Is It OK to Thump People?



I’ve watched several times a video of a guy thumping another guy recently. There is, naturally several sides to consider here:

  • Whether the violent act undermines free speech.
  • Whether, even if provoked by the objectionable views of the person punched, the act lowers discourse in general.
  • Whether violence is ever a justified reaction to a dialogue even with somebody obnoxious.

Having said that I think most people agree that the person doing the thumping was justified. Here is the video again (you’ve probably seen it already).

Yes, naturally I am talking about that time Buzz Aldrin hit lunar-landing denier Bart Sibrel in the face after Sibrel harassed and insulted Buzz and called him a coward and a liar. After multiple provocations, Buzz then, wack, thumps Sibrel in the face. What can one say? It is OK to both deplore violence AND accept that people have actual emotions and that when repeatedly provoked will react accordingly. Buzz doesn’t beat the guy up, he thumps him once.

The LA County District Attorney did not lay any charges on Buzz Aldrin and, according to Wikipedia, Sibrel (the man punched) later apologised to Aldrin.

So there you go. Yeah, maybe sometimes it is OK to thump people – you know if you are provoked enough it would be weird if people DIDN’T react that way. You know, like in the example above in which Buzz Aldrin is repeatedly harassed and called a liar by a guy whose ideas are based on stupidly elaborate conspiracy theories. Just don’t make a habit of it.



Oh, and apparently alt-right pro-genocide shit Richard Spencer was thumped the other day also. Whereas Sibrel was just a rude guy with an omnifallacious theory that in itself harms nobody, Spencer is a guy who promotes race hate and genocide. As far as I can tell the major ethical issue people have with this is that it wasn’t Buzz Aldrin who hit him.


36 thoughts on “Is It OK to Thump People?

  1. It *would* have been cooler if Buzz had done the punching. In an alt.universe, that’s what happened.


  2. I think we should also consider the question of whether it is also right to be rude to kittens. I mean, as long as we’re here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So really, Camestros, in answer to your original question, on balance I’d have to day no. It’s not okay.


      1. I’m very far from a pacifist. That’s how I know its not okay for this type of shit to become de rigueur in a society like ours. Warring factions are what they have in Iraq right now. We do not want that.

        Particularly in countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, where there are more guns than adults to use them.

        That’s also what makes most of the uproar around Trump such utter stupidity. How does a democratic government round up and deport 30 million people who can shoot back? It can’t be done.


      2. Phantom seems to asks, worriedly: “Is it ok for rich famous dudes to bully guys smaller and weaker than they are?

        Doubly odd. I`d not had him pegged as a trade unionist, anti-CEO type either. Power to the people !!! 🙂


      3. I’m sure if he tried to make all his ideas fit together as some sort of coherent whole, he’d…well probably not manage to do it and change the subject 2 seconds after he started but…if he did manage it, well…


      4. Camestros said: “you are cool with people shooting people just not thumping them”

        You really do like putting words in other people’s mouths, don’t you?

        It is more that I know what happens when political arguments descend into fisticuffs as a default setting. What happens is that brave protester who sucker punched some guy for -talking-, the brave protester gets shot. Because the guy was was talking? He stops talking and starts carrying a gun everywhere. And he brings friends. With guns. And then people get shot. A lot.

        Its called gang warfare. Please see the City of Chicago this year for an example of this phenomenon.

        I believe I’ve mentioned I’m a physiotherapist. I know to a very high degree exactly what happens to people who get shot in gang fights. I’ve helped patch several of them up. It isn’t pretty. Most of them didn’t deserve my help, but when you take the guy’s money you deliver the service.

        I don’t know who that guy getting punched is, and I don’t know what his deal is. You boys say he’s a Nazi. But then you say I’m a Nazi pretty regularly, so I’m aware the use of the term is more for labeling than accuracy. But for the sake of the argument, let’s say he’s a real Nazi.

        Real Nazis are loons, Camestros. All you have to do is let them talk for a little while, and ask a few questions about Blood Libel and etc. and they pretty much self-refute. They are not worth bothering with. Besides which there’s probably five real ones left in the whole world.

        But if Black Block assholes run around randomly beating people at “peaceful” demonstrations because they’re wearing Trump merch, or setting girl’s hair on fire, pretty soon there’s no more peaceful demonstrations. Pretty soon, Mr. Nazi doesn’t have to talk about his looney tune beliefs, all he has to do is show up with a crowd of boys with bats and “clean up the city.”

        As a non-pacifist, I’m fine with that. I’m happy fighting Lefties or Nazis, they’re two iterations of the same virus. People who think its ok to punch you for talking.

        I view it as pest control. A free society does not tolerate people who punch you for talking.

        As a “pacifist” though, you’re f-ed. This is where you find out if your pacifism is a true moral stance, or a convenient lie you tell yourself to feel superior. My feeling is, its the latter. Virtue signaling, not actual virtue. Actual pacifists don’t celebrate sucker punches from pukes wearing masks.


      5. //He stops talking and starts carrying a gun everywhere. //

        Which is what you’ve been proposing anyway – as a default regardless of whether somebody got punched or not.


      6. For the umpteenth time, the government always has more and bigger guns. Even if someone about to be herded into a camp manages to shoot the police officer who has come to arrest them, there will be more police officers, a SWAT team, the army, etc…


  4. As my kid — who is Jewish — put it elsewhere:

    Everybody: Why didn’t the Jews fight back during the Holocaust I just don’t understand…

    (Guy punches a Nazi)

    Everybody: No not like that!


    1. delagar, re- the Holocaust, why didn’t the passengers of the first three planes on 9/11 fight? Why did the fourth plane, Flight 93, go down in a field instead of hitting another building? Remember Warsaw.

      Do you want to get punched at the grocery store for having a Hillary sticker, or a “Coexist” sticker, or one of those supercilious Darwin fish stickers on your car? Keep going the way you’re going, and that is going to happen one day. This is how we get there.

      I’d rather not bother. Violence upsets my digestion for days.


    2. mr. phantom seems to believe it is okay to thump people under some circumstances, apparently. For instance, if they are evil terrorists who are planning to crash a plane into a building full of people. (I’ll note that I agree with mr. phantom on this point.)

      So one has to wonder where mr. phantom draws his line. If it is okay to thump some people under some circumstances, when is it not okay to thump people? Is a Nazi not, after all, a terrorist who is threatening to crash my civilization into a building, more or less? Should I not thump him now, while there is still time to divert the plane, rather than wait until it is too late, when all of us on this plane called civilization must die with him?


      1. I’d think somebody actively contemplating genocide would be fairly safely on the other side of the ok-to-thump line.

        Meanwhile Mr Phantom is worried about not being able to carry weapons at SF conventions…

        Oh, and when agents of the government actually ARE killing people he likes to find reasons why that’s OK…


      2. delagar said: “So one has to wonder where mr. phantom draws his line.”

        Unprovoked surprise attacks by masked men, committed against an unarmed man standing on a street corner talking to a TV camera? It’s cowardly and disgusting.
        You don’t like the Nazi guy? Fine. Go kick his ass. I’ll applaud, if its a stand up fight. Being a dick should have consequences. Just remember, that is a two way street.

        Camestros said: “Meanwhile Mr Phantom is worried about not being able to carry weapons at SF conventions…”

        Yes I am. Because it is -so- much easier for bad actors to swarm and destroy people who are not armed. As you have just amply demonstrated. An armed society is a polite society. Guys wearing masks and beating people at demonstrations should rightly fear for their lives. But it works a lot better if everything is all out in the open and above board. If concealed carry is legal, morons are less tempted to set girl’s hair on fire at presidential inaugurations. Because they might get shot by the victim.

        Besides which, if I recall correctly that conversation was regarding a complete ban on cosplay weapons at a comic convention. Which is the most abject stupidity ever, and I’m amazed you’d bring it up in this context.

        “Oh, and when agents of the government actually ARE killing people he likes to find reasons why that’s OK…”

        Such as? Michael Brown, perhaps? Poor little Trayyyyvon Martin, brutally cut down by the White Hispanic Zimmerman? Or were you referring to Sammy Yatim, the kid executed by a cop on the streetcar in Toronto? Which I suppose you think I was in favor of?

        You really don’t listen at all, Camestros. Do you? Would you have approved if the masked man had shot this Nazi of yours and then run away into the night? Would that have been a noble blow for Freedom and stuff?

        Then wayyy up above, Cora said: “For the umpteenth time, the government always has more and bigger guns.”

        Cora. That is -the- stupidest argument going, you know that?

        The US government is outnumbered and -wildly- outgunned by the citizens of the United States. 300 million people vs. maybe 1 million in the armed forces, maximum.

        Handgun Control Inc. one time estimated there are three guns for every man woman and child in the USA. After 8 years of Obama, with every year making a new gun sales record over the year before, I expect that number is no longer even faintly accurate.

        As a practical matter, it is impossible for the US government to round up and do things to any particular group in the USA. They simply could not absorb the losses that would entail. Round up the Mexicans? Not happening. Mexicans have guns too and there’s like 12 million of them. Round up the Muslims? Same thing. Not happening. Round up the gays? Don’t make me laugh.

        Why do you think gun confiscation was the first thing the Nazis did to the Jews? If you think you are fighting Nazis running your own government, gun control and citizen disarmament is the very last thing you should be talking about.

        Liberals are the new Preppers, did you know? The smart ones are buying guns,ammunition and freeze dried food like a bunch of wild eyed Mormons. They FINALLY understand that more, bigger government might be a -bad- thing. I approve.

        I always ask Liberals how they would feel if The Church Lady from SNL got control of the government. Well, now we know. Unprovoked attacks by masked men at “peaceful” demonstrations, random beatings of people wearing the wrong hat, setting girl’s hair on fire, punching women in the face, threatening anybody that steps out of line, its all on the table.

        I think maybe you are finally beginning to understand why Conservatives have been buying guns the last eight years, eh? They know how you are.

        Those eeeevile Conservatives? They have a head start. That’s why its a bad idea to sucker punch political opponents at rallies. They’re a lot better at this violence stuff than you dorks are. They just have better manners, is all. If you piss them off, they’ll stop behaving nicely.

        I personally think that would be a tragedy.



        I’ll just leave this one here for contrast, okay? It’s a high school teacher firing a fake gun at a Trump video in class. Oddly there was no lock-down called, and no SWAT team arrived to take possession of the blue plastic squirt gun like they usually do.

        Guns are fine with y’all, so long as it’s approved Leftists firing them at approved Enemies. Let’s not pretend any different, shall we?


      4. Camestros snarked: “you need guns to shoot the Nazis who you must never, ever thump.”

        You might actually be starting to get the idea there. Self -defence- is something you do when you get attacked. Otherwise you learn to use your words, Camestros. Like in kindergarten, remember?

        Keep your hands off people, you morons.


      5. //Self -defence- is something you do when you get attacked.//

        Changing your tune again Phantom. Your excuses for government murder haven’t worked that way previously and even some US self-defence laws don’t work that way. Threats of violence and ‘reasonable’ fears of violence have been sufficient when its people you like.

        But as always, its one rule for right wingers and another rule for everybody else…


  5. First Phantom says this:

    I don’t know who that guy getting punched is, and I don’t know what his deal is. You boys say he’s a Nazi. But then you say I’m a Nazi pretty regularly

    And then he says this:

    Real Nazis are loons, Camestros.

    And he’s so close to self-awareness.


    1. Aaron, you wouldn’t know a Real Nazi if you tripped over one in the street. But if you go look in a mirror, you’ll probably see something fairly close.


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