden of those practices falls heavier on blacks and other minorities? That, whatever its cause, we need to actually address it?

    Or are you like a climate denier claiming that because one piece of evidence cited by adherents isn’t quite accurate in your view, you can ignore the whole issue? Because that type of anti-intellectual dishonesty is what you appear to be advocating for.

    16
  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Kurtz:

    To be honest, I haven’t said a single word about race here today. In fact, from all that I can see, the majority of these folks protesting – especially the ones causing the destruction and vandalism – are white.

    I’m simply saying that property destruction is not a valid means of protest, and if you allow it to happen when you could have intervened, you are to some degree equally culpable for it – again, if not from a legal standpoint, at least from a moral one (given the tendency to push the superior morality platform around here). At the very least, given that context, it’s disingenuous to expect me to draw some sort of moral line between the two. From my perspective, morally they’re the same but for degree.

    These people? “These people” should be pretty easy to identify. They’re the ones setting buildings on fire and throwing rocks.

    2
  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    And you get to the crux of my point – the hypocrisy. You expect police officers to hold each other accountable, but give these “protestors” a pass on the same expectation. Why is that?

    Jesus Christ. That is the dumbest fucking thing I’ve seen from an educated grown-up in some time. Why do we hold cops to a different standard? Seriously? That’s your actual position, that cops should be held to the same standard as protesters. You have jumped the track.

    27
  38. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92: There have been numerous reports, including from our shared hometown of Baltimore, of protectors doing exactly that.

    You seem to be engaging in the same hypocrisy you think you are pointing out.

    8
  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    Notice you don’t cite your source for those numbers

    That would be the Washington Post …

    link

    The fact that blacks are 2.8 times more likely to be killed by the cops than whites (2016 study) doesn’t count because (A) more whites are killed or (b) the cops must have had a reason.

    That’s a facile assertion which presumes that all demographics commit crime at exactly the same rate, therefore brutality statistics should be exactly proportional with societal makeup. Are you making that assertion? We can, of course, delve into the socio-economic motivators for divergent crime rates, but you’re far too intelligent to come back at me with that ridiculous argument.

  40. Monala says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I absolutely expect more accountability from trained, taxpayer-supported police officers than random protesters. That’s hardly hypocrisy.

    20
  41. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    There have been numerous reports, including from our shared hometown of Baltimore, of protectors doing exactly that.

    You seem to be engaging in the same hypocrisy you think you are pointing out.

    Isn’t hypocritical at all. If a few protestors out of a much larger crowd attempt to intervene, while the larger crowd does not, wouldn’t that mark those that did try as outliers who are not representative of the larger crowd as a whole? Much like you’re trying to assert that those who engage in violence are outliers. Just saying …

    1
  42. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    The fact that blacks are 2.8 times more likely to be killed by the cops than whites (2016 study) doesn’t count because (A) more whites are killed or (b) the cops must have had a reason.

    I agree that’s a more useful datum than the number of “unarmed” black men killed by police. But, that, too can be dismissed when controlling for encounters: black men are simply much, much more likely than white men to have the sorts of interactions with police that can escalate to violence.

    And, obviously, that’s a problem. It’s something we need to figure out how to make not a thing, because it undermines our entire system if people in many communities genuinely fear the police.

    The whole “driving while Black” thing is likewise a huge problem. I’m sympathetic to “profiling,” in that I don’t know how cops can do their jobs without taking into account markers of that sort. An APB that doesn’t mention race, sex, age, or body type would be pretty damned useless. But the default position that a Black man is likely a criminal is insidious.

    7
  43. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Monala:

    I absolutely expect more accountability from trained, taxpayer-supported police officers than random protesters. That’s hardly hypocrisy.

    So you are saying that random protestors should get a pass with regard to accountability? For that matter, what do you consider to be accountability? Simply being reported? Being convicted? Being punished in some way? Is the divide between outcomes or the expectation that what the system does justify shouldn’t be justified? It seems like a very vague, broad complaint.

    1
  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Joyner:

    black men are simply much, much more likely than white men to have the sorts of interactions with police that can escalate to violence.

    Bingo. Now why is that the case? Is it entirely because of prejudice, or does it possibly also have some other grounding in the proportionality of crime?

    1
  45. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Time to recognize them for what they are.”

    Yes. American citizens who have a right to have their voice heard, even if it makes some of the rich and powerful uncomfortable.

    Who wants to bet on a date that HL posts in sorrow rather than anger that all these awful noisy protesters have forced him to vote for Trump?

    14
  46. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Using crime statistics that are the result of racist police practices to hand wave away why the statistics indicate racial bias is a neat trick. Dishonest but neat.

    Do you contend that a black person and a white person, both engaged in the same drug use, have equal chances of being arrested or charged or get similar sentences?

    We know that stop and frisk disproportionately impacted people of color (9 times the rate of stops for blacks than whites) but that the “hit rate” – the times something was actually found – was actually higher for whites who were stopped – literally twice as often they found a weapon or other contraband. And yes, that makes sense because whites who were stopped were more likely to be actually acting suspiciously as opposed to have “suspicious” skin color but that proves the point.
    A reminder:

    In 2009, black and Latino people in New York were nine times as likely to be stopped by the police compared to white residents.

    The strategy was used with such intensity that officers in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville conducted 52,000 stops over eight square blocks between January 2006 and March 2010 — the equivalent of one stop for each resident there every year. The arrest rate was less than one percent for the 14,000 residents.

    and

    The likelihood a stop of an African-American New Yorker yielded a weapon was half that of White New Yorkers stopped, and the likelihood of finding contraband on an African American who was stopped was one-third that of White New Yorkers stopped.

    13
  47. Teve says:

    The hashtag #PortlandUnderSiege is trending as people are posting dozens of photos of Portland looking fairly normal. To counter the bullshit conservative media narrative.

    6
  48. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Bingo. Now why is that the case? Is it entirely because of prejudice, or does it possibly also have some other grounding in the proportionality of crime?

    It is systemic racism – both in the policing and in the socio-economic impact over generations. That really isn’t deniable.

    11
  49. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    Yes. American citizens who have a right to have their voice heard, even if it makes some of the rich and powerful uncomfortable.

    Nope. American citizens who have a right to have their voice heard right up until the moment when there doing so impedes the rights of other American citizens. Easy on the rich and powerful thing there, Che …

    Who wants to bet on a date that HL posts in sorrow rather than anger that all these awful noisy protesters have forced him to vote for Trump?

    I’ll almost certainly do exactly what I did in 2016 – write in Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    1
  50. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92: You seem to want to give the police a pass?

    Why is that?

    5
  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    It is systemic racism – both in the policing and in the socio-economic impact over generations. That really isn’t deniable.

    Nah. If that’s all you’re willing to see, the only possible factor you’re willing to consider, then there is no point in even having the discussion.

    If you’re more likely to commit crime as a demo, you’re going to be more likely to interact with the police. What you are coming up with is excuses for why that shouldn’t be relevant.

  52. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yeah a lot of his posts this year have been reactionary lunacy. At some point I tuned out.

    8
  53. Monala says:

    @HarvardLaw92: non-violent protests during the Civil Rights era frequently impeded other citizens…

    9
  54. Teve says:

    @wr:

    wr says:
    Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at 12:23
    @HarvardLaw92: “Time to recognize them for what they are.”

    Yes. American citizens who have a right to have their voice heard, even if it makes some of the rich and powerful uncomfortable.

    I believe he means something else. 😀

    2
  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    No at all. I support greater accountability and I think that the TBL is problematic. I’m just not willing to make the jump – that the end of accomplishing that justifies whatever means may be necessary – which many here seem to be willing to countenance. If we are to have a civil society, it has to be civil on ALL sides.

  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Monala:

    non-violent protests during the Civil Rights era frequently impeded other citizens…

    Which was wrong …

  57. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Teve:

    Of course you do. Your anger at what I’m saying is more easily processed by attacking the messenger than the uncomfortable act of actually having to consider it.

    We do love our party line around here, after all …

    1
  58. KM says:

    @HarvardLaw92 :

    And you get to the crux of my point – the hypocrisy. You expect police officers to hold each other accountable, but give these “protestors” a pass on the same expectation. Why is that?

    You are a lawyer, are you not? Then you must understand that individuals in power or authority are ALWAYS held to a higher legal standard BECAUSE of that authority. Doctors are expected to not make mistakes the average person doing first aid would and can be sued for negligence as such. Police, because they have the ability to arrest and incarcerate individuals, are held to higher standards of behavior so that they don’t abuse that power.

    You are flat out wrong here. YES, the cops have a higher standard then the person on the street. If they don’t like it, then they shouldn’t be a cop. Accountability by authority is a cornerstone of civilization and for someone who claims to dislike those who don’t follow the rules, you are going out of your way to give cops a pass for not following their own damn rules. It’s not unfair cops can’t do something non-cops can’t nor is it unfair they get chastised for being unprofessional and abusive when they actually abuse their privileges. It is a privilege to be a cop, not a right – one that We The People can and should take them to task for should it misused.

    I’m disappointed in you, @HL92. I understand you favor Law and Order and a more rigid rule set but with it comes expectations of those that set the rules. They are not the hoi polli and don’t get to complain about different sets of standards when they are the ones enforcing the standards. If they cannot comply with the rules, then they must be removed aka defund the police. We expect proper behavior from those we entrust with positions of power, including holding others with the same power accountable; bitching that protesters aren’t held to the same standard completely ignores the problem.

    18
  59. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Is it entirely because of prejudice, or does it possibly also have some other grounding in the proportionality of crime?”

    It is indeed interesting, albeit depressing, to watch HL steer closer and closer to the flat-out racism he usually manages to hide. Soon we’ll start hearing “lazy and shiftless” again.

    8
  60. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Easy on the rich and powerful thing there, Che …”

    Why?

    7
  61. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That’s your actual position, that cops should be held to the same standard as protesters. You have jumped the track.

    No, actually. That protestors should be held to the same standard as cops.

    If it pisses you off, I can’t help that.

    Nor do I care …

    1
  62. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    Why?

    Because it reveals the actual radical underneath the pretend cloak of rationality.

  63. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    “Buy a fucking sports car” is now officially my favorite diss. Respect!

    9
  64. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “If you’re more likely to commit crime as a demo, you’re going to be more likely to interact with the police.”

    What an adorable way to put it. What that means, of course, if other people who happen to share your ethnic attributes are more likely to commit crimes — or be stereotyped as committing more crimes — then the police should always be allowed to target and harass you, just in case you’re one of the bad ‘uns.

    And yes, this is the belief of a lawyer who used to work for the US government: If you bear superficial similarities to people who have committed crimes, you should always be under suspicion.

    13
  65. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    It is indeed interesting, albeit depressing, to watch HL steer closer and closer to the flat-out racism he usually manages to hide. Soon we’ll start hearing “lazy and shiftless” again.

    And there we go. Why is it that anything which presumes to ask difficult questions which are soundly grounded in the data must be doing so based on racism? Your tendency lately seems to be to lie in wait until you find something you can twist into justifying your vendetta. It really would be easier, and more honest, for you to just say “I hate you. Why are you still here?”

    I didn’t even bring it up. I just pointed out that it’s bullshit. You evidently don’t like anyone calling your sacred cows bullshit.

    But you certainly either can’t or won’t answer the question either. Can’t possibly do that …

  66. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Which was wrong …”

    Think of all those poor, hungry (white) souls who just wanted to have a peaceful lunch at the segregated lunch counter. Should they have been deprived of their sandwich just because some people objected to systematic racism? Both sides matter equally!

    14
  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    WA! 63 comments and it’s only 9:40 PDT. I’ma think I’ll just pass on reading this one altogether as another “dog ate my homework” thing. I’m probably wrong– I hope I’m wrong, but I haven’t been feeling well and am not up to that sort of stress.

    3
  68. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    What an adorable way to put it. What that means, of course, if other people who happen to share your ethnic attributes are more likely to commit crimes — or be stereotyped as committing more crimes — then the police should always be allowed to target and harass you, just in case you’re one of the bad ‘uns.

    Which, of course, nobody actually said. You do love putting words into other people’s mouths …

  69. Monala says:

    @HarvardLaw92: yes, yes, and yes. Random protesters are often very young (many are teens or college age), usually unarmed, generally have little training, and often don’t know who the people are who are causing trouble. As someone noted above, the peaceful protesters often leave when the violent ones show up. That is probably the best expectation for them. If they can intervene to stop violence, great, but no, I don’t expect it.

    Compare that to older, armed, trained police officers who have sworn oaths you serve-yes, my expectations are much higher. Here’s an article about some of the ways officers have tried, and the consequences they’ve faced.

    8
  70. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    No at all. I support greater accountability and I think that the TBL is problematic.

    I don’t see that in your posting.

    James comes across this way and he states that he acknowledges the underlying issues, even if he is uncomfortable with some of the actions.

    If you really mean this, you are doing yourself the disservice of posting like an extremist who refuses to admit that there actually is a fundamental problem.

    To use my analogy from earlier, you are like a person who keeps attacking people advocating for addressing climate change and who never acknowledges that the underlying issue is real. You keep throwing stones but make no actual proposals to deal with the issue.

    I’m just not willing to make the jump – that the end of accomplishing that justifies whatever means may be necessary – which many here seem to be willing to countenance.

    Sophistry.
    What I see is you deliberately not engaging with other posters in good faith. You are projecting extremism on the majority while claiming you are they rational one. It seems like the reverse is true to be honest. You complain and complain but never say what you are for. What would your solution be? How will you pursue justice?

    If we are to have a civil society, it has to be civil on ALL sides.

    But it isn’t today. And there is “incivility” being propagated by the GOVERNMENT. The protests are in response to that incivility.

    You keep saying you don’t want any protectors to damage property or be violent or in any way disruptive of your life. What are YOU willing to do about the underlying issues? Other than keep denying they exist or are all that bad…

    IMO, if you stay on the sidelines, you don’t get to complain about how people working to solve the issue are doing so.

    13
  71. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “Because it reveals the actual radical underneath the pretend cloak of rationality.”

    Actually it reveals a liberal who believes firmly in rationality — and in the fact that the last 40 years have seen a massive transfer of this nation’s wealth from the vast majority of the populace into the hands of a tiny few. You don’t have to be in favor of nationalizing oil companies to see that this is unsustainable if we hope to maintain the United States as a democracy.

    10
  72. Monala says:

    @HarvardLaw92: they wouldn’t have achieved anything if they hadn’t. Nice to know where you stand.

    6
  73. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    Think of all those poor, hungry (white) souls who just wanted to have a peaceful lunch at the segregated lunch counter. Should they have been deprived of their sandwich just because some people objected to systematic racism? Both sides matter equally!

    I think that, of all the people here, you’re by far my favorite 🙂

  74. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Monala:

    they wouldn’t have achieved anything if they hadn’t. Nice to know where you stand.

    So, in other words, the ends justify the means …

    (but only as long as it benefits you …)

    Nice to know where you stand too

  75. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    Actually it reveals a liberal who believes firmly in rationality — and in the fact that the last 40 years have seen a massive transfer of this nation’s wealth from the vast majority of the populace into the hands of a tiny few. You don’t have to be in favor of nationalizing oil companies to see that this is unsustainable if we hope to maintain the United States as a democracy.

    Suuuuure *wink* 🙂

  76. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “It really would be easier, and more honest, for you to just say “I hate you. Why are you still here?””

    I don’t hate you, and I’m sorry if you think I do. I find your postings on other topics very interesting. But when you start posting on issues of “order” you reveal a pathology that is as ugly as it is rigid. It is reminiscent of Victorian British junior officers in India, loathing all the swarthy masses while reveling in their superiority.

    9
  77. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “I think that, of all the people here, you’re by far my favorite ”

    Thanks!

    2
  78. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    I don’t see that in your posting.

    We all see what we wish to see and disregard the rest.

    If you really mean this, you are doing yourself the disservice of posting like an extremist who refuses to admit that there actually is a fundamental problem.

    Am I actually an extremist, or does it just seem that way because the perspective through which it is being viewed is so far to the left? Food for thought

    You keep throwing stones but make no actual proposals to deal with the issue.

    To be frank, the issue doesn’t affect me, so it isn’t my problem to solve. I support others who want to do so, as long as they do so in a civil manner, but I don’t feel beholden to engage. It’s when they get less than civil, and actually do begin to affect me, that I become engaged.

    What I see is you deliberately not engaging with other posters in good faith. You are projecting extremism on the majority while claiming you are they rational one.

    Again, perspective. Far left vs center. Which one is the extremist?

    What would your solution be? How will you pursue justice?

    Don’t feel obligated to supply one, and I already have justice.

    IMO, if you stay on the sidelines, you don’t get to complain about how people working to solve the issue are doing so.

    So now you’re advocating the abridgement of speech? Seriously?

    To be frank about it, I could argue just about any side of any issue, something I’m sure that you of all people should be familiar with. I think you’re just misunderstanding what the issue I’m pursing is.

  79. Monala says:

    @HarvardLaw92: yup, you oppose the struggle for Civil Rights, since it inconvenienced and impeded white people. Black people should have accepted being second-class citizens, unless white people decided on their own to change things.

    By the way, all means do not justify all ends. But some most certainly do.

    14
  80. Monala says:

    @KM: Excellent points.

    1
  81. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Monala:

    yup, you oppose the struggle for Civil Rights, since it inconvenienced and impeded white people. Black people should have accepted being second-class citizens, unless white people decided on their own to change things.

    Some methods, perhaps. Not the struggle itself, by any means. That’s the hallmark of an absolutist though – if you disagree with me about ANYthing, you must disagree with me about everything.

    By the way, all means do not justify all ends. But some most certainly do.

    And therein lies the danger – if you can make that rationalization about tactics used against others, then others can equally make rationalizations about the tactics to be used against you. Righteousness only takes you so far.

    1
  82. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @KM:

    Was that a gripe about the cops or a gripe about the rules?

    Anyhoo, as always, it has been immensely enjoyable. Time for dinner 🙂

  83. Monala says:

    @HarvardLaw92: actually, you’re the absolutist. “When your protest impedes my ability to exercise my rights as an equal citizen in any way, it becomes illegitimate.” Sit-ins, marches down public streets — these were the hallmarks of Civil Rights protests. All of these impeded white people in some way. All, therefore, are illegitimate according to your view. What would be legitimate? Strongly worded letters to the editor?

    What’s your view on just war? Can you rationalize WWII? Were the violence and bombings that killed German citizens illegitimate?

    8
  84. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Don’t feel obligated to supply one, and I already have justice.

    Our shared tradition would vehemently disagree with your individualistic conception of justice as being about oneself and not societal.

    Again, perspective. Far left vs center. Which one is the extremist?

    I’ve been called many things, including a centrist and part of the establishment but far left is a new one – and not remotely accurate.

    To be frank about it, I could argue just about any side of any issue, something I’m sure that you of all people should be familiar with. I think you’re just misunderstanding what the issue I’m pursing is.

    I was giving you the compliment of presuming a discussion in good faith. It seems that your purpose is just to act like a troll – to participate in a thread without caring about the underlying issue but solely about how you can use sophistry to upset and irritate people.

    I have no need to play that game with you given you have no interest in having a good faith discussion.

    12
  85. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    And you get to the crux of my point – the hypocrisy. You expect police officers to hold each other accountable, but give these “protestors” a pass on the same expectation. Why is that?

    Note that I have never argued that police officers shouldn’t be expected to hold each other accountable. I’m just tired of the self-serving hypocrisy.

    I don’t see them as comparable in the least. The police are in a position of authority; the protestors are not.

    Conflating the rule of law with body of law is an error. The former is aimed directly at the state as a constraint on the exercise of power.

    To respect the rule of law is to hold accountable those with power vested by the State. This, in our particular system, is a priori as illustrated in criminal law. The guilt of a citizen comes after scrutiny is applied to the actions of investigators and legal teams in obtaining evidence.

    Applying that principle–that an agent of the state must justify his actions before the citizen does–to police behavior on the street and in the courtroom would dictate scrutiny of the conflicts of interest generated by our judicial system before we evaluate the justification for ‘rioting.’

    Your position erodes the rule of law rather than protecting it by putting citizens and the State on the same plane. I don’t know you, so I don’t question your motives. But I am sympathetic to those who succumb to the temptation.

    5
  86. EddieInCA says:

    Sometimes people reveal who they are. People are complicated, and often have contradictory views that, to them, aren’t inconsistent or contradictory. I’ve found that in those instances it’s impossible to get them to see what is so obvious to others. In a recent thread, someone took offense to everyone calling out their position because it was clear to all that the person was wrong. But that person insisted they were correct, and refused to even acknowledge what the others were saying. In this thread, it’s happening again.

    When the person becomes a troll, and just starts posting to piss others off, it’s not worth continuing the dialogue. Step away.

    Don’t wrestle with a pig. You end up filthy, and only the pig enjoys it.

    21
  87. Monala says:

    @EddieInCA: Yeah, I’m starting to realize it.

    9
  88. @HarvardLaw92:

    An unarmed person in the US is 38 times more likely to be struck and killed by lightning than he/she is to be killed by a police officer.

    Indeed.

    The problem is that lightning is an unbridled force of nature that cannot be controlled.

    Police officers, on the other hand, can control whether they kill unarmed citizens or not.

    24
  89. The Lounsbury says:

    Ah I see the usual dialogues de sourds in all it’s predictable sterility.

    Schuler, however, is without reservation without any soupçon of an ability to provide any useful analysis, my recollection of his stream of inane error relative to Iraq reminds me.

    2
  90. Michael Reynolds says:

    James Comey:

    The idea of a shadowy, uninvited federal force is troubling, but it is not clear that federal officers in Portland are acting unlawfully. Federal and Oregon laws appear to offer wide latitude to make arrests and forgo identifying insignia in service of their mission to protect federal property, including courthouses. Maybe that should change, but current law appears to give them a lot of room.

    What is clear is that they are acting stupidly, a mistake they may be about to repeat in other places, with lasting consequences for federal law enforcement. With some protesters itching for street confrontations with officers in full tactical gear, federal officials are giving a small group of violent people what they want. And they are giving the citizens of Portland — and the rest of us, no matter our politics — what we don’t want: the specter of unconstrained and anonymous force from a central government authority. It has been the stuff of American nightmares since 1776.

    Fairly or unfairly, visions of Department of Homeland Security officers in camo without apparent identifying insignia dragging people into unmarked vans are now seared into the collective memory. Federal law enforcement, like all parts of the justice system, depends upon the faith and confidence of the American people, a credibility now being spent, recklessly, by the Trump administration. And the Department of Homeland Security, a key element of this administration’s chaotic and often immoral immigration enforcement, had precious little credibility left to spend in the first place. Thanks to Portland, its cupboard is now empty.

    11
  91. The idea that police and protestors have equal responsibility in every way seems to ignore the simple and obvious fact if a protestor assault a police officer, the protestor is likely to be arrested, charged, and punished (and likely beaten by that officer’s comrades).

    However, if a police officer deploys force, they are likely to be seen as justified (and even when not justified and filmed in the act, likely to not face sanctions).

    Indeed, professional constraint on the part of the officer is supposed to help give moral force to his/her decision to deploy force only if necessary.

    The notion that these are co-equal actors is laughable, as is the notion that the law sees them as equal (and hence an odd position for an attorney to take).

    26
  92. @Steven L. Taylor: This is not an endorsement of violence by the crowd, or of rioting, but simply an observation on the problem of equivalencies.

    10
  93. Kingdaddy says:

    Two groups of people face each other.

    One side has the state’s monopoly of the legitimate use of violence, shared only with the armed forces. The other doesn’t.

    One side is trained in the use of violence to ensure, in theory at least, that it is only used in extreme circumstances, when absolutely necessary. The other is a random collection of people that occasionally includes people who, without the approval of the rest of the group, throw rocks, spray paint slogans on public buildings, set fire, and loot buildings.

    One side is a group of supposed professionals who work with each other on a daily basis. The other is, again, a random collection of people.

    One side has extensive, well-defined procedures that are supposed to handle situations when another group member breaks the rules. The other doesn’t.

    It’s right to say that both sides have an obligation to follow the law. It’s ludicrous to say that they are equivalent.

    I’ll add one more dimension of comparison:

    One side has rights enumerated in the US Constitution. The other side has duties and responsibilities.

    24
  94. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Protesters have agency. The actions of one infect the whole.

    Cops do not and are fragile. A bad apple or two is to be expected. No worries. I’m sure the system will cull them eventually after a few more beat-downs and street executions. All will be well. Those citizen lawsuits are paid out by taxpayer money, after all. No skin off our butt.

    8
  95. Monala says:

    We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.

    I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

    I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

    – Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963.

    13
  96. @Kingdaddy: Well said.

    2
  97. Kingdaddy says:

    While we’re debating how protesters should handle people within their ranks who commit crimes, here’s a video of the response to a “Wall of Moms,” a chain of Portland mothers who wanted to interpose themselves between the paramilitary types and the protesters.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=At3hYLlGkyo

    6
  98. The Lounsbury says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Comey has the right angle. Not merely a crime, a blunder.

    2
  99. The Lounsbury says:

    @EddieInCA: Perhaps you should also learn not to label as Troll persons generally sensible who merely have a significant disagreement with you.

    A large segment of the Left ideological commentariat here take any disagreement with their vision and views as not merely difference of opinion, but moral failing and any disagreement as ‘trolling’- in short disagreement with the ideological party tendency being dishonest and a moral failing.

    (of course in the days when there were more a predominance of the Right ideological commentariat, the roles were reversed.)

    3
  100. senyordave says:

    Someone sounds like Archie Bunker without his charm. When a lawyer puts behavior of police and protesters on an equal footing it is hard to believe that he is arguing in good faith.
    BTW, it is hard to someone seriously when he talks about the rule of law and writes in DDD for president when Trump is on the ballot. Has he slept through the last three and a half years of Trump skirting the law on a regular basis (not to mention his appointees joining in on the fun)? The fact that he could look at Trump and Biden and say they’re both bad so I’ll vote for a dead man speaks volumes.

    12
  101. James Joyner says:

    @Kingdaddy: Concur with all of this. Police ought to be highly vetted, highly trained professionals renowned for their stoic manner in the face of petty insults and the like. It’s a crappy job in a lot of ways, but one they’ve signed up for.

    6
  102. senyordave says:

    @Monala: – Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963.

    I’m half expecting someone to say “Wasn’t he that guy who inconvenienced a lot of people?”.

    Thank you for posting that, it is perfect for this discussion. I wonder how far the police would have to go for some to recognize that there is at least a problem. My guess is for many it would be when they went after someone they actually gave a shit about.

    7
  103. wr says:

    @The Lounsbury: “A large segment of the Left ideological commentariat here take any disagreement with their vision and views as not merely difference of opinion, but moral failing and any disagreement as ‘trolling’”

    I don’t know why this is so hard for some posters here to understand: Disagreement is not trolling. Differing views do not equal trolling.

    Arguing in bad faith in order to piss off the person on the other end — that’s the definition of trolling.

    So that when, for example, HL — a particularly good example because he has bragged about this on occasion — says that he does not actually stand by the things he’s been posting but has merely been putting them up to prove he will get a certain reaction from come people, yes, that is the very definition of trolling.

    You may notice that when HL posts that he believes his convenience has equal importance to other people’s civil rights, or that a driver is perfectly justified in running over any protester in his way, or that certain ethnic groups are “lazy and shiftless,” no one calls him a troll. They may call him other things, but making an honest statement of your values, even if others find it despicable, is not trolling.

    And with that, I urge you to return to castigating the other posters here. Just please do it accurately.

    13
  104. EddieInCA says:

    @The Lounsbury:

    @EddieInCA: Perhaps you should also learn not to label as Troll persons generally sensible who merely have a significant disagreement with you.

    I’ve been around here a long time. I’ve disagreed with Reynolds, wr, Dr. Joyner, Monala, Dr. Taylor, Doug (I miss him), Kingdaddy, Kurtz, de stijl, and many, many others. They’ve disagreed with me. I’ve never called any of them a troll. I have no problems with disagreements. Trolling is different, and you’re smart enough to know the difference. But instead you get defensive, and chalk it up to not liking another point of view.

    In the past two months alone, I’ve posted on how I’m spending most of my time on right wing sites, and listening to right wing radio, and watching alot of Fox news as a way of checking myself.

    If my comment affected you, perhaps you should look in the mirror. I mentioned no names.

    10
  105. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    Mostly it’s a performative statement regarding how unbelievably, interminably, exasperatingly, reproachably insufferable some of you have become over the last few years in this daily stroke fest about how virtuous you are and how anyone who disagrees with you must be stupid, or callous, or both. Forget espousing a cause; you’ve become walking causes that make Ghandi look like a used car salesman. I feel at times like asking you where you keep your statues of yourselves.

    So If I take some time here and there to poke at the holes in your bubbles and rhetorically flip you off, know what motivates it – which is NOT trolling – and feel free to ignore it.

    Not that you’ve ever been able to …

    2
  106. @HarvardLaw92:

    rhetorically flip you off,

    Kinda sounds like trolling to me.

    21
  107. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    When did we have a beef? Sorry, if so. I was likely in the wrong.

    I have come to a point that not reacting to foolishness is okay. If someone is irksome ignore them. Purposefully do not read them.

    It’s the internet. Someone is always wrong and just itching for a rhetorical beat down. There are too many. Waay too many. Pick your battles. Ignore minor vexations or stiletto them by jumping on someone else’s response. (Totally works: recommend.)

    We choose our words here. What we talk about; what we don’t. Who we respond to; who we ignore. We can walk away any time time we choose to. All of us, hosts included.

    4
  108. Kingdaddy says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Mostly it’s a performative statement regarding how unbelievably, interminably, exasperatingly, reproachably insufferable some of you have become over the last few years in this daily stroke fest about how virtuous you are and how anyone who disagrees with you must be stupid, or callous, or both. Forget espousing a cause; you’ve become walking causes that make Ghandi look like a used car salesman. I feel at times like asking you where you keep your statues of yourselves.

    So If I take some time here and there to poke at the holes in your bubbles and rhetorically flip you off, know what motivates it – which is NOT trolling – and feel free to ignore it.

    May I suggest that framing your arguments in terms of an obscene gesture, and other people’s arguments in terms of masturbation, is a poor basis for respectful debate.

    24
  109. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    de stijl says:
    Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at 16:07

    @EddieInCA:

    When did we have a beef? Sorry, if so. I was likely in the wrong.

    I know we disagreed. I remember it. Strongly, too. But it makes my point that neither of us remember why. It was respectful. We disagreed. That was it.

    I could probably go back and find it, but why?

    My larger point was that respectful disagreements are different than trolling. And that I don’t have the energy or desire to engage with posts that are trollish. That’s all.

    8
  110. Michael Reynolds says:

    Taking a step back I think there are older people – and I am one – not willing to relinquish a degree of control. What’s happening in Portland and other places is our fight, but not primarily ours. We’re old farts in easy chairs telling people out in the streets what to do. To a certain extent that is our position in the ecosystem, being wiser, cooler heads. But only to a limited extent.

    This is the new generation gap, something we who are Boomers should recognize. They’re tearing down statues, well so did we in our own way. They have a right and obligation to find their own meaning within American history. Our heroes don’t have to be theirs, they get to pick their own. And their concept of justice, their notions of equality, their views on community, don’t have to exactly mirror ours.

    Am I annoyed by some of what I see on the streets? Of course. I was annoyed by a lot of the tactics in the 60’s and 70’s, too. But we aren’t the ones driving this bus, they are. I interact a lot with people in the 14 up to 30 demo, and sorry to generalize, but on balance I think they’re smarter than we were in our day. I think they’re more determined. I don’t entirely trust them, but I like them.

    After January 20 we can fight out the internecine battles between liberals and moderates and progressives. I think we are at a point where, to mangle some Dylan, we need to not stand in the doorway or block up the hall. This is their future being decided, not ours.

    The question we wise elders should be asking is why didn’t we deal with police brutality. We’re the ones whose taxes went to militarizing cops around an asinine drug war. Why didn’t we tear down Bobby Lee’s statue? We didn’t know he was a traitor who slaughtered Americans in an evil cause? How did we allow a system to develop that leaves so many people out of the rewards of our economic system? How did we make a world where tens of thousands of our fellow citizens sleep under bridges? Our view of the speck in their eyes would be improved by removing the log from ours.

    18
  111. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Be careful. You were very close to being unbelievably, interminably, exasperatingly, reproachably insufferable there. /snark

    8
  112. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Hope we are cool now. I am towards you.

    I do not remember toeing up with you. Sorry if I rubbed you the wrong way back then. It was not intentional. I really peg it upfront if I am going to be antagonistic and remember the names – why be coy? If I don’t, it was absolutely unintentional.

    It would be interesting to know over what. I am sorta curious now.

    Be well, friend. I respect your honesty.

    3
  113. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I like you a lot.

    I read every comment and agree with 82% of them.

    This is really wise. Really well said, too.

    Our kids and grandkids are smarter than we were at that age.

    I was a stupid kid enraged at a country that did not behave properly. Brayed it in their face.

    Of course I was outraged at racial injustice and queer rights, but in retrospect I did nothing but be an ally. On moving the stakes I essentially did nothing but talk.

    Kids today have an agenda. A goal. I respect that so much. We had fuzzy goals. They have concrete ones.

    Go, you young idiot bastards. Far and fast. I am with you. Life may clip your wings, but never forget this day.

    The kids are all right.

    6
  114. sam says:

    If I may interject a moment of levity here… (some of this is getting pretty nasty).

    In 1970, there was an antiwar riot in Harvard Square. People running up and down Mass Ave and Mt.Auburn Street. Cops in hot pursuit, tear gas all over the place. Screams and alarums…

    The next day I ran into a friend of mine, and as we were walking down Mass Ave by the Law School, he told me that the night before he was booking down the street and jumped behind a wall just as a tear gas canister came over behind him. He reached for it and somebody else got there first. He looked at the guy, and it was someone he’d gone to high school with. “Shit, how you been? What’s up??” The canister goes off. They throw the thing back, jump the wall again and take off running down the street again.

    Now, he’s telling me this story, cranked up to about an 11, with plenty of “fucks” thrown in: “Fucking cops”, “Fucking tear gas”, arms waving, etc. etc. And as he’s telling me this story, cranked up to 11, we’re walking by a long, black limo. I look inside the limo, and in the back seat there’s two guys wearing dark suits, dark glasses, and very stern looks of disapproval. Between these two stalwarts is this very attractive young blond woman who’s laughing. It was Tricia Nixon.

    4
  115. de stijl says:

    Excellent story!

    Be well.

  116. Lounsbury says:

    @EddieInCA: Your comment effected me by reminding me how much the ideological activist are blindly and smugly self-righteous. If you wish to imply you were thinking of me (it is otherwise painfully obvious it was a bit of arch and smug holier than thou poking at Harvard), that’s fairly pathetic posturing.

    I do not, I would note, particularly feel in agreement with some factual points of view set out by Harvard, but he is perfectly correct here:

    this daily stroke fest about how virtuous you are and how anyone who disagrees with you must be stupid, or callous, or both.

    Smug, self-righteous and anyone disagreeing with the True Point of View is bad, stupid, evil, Trollish.

    Of course the same person when agreeing with you is a fine hero. As he was when he provided fine anti-Trump fodder. But one should not stray from the straight morally preferable path…

    Kids today have an agenda. A goal. I respect that so much. We had fuzzy goals. They have concrete ones.

    American’s obsession with generational over-generalisations never ceases to amuse me. Every decade you manage to invent huge, utterly idiotic and overdone generalizations about Marketing Label X generation being different than Boomer or Previous Marketing Label Y generation. Based on the thin gruel of anecdote and focusing in on a narrow set of activist youth that … are the same more or less narrow percentage of ever age cohort. The marketing delusion really has you lot.

    @wr:
    Actually mate I don’t notice that at all. What I notice is that the term Troll does get slung around at mere disagreement – although you lot tend to piously search for justification.

    As I found the overall back and forth rather sterile, tedious and utterly non-illuminating, I can’t say I found it useful to try to parse a pretended difference between responses to Harvard supposed sincere positions and insincere or perhaps provocation out of frustration.

    Since the fellow has been here forever, and for me in reading his disagreement with a certain ideological narrow-mindedness (obviously not evident to those inside) is a sincere one, I find calling him a troll another sign of the increasing shrillness and closure.

    1
  117. de stijl says:

    @Lounsbury:

    Try not to be a dick.

    4
  118. Kurtz says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Mostly it’s a performative statement regarding how unbelievably, interminably, exasperatingly, reproachably insufferable some of you have become over the last few years in this daily stroke fest about how virtuous you are and how anyone who disagrees with you must be stupid, or callous, or both. Forget espousing a cause; you’ve become walking causes that make Ghandi look like a used car salesman. I feel at times like asking you where you keep your statues of yourselves.

    So If I take some time here and there to poke at the holes in your bubbles and rhetorically flip you off, know what motivates it – which is NOT trolling – and feel free to ignore it.

    Not that you’ve ever been able to …

    Making a performative statement that castigates others for masturbatory behavior is a little self-indulgent, no? It almost seems masturbatory. But I guess it should not surprise anyone that a poster who uses a credentialed handle is well practiced in self-love. Takes one to know one, I guess?

    On what side of the fence do you think Joyner sits? Jen? Taylor? Jim Brown? Eddie? Teve? Bernius? wr? Monala? Myself?

    It’s a trick question, because the order is probably a decent approximation of a continuum from right to left. I think it requires some grouping to make sense, but I imagine it’s relatively close. The other regulars mostly fit somewhere within those edges. The one tie that binds the various groups is a view of Trump as a dangerous buffoon.

    So when you assert that you’re “piercing a bubble” or @The Lounsbury: identifies us as “the Left ideological commentariat” I wonder what exactly you all are reading. This isn’t The Nation or /r/LateStageCapitalism, it’s a blog written by a Conservative, a Moderate, and until Doug left, a Libertarian.

    You know what’s insufferable? Claiming to pierce some sort of bubble you conjured in your mind’s eye. We mostly fight with each other. Hell, the most ideogical of us–wr, Monala, and I–don’t exactly agree on everything either.

    If you think responses to you are claims to virtue, it’s quite possible that it’s reflective of your self image rather than an issue with any of us. Maybe it’s you who needs his bubble burst.

    10
  119. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Wow. One hundred and seventeen words simply to say “I’ve chosen to troll.” I guess this is what you learn to do when you bill by the hour.

    10
  120. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “how unbelievably, interminably, exasperatingly, reproachably insufferable some of you have become over the last few years in this daily stroke fest”

    Hmm, I used to comment occasionally at Lawyers, Guns and Money, and found that their commentariat was looking to me like this is looking to you.

    Of course I did what a sane person would do, and stopped commenting and reading the comments there.

    Spending months reading stuff that would invariably annoy me and then insulting those people whose very existence was so annoying to me simply never crossed my mind. I guess I just value my time a little more than that.

    9
  121. Lounsbury says:

    We mostly fight with each other

    Actually you lot have mostly gotten to engaging in up-voting fests congratulating each other – oh and yes quibbling over small details around the agreed-on-agenda. And before they changed things, massively down-voting the few non-Left (of which some genuine trolls to be sure) voices still returning to the blog.

    The identify of the authors mate I am quite aware of, I have read and commented here since the days when its readership was quite on the right wing and few of you were around (this the era of the Iraq war). The change in readership is quite remarkable really.

    the fact a sporadic commentator of long date like myself was labelled, some time in the past year as I recall a “Russian troll” on some non-party-line PoV rather highlights the closure.

    2
  122. wr says:

    @Lounsbury: “the fact a sporadic commentator of long date like myself was labelled, some time in the past year as I recall a “Russian troll” on some non-party-line PoV rather highlights the closure.”

    I don’t know who called you that. Probably some newcomer who saw your ludicrous prose style and assumed no native English speaker could write like that deliberately.

    7
  123. Tyrell says:

    We have a system for change. Not perfect, but it works. Sometimes the mills of the Gods grind slow. Who among us has not had fits of pique and frustration with the courts, post office, city hall, IRS, and other agencies?
    If government property, including statues, monuments, police cars, and storm drains are fair game for vandalism and stealing, then why even have them? We are talking about taxpayer property here.
    On one news network either ABC or CNN, a reporter was talking about how peaceful the protest was, while right behind him a store was on fire! Ridiculous!
    In another newscast, the reporter had on a mask. Until the camera was turned off, and off came the mask.
    I recall seeing

    1
  124. de stijl says:

    I was lucky to be in a foreign country as a temporary guest worker when they had an election.

    I had enough of the language to get the gist if not the full nuance. Plus friends who could culturally interpret. Swedes travel far and are culturally sophisticated.

    Such and such county is the equivalent of Alabama. Will always vote conservative. Etc. The south always goes liberal.

    I was so curious.

    It was fascinating. A parliament system so different than winner takes all.

    I really enjoyed watching it. I missed most of the nuance, but it was truly fascinating. Made me reconsider our system. There are many ways.

    2
  125. Kurtz says:

    @Lounsbury:

    I can’t speak for the two who I identified as closest to me on the Left, but I can tell you exactly where I am in relation to the majority of the posters here. And it ain’t close.

    But I have a choice to make: either not participate, waiting for someone aligned with my view; or engage in the political system. I choose the latter. You can’t see the differences, because you are determined to see homogeneity.

    Your argument about generations could be persuasive if you managed to grasp basic facts about how it came about. Generational data is used to varying degrees by all the social sciences. Labeling it a marketing technique reveals your ignorance on the matter more than anything. Otherwise, I agree that the generational arguments can easily be overdone. So, next time you want to stereotype a country of 300 million people, go elsewhere to do it.

    On the other hand, your attitude is making me re-think my pro-immigration stance. Good job on the persuasion, mate.

    I love de stijl, but I disagree here. Please keep being a dick, because for once, I don’t feel the least bit bad about being a putso toward someone here.

    To be clear, it isn’t because you disagree on the issues. It’s because you’ve revealed yourself to be, like HL has suddenly become lately, an ideologue who has managed to avoid any bit of self-reflection. I manage to get along with Trump voters in my life daily, including discussing politics with them. So what does that say about you?

    3
  126. senyordave says:

    Anyone who visits this blog regularly and thinks that the general tone is far left is either nuts or is a liar. There are three blogs I read regularly: Outside the Beltway, balloon Juice, and Digby Hullabaloo. Digby doesn’t have comments, but the other two do. I am slightly to the right of most people at Balloon Juice, and definitely well to the left of most people at OTB. And I do not consider Balloon Juice far left. Some people are definitely far left, but most of the posters range from left to left of center. But OTB far left? Give me a break. The Republican party is no longer a serious party in terms of policy, not when people like Rand Paul, Tom Cotton, Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan have any influence. IMO, OTB is left of center primarily because, politically, right of center has become lunacy in the United States. We have two political parties in this country that matter, and one is led by a racist, semi-literate moron who is running as a white nationalist.

    12
  127. de stijl says:

    @Kurtz:

    I see your point. Well argued.

  128. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “In another newscast, the reporter had on a mask. Until the camera was turned off, and off came the mask.”

    You were able to keep seeing the reporter even after the camera was turned off? How did that work, exactly?

    9
  129. An Interested Party says:

    It’s funny that HL92 seems to think his mission here is to puncture what he perceives as the haughty, holier-than-thou commentariat of this site, when it is the person who is defending him who acts much more like that than most people who comment here…

    3
  130. Mister Bluster says:

    @wr:..You were able to keep seeing the reporter even after the camera was turned off? How did that work, exactly?

    Tyrell has been staying at the EconoLodge City Center in Portland since this fracas began. He is using his OTB press pass to get close to the front lines so he can send his dispatches back to us.

    4
  131. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’m simply saying that property destruction is not a valid means of protest,

    Boston Tea Party

    8
  132. EddieInCA says:

    @Bob@Youngstown:

    Boston Tea Party

    1. The Stamp Act Riots-1765
    2. The Boston Tea Party-1773
    3. The Pennsylvania Mutiny-1783
    4. The Dorr Rebellion-1841
    5. The Detroit Riots-1967
    6. The Stonewall Riots-1969
    7. The Kent State Riots-1970
    8. The Mount Pleasant Riots-1991
    9. The L.A. Riots-1992

    https://www.bustle.com/articles/79397-are-riots-effective-9-times-violent-demonstration-changed-american-politics

    10. Black Lives Matter – 2020

    6
  133. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @EddieInCA:
    I was focused on HL92 use of the term valid.
    The others you cite may have been effective as well as valid, but to suggest that the Boston Tea Party (which involved property destruction) was invalid and somehow not useful is ….. a bit too far.

    1
  134. Gustopher says:

    @The Lounsbury:

    Ah I see the usual dialogues de sourds in all it’s predictable sterility.

    Schuler, however, is without reservation without any soupçon of an ability to provide any useful analysis, my recollection of his stream of inane error relative to Iraq reminds me.

    I’m sorry, I don’t speak pretentious twattle — can someone translate this?

    1
  135. mattbernius says:

    @wr:

    You were able to keep seeing the reporter even after the camera was turned off? How did that work, exactly?

    The same people who convinced him that water powered cars are real and being suppressed by the big auto-manufacturers and big oil. And that volcanos and solar radiation are the real causes of global warming.

    BTW, he has some amazing literature about children being shipped in furniture to pizza joints. Just ask him about it!

    Though be warned, he may ask you to sign his petition for getting a criterion releases of “Birth of a Nation,” “Song of the South,” and the complete “Amos and Andy.”

    2
  136. Blue Galangal says:

    @senyordave:

    The Republican party is no longer a serious party in terms of policy, not when people like Rand Paul, Tom Cotton, Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan have any influence. IMO, OTB is left of center primarily because, politically, right of center has become lunacy in the United States. We have two political parties in this country that matter, and one is led by a racist, semi-literate moron who is running as a white nationalist.

    This. You have Hannity expressing some (mild) concern about federal troops shooting unarmed protestors, and Cotton pushing back completely with how much the violent anarchists deserve it. The NYT op-ed was an outline, not a proposal.

    1
  137. Blue Galangal says:

    @Kurtz: @Lounsbury:

    I’ve been commenting here for at least a decade – longer, I think, since I remember having discussions about Sarah Palin and I remember when David Frum tipped the alarm about the conservatainment complex tail wagging the GOP elephant.

    In that time – for me personally – I went from sometime Republican/libertarian (Palin was the tipping point – I voted Republican/3rd party in the 90s and Democratic from the 00s) to liberal Democrat. Or, rather: the Republican Party went from governance to batshit fascism.

    At this point no matter what the GOP does I can’t see myself ever aligning with or identifying with a white supremacist fascist party. But my own political convictions haven’t wavered much except to become more aware of the systemic racism and inequalities in our country and that may have shifted me more to the left side of center. On the other hand, Nixon created the EPA and we were all in favor of that.

    That now makes me a screaming socialist according to today’s GOP, and some of the OTB commentariat. My refusal to accept Sarah Palin as a heartbeat away from the presidency, and the poo-flinging demented monkey currently in office ENABLED BY THE GOP has lost all semblance of respectability and and claim to serious “governance” from the GOP for the rest of my life. Trump was the outcome, but we were told repeatedly that the Serious Republicans would rein him in and that the systems in place would prevent his worst excesses.

    Moms are being teargassed by unmarked federal troops in Portland in pursuit of Trump – and the GOP’s – fascistic fever dream of a white supremacist nation.

    Indeed, I did not leave the Republican Party. It left me, and sanity about 12 years ago – coincidentally when a black man was elected president.

    2
  138. Northerner says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The evidence also suggests that, while the majority are non-violent, they implicitly approve of the violent tactics while declining to actually engage in them. Otherwise they would attempt to intervene, but they overwhelmingly do not.

    So if citizens see say a bank robbery taking place and don’t intervene, that suggests they implicitly approve of robbing banks?

    The reason for your average protester not intervening when someone is violently protesting seems obvious: most people will not put themselves in harms way to stop a violent crime. Why do you think it should be any different for protests than for any other crime?

    2