A Tale of Two Riots

David Thornton

David Thornton is a freelance writer and professional pilot who has also lived in Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and Emmanuel College. He is Christian conservative/libertarian who was fortunate enough to have seen Ronald Reagan in person during his formative years. A former contributor to The Resurgent, David now writes for the Racket News with fellow Resurgent alum, Steve Berman, and his personal blog, CaptainKudzu. He currently lives with his wife and daughter near Columbus, Georgia. His son is serving in the US Air Force. You can find him on Twitter @CaptainKudzu and Facebook.

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106 Responses

  1. Damon
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    says:

    While I disagree with the definition, because mine contains the use of violence, if you’re going to tar both sides, I’ll go along.Report

  2. Chip Daniels
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    says:

    While I can probably sympathize with the abstract goals of the Cop City protesters, I can’t support their actions.

    They didn’t meet the threshold for violent action, or even the threshold for monkeywrenching. They weren’t acting in self defense or in reaction to provocation.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      The “abstract goals” of this one are weird. They’re opposed to training police because of environmental justice? Something about Native Americans being deported from here two hundred years ago?

      If I were opposing this and if I wanted the money spent on non-police alternatives (which fits their politics), I’d want to have that idea out there in front of things. However that’s not even close to what they’re doing, I’m not sure they even know what they want in a positive sense.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Dark Matter
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        says:

        We’re going to see environmental concerns invoked more and more, from all over the political spectrum, as justification for a variety of obnoxious things. We’re already seeing environmental concerns invoked in Europe to justify anti-immigrant political agitation, the kind from whence it shall be but a short step to violence. Instead of “they’re going to come here and take all our jobs!” it’s going to become “they’re going to come here and drink all our fresh water!”Report

        • Rufus F. in reply to Burt Likko
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          says:

          Guys, I know antifa are obnoxious radicals and so are a lot of environmentalists. However, I could see some fairly middle-of-the-road reasons that someone living there might not want the city ramming through a $90 million 85 acre shooting range and burn buildings on what was supposed to be park land in their community.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Rufus F.
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            Only two of the people arrested live in that state.

            My impression is, no matter how reasonable the original concerns were, we’re at a “famous for being famous” sort of thing and it’s attracting serious protesters (if that’s what we should call them).Report

            • Jesse in reply to Dark Matter
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              says:

              So, people can only care about something is happening in their state? Guess the Freedom Riders should’ve stayed up north, as they weren’t “serious protestors” since it wasn’t affecting them directly.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Rufus F.
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            says:

            There can be good reasons for opposing the facility. I’m sure no one here disagrees with that.Report

  3. Dark Matter
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    says:

    Domestic Terrorists I buy for both. The bar for “insurrection” is higher so that’s certainly the Jan 6th group but I’m doubtful about the other.Report

  4. Burt Likko
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    says:

    Portlander here, and the OP invoked Portland’s experiences in 2020-2021. A couple thoughts on that, in lieu of writing my own post on the subject.

    I largely agree with the sentiments of the ADL’s Mark Pitcavage, quoted in the OP’s linked article that Portland’s Antifa/Black Bloc have adopted a strategy that is counterproductive to their stated goals and crosses the line into unacceptable and unjustifiable violence.

    While I’m broadly sympathetic to the generalized goals of police reform and discouraging violent right-wing groups from coming here and causing trouble, experience demonstrates that what these yahoos do entrenches the police into an us-versus-them mentality and causes them to double down on the very tactics that Antifa protests. It’s not like there aren’t a lot of people active in the legitimate channels of politics trying to enact police reform as well.

    As to the Proud Boys and other wingnuts from (mainly) north of the river, they come here looking for a fight. I dislike that Rose City Antifa gives one to them. I dislike MORE that these yahoos come here in the first place. But one of the reasons that they do is Oregon’s very liberal free speech laws, which not coincidentally are the same root cause for the proliferation of strip clubs in a city that was supposed to have been cleaned up from vice in the 1970’s. (Hah.) So the fact of the matter is that there’s only so much governmental authorities can do to stop the Proud Boys from caravaning over the Jackson Bridge to assemble in our many public forae and do their thing. Meanwhile, right-wing politicians in Oregon have been very successful at preserving firearm rights, so we’re an open carry state with a “shall issue” law for concealed weapon permits, meaning these guys are armed with a lot more than bear spray when they show up. And the likes of Rose City Antifa are explicitly not pacifists, and sometimes they come armed, too.

    Bypassed in favor of addressing the sexy topic of Proud Boys and Antifa shooting it out in Chapman Square, however, is the complex knot of issues that keeps these left-wing groups active: the overlap between rank-and-file members of the Portland Police Bureau and the right-wing groups from north of the river, the extensive and racially-tainted cultural history of the Portland Police Bureau to attempt (and sometimes fail) to assert overwhelming force over principally left-wing political demonstrators; and the astonishing political and legal power of the police union, the Portland Police Association, to protect those same misbehaving rank-and-file members from facing any enduring consequences for breaking the law or rules of conduct imposed by would-be police reformers.

    The result of this confluence of phenomena is that, not entirely unlike what other left-wingers referenced in the OP who have protested “Cop City” in Atlanta have objected to, the police department becomes a place where some young men of a right-wing political bent go to find an outlet for their impulses to violence, because there will be powerful forces at play legitimating their violent behavior and a cadre of peers within the agency who facilitate it.

    So the bad actors here that I see as bearing responsibility for creating a culture where violence is a real possibility at political protests are, in descending order but closely-spaced: 1) Right-wing militia groups like Proud Boys; 2) Rose City Antifa, Black Bloc, and their fellow-travelers; and 3) the PPA.

    Most of the city, and indeed a good chunk of the city’s Establishment, looks upon the status quo with a degree of horror and sends marching orders to our politicians to change it. Police reform is here, as elsewhere, an uphill battle against both prevailing culture and bureaucracy. The state’s constitutional law is a formidable barrier to political entities putting obstacles between the people who have demonstrated a willingness to publicly brawl with their adversaries over politics. Most of the rest of us would like nothing more than for the violence to go away so we can eat our sushi burritos from the food carts in peace while we watch home equity values skyrocket as though this was California in the 1990’s. But these problems aren’t going to go away.

    A final thought is that something unique happened during the Trump years. Trump was widely and intensely unpopular in hippie-progressive Portland, so there was lots of political agitation against him. And Trump loved it. That catalyzed the embedded institutional forces that have grown to foster these violent clashes and by the time we got to the George Floyd protests in 2020, Trump (and there’s every reason to think he was personally involved in it, not just his people) decided that they could portray Portland as a city full of anarchists, lunatics, and nut cases against whom there was no choice but to deploy the forces of violence in the name of preserving law and order. So what was new was that the Federal authorities and the national media stepped in with a visibility we hadn’t seen before and further catalyzed the base conflicts as well as splashing it all over the national news.

    Now, for all that, it was still confined to only a few very small areas of the city, like it always is, because those are the only spaces that are 1) free speech forae where people can assemble, at least during the pre-violence phases of things, 2) large and open enough where there can be that sort of clash at all, and 3) symbolically close to police centers.

    I don’t know if the cognate is true in Atlanta. It sounds like “Cop City,” the big training facility, is well away from Atlanta’s downtown. But it also sounds like there’s a history and some ongoing local culture in Atlanta that also perpetuates struggles against left-wing activists and the police, politically polarizing the police against their antagonists.

    What I think we, the overwhelming majority, can do is insist upon politicians who see the holistic issue with clear eyes and without bias in favor of any side, who move the various institutions quietly but relentlessly in favor of de-escalation. Alas, this is not sexy and takes years of unglamorous and difficult work. And all it takes is one flare-up of violence for de-escalated feelings to re-polarize.

    Which is why we will probably always have this problem, perhaps in varying degrees but never absent, everywhere.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      This explains my position better than I did.Report

    • InMD in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      I dunno Burt. Obviously I can’t speak to the specifics of Portland, and as much as I agree with a number of the sentiments you’ve expressed here, I feel the cumulative effect is to let people off the hook. My priors on this are very sympathetic to police reform. But I also don’t have a problem with saying that people just shouldn’t do what these protesters did, and no history or various instances of right wing-ery kinda sorta justifies it.

      They’re people with agency who made a decision to go out there and neither Donald Trump nor the Proud Boys nor anyone else made them.Report

    • Chris in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      To the OP: LOL. Hilarious parody. Well done!

      To Burt: Back when I was more active (pre-COVID and young child, so well into the Trump administration) in a certain left wing political and organizing group, it was not uncommon for us to have a meeting of a committee centered around an issue or set of issues (housing and homelessness, police, unions, whatever), or a reading group, or even a planning meeting for specific organizing purposes (say, opposing the criminalization of homelessness), and attending that meeting, 2 or 3 people most of us had never seen before, who, when it was their turn to speak, would go on until somebody stopped them about how the most important thing we should be doing, perhaps, in fact, the only things we should be doing, is showing up to fascist gatherings/protests/marches/whatever and counterprotesting. That is, the only thing we should be doing is antifa protesting. All of which is to say, the people who are really into antifa are probably mostly good people, but suffer from an extreme lack of perspective. As a result, it’s hard to convince them that in some cases, their actions are counterproductive, and in fact may have done a great deal to make far right ideology spread among a certain type of person.

      Now, Cop City is a different animal altogether, and part of a long tradition of organizing that seeks to disrupt certain government or private activities (say, building a pipeline, or building a massive cop training facility in a public forest/park) until the badness of that activity becomes so apparent that the rest of the population turns against it. This can be very effective, and yeah, sometimes results in property destruction (which we should very much distinguish from person-on-person violence, regardless of how we feel about property destruction). The Atlanta activists are people, I believe from reading their own words, who are not lacking in perspective, and are in fact as a group quite thoughtful and self-aware. They are, in many ways, very, very different from most people acting explicitly as “antifa” (though many of those people may have so acted in the past) and, and I can’t believe I need to say this, from the January 6 protestors.Report

  5. Mike Schilling
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    says:

    How much does the Democratic Party support Antifa and the Black Bloc?

    How much does the Republican Party support the 1/6 rioters?

    But, you know, both sides.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling
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      says:

      If your city burns, what are the odds it’s one rather than the other?Report

      • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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        says:

        Which cities burned?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          Preminition from the future: “The *CITY* didn’t burn! Only a few *BUILDINGS* burned. And they were insured!”Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_incidents_of_civil_unrest_in_the_United_States#2020%E2%80%932023

          Far as I can tell from a brief overview, riots are mostly, but not entirely, Blue and it’s allies “protesting”. Jan 6th stands out as the extreme exception in multiple ways, so there’s that.

          But if my local cities have riots, odds are good it will be Blue is unhappy and rioting in hundreds of cities and not because Trump is running his mouth.Report

          • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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            says:

            And yet no cities burned. Blocks yes. Parts of neighborhoods. Sure. But nothing like Shaw or Watts or other wholesale communities and cities burning in the 1960’s. Nothing rivaling Greenwood in the 1920’s.

            Portland was what, 12 square blocks? Kenosha was maybe 20 blocks of combat but only 100 buildings damaged. CHAZ/CHOP was 8 blocks. Minneapolis was 72 buildings.

            Cities weren’t burning.Report

            • Burt Likko in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              I’m not sure I like this rebuttal, TBQH. That “only” a few blocks were the scene of violence and destruction raises a murky question about how much of a city has to be subject to that sort of thing before it’s accurate to say “the city burned.”

              Did Los Angeles “burn” in 1992? Its death and property damage rates were about the same as Kenosha’s, if you math out comparing what happened in a city of 3.5 million to what happened in a city of 100,000.*

              One thing that’s different is in Kenosha, 100% of the deaths were at the hands of a single vigilante. It’s hard to say how many of the 63 deaths in 1992 Los Angeles were at the hands of “rioters,” noting lack of agreement upon that term as settled, versus vigilantes and/or police, although the number for all three categories was surely greater than zero.

              So if we go by this index, there’s never been a riot anywhere ever. That can’t be correct.

              * Los Angeles 1992 aftermath of Rodney King verdict: City was about 3.5 million population. Had about 3 million buildings. 63 deaths. About 3,800 buildings damaged or destroyed. Compare to Kenosha 2020 protests aftermath of police shooting of Jacob Blake — about 100,000 population in the city. I cannot determine total number of buildings before the violence, but if proportionate to L.A., it would be about 86,000, which seems right given stats that did find, of ~42,000 housing units total in the city; I find reports of 140 buildings damaged or destroyed and 2 deaths, both at the hands of a single vigilante. Math the math yourself from there and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Kenosha’s violence in 2020 was proportionate to L.A.’s violence in 1992.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Burt Likko
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                says:

                I reject the entire framing.

                Its like when people try to both-sides book censorship by comparing Dr. Seuss to Toni Morrison.

                The magnitude isn’t as important as the direction.

                One seeks to suppress hateful lies, the other seeks to suppress sincere truth.

                Here, violent protests for liberal causes are being portrayed as equivalent to the steady and escalating campaign of rightwing assassinations and spree massacres.

                In this case, though, both the direction and magnitude are different.

                The protests were examples of legitimate political protests, degenerating into uncontrolled chaos and hooliganism.
                The worst criticism of the movement is that it lacked discipline over its participants.

                The rightwing violence is by contrast highly organized and deliberate in planning and executing its campaign of murder, and all in the name of destroying democracy and a civil society.
                There is no left wing analogue to rightwing violence.

                I won’t post a link since everyone already knows how to find the info.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I won’t post a link since everyone already knows how to find the info.

                Exquisite.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’m guessing you already searched, and didn’t like what you found.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Nah, if I had done that, I would have posted a link to what I found.

                Instead I just thought “man, what an obvious dodge” and dismissed it.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                One seeks to suppress hateful lies, the other seeks to suppress sincere truth.

                Me and my side’s violence is justified because we are Good people and our cause is Good.
                Your side’s is not because you are Evil.

                both the direction and magnitude are different.

                Hmm… looking for “political violence in the US”… the left attacks on the capital are pretty “lone wolf” and that’s probably something to exclude.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Political_riots_in_the_United_States

                The way the data is presented is awkward but we have…
                2016 Sacramento riot
                2016 Portland Oregon
                George Floyd riots
                1/6

                It terms of scale if you have dozens or hundreds of riots in various cities that’s a couple of orders of mag larger.

                I would say that Trump’s efforts to overturn an election are a bigger problem than setting fire to hundreds of buildings.

                I’m not sure what “campaign of rightwing assassinations and spree massacres” refers too unless you’re counting every lone wolf loser suicide attack as a right wing political actor. If that’s the case then claiming it’s “highly organized” is weird.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Burt Likko
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                says:

                “I’m sorry; by the time we arrived at the discussion, your friend had already said that most of the cities weren’t burning. We attempted to revive the argument, using all the skills at our disposal but there was too much damage done. I’m sorry for your loss.”Report

              • Philip H in reply to Burt Likko
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                says:

                Did Los Angeles “burn” in 1992?

                No.

                So if we go by this index, there’s never been a riot anywhere ever. That can’t be correct.

                If any property destructive violence involving civilians counts as “A city burning” then every city where rioting occurs after a sports championship needs to be on the list. So too January 6th should count as DC “burning.” Clearly they aren’t. A city can experience a riot without being said to “have burned.”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                Have we ever accurately defined “city”?

                I mean, we talk about ancient “cities” that, today, would barely qualify as being a township.

                That’s pretty convenient, no?Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
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            says:

            Someone should do a study to determine where the majority of political violence is coming from.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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              Why would you need to do that? The list of civil unrest is right there. It got linked to.

              You can go through each one, one at a time!

              We can start going back to 2010… first one… “Harrisonburg block party turns to riot when thousands take on police forces”

              Hrm. Let’s call that one non-partisan.

              Santa Cruz May Day riot… “Santa Cruz May Day party turns into riot”

              Hrm. Another non-partisan one.

              Protest against the BART shooting of Oscar Grant.

              Non-partisan.

              I really don’t know why we need a study when most of these are non-partisan.

              2011 Wisconsin protests. Non-partisan.

              All of these are non-partisan!

              Until you get to 2014.

              The Bundy Standoff.

              Republicans.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
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              says:

              Political violence is violence which is perpetrated in order to achieve political goals. (dictionary).

              So if you have riots in hundreds of cities because you want police reform, then that’s political violence.

              That’s why we’re seeing efforts here to claim it’s either not really violence or it’s acceptable because the cause is “good”.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                There were hundreds of demonstrations demanding police reform. So devolved into rioting, which seems to have occurred due to specific actions by bad actors looking for a fight. Most were not.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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                says:

                True. Most of the tens(?) of thousands of demonstrations were not violent and were not riots.

                Which doesn’t change that there were hundreds of riots and we’d occasionally have the Left proclaim, even here if memory serves, that these riots were caused by the Left not getting what they wanted.

                So we do what the Left wants or random buildings burn/are looted/broken/whatever.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
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                That’s why we’re seeing efforts here to claim it’s either not really violence or it’s acceptable because the cause is “good”.

                It’s not ‘really violence’, or at least most of it wasn’t violence, because violence is a thing you do against people, not things. Pretending that vandalism is violence is…a lot of the problem here.

                And, yes, I know some people attacked cops, but, as the article makes pretty clear: The actual point was to destroy construction equipment, which again, is not violence, assuming no one is in them.

                What was the point of the Jan 6 people again? What were the zip ties for?

                We really need to stop conflating ‘Attempting to threaten to kill people to get their way politically’ and ‘Attempting to physically stop things from existing by destroying those things’.

                The later can, indeed, result in some harm done to people protecting the things, but it’s very different to have that as an incidental side effect as opposed to ‘If you do not capitulate to our political goals we will murder you’…which is actually terrorism.Report

              • Pinky in reply to DavidTC
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                What were the zip ties for? Nothing good I’m sure, but they didn’t use them. And you should take it up with all the 1/6 defenders on this site, of which there have never been any. But, what were the rocks and fireworks for? You don’t throw rocks and fireworks at construction equipment; you throw them at cops. And they didn’t throw them at construction equipment, and they did throw them at cops, so that’s what the rocks and fireworks were for. Therefore it was violence.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Pinky
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                There is no footage of them throwing fireworks at cops, there is footage of them throwing fireworks at things that are on fire, and also just setting them off to create smoke cover.

                Maybe we should stop immediately believing what cops say about things, because they lie all the time.

                Hell, we know they’re lying about the rocks, who brings bags of rocks anywhere, especially to a construction site that has gravel all over it. They just make nonsense up about what they recover from people, knowing they will never have to present any of it in court and the media will just completely forget all the allegations they madeReport

              • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
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                Also, it is a fun sanity check to ask ourselves ‘could fireworks be there to assault police officers with’ by just asking the simple question of ‘has this literally happened at any other protest at any other point in history’?

                No? Then we should probably assume they aren’t actually useful for that (because that would be incredibly dangerous to the users and not work well at all) and no one would bring them for that!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                Sometimes they’re there with food and that gets misconstrued by right-wingers.

                Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You…realize that guy is literally make a joke, right? That protest was trolling Trump’s nonsense about people distributing cans of soup to protestors because apparently bricks are too heavy to throw at cops. (Man, American fitness standards really have gone down since Stonewall.)Report

              • Pinky in reply to DavidTC
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                Here’s footage of them throwing fireworks at cops. I’ve seen similar footage from riots across the country.

                https://www.fox5atlanta.com/video/1189563Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Pinky
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                That isn’t ‘footage’ that’s a news article, one that doesn’t actually show any fireworks being thrown at anyone.

                Are you using ‘crashed within twenty feet of cops’ to mean ‘thrown at cops’? Cuz you can actually tell that those fireworks have already been shot off, they’re emitting large amounts of smoke and have very clearly just crashed into the ground right there. (And the cops really should stand a little farther back from them, but that’s the cops being stupid. They’re not close enough to actually be injured, but damn, that is way closer than I would stand to something about it to explode.)

                They were not thrown at cops, and probably were not fired at cops either, considering the general eccentricities of fireworks.

                And unless you walk up to and stared directly down at a firework that has hit the ground before going off, it’s not going to hurt you. Fireworks aren’t allowed to be that dangerous, because, again, their flight is rather erratic. The people get hurt by fireworks almost always get hurt by setting them off in their hand or directly into their face, not by having them land nearby and explode.Report

              • Pinky in reply to DavidTC
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                It’s not footage, there aren’t fireworks, they had been set off already, and they couldn’t hurt you. I like the way you set up your arguments as a series of trenches you can retreat to as they fall.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Pinky
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                Uh, no, you made a specific claim of ‘Throwing things at people’, I demonstrated that no such things were thrown. That pretty much proves things right there.

                I also pointed out the reasons that firework would be near the police _without_ being thrown, because that, I assume, is your next claim, but, fine, let’s rewind back to your actual claim:

                The video, which you said literally was ‘footage of them throwing fireworks at cops’, does not include anyone throwing fireworks. It is a rather long video, I am unsure at what point you _think_ this is happening, so point to the time stamp of people throwing fireworks at the police.

                Or otherwise, you are incorrect.Report

              • Pinky in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                I do have to say, beginning your analysis of the footage by declaring that there is not footage, that really makes it clear how honest you’re going to be.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                No, my complaint was you linked to a news article with almost no footage in it and declared it was ‘footage’. Which required searching through the entire thing to try to figure out where the hell you could even be talking about.

                Footage, for the record, is an actual video of things happening, not a news clip of them discussing an entire event that has some small amount of footage _in_ the news clip.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
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                It’s not ‘really violence’, or at least most of it wasn’t violence, because violence is a thing you do against people, not things.

                So putting a burning cross on someone’s lawn is a non-violent act?

                Someone’s property is a stand in for them. We burned down your business, next time we’ll come for you.Report

              • DaivdTC in reply to Dark Matter
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                Putting a cross on someone’s lawn is a non-violent act in exactly the same way that walking up to them and threatening to murder them is a nonviolent act. In that it actually is nonviolence.

                It is, however, still a criminal act, and additionally is a _threat_ of violence, which is not the actual violence, which is a different thing.

                More than one sort of thing exists. Just because the thing is bad, even if it’s criminally bad, doesn’t make it a different crime.

                And burning down construction equipment, as far as I can tell, wasn’t really any sort of threat of future violence.Report

              • Damon in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                “It’s not ‘really violence’, or at least most of it wasn’t violence, because violence is a thing you do against people, not things.”

                Not according to the dictionary, it seems…

                “noun
                behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.”

                So damaging buildings is violence…Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Damon
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                says:

                Fine, let’s all operate on the assumption that when the media and police talk about violent protests, what they actually mean is that the protesters had soft drinks with them and they opened the cans.

                Hell, the the city itself was violent first, tearing up ground to build things! The protesters really only showed up to defend against that violence!

                Or, we can all realize that the implication they keep trying to give is violence against people, but that is constantly created conflated with, sure we’ll use this word, violence against property, but people and property are not the same thing at all.Report

              • Burt Likko in reply to DavidTC
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                Might we say “violence and vandalism”? Vandalism is most certainly not good, but not as bad as violence. Am I somehow excusing vandalism (intentionally damaging property) to say it’s bad but not as bad as violence (intentionally damaging a human being)?

                Or do we need to come up with a complex nomenclature that distinguishes between a) some hippie kid spray-painting “Live Love Loot” on an unpopular business’ front window, b) an actual anarchist throwing actual explosives into the ground floor of an (unpopulated at that point in time) courthouse, c) an adrenaline-hyped cop whacking a profanity-yelling but otherwise unaggressive hippie into unconsciousness with a nightstick, and d) a Black Bloc jagoff shooting an illegal Mexican firework into a battalion of SWAT officers mustering into formation?

                Do we need distinct words for all of these actions, and the infinitely-varied gradations of moral condemnation assigned to each of them?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Burt Likko
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                says:

                It’s always a good sign when someone wants to invent a new moral vocabulary.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Burt Likko
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                Am I somehow excusing vandalism (intentionally damaging property) to say it’s bad but not as bad as violence (intentionally damaging a human being)?

                There’s a very subtle slight of hand that just happened.

                A protest turns into a riot, or better yet the protesters intentionally are targeting property and people die from “bad actors”… and we’re supposed to put no moral assignment to the protest at all?

                Think of the first guy that Rittenhouse killed. Local, apolitical, serial rapist and general lunatic… and no one can tell the difference between him and an “innocent protester” to the point where good amounts of Team Blue think he is/was even now.

                It’s like they’re playing with gasoline and matches and are just shocked when uninvolved people might blame them for the ka-boom.

                That’s especially true when they’re proclaiming they’re fighting “genocide” or “mass murder”.

                That line of reasoning is why I’d like to see Fox and/or Trump’s Clown Crew given a significant amount of legal punishment. I’m shocked we didn’t get 3 or 4 digits of dead people in 1/6.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                A protest turns into a riot, or better yet the protesters intentionally are targeting property and people die from “bad actors”… and we’re supposed to put no moral assignment to the protest at all?

                In my universe, morality is generally ascribed based on likeliness of unwanted results vs. the wanted goals.

                And I said that, but I, like most people, actually gives somewhat more weight to ‘actually happened’ vs ‘just likely’, but…that’s just how humans moral scales tend to be broken…throwing a knife with a 50/50 chance of killing someone and missing is logically exactly as moral as hitting them, with regard to _your own behavior_, but we tend to think of it as less, just…cause. But we shouldn’t do that.

                I try to account for that bias…and I think other people here should try to account for it more often, should actually stop looking at ‘This thing went horrible wrong and thus the people that did it were immoral’, while completely ignoring all the stuff that was just as likely to go wrong but didn’t, or that the thing that happened was a million to one chance.

                People need to actually step back and ask ‘What are the risks this sort of behavior is creating, and was this a fluke or not?’. We should actually look at issues systematically, instead of ‘OMG this one thing happened!’

                And then, and only then, after we understand the possible levels of harm and the risks of them happening, we say ‘And is that level of risk justifiable for their goals?’, which is where politics comes in, but all that stuff before it should be politically neutral.

                And I used to say ‘We should attempt to judge that second part neutrally also, to see the issue from the other side, and to try to judge it based on _how they_ see their goals’, but problem with that is, that gives enough moral leeway to drive a crazed mob of people into the Capitol to murder our vice president _as long as they are complete morons ramped into violence by liars_. At some point we have to say ‘No, that’s a stupid and morally wrong goal you have, and we don’t care if it’s fine in your own framework and version of reality.’.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                And when you apply that framework to this, you see…what seems to be a very competently organized attack on machinery, during which most people managed to flee and had to be rounded up after with absolutely no evidence at the concert next-door they all fled to. (The police are now absurdly attempting to charge everyone with mud on their shoes with domestic terrorism…have fun with those court cases.) And you may think that’s a bad thing, but fleeing the police does not cause harm, or even the risk of harm, as opposed to staying and fighting them, or staying and letting the police randomly assault people.

                Now, I would knock points off for using fire, something I’ve repeatedly said was unacceptable…except the area they used it appears to have been basically a giant mud field with construction equipment in it, and there was no risk of it spreading. So…props for using fire responsibly for once, I guess, instead of randomly hurling Molotov’s in the middle of a city.

                Now, they did throw things at police, which is…theoretically dangerous, but it seems fairly proportional and they generally avoided conflict…their goal was to set things on fire, not engage the police.

                So I don’t have any criticism of this whatsoever from the ‘unnecessary levels of risk’. Honestly, this beats most BLM protests in how safe it was, what level of risk it posed to others.

                And I’ll stop there, because the rest of my commentary and judgement of it would be political and a judgement of their _goals_, not their means.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                In my universe, morality is generally ascribed based on likeliness of unwanted results vs. the wanted goals.

                All of that goes out the window when we start talking about breaking laws, introducing violence, and creating riots.

                All we were trying to do was rob the liquor store, one of the customers pulled a gun and we had to kill him and the clerk got in the way. It was totally their fault.

                That logic doesn’t work. It also doesn’t work if you’re there to burn and break stuff and “things get out of hand”.

                And yes, if you’re there to overthrow the country by stopping the results of an election, it also doesn’t work.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                All of that goes out the window when we start talking about breaking laws, introducing violence, and creating riots.

                No it doesn’t and the reason you think it does is because you think that political change happens via people being nice, whereas in reality, people actually get rights by throwing bricks at police and breaking stuff until everyone else agrees to give them rights and stop doing those harmful things.

                The two competing outcomes are ‘this group never has rights ever and is continually harassed, put in prison, and possibly even killed by the police’ vs. ‘this group actually get some rights’, and it is entirely morally fine to risk some people’s lives to get to the second thing instead of the first, because the first actually _risks people’s lives too_.

                Or to put it in terms of this particular thing, Cop City and the continual militarization of the Atlanta police could risk more physical harm to people, then this vandalism risks to people. (And I’m not actually sure why we’re limited to physical harm and not including harm of imprisoning people for years and other harmful things that the cops do.)

                Now, you may disagree with that, but consider you are not in the group that is harmed by the police and you don’t actually know the risks of that.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                people actually get rights by throwing bricks at police and breaking stuff until everyone else agrees to give them rights and stop doing those harmful things.

                Arguing that “my side is really violent but it’s deserved” is a polar opposite to “my side isn’t violent”.

                Both of those are fine stances but making them at the same time seems a problem.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Burt Likko
                Ignored
                says:

                Might we say “violence and vandalism”?

                Yes, and that would allow us to distinguish between ‘People were literally coming to kidnap and possible murder people’ and ‘protestors were coming to destroy construction equipment’.

                Because those are not, in fact, the same things and don’t actually have the same level of harm done.

                A reminder: The first group actually did kill cops, despite, weirdly, assuming the cops would be on their side and the cops often bending over backwards to do just that.

                The second group didn’t even seem to hurt any cops. (No, you don’t get to count the supposed shooting a few days earlier considering how disputed the events are there, and even if you did, that wasn’t during this, or even _at_ this, that was the cops assaulting an encampment offsite.)

                Or do we need to come up with a complex nomenclature that distinguishes between a) some hippie kid spray-painting “Live Love Loot” on an unpopular business’ front window, b) an actual anarchist throwing actual explosives into the ground floor of an (unpopulated at that point in time) courthouse, c) an adrenaline-hyped cop whacking a profanity-yelling but otherwise unaggressive hippie into unconsciousness with a nightstick, and d) a Black Bloc jagoff shooting an illegal Mexican firework into a battalion of SWAT officers mustering into formation?

                Do you…think we should treat all of those the same? You think we should have not only the same punishment, but _use the same words_, to describe a tagger and describing a cop giving a harmless man a possible concussion?

                Do we need distinct words for all of these actions, and the infinitely-varied gradations of moral condemnation assigned to each of them?

                Yeah, it does get pretty hard to ‘both sides’ when the differing amounts of harm and goals are actually pretty distinguishable between the two sides. It’s probably best if we turn this all into a smear of ‘violence’ and pretend it’s all identical.Report

              • Pinky in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “A reminder: The first group actually did kill cops”

                Please clarify. Are you saying that the January 6 rioters killed cops? Because that’s not true.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                America history celebrates political violence.

                The Boston Massacre was a plain old everyday riot, where an unruly mob set about smashing windows and causing mayhem, until they were brought to order by the authorities.

                Reconstruction was ended because white Southerners rioted so often, and caused so much violence that the Federal troops admitted defeat and left.

                AGAIN- You all need to do your homework and research the topic.
                Or just go back to our earlier discussions about this, where we documented carefully how the majority of political violence in America is coming from the right, not the left.

                So not only is the scale of violence far more by the right, but their cause is undeniably anti-democratic and dedicated to suppression of freedom.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                America history celebrates political violence.

                All of your examples are indeed examples of political violence.

                Maybe I’m missing something but I don’t understand your argument at all here.

                we documented carefully how the majority of political violence in America is coming from the right, not the left.

                I have put out links explaining what my reasoning is and why.

                You seem to be starting with the definition that the Right is more violent, use no links to support your definition, and then conclude that they’re more violent.

                I don’t find that convincing.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Google “Report on rightwing violence”.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                No Chip, for me to understand your argument, you actually have to make it.

                I’ve already googled “political violence” and have already posted what I found in terms of the Left/Right breakdown.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Dark Matter
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s probably PG&E.Report

  6. DavidTC
    Ignored
    says:

    The premise here is that both sides actually had a group that were committing premeditated crimes as part of a larger protest. And I agree with that, but I find it really weird we haven’t actually mentioned what they were planning, which is easy to deduce.

    The ones in Atlanta were found carrying destructive equipment, and we know what they were planning on using it for, because they actually did get a chance to use it. They were planning on destroying equipment to stop the construction from continuing. And they were fairly successful at that.

    The ones of January 6th were carrying…uh…zip ties and plans to offices and looking for people in Congress to lynch, or at minimum threaten into doing certain things? They luckily didn’t manage to pull this off.

    Also, one of them was trying to stop a specific government building from being built, a thing that actually should be within the policy control of the voters, and the other was attempting to stop the transfer of power, a thing that actually isn’t optional under a constitutional republic like we have. The left demanded something that legitimately could happen and is a legitimate policy thing that we should be okay with happening or not within the bounds of government, the right demanded something that couldn’t happen and we should all be horrified that they wanted.

    Maybe we should back off on the both sides comparison for a second, because one of those seems a lot more serious than the other. One of those is actually premeditated violence against people (not just against cops who tried to stop it, but the actual goal was violence), to accomplish an end that we should be horrified with, the other is not those things.

    Also, unrelated, there were hundreds of people destroying the construction site, and the 30 or so who got arrested were the ones throwing things at cops, not the organized destruction, which we don’t actually know where they came from. In fact, there been claims that some of the 32 got arrested from the entirely legal music festival that was happening literally at the border of the property, and were not actually involved in anything at all, but regardless we don’t really know who organized the destruction, and thus it is really premature to claim it is from out of state. The left, unlike the right, has functioning opsec, because the left is used to the police treating their behavior as illegal and spying on and infiltrating them, as opposed to the right, who thinks they can get away with literally anything and ended up greatly shocked when January 6th was slightly too far.Report

    • Pinky in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      Sorry if I’m nitpicking, but your paragraph 4 doesn’t make sense. It’s ok to protest/riot against the building being built because it’s something that people vote on? But it’s not ok to protest/riot against election results because they’re not something that people vote on?Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        The building is not something people ‘voted on’, in fact, people basically have no ability whatsoever to vote on the level of police, only to pick between different elected governments who all want to do exactly the same thing with the police, which is part of what the protesters don’t like. But that actually isn’t my point.

        My point is it is that not building cop city would be a legitimate thing for the government to do, in fact it’s managed to not do it its entire history. The protests are an attempt to shift the political will to get the government to move from one choice it could make to another choice. Their goals are legitimate, even if you think their method isn’t.

        Whereas January 6th goals were on attempt to not have the electoral college votes counted, which is not something that is within the legitimate power of the government. In fact, it’s one of the most illegitimate things a government can do, to not hand over power to a successor. And that was what those protesters wanted. Their goals were wholey illegitimate, which is completely unrelated to their method… Which I also hold as illegitimate, but that isn’t actually relevant to this.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          “January 6th goals were on attempt to not have the electoral college votes counted, which is not something that is within the legitimate power of the government.”

          amusing

          so i can use “that’s not a thing the government is able to do” as a criticism of protest activity?

          or maybe you’re saying that all these dudes calling out for us to Abolish The Electoral College are disingenuous idiots because they’re calling for an overthrow of the US election system which is Not Within The Legitimate Power Of The GovernmentReport

          • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck
            Ignored
            says:

            Abolishing the Electoral College is a thing that can be done by Government through legislation. The government can change how it conducts elections.

            But what government can’t do is refuse to play by its own rules as it is conducting the election. Which is what the January 6th insurrectionists wanted.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              Which is what the January 6th insurrectionists wanted.

              If we’re going to judge them by what they “wanted” then a lot of them wanted the election to not be stolen from Trump.

              That sort of nonsense is why I strongly dislike caring about what rioters “want”. We judge people on what they do, not what they believe they’re doing.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                This isn’t really true, though.
                History is filled with examples of justified violence and lawbreakers, premised on what the participants wanted.

                The Just War Theory hinges on what the desired goal is among other criteria.

                The goals alone aren’t sufficient to justify the acts, but goals are very important.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                The Just War Theory…

                If someone needs to make war comparisons while faced with a body count that rounds to zero in a civil matter, then the logic is much about inflaming emotions and little about logic.

                History is filled with examples of justified violence and lawbreakers

                War has a different set of rules, presumably that includes revolution.

                Outside of that it’s hard to get examples short of resisting slavery.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                No, war and insurrection and violence and lawbreaking are all on the same continuum and the Just War theory is commonly used as a metric to evaluate them.

                Examples abound, from the Boston Tea Party to Stonewall to Jan 6.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                If we’re going to judge them by what they “wanted” then a lot of them wanted the election to not be stolen from Trump.

                Which means either they disregard Biden supporters as legitimate voters, or what they actually wanted was the election stolen back from Biden. the government entities involved could not grant them what they wanted no matter how much violence they applied – which is wholly different from whether government can change the election rules post hoc via legislation.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Or that they really believe Trump won because that’s what they’ve been told.

                I don’t view that as any different from “hands up don’t shoot”.

                I don’t view them as excuses to cause civil chaos.

                “Operation Rescue” (if that’s still a thing) falls into the same bucket.Report

  7. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t know what happened since I wasn’t there, but its important to know that cops lie, all the time, so this is something to consider:

    From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Family: Activist’s hands raised when shot by troopers near training center site
    An independent autopsy showed Manuel Teran’s hands were raised when the activist was fatally shot by state troopers in January near the site of the planned public safety training center, attorneys for the family said.

    Decatur-based civil rights attorneys Brian Spears and Jeff Filipovits plan to have a Monday morning news conference to discuss the autopsy and a lawsuit the family filed Friday against the city of Atlanta under the Georgia Open Records Act. According to a release, the lawsuit was filed after the city had pledged to continue to produce additional video evidence until the GBI intervened and blocked more videos from being released.

    We’ll have to see how this story develops.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Thank you.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      An important part of that that is easy to overlook is the ‘near training center site’.

      Not _at_. Near.

      This site is next to a publicly owned forest, and, complicating matters, neither of them are actually in the city of Atlanta(1), it’s in Dekalb county, so the Atlanta police, as far as I know…don’t actually have jurisdiction. Hmm. How are they doing anything?

      Ah, I just managed to find something about jurisdiction, which is…the Atlanta police _claim_ something is true, which we probably should take with a grain of salt: https://www.atlantanewsfirst.com/2023/03/09/atlanta-police-say-officers-training-center-were-lawfully-deputized/

      So basically we have Atlanta police, out of their normal jurisdiction, securing what is technically a _privately-owned_ construction project, and then shooting someone who _isn’t even at that construction project_, but in the woods nearby, which the Atlanta police decided to…raid encampments in.

      Huh. I mean, the police’s behavior does perhaps appear _legal_, but talk about things not actually looking good…of course, the police don’t actually need things to look good, what with Atlanta’s main newspaper owned by the same people who are constructing the thing.

      Speaking of that, I wonder how much the GBI likes the APD asserting that the GBI is ‘leading’ this task force…none of the people actually there seem to think the GBI has anything to do with anything.

      1) Long story short, but, thanks to racism and various other things, the actual city of Atlanta is much smaller than what everyone thinks of as Atlanta. Even the Atlanta Airport isn’t actually in Atlanta.Report

  8. Dark Matter
    Ignored
    says:

    I did what Chip suggested and looked up studies on whether the Right is more violent than the Left.

    The studies show the Right is like 2x or 3x times as violent… however I thought the underlying figures looked odd and I took a deeper dive.

    1) “Violent” means “creating dead bodies”.
    2) Political Violence means “creating dead bodies because of your ideology”.

    That second point is important, so let’s go through some examples.

    If Rosenbaum had killed Rittenhouse (and not the other way around), then it would NOT have been “political violence” because Rosenbaum had no politics. Evil people taking advantage of the general chaos isn’t on the Protesters ticket. Since only dead bodies count, burning down dozens or hundreds of buildings doesn’t count either.

    If you shoot up a Black church because they’re black and you’re a White Nationalist, that’s “political violence” even if you’ve never met another White Nationalist and the groups have no clue you exist.

    DavidTC’s example of throwing bricks at the police doesn’t count as violence because you’re not trying to kill people and probably won’t. If you accidently do kill a cop then it becomes political violence so there’s that.

    So as far as I can tell, all of the following are true:
    1) If I die at the hands of a political actor because of his politics, it will probably be at the hands of the Right (this is lightning bolt rare).
    2) If my city goes through a burn/loot/vandalize civil disorder the odds are it will the Left making a statement
    3) If I die during that disorder it probably won’t be because someone is killing me for the greater glory of Leftism, it will only be because of the disorder itself.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Dark Matter
      Ignored
      says:

      The root problem is redefining the word “violent” and then not making it clear that it’s being used to mean “murder(ous)” and not it’s common dictionary definition.

      Dictionary (Violent): using or involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Dark Matter
        Ignored
        says:

        You can’t kill buildings. Destroy – sure. but not kill. Seems like an important distinction.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          It’s only property! It’s not violence!

          “There are property crimes that are defined in the criminal code as ‘violent crimes’.”
          “LOL. Triggered much?”Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          If you are redefining dictionary words to make your point, then you have a problem. Murder is a descriptive word and an important thing to track. You could use the word “murder” or “murderous” so everyone knows what you’re talking about.

          Trying to claim “the left is less violent” when what you mean is “the left is less murderous” is deliberately confusing.

          Now there’s also the problem that a lot of the murders (Right and Left) are spree-suicide-murders-by-losers(mentally ill). And also a lot of the deaths from riot chaos really should be on the rioters ticket.

          My strong expectation is using normal dictionary definitions, the Left is FAR more violent than the Right and they both are about the same level of murderousness (and that level is close to zero).Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
      Ignored
      says:

      DavidTC’s example of throwing bricks at the police doesn’t count as violence because you’re not trying to kill people and probably won’t.

      Actually, the reason it doesn’t count is that the reason the left is throwing bricks at cops is almost always in direct self-defense from current assault by cops. My ‘throwing bricks at cops’ comment was in direct reference to Stonewall, where the cops were, in fact, assaulting LGBTQ people (Including sexually assaulting), in their bars and in the street, for merely existing.

      You get to throw bricks at people sexually assaulting your friends, even _if_ they are cops. In fact, you get to throw bricks _especially_ if they’re cops, because it’s clear there are no other channels available to you to solve the problem.

      Which is really where your, and half the people’s here, gigantic blind spot about this is:

      Left protests are very directly, all the time, attacked by the police. Even legal protests, even peaceful ones, the police start attacking. They often do it in ways that don’t _looks_ particularly violent, like ‘kettling protesters’ and then ordering them to disperse and then not letting them and then arresting them, there are literally dozens of tricks the police have to disrupt protests and a large chunk of them are basically assault…hell, tear gas is assault.

      Meanwhile, when the right protests…the cops literally let do whatever they want. January 6th was a flatly illegal protest, like, to start with, there was no permit for the Capitol building, the police could have dispersed it, could have started arresting people, hell, could have tear gassed them as soon as they refused to leave, but did _nothing_ until it was ‘directly assaulting the US government’, at which point they finally stepped in. We’ve had other instants, like the Bundy protests, where right-wing protestors _wandered around pointing weapons_ at the FBI and…nothing.

      Hell, you were talking about Rittenhouse…we all remember the part where he shot someone, _tried to tell police who were investigating those very gunshots that he had shot someone_, and the police ignored him? Because the police have a very very specific mental model of who ‘the enemy’ are at those protests, and the white boy playing militia member is not it. I think I talked about this back then: Rittenhouse’s actions are not particularly important to anything, but…wow, the actual response around them is telling.

      I know it’s going to be literally impossible to convince you of this, because the media likes to pretend this isn’t true, but it, objectively, is. The reason that violence happens on the left is _because the police are starting out by being violent towards them_. Do the protestors sometimes jump the gun and start the fight? Sure, most people would after decades of assault.

      Meanwhile, again, the right in Jan 6th? They weren’t going after people attacking them…I mean, they did attack cops who were in the way, and I guess you can argue that is the same sort of incidental harm as the left (Although notably they seem to have been much more murdery than the left even there!), but they were going after lawmakers.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        The Left is like Kyle Rittenhouse?Report

        • Slade the Leveller in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Heh. In no way, shape, or form is the left anything like that Chain o’ Lakes dullard. The the right’s embrace of that nitwit is something to behold.Report

          • Snoozl in reply to Slade the Leveller
            Ignored
            says:

            The left is like Reg (whose documentation was present in the Rittenhouse trial).Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Slade the Leveller
            Ignored
            says:

            Why is Rittenhouse supposed to be dim?

            He’s seriously local to that area, the Left was (correctly) expected to set stuff on fire, he decided to help put them out.Report

            • Slade the Leveller in reply to Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              He was putting out fires with a gun? I think that answers your first question. Based on what I’ve seen of the guy on film, I don’t think anyone would consider him a bright intellectual light.

              I don’t know if I’d characterize Antioch, IL as local to Kenosha, WI.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Slade the Leveller
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t know if I’d characterize Antioch, IL as local to Kenosha, WI.

                You should.

                They’re 10-12 miles apart. One touches the state line and the other is three miles away from it. Rittenhouse’s Father lives in Kenosha and Rittenhouse has worked there. The NYT reports Rittenhouse stored his guns in his family home in Kenosha.

                He’s a local.

                He was putting out fires with a gun?

                Rittenhouse seems to have been more of a first aid kind of guy, but Rosenbaum was pissed at someone who looked like Rittenhouse for putting out the fires.Report

              • Slade the Leveller in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m somewhat familiar with the area, but I did Google it. I saw 20 miles, but like night and day apart.

                He had no business being there, and the Kenosha PD giving him a wink as he toted a rifle through riot torn streets is a straight dereliction of duty.Report

              • Dark Matter in reply to Slade the Leveller
                Ignored
                says:

                He had no business being there

                His family lives there.

                If the authorities won’t/can’t supply order and can’t/won’t stop people from running around setting stuff on fire, then you need to expect the locals will do it themselves.

                The people who aren’t supposed to be there are the rioters.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        RE: 1/6

        195 officers can’t reasonably deal with tens of thousands of rioters. Talking about what they would/could have done if the protest had been Left rather than Right seems farcical.

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/12/16/where-were-the-us-capitol-police-when-protestors-stormed-the-capitol-on-january-6th/?sh=7c031116294e

        You get to throw bricks at people sexually assaulting your friends, even _if_ they are cops. In fact, you get to throw bricks _especially_ if they’re cops, because it’s clear there are no other channels available to you to solve the problem.

        You are describing this as though it’s happening right in front of the rioters, but in practice what you mean is “someone from my group was attacked so we can attack their group”.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
          Ignored
          says:

          195 officers can’t reasonably deal with tens of thousands of rioters.

          The USCP has 1,879 sworn officers.

          Read that opinion piece while engaging your brain, please, and ask yourself if ‘The police’s massive under-response to a _very obvious_ threat of violence rioting was because the threat was coming from the right’.

          This isn’t because the people were on the right, not directly. This is because the police, themselves, are used to the being the ones instigating the violence. And they only do that when they don’t like the protestors. And, weirdly, the protestors they don’t like are entirely, as a whole, the ones on the left, and thus they were not planning on doing anything to start violence with _these_ protestors.

          So they were _wildly_ outgunned when the violence happened _without their input_.

          In fact, the police generally are wildly outgunned if anyone chooses to fight them, as the public outnumbers the police. It’s one of the reason the police couldn’t actually contain what happened with Cop City…they had a bunch of people running around setting things on fire and could not stop it, because those people were just flatly ignoring the police.

          Which, _again_, should start raising some questions in your mind of: Wait, do protests (And, to be clear, what happened at Cop City was direct action, not a protest.) even normally descend into violence by themselves?

          Because the level of violence always seems to be roughly at a level the cops can control and almost seem to have planned for.

          And the really obvious explanation is because most violence is merely a reaction to police misbehavior towards protestors.

          You are describing this as though it’s happening right in front of the rioters,

          Uh, it was. What I am describing is New York police publicly groping people’s genitalia to charge them with crossdressing and also hitting them with batons.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
            Ignored
            says:

            Actually, a good way to read that opinion peace is to treat it as completely true that leadership utterly fell down on the job and refused to actually react to the situation, and that the officers were incredibly poorly trained and equipped, and then ask a very simple question:

            Hey, what happened when we take the exact same problem with cops, but the protestors are _on the left_?

            https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/20/us/protests-policing-george-floyd.html

            “As with the protests in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 that culminated in the Capitol riot, police also did not understand how angry people were, in some cases because they lacked resources devoted to intelligence and outreach that would have put them in better touch with their communities.”

            Huh. So basically same thing with BLM, the police have no idea what’s going on. Okay. Let’s just accept the premise that none of these absurdly large drain on cash that seems to cause a lot of harm cannot actually do their job, and continue:

            “Reviewers more often found that officers behaved aggressively, wearing riot gear and spraying tear gas or “less-lethal” projectiles in indiscriminate ways, appearing to target peaceful demonstrators and displaying little effort to de-escalate tensions. In places like Indianapolis and Philadelphia, reviewers found, the actions of the officers seemed to make things worse.”

            Huh.

            It sure is weird how when cops are poorly trained, incompetent, and bad at their jobs, and have bad leadership that don’t know what they’re doing, and have to deal with protests, how _vastly different_ their behavior is when the protests are coming from the left. They over-prepare, over-militarize, and are over-aggressive.

            Whereas with the right, the same stuff, or honestly much worse because there were really obvious indications of an attempted coup (You know, the sort of thing you either have to succeed at completely or you’re going to jail, vs. some rocks through windows) comes in, the police just shrug and show up half-heartedly.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        “Meanwhile, when the right protests…the cops literally let do whatever they want. January 6th was a flatly illegal protest, like, to start with, there was no permit for the Capitol building, the police could have dispersed it…”

        except for the part where Mayor Bowser, reacting to criticism of police actions during the previous summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, told police not to interfere with protest activity and right up until the afternoon of January 5th was specifically saying that she didn’t need assistance from other agencies or law-enforcement organizationsReport

        • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          She doesn’t have jurisdiction over the Capitol or its grounds. Her cops can’t operate there without being ASKED to do so by the USCP. And they weren’t asking. So base don what part of the city she controlled, those were likely accurate statements.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          Yeah, it sure is weird how literally the only place the police have ever backed off because of criticism was not during those protests themselves, but _one_ specific later protest. And only that one.Report

          • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
            Ignored
            says:

            oh, so there were tons of protests between the summer of 2020 and January 6th 2021 that got totally stomped by the DC cops?

            it should be easy to find news stories about that!Report

            • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              oh, so there were tons of protests between the summer of 2020 and January 6th 2021 that got totally stomped by the DC cops?

              Yes?

              https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-police-protesters-clash-again-near-black-lives-matter-plaza/2020/08/31/e918c9c6-eb31-11ea-ab4e-581edb849379_story.html

              I don’t know what you’re defining as ‘summer’, or why all of that is off limits when the overreaction that got criticized was in early to mid June, and criticized then (In fact, the protests have been going long enough as to get a _plaza_ named after them), and yet here the police are out there at the end of August still doing the same thing, still randomly teargassing people (Which the city council literally had already banned.) with nonsensical excuses about laser pointers.

              When it’s the left protesting, the police shove them around, claim assault when shoved back, teargas, kettle, mass arrest people. Here:

              “The latest skirmish occurred early Monday, when police moved in on dozens of demonstrators to clear Black Lives Matter Plaza. Police deployed a chemical irritant and tackled some people near 16th and H streets NW.

              Officers were seen using their bikes to corral people and slamming others into parked vehicles. That followed a mostly peaceful demonstration outside St. John’s Episcopal Church, with protesters taunting and yelling at officers.”

              On top of that, the far right had _already_ repeatedly protested in DC before Jan 6th, including a protest on Dec 2020, which resulted in a group of Trump supporter basically cornering and attempting to murder a random Black resident for basically no reason (Luckily, he had a knife, and managed to stab several of them until they backed off.): https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/13/us/politics/trump-election-protests-violence.html

              So the police knew very well that these, um…’protestors’? This group of…um…outside agitators is what I think we call people who come in from other locations to cause problems (maybe that’s only if their skin is dark? That article, for some reason, still calls them _demonstrators_ instead of rioters. Weird.) might run around and _assault residents_.

              Yeah, no reason for the police to worry about their rally at all. No crackdown at all…they do respond once assaults on police officers start happening, which is sorta the bare minimum we expect of the police, but they do absolutely nothing to impact the ‘protest’ before it gets to that point.

              When it’s the right protesting, the police…let them wander aimlessly, burning banners, trespassing on churches, threatening residents, and do not react in any organized manner.Report

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