Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Exact Wrong Thing To Do

Using violence to decry violence is the exact wrong thing to do.

I recounted before how our massage therapist decided to show me his gun collection that he kept, loaded, in his office.   What alarmed me was the way he was waving around a loaded shotgun with the barrel inches from my face, as he "racked" it and expelled shells all over the office.

He told me he was concerned about all the police shootings of black people.  This was a year ago, before the current unrest.   His "solution" he said, was to arm himself, so if he was accosted by the police, he could shoot first.  I tried to explain to him that to even point a gun at a police officer would result in him being instantly shot, and such a shooting would be deemed self-defense and justified.  His instinct to "defend himself" was the exact wrong thing to do.

Not only that, but his mishandling of the weapon made me nervous.  It seems people feel that by dint of buying a gun, they are an expert marksman.  It is what I call Porsche Syndrome.  People buy a Porsche, and think that since they paid for it, they must now be expert race drivers.  You see this with boats as well - I bought a boat, now I am an expert yachtsman.  Usually this results in hilarity at the dock or boat ramp, provided no one is seriously injured.

Worse yet, a friend who had recommended him to us, knew of his possession of loaded firearms (he had a pistol as well) in his office, and failed to tell us about it.  She is a nice person, but of the liberal bent, and excused our therapist's fascination with firearms on racial grounds.  "Well, he comes from the black community, so we shouldn't judge!" which I found to be a rather racist statement.  It is like some well-meaning white liberals who argue that criminality is part of what it means to be black, and thus should be excused, much as the looting, arson, and rioting today (much of which is encouraged and perpetrated by white youth).  "We shouldn't judge" they say, but I think that is a cop-out (pardon the pun) and also just a wee bit racist.  Actually, a whole lot racist.  If we are all supposed to be equal under the skin and under the law, then shouldn't we all be held to an equal standard?

And how are black people going to succeed in our society if we excuse criminality as "part of being black".  Far from being supportive, this attitude among liberal whites is the exact wrong thing to do as it sentences black youth to a lifetime of marginal living.  No one ever got ahead through criminality - and even all the mafia dons get taken down over time, or are found shot dead.   Crime is not some sort of alternative lifestyle, it is a dead-end.

People may be upset or even enraged by recent events, but resorting to violence and criminality is the exact wrong thing to do.  Not only will it not accomplish much, it will set back the movement it is nominally trying to advance.  Dr.Martin Luther King accomplished much with his peaceful non-violent protests.   The riots that occurred after his assassination accomplished nothing and harmed the very neighborhoods they occurred in. Rioters and looters are never smart enough to march on the country club or loot the yacht basin.   But of course, if you tried to set fire to Mar-a-Lago, you'd be met by an army (quite literally) of opposition.  On the other hand, if you want to loot the local black-owned liquor store, you need only shoot one older retired security guard in the head first.   Easy pickin's - maybe looters are making a calculated decision here, after all.

You can't have a "mostly peaceful" demonstration.   Once someone starts fires, looting, and throwing things at the cops, all bets are off.   As a peaceful protester, the only responsible thing to do is leave and reorganize the protest for another day.  Sticking around and agitating the police and interfering with firemen goes beyond peaceful protesting, even if you are not the specific person who was looting, rioting, or setting fire to things.

Similarly, feeling sorry for looters or arsonists or "demanding" they be let of jail is the exact wrong thing to do.  Whatever injustice you think may have occurred, creating more injustice isn't the answer.  And whatever cause you were engaged in, is lost.

There are a lot of good things people could be doing today, such as wearing a mask, or registering to vote.  Sadly, it seems people want to do the exact wrong thing, and as a result, nothing will change, or if change does occur, it will be for the worse.

I met a fellow yesterday who told me with confidence that Donald Trump will "lose in a landslide" as people are upset and angry.   Maybe he is right.   But I see another scenario where Trump wins by a squeaker, once again, because people are tired of other folks doing the exact wrong thing.

Rioting sounds like fun and games until it is you who is attacked or your neighborhood set on fire.

Think about it.