Explaining rhetorical questions to professional writers

I suppose rhetorical questions can be confusing to people particularly ones where the person doing the asking already knows the truth of the matter. Why ask a question if the questioner already has an answer? Perhaps to illustrate a point or perhaps in the vain hope of some self reflection.

In the case of gun-owning American libertarians current events in the United States provide an illustration of something people have known for years. The libertarian right is not and never has been opposed to the government using violence against its own people in general and the only people under any illusion about that are gun-owning American libertarians. It is true that they may very well be opposed to government using violence against specific groups of people but certainly not people less wealthy or less politically powerful.

There is no mystery here. There is no doubt or confusion. Simple observation of their behaviour on many issues has confirmed it. To step away from questions of guns for a moment, the position of these “libertarians” on questions of free speech in practice is one we’ve seen illustrated over and over. The libertarian right is very, very concerned about defending the free speech of the far right, racists, neo-nazis and white supremacists (groups they claim to oppose) and but either little interest or active hostility to the free speech of people on the left or even in the centre. There is a deep searing hatred of free speech, free association and freedom of ideas that reveals itself every time among people who claim to be free-speech purists. There is always some rationale why the given person’s speech should be limited.

For your consideration here is the former instigator of Sad Puppies (a protest movement he started because of the horrific oppression he faced in not winning a book award).

“Where are all you gun owners now?”

https://monsterhunternation.com/2020/06/04/where-are-all-you-gun-owners-now/

That’s the title and Larry seems to be under the impression based on his response that is a serious question, that there are people somewhere honestly wondering why the gun-owning libertarian right aren’t suddenly mobilising to defend freedom in response to American governments using violence against their citizens. Nobody is actually wondering where the gun-owning libertarian right are. Everybody ALREADY KNOWS that Larry will side with overt fascism in a conflict because that’s what he always does. Larry here is just a handy example. Nobody expects Larry Correia to step up and fight for freedom because that would pre-suppose he was ever in favour of freedom in general (as opposed to freedoms for himself or his mates).

“Well, every single gun nut in America has spent their entire adult life being continually mocked, insulted, and belittled by the left. You’ve done nothing but paint us as the bad guys.”

And there you go. Larry literally wouldn’t fight against actual Nazis or fascists or authoritarian governments and not really because the left have been mean to gun owners but because his beliefs and interests, while different, align with them. Aside from anything else the line of argument he is attempting here (that he’ll only defend freedom if people are nice to him) is overtly stating that his belief in freedom is deeply conditional: he’ll defend the ‘freedom’ of people who he likes. The same is true about his concern for the ‘free speech’ of the more overtly authoritarian right: he defends them because he likes them, which is simply the corollary of his stated argument.

The gun nuts? Yes, they are part of exactly the same set of beliefs and attitudes about the use of deadly force against a section of Americans that people are protesting against. The militarised police and the militarised right are not two utterly distinct ideologies but instances of deeply related ideas about the use of guns or deadly force to attempt to control society. There are differences of course, as you will find in any political ideology but not differences so great that the fundamental commonality is not apparent. Heck, as we saw in the anti-lockdown protests, the “libertarians” even try to dress the same as an occupying military force.

So no, nobody is even remotely expecting the likes of Larry Correia to actually defend the principles of liberty and if people are asking “where are all you gun owners now” they already know the answer.

76 thoughts on “Explaining rhetorical questions to professional writers

  1. Also known as “if you don’t suck up to me I’ll take my gun and go home.”

    Well, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

    You know, I contribute monthly to the ACLU. The same people who filed a lawsuit to defend the rights of Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois (https://www.aclu.org/other/aclu-history-taking-stand-free-speech-skokie). This is an actual demonstration of principle. Something Larry Correia and his ilk apparently don’t have.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yup. Didn’t win an award? Multi-year tantrum framed as a principled fight for freedom.

      The police literally murder people on camera? Oh what a surprise, another rant about how *his* feelings have been hurt by lefties in the past [Note: he is basically conceding that concern about the police murdering people is a *leftwing* concern in his mind. Interesting in itself that]

      Liked by 5 people

    2. I’m very glad that Larry Correia and his fellow gun fanatics have decided to stay out of this, because the last thing the current situation in the US needs is more guns and more violence.

      And unlike what Correia claims, I cannot imagine that anybody on the left asked the gun fanatics to get involved in the current protests, because they all know that if one of them manages to shoot a police officer, the situation will only get worse.

      Seen from a distance, it’s also very obvious that in addition to the pervasive racism permeating American society, the proliferation of guns is also a significant factor in the current mess. Because the reason that US police forces are so militarised is that there are so many guns in the US that police officers (rightly) fear getting shot during traffic stops, rountine calls and the like. In countries with stricter gun control, traffic cops are almost never armed and beat cops often aren’t armed either, because the chance of a random traffic violator, pickpocket, petty criminal pulling a gun is low. But even though beat cops in the UK or China are unarmed, it’s not as if there is a flood of attacks on and murders of police officers in those countries.

      I saw a tweet somewhere that police officers in the US managed to shoot 29 people in the ten days since George Floyd was killed. In Germany, police officer shoot roughly between 10 and 15 people per year. Questionable or clearly wrongful deaths due to police action (this includes not just people shot, but also custody deaths,people dying from restraints, protesters run over by water cannons and the like) happen roughly every two to three years. Still too many and the majority of the people wrongfully killed by police action in Germany were either immigrants or leftwing protesters, which is disturbing. But still a lot better than in the US.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Also, let’s not forget that there was a highly decorated US veteran who claimed to have shot 30 alleged looters in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Thankfully, this does not seem to be true, for even in the post-Katrina chaos, 30 corpses with bullet holes would have been noticed. However, this person felt the need to boast about killing people and instead of getting arrested, Clint Eastwood made an Oscar-nominated movie about his life.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. “Because the reason that US police forces are so militarised is that there are so many guns in the US that police officers (rightly) fear getting shot during traffic stops, rountine calls and the like.”

        No, not rightly fear. Because they disproportionately stop black and Latino people and they disproportionately pull guns out on and fear they are facing guns from black and Latino people. The cops are more likely to shoot someone if called to deal with black and Latino people. But they are more likely to get shot by a white guy with a gun. So even in trying to deal with the gun violence of the U.S., racism ends up hurting POC and hurting the cops who are employing it.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Here in the US, the next time someone says that the Second Amendment is not about a personal right to bear arms, they’re going to be laughed out of town. When the mob rampages and the looting starts, we have seen that the police cannot be relied upon for protection, and the response from liberals is that “people are more important than buildings.” Gun sales were already going up during the pandemic, and gun shops are now reporting large increases in sales for the last couple of days.

    Gun nuts may be all about phony and cowardly libertarian posturing, but gun owners are about protecting themselves, their family, and their property when the government manifestly fails to do that.

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    1. Gun ownership is a piss-poor solution in this situation. The police have more guns and the system allows them to kill with impunity — not so much the people who try to shoot it out with them.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. That only works if you’re the kind of person the cops think of as “like them,” and that person is almost never black, and especially not black and male. White are allowed to carry weapons into stores; black people are murdered for picking up a toy gun in the store where it’s on sale. The “suspicious behavior” that cops have murdered black men for includes telling the cop who pulled him over that he has an entirely legal gun in his car.

      Or is your argument that if the cops or the alt-right, or a random paranoid neighbor, decides to kill a black man he might as well take one of them with him, and hope his entire family isn’t murdered as well?

      Liked by 5 people

    3. Breonna Taylor might beg to differ, or would if she were still alive. Her boyfriend had a gun to protect their household. He fired a warning shot to scare off intruders breaking into their apartment in the middle of the night. So the cops shot her eight times in her bed and tried to charge him with attempted murder. And we lost an important medical worker, a person.

      Of course, they were/are black and your avatar says that you likely aren’t. So you’re probably not too worried that the cops are going to break into your apartment and shoot you, as a white person. Or you somehow think you can take out four cops with guns and a battering ram by yourself. Or canisters of tear gas. Or a tank. Or a helicopter. After all, it’s those beliefs and our white supremacy system that led a bunch of white people, fully armed to “protect” themselves from imaginary opponents and waving white supremacy slogans and symbols, to shove and shout at cops without repercussions in lockdown protests, to illegally block ambulances from a hospital, to harass and assault medical workers, to smash at the glass windows of public buildings, to break into a capitol building threatening to shoot duly elected legislators, to trample government property at governors’ residences and threaten them with violence complete with hanging them in effigy, to beat reporters and protesters with bats in Philly while the cops looked on and only arrested black people, to break windows, set fires and loot stuff during civil rights protests so the cops could say that “black” looters were threatening property (eventually admitting that white agitators were in fact doing a lot of the destruction.) White people definitely think they can do a lot of stuff because our society lets them hurt other people and walk away most of the time, at least if those other people aren’t white.

      We can trot out all the statistics about the U.S. and other places that show that having a gun in your house does not protect you and is more dangerous than not having one. But that doesn’t matter because a white person having a gun is a symbol of white supremacy and the power of that supremacy. It is part of the identity of whiteness, that a white person with a gun will protect their family and property from the hordes of brown and black people who supposedly want to steal their stuff and are too uppity, that black people having guns or anything that can be pretended to be a gun is justification to kill them as threats, not that the gun part is even needed most of the time. We can point out actual history and current statistics, that it is white people with guns, cops, courts and laws who impoverish black and brown people and steal their stuff, not the other way around. We can point out that mass protests of people chanting, singing against police brutality isn’t a mob. We can point out that you having a gun is utterly useless against the threats that could actually affect your home in the modern age.

      But it doesn’t matter because white people having guns is white power and superior identity and logic doesn’t come into it. You don’t have to be a gun “nut” with a collection and a three percent tattoo. You just have to be a white person who doesn’t think the lives of your fellow black American citizens and their kids are as valuable as your stuff and store fixtures. That’s all they need to keep a white supremacy society going. That’s the only excuse they need to attack protesters over a pink umbrella.

      After watching a line of military vehicles carrying soldiers down her street outside her apartment and worrying about martial law being invoked, my daughter and her friends went to protest yesterday, risking tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons and batons. Knowing that the curfew was there to give the cops an excuse to drag people from their cars, zip tie them and hold them in warehouses as kidnap hostages. Knowing that she’d have to isolate for at least a week to see if she got exposed to Covid even if everything went well. It wasn’t black people she was scared of. I just watched a video of an old white guy talking to the cops in Buffalo, got shoved over by one, cracking his head on the pavement unconscious, bleeding, and the cops just flowed around him like water, an army of them, leaving him there. I’m sure a gun would have helped him. Then there were the people in D.C. who let fleeing protesters into their homes, protesters who escaped barriers the cops put up to trap them so they could be beaten and arrested, and were besieged by the cops all night for no reason whatsoever and only saved from attack because the press were there watching the whole thing. If any of them had a gun and showed it? They’d all be dead, the homeowners, the protesters.

      But yeah sure, enjoy your gun that will save you from the wave of supposedly scary black people who you’re pretending have any interest in you. Have fun with the cops in kevlar who see your death as a useful excuse for crackdowns and don’t care whether you own a store or were protesting or not if they take you out. Revel in the show of prison guards in unlabeled uniforms menacing clergy trying to hold a vigil. Keep going with the white supremacy narrative that civil rights protests are just a sham cover for a crime spree. Clutch your gun very tightly. I’m sure it will come in useful. Like the fine upstanding gun owners who used theirs to shoot Ahmaud Arbery because they decided he was a dangerous looting burglar.

      Oh yeah, and the Second Amendment WAS created for states to have citizens bear arms in militia “well-regulated” by the state — gun controlled, primarily for escaped slave posses in the South that then later became the police, the marshalls, the Coast Guard and the National Guard. It’s documented history of the drafting of the Constitution, written records and everything. The Second Amendment allows states to have police forces and to deputize citizens — originally white ones only of course — into it without federal interference. It’s only a whiffy conservative Supreme Court ruling over a century later that allowed right wing white people to claim that they needed their own personal arsenals with no regulation in case they had to shoot brown and black people.

      And wow, are those people happy now. Most of them missed out on beating and killing civil rights activists like throwing Rev. King in jail as a terrorist starting riots before later assassinating him. But now we have a white supremacist president who is terrified of black people so surely it will be even bigger pickings than the 1960’s. So you have your gun at exactly the right time, I guess. Now you just need a nice fence and a bunker.

      Liked by 6 people

    4. Perhaps next time argue for policies that make a riot less likely instead of arguing for keeping the riots, just with more added potential for violence.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. https://www.npr.org/2020/06/03/868464167/armed-neighborhood-groups-form-in-the-absence-of-police-protection

        This neighborhood militia is Security Latinos De La Lake. They are not protecting themselves from police, they are protecting themselves from an absence of police. When the government decides that “people are more important than buildings” it’s up to the people who live in and own those buildings to protect their property.

        One of the arguments made by anti-gun activists is that people do not need to own guns because the police will protect them. Now those of the same ilk are calling on governments to defund the police. It would all be astonishing if it wasn’t so typical.

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      2. So… after heavily armed police provoked protests after murdering a man on video and then instigated further violence and their police methods led not ‘law and order’ but rioting and looting, leading to the community you cite having to police themselves…you are cross because some people think the money spent on the police is a bad use of funds?

        Liked by 4 people

      3. 2nd Amendment extremism is good because people can now defend themselves from the 2nd Amendment extremists is a genius level take which is only made possible because you’re lying like a rug.

        In the end gun control was never about the wholesale ban of guns. None of the legislation introduced by congress or the states ever did that.

        Also the people who opposed responsible gun ownership also are responsible for preventing a whole host of reforms which would’ve prevented the current mess.

        (Bonus question: which administration militarized the police, which tried to roll this back, and who rolled back the roll back? I won’t tell)

        Liked by 4 people

      4. “One of the arguments made by anti-gun activists is that people do not need to own guns because the police will protect them.”

        No, that is not one of the arguments made by gun control activists — who aren’t anti-gun. That’s one of the fake arguments y’all use as a strawboard to justify getting ready to shoot all the brown and black looters you are sure are coming your way. We aren’t pro-cop. Half of the people who are killed by strangers in the U.S. are killed by cops. No other democracy in the world, even the more dictatory of them, has that sort of stat. We have a massive violence problem in the U.S. that other countries don’t have because we don’t have gun control regulation and have a fetish gun culture by white people. Every time we’ve managed to have gun control regulation — which usually comes from white people getting nervous that black people have guns too; see Ronald Reagan with the Black Panthers in California when they protected black voters and civil rights activists — violent crime and shootings have gone down because of less easy access to high powered guns. As the number of gun owners has declined in the U.S., the amount of violent crime and shootings has also declined. And yet despite that, the needless militarization of the police and their budgets for it have increased, because they’re allowed to buy surplus military equipment (meaning taxpayers pay for the same stuff twice,) they don’t know how to operate properly, largely for show — or to suppress protesters and harass and attack POC, who are disproportionately questioned, stopped, searched, beaten and handcuffed, arrested, charged, convicted and incarcerated at three to five times the rate of white people. Not to mention disproportionately shot and killed by cops. (For which white people try claiming that POC are just naturally inferior and violent, despite the stats showing white people are just as violent — and do more of the crime overall, especially drugs.)

        We still have a massive amount of guns, collected in little pools by mainly white people who fear that black and brown people will shoot them, because that’s what they’re told — that they’re coming for your “property.” In reality, 90 percent of mass shooters are white men with right wing values, including very reliably white supremacy, and they don’t pick gun free zones either. And nearly none of them have been stopped by civilians or cops or soldiers with guns, even when those were around, before inflicting mass death with high powered weapons. And sometimes armed civilians shoot the wrong people as bystanders or supposed suspects — shooting the POC instead of the usual white guy. States with high rates of gun ownership have the most homicides and the most gun accident deaths, of which there are hundreds of thousands, a majority involving children. U.S. households with firearms have a homicide, domestic violence and suicide rate three times higher than households without guns. Most of the people in the U.S. who have guns don’t know how to use or store them properly because anti-gun control people have lobbied for no regulations and the gun lobby made it a requirement policy of Republican politicians.

        In reality, civilians don’t protect their property with guns. The number of U.S. people who report using a gun for home/self-defense is about the same as the number of people who report being abducted by aliens, about 100,000. People defended themselves with a gun less than .09 percent of the time in the States. The average person will never use a gun in self-defense — but we have very high rates of people using their guns inappropriately and criminally in anger. The most common use of a gun in the U.S. is from an escalating argument — to intimidate, not defend. Especially of course at POC by white people. One in four detainees in D.C. jails had a gunshot wound which turned out to be because they were actually victims of robberies, assaults or caught in the cross-fire of same — they’d been wrongly arrested as crooks when they were crime victims, not shot by law-abiding defenders. There’s no evidence that homeowners with a gun are less likely to be injured in a home invasion or attack than those who use non-gun defensive measures or that they protected their property more effectively. If you do shoot someone you think invaded your home, you’ll be investigated for it as a crime by the cops. And if you’re white, you may get off. But if you report a shooting, cops may very well come into your home shooting. Having a gun at home makes you at higher risk for being shot by the cops, even if you’re white. As again, Breonna and her boyfriend discovered when their apartment was invaded and he shot a warning shot from his legal gun — and the invading cops shot her dead eight times in her bed and tried to arrest him for attempted murder.

        But again, we can do those statistics all day and it’s not going to matter. Because y’all are in love with the Hollywood Old West/slaveholder vigilante fantasy of being the white cowboy with a gun protecting your homestead from marauding indigenous/Latinos or rebelling black people. It’s an identity and it’s stoked by politicians and police forces who know how to use it. In the article you’re quoting, it’s Latinos who are organizing and protecting their Latino/black neighborhood in Minneapolis because the largely white cops are going on strike by deserting minority neighborhoods — not wealthy white ones. It’s Latinos who are watching out for HUMAN LIVES in the buildings, not the buildings. And who are the Latinos, who support the protests, worried about? White supremacists — white gun owners — who are coming into the city to cause destruction and looting to make it look like black and brown people are rioting in the city: “Our neighborhood is under threat from white supremacists coming into Minneapolis.” White men in pickup trucks from Iowa and Wisconsin — white militia — or armed with backpacks and spray paint cans. A white man who was caught on tape knocking out the windows of an Auto Zone until he came under interrogation from black protesters. White young men caught on videotape breaking windows and looting stores. White people looting Target on video while the cops pretend they’re employees. White people dressed in black cosplaying as “antifa” protesters so Fox Cable can pretend the lefties are plotting and rioting. White people who openly discussed that they were going to be doing this all online and gave it cool Operation names to make it more fun.

        Because otherwise how else are you going to get to shoot black and brown people unless you pretend they’re burning down the cities protesting those nice cops (hiding in fear or cowardly deserting the white people,) and might come into your rural backyard next like Larry’s pushing? How else are you going to push the value of property over human lives, the POC ones, unless you make up crap to say that POC are threats who deserve to die? You’re pushing white supremacy and oppression, hyrosen, whether you get it or not.

        In the real world meanwhile, the cyclist who attacked kids putting up memorial signs to Floyd in a park may be a cop. The president of the Chicago police board, trying to defuse conflicts between police and protesters there, was beaten by cops with batons and arrested and has filed a formal complaint. (I’m sure it would have gone great if he’d had a gun.) In North Carolina, cops busted into a community organizer’s house to arrest him for allegedly not returning a rental car hours after he and his group announced they were filing a class action lawsuit against the NC police for war crime behavior. (I’m sure it would have gone great if he had a gun.) In Indianapolis, a black woman protester was on tape groped by the white cop who grabbed her, jerked away and then was attacked with batons and pepper spray by multiple cops. A white woman who questioned the cops about it was also thrown to the ground and beaten. Fifty-seven cops in Buffalo NY have resigned from the Emergency Response Team in solidarity with the two suspended cops who shoved over an old man and left him bleeding on the ground. Because they were only following orders you see. But it is not an order to shove an old man and it is illegal for cops to ignore the injured, even if they are the ones who injured the person. If they were ordered to leave him — and no evidence that they were — it was an illegal order which they are supposed to refuse to follow as part of their oath.

        A man in Texas went after protesters with a chain saw while yelling the N word. I’m sure a gun would help there. The Manhattan D.A. has announced that they won’t be prosecuting the hundreds of protesters arrested for low-level crimes (such as being out after curfew because the cops blocked the exits or resisting arrest as cops beat them with no provocation.) Why are they doing that now, after all the intimidation of the tear gas, beatings and mass arrests? Because otherwise it’s massive lawsuits and class action lawsuits that cost the cops/city most of their inflated budget. As it is, it still is going to cost the city a fortune in wrongful arrest suits. In Eloy AZ, out in the sparsely populated desert, they have a detention center and there’s a car rally to protest the immigrants being detained under the threat of Covid. So they’ve shut down the government buildings due to “civil unrest.” There is no civil unrest in Eloy AZ. But they can pretend that the brown hordes are out to get them so that white gun owners will decry the senseless and nonexistent violence of lefties/POC. And lastly, authorities seized thousands of masks from BLM to be used by protesters, hoping to claim it’s part of a terrorist scheme.

        So no, again, the black people aren’t coming for your property. Cops and white supremacists might though, and if they do, your gun ain’t going to do squat.

        Liked by 4 people

  3. “When the mob rampages and the looting starts…”

    Honestly, I thought that this was sarcasm for the first 2 or 3 sentences. So far as I know, most of the looting and rampaging has been done in commercial/retail properties. I.e., by thieves, either organized or not. I haven’t heard of any circumstances where gun owners have defended their families from the rampaging mobs.

    In other words, what gun owners are protecting themselves against are their own fears. There have been a couple of police seriously wounded by unknown shooters, but the gun owners didn’t defend them. And there have been a few protesters, mostly non-violent, who have been wounded by police.

    I’m reminded of Bill Gibson’s riff in Pattern Recognition that the class system in England and his protagonist’s complete lack of understanding of the same is akin to non USians’ bafflement about gun ownership in the US. It manifestly makes no sense whatsoever and it has absolutely no coherent theory behind it at all. It just is, the way that racism just is.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. It still amazes me how there’s no version of the American Right (maybe there is somewhere else in the world) who can’t avoid blatant comments in bad faith, and who has any empathy for anyone else whatsoever. Their entire principles have devolved down to “Rights for me and not for thee” and it’s just….such a despicable ethos. There’s nothing there to argue with when all their fake principles fall whenever they would conflict with that ethos.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I’d certainly like to ask why “Gun rights” activists weren’t very loudly condemning the shooting of Philando Castile or similar cases. But I think we know,

    For the current situation in the US I wouldn’t be asking where the gun owners are at all. I wouldn’t think to ask that. Why would I?

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Everything else aside, it’s kind of weird that Correia seems to think “but you’ve been mean to us and called us names” is actually a good reason to dismiss ones stated principles about civil rights.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. However, I think it’s somewhat unfair to assume LC wrote that post because he doesn’t understand what a rhetorical question is. It’s more likely that he understands that the question was meant rhetorically, but still disagrees with the answer whoever asked the question would give. And that is, in itself, an entirely fair position to take.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He phrased his answer as if the question wasn’t rhetorical: ‘so please if you are so incredibly fucking dumb that you are actually wondering why America’s gun culture aren’t commuting into the democrat cities you have banned us from…’ although with some hedging

        Liked by 2 people

      2. camestrosfelapton: He phrased his answer as if the question wasn’t rhetorical: ‘so please if you are so incredibly fucking dumb that you are actually wondering why America’s gun culture aren’t commuting into the democrat cities you have banned us from…’

        None of us is actually wondering that. We are all smart enough to know that the very last thing we need is the gun-worshipping, conscienceless morons coming into the big cities and giving their “help”. 🙄

        Liked by 5 people

      3. My entire adult life, the white people on the right have been threatening to kill me with their guns, with one occasionally deciding not to wait for an excuse anymore and going on a mass shooting spree. Plenty of them are in the cities now, and small towns where there are protests as well, smashing windows, pointing guns and bats and threatening to kill the whole spectrum of us. They revel in the lying wailing of Megan McCain and Laura Ingraham schills that the cities run by liberal Democrats are supposedly overrun by the looting and burning of the dirty, inferior black and brown people who need to be suppressed and controlled by the cops. Instead, because we liberals did not contain them with violent force and gave them things, they will spill out into the rural (suburban) areas where the white right will be ready with guns and gumption to take us all down before those inferiors steal all their stuff.

        It’s the slaveholders’ fantasy. We deserve to die because we’re either inferiors or aid inferiors who should be ruthlessly controlled, especially if they stand up to whites with guns. So they remind us, again and again, that they are ready to shoot us if we march or speak for civil rights. That without their superior and virtuous iron hand, we will fall into chaos and then we’ll be sorry we ever objected to their threats. The entire ethos and training of the police in America is based on this, which is fitting since the cops came from the slave catcher patrols. It’s why they are beating and corralling the protesters on any excuse they can make vaguely legally-sounding.

        The “answer” to Larry’s rhetorical question of where are the right wing gun owners now is that they are waiting to shoot you, just like always. They’ve already killed and attacked a number of people. And if the cops pull back, as many forces are doing in the face of the growing civil rights protests, they will start attacking in larger numbers. The Bugaloo is just a new nickname for the Klan.

        Liked by 5 people

      4. Actually they aren’t even waiting. So far in the news besides Greg’s mammoth count, we’ve had a white guy pull a gun on a black veteran on the California highway. An older white woman with a bat tried to attack protesters marching. And then a multi-racial family trying to go camping in Washington state was accosted by truckloads of white people questioning if they were antifa, and when they tried to leave their campground because they heard shots being fired in the woods, they found the road out blocked by trees. Luckily some high schoolers who had a chain saw could get them out. I’m sure those are just the more colorful ones to many others.

        Oh yeah, and the bow and arrow attacker in Utah tried to claim that he was defending himself against two black guys who pulled him out of his pickup truck. Problem for him is that there’s video tape of the whole thing — he got out of his truck himself and just started firing arrows, and was then tackled by young white guys, not black protesters. So he’s been charged, a rarity. Then there’s the white guy who attacked young people trying to put up memorial signs in a park and the white guy who pulled a gun at the protest while also trying to pepper spray everybody.

        They are just itching to hurt people and kill. And King Barr has his army of cobbled National Guard, prison guards, etc. for attacking the big peace march on Saturday. So the D.C. Mayor is trying to bounce many of the soldiers by rightfully invoking the 3rd Amendment — because we DON’T want the white people with guns in the city pretending to protect us so that they can hurt us. And she has them painting a giant mural that says Black Lives Matter in yellow letters down the street in front of the White House. This year is wild.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Johan P: Everything else aside, it’s kind of weird that Correia seems to think “but you’ve been mean to us and called us names” is actually a good reason to dismiss ones stated principles about civil rights.

      Correia’s already admitted that he didn’t actually strong>have any principles to dismiss; any pretense that he did was just big bully posturing on his part. Quelle suprise.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Greg Doucette’s been keeping a running log of documented cases of the police “mob”:

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Trial lawyers are never supposed to ask a question they don’t know the answer to.

    The right wing’s vicious, ugly id is in full throat right now. Makes that id monster in “Forbidden Planet” look like nothing.

    Why are white men such scaredy-cats? Afraid of everything, especially people with much less power than themselves. I say they’re a big bunch of sissies. Just like their boy Trump, hiding in his bunker because apparently the most secure building in town isn’t enough to protect him from

    So many of them also claim to be Christians, but they’re so happy about Trump using their holy book for a photo op, and having the military police gassing clergy to do it.

    Stephen Colbert has given up even being the slightest bit genial about the whole mess. His monologues the past week have been heartfelt and beautiful (in a sad way), and he’s been having a lot of smart black people on and just LISTENING to them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. (And PS — please note Colbert is a rich, powerful, openly Christian white man who’s from the city where the Civil War literally began, in the state that was the first to secede from the US, where the KKK got so bad after the Traitor’s War that habeas corpus had to be suspended, the one that spawned Strom Thurmond. Yet somehow he’s not afraid of PoC!)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lurkertype:

    “Why are white men such scaredy-cats? Afraid of everything, especially people with much less power than themselves”

    The simple answer is – “We’re afraid of getting what we deserve.” Jefferson knew that when he wrote: “I tremble for my country when I consider that God is just” and yet did nothing to free his slaves until after his death removed his use for them. The choice is either to take painful action or to _stop_ considering – and so people stop considering. But faced with the presence of the sinned-against, guilt turns to fear, and fear to violence. The “antifa” in their minds is a guilty conscience – which leads to this https://q13fox.com/2020/06/05/spokane-family-harassed-stranded-on-olympic-peninsula-after-locals-accuse-them-of-antifa-affiliation/

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Hi, I’m not going to touch the deeply racist depiction of the current moment by Rosen, but I thought I would respond to some of his more substantial comments. I’m not that surprised that there has been some elements of armed self-defense in the efforts to keep Minneapolis from being destroyed. I definitely know that its not the only form of neighborhood group organizing, though. It’s also important to note that many of those groups have faced harassment from the police and the national guard. AIM (American Indian Movement) was involved in some of this work and had guns pointed at them by the national guard when they were trying to protect their neighborhood. The folks who run the Hard Times Cafe were called a bunch of ‘fucking sewer rats’ by the national guard and were told to get off the streets. There was often a sense that the state apparatus was more interested in harassing protestors rather than stopping looting.

    It’s important to note that these kinds of ad hoc organizing aren’t really connected to the kind of gun rights culture that Camestros is critiquing. It’s notable that the folks in the article posted by Rosen are not just patrolling, but are also engaged in a lot of forms of mutual aid and material support for the neighborhoods. I’d be tempted to tie those practices to other histories of armed self defense that could be linked to formations like the Deacons for Defense, rather than someone like Correia, who is tied to a movement that has never shown any particular interest in black liberation. (It’s also possible that this group engaged in its own kind of abuses, but its difficult to tell right now.) The NRA for instance was perfectly happy to support gun control when those laws were directed at the Black Panthers.

    There have been elements of armed self-defense in the Black freedom movement. Take a look at Charles Cobb’s This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible. (The book is actually a lot more complicated than the title indicates.) However, that history is not the history of the NRA or the official ‘gun rights movement.’

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Kat Goodwin very thoroughly points out why the people tasked with protecting the public can’t be trusted to do so, but seems indignant at the thought that people might therefore want to protect themselves. Manifestly, there were rampaging mobs looting and burning in cities all over the country. We have videos and pictures. If we can’t trust the police and we shouldn’t protect ourselves, then apparently we are to just allow the looters to loot and the arsonists to burn.

    You can try offering that suggestion to people not within your epistemic closure. I don’t think it will go well, though.

    Like

    1. “Oh, what a wonderful strawman, oh, what a niece piece of hay. I’ve got a wonderful feeling that this argument’s going my way.”

      Liked by 3 people

    2. // Manifestly, there were rampaging mobs looting and burning in cities all over the country.//

      I saw the police rampaging and looting but I don’t think the police burned anything specifically.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Uncle Hugo’s/Edgar’s science fiction and mystery bookstores in Minneapolis were set on fire by looting rampaging mobs, not by the police.

        Do you really think
        that telling people not to believe their own lying eyes is a useful policy?

        Like

      2. Again, that’s a lie. Uncle Edgar’s bookstore was set on fire at 3:00 a.m. by someone who broke the windows and used accelerant when the very first protests in the city were started up. There is no evidence that a rampaging mob of protesters did it and no one saw them, so there’s no lying eyes involved. What we do know is at that time small groups of white people were deliberately breaking windows of businesses and sometimes spraying fake BLM graffitti. When confronted by actual protesters, they’d usually bounce. We know this because they were taped doing it during both day and night, and because they openly planned doing these things on online media as a psych-ops. We know that black protesters were initially blamed for setting the Nashville courthouse building on fire but it was actually done by a white supremacist who was caught and actually arrested for once.

        So no, a rampaging mob did not set the bookstore on fire. But it’s a useful lie to say they did, ain’t it?

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Hyman, there are police all over the country committing things considered *war crimes*. Tear gas and destruction of medical supplies, as well as attacking medical volunteers. And so much for your much-vaunted free press since at least two journalists have lost eyes and many more have been attacked and arrested by police for covering the protests. Police obviously also either are not properly trained or simply don’t give a shit as the instructions on their riot control gear specifically tells them not to fire it straight at people’s heads, and yet that’s exactly what many are doing. If you’re getting pissy about property damage but not about people losing eyes, getting brain damaged and dying at the hands of your police, your priorities are fucked.

        Liked by 5 people

      4. Property damage, I might add, that seems largely to be caused by *police* and people taking advantage of the peaceful protests to stir up more agitation. There’s little evidence that points to it being protesters, even.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Yep, white guys dressed in black with backpacks — same as the Latino people were looking out for, same as people kept seeing coming in and trying to do stuff. Same as the white guy with the umbrella who broke the Auto Zone windows. White people in pick-up trucks with out of state plates or no plates. White teenagers in hoodies breaking windows, stealing stuff. Stuff done late at night, past the time people were protesting.

        But Rosen calls that a rampaging mob of black protesters. Because that’s the game. That’s why at least some of the white guys were there, that’s why the white guy set fire to the Nashville courthouse, etc. To make that narrative, one a lot of people like LC love to believe.

        Minneapolis did have more violence than other places initially because that’s where George Floyd was murdered. An evacuated police station was set on fire by protesters, although there is some dispute as to whether the police might have set a fire themselves when they left. Once all four cops in the Floyd killing were charged, however, and the protests were more organized, the main conflicts were the cops going after protesters, mainly for again curfew violations once they stopped them from leaving the public areas with ketteling, though that tactic was used more in D.C., New York and Philly. That and the police deciding to arrest CNN’s Latino reporter and his crew for no reason whatsoever except that they didn’t seem to like them filming the police violence much.

        During the early days of protests, black protesters begged white people to not destroy property, set fires or loot, since A) it was mainly white people doing it and B) as they explained, the black people would get blamed for it and the cops would come after them for it. As did indeed keep happening. Because that is again the bigoted narrative whenever black people do protests for their rights. Which is why it’s been so easy for white agitators to set off the cops. But the cops went beyond that pretty quickly and just started grabbing people without any proper procedure at all. Greg Doucette’s police abuse and violence and violent attacks on protesters count is now up to 404 recorded incidents.

        It’s fun reading. The Columbus OH police had SWAT snipers who were recorded just itching to shoot protesters from the rooftops. They also apparently arrested children protesters there. And abducting people in unmarked vans. They are also all trying to arrest those who have been videotaping them when they get the chance. And they’ve all been removing their name patches, even the National Guard troops, because they know people are screenshoting the name tags in photos and videos they take to id violent cops. Which is illegal.

        Basically, because of the narratives like the ones that Rosen is pushing, the protesters are responsible for all crime acts in the city or town while being required to behave with perfect equanimity, while the cops are doing whatever the hell they want, only occasionally worrying about cameras. The NYPD threatened to dox the mayor’s daughter and get her killed when he tried to curb them, so the mayor is basically a hostage at this point. Whatever the protesters do, however, and whether the cops attack them or not, they’ll still be called a rampaging mob. And they’ll still be considered less valuable than property.

        Liked by 5 people

    3. I guess its easier to simply ignore the entire discussion when you respond. Chris M is absolutely right. This is just straw-man material.

      Liked by 2 people

    4. That’s not what I said and I resent you lying about it. It shows that you aren’t arguing in good faith but to push a right wing ideology that attempts to justify shooting POC. Which is the ideology of our society that this movement is attempting to change.

      There are not rampaging mobs looting and burning all over cities. That is a lie and it’s the same lie that was trotted out during Ferguson and during the Civil Rights movement and any time black people protest, whether there is ancillary violence or not. It’s a fundamental lie that supports white supremacy and discrimination and the incarceration of black people and other POC. It’s part of the lie that black people are inherently inferior — untrustworthy, naturally criminal, violent and dangerous to white people and so must be controlled.

      There are thousands and thousands of peaceful protesters in cities and towns all over the country and in other parts of the world. There are also small amounts of white supremacists coming in to cities like Minneapolis and deliberately spray-painting, destroying windows, setting fires and looting to agitate cops against protesters and to get the media to report that black people are doing these things to delegitamize the protests and justify police violence against them. We have them on tape doing it, the police have admitted they are operating and some of the most egregious have been arrested. The people in the article you cited were protecting people, not buildings, from those white supremacists trying to fake black people looting. I don’t think it’s a good idea that they used guns to try it, because that’s an easy excuse for police to shoot them. But you were misrepresenting that they were protecting themselves from BLACK protesters, not white supremacists who do share your gun philosophy and are willing to fake black violence to have it prevail in society.

      The cops rarely will arrest armed white supremacists and militia, as we saw with the violent lockdown protests which frequently engaged in illegal behavior such as blocking the hospital and harassing medical workers without arrest and repercussions. White supremacist agitators help the cops out as a justification for attacking peaceful protesters speaking against police violence towards POC. White armed guards of businesses in Oregon were warned by the cops, on tape, that they should hide their guns because the cops were going to attack unarmed protesters and it would look bad if they weren’t also arresting armed white people. Whereas black people trying to keep agitators from businesses were attacked by the cops and arrested, pretending that they were the looters.

      It’s the cops who have been rioting and happily doing so on tape. They’ve attacked and beaten protesters without provocation or real threat. They’ve shot bean bag and rubber bullets not into the ground where they are supposed to bounce with less force but directly at people, which can kill them, including directly at clearly marked reporters. They’ve thrown tear gas directly at protesters. They’ve pulled people’s masks down to spray them with pepper spray. When that wasn’t giving them enough justification for arrests and violence, they insisted on having curfews so they could kettle large crowds of protesters from trying to leave, beat them with batons and arrest or detain them for being out “after curfew” like it’s a war zone. People were pulled from their stoops or their cars, not protesting, and beaten. People have been held in warehouses without charges, without water or bathrooms, overnight, then simply released. Reporters have been attacked and arrested, especially if not white. Medical aid tents have been attacked and water for protesters dumped. Legal aid support has been arrested. A 16-year-old boy watching the protests in Austin was shot in the face with a bean bag bullet by cops and fractured his skull. A protester at that protest was shot by cops with a bean bag bullet and when a medical team tried to carry him towards the police, at the police’s instruction, to get medical aid, the cops opened fire on them and wounded the nurse who was trying to get him help so badly in the hand that she lost consciousness. He’s in critical condition in the hospital. They shot a pregnant woman in her belly. They dragged a black woman out of her car and beat her because she didn’t know a mall in Chicago had been closed. They shot and killed as a bystander a black business owner who gave them free food.

      And if those protesters used guns to defend themselves, they would be dead, especially if they aren’t white. Just like Breonna Taylor in her own home with a legal gun. A Latino protester brought a gun to the protest in Lubbock, Texas, a gun that was perfectly legal for him to have. But the other protesters tackled him and got the gun away because that would have been the excuse for the cops to shoot them all.

      Due to the visuals and bad press of this violence by police and that the protests keep growing, some curfews have been lifted and some police forces have agreed to keep more distance last night. And what do you know, no mobs of rampaging looters setting fires, no dead or injured cops from protester attacks. The curfews were a sham.

      So yeah, you can legally have a gun in the U.S. that you may or may not know how to use, and vow to protect your property from scary black looters you are sure are rampaging. But the statistics show that this does not make you safer in the world, especially compared to gun control. And it’s not going to do anything for you if the cops decide to come for you. Nor is it going to change the fact that as gun ownership in the U.S. declines, the levels of violent crime in the U.S. have been going down for the last three decades, and that violent crime levels demonstratively decrease when there are gun control regulations that make high powered weapons harder to obtain. Or that statistically Americans seldom use guns to deter intruders and if they do, they have no better chance of being safe than those who don’t. Your ideology is fundamentally flawed and factually wrong. It is wrong about gun ownership, it’s wrong about home/property invasion and it’s wrong about what is going on at these protests.

      But mostly, what’s wrong is the idea that white people’s property is worth more than anyone’s life. That philosophy is exactly why POC are forced to live in a police state in the U.S., to be the boogey-monster of white people’s status and greed and sacrifice their kids for it. And we’re tired of it. So do not try to drag me into your white supremacist vigilante fantasy again, the one where we try to justify killing POC because surely they are trying to take your stuff. That’s exactly why Ahmaud Arbery was murdered, “protecting property” while the cops weren’t around. It was a lie then and it’s a lie now.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. I don’t understand how “the rampaging looting mobs are white” and “the police are bad” is an argument against anything I’ve said. I pointed out that when the mobs rampaged and looted, the police were often not to be found, and stores in cities all over America were left unprotected, and that therefore this would spur more people to buy guns, and would weaken the argument that people did not need guns for self-defense because the government would protect them.

    The government failed to protect people’s property. The further argument made here, that it’s “wrong to value white people’s property more than anyone’s life,” is that the government is to be actively prevented from protecting people’s property in the future. (Anyone’s property, presumably, because I assume no one thinks that a policy specifically excluding white people from protection could be enacted.) In which case, this will spur even more people to buy guns, and to further increase the understanding of why the Second Amendment is a personal right.

    On top of everything else, the US Constitution requires that the government “provide for the common defense”, so the government is not free to abrogate that responsibility, even for white people, no matter how much they deserve it.

    Like

    1. The white people aren’t rampaging in mobs either. At least, not since the show of force in the lockdown protests, which only damaged government property. The cops are rampaging in attack mobs and a lot of them are white, but guns aren’t going to help you against the cops. (Again, see Breonna Taylor and others.) The white people are small groups of supremacists who are breaking windows to blame black people to start their beloved race war. Which didn’t work. Their new tactic isn’t breaking windows or setting the occasional fire, but instead ramming their vehicles into crowds of protesters and sometimes jumping out with a weapon to attack them. Bow and arrow guy did that and we’ve had white guys do it in Buffalo, Kentucky, Spokane and now in Virginia, where the white guy was the head of the local Klan chapter, and in Seattle, where the driver then jumped out and pulled a (probably legally owned) gun and shot the unarmed protester who tackled him in the arm. They’re doing it because of the guy who killed the woman in Charlottesville with his van. Because it’s part of their race war militia vigilante 2nd Amendment fantasies.

      If the black protester who tackled the Seattle guy had a gun and tried to shoot him, the cops would have shot the protester dead. When the guy who drove the vehicle into the Buffalo protesters did it, the police used that as an excuse to attack the protesters. Because it’s not about rampaging mobs and unprotected property. It’s about race and who controls things and how authoritarian American society is going to be/stay. There are white people buying guns now because they are white supremacists and they thought civilization would collapse in the Covid shutdowns/pandemic and they’d get to shoot their brown and black neighbors like a video game. And then when the shutdown actually helped limit the spread of the virus (they estimate that 60 million would have had the disease without the shutdowns,) and people helped each other, they bought guns because of the BLM protest because they thought they’d get their race war and get to shoot black and brown people. And when that hasn’t happened, they’ve tried to make it start by essentially swatting the protesters, just like Dylan Roof. And that hasn’t worked either.

      Again, you’re focused on some broken windows — less than gets broken by white sports fans rampaging in cities after a game — and not people. As much as white Americans love the notion of arming themselves to the teeth and believing that will protect them and solve everything, like an old Western movie, the statistics say that not only doesn’t it do that, but it makes for more death from suicides, domestic violence and gun accidents when they do so. And in terms of facing the military or the militarized police, it’s useless. Plus white Americans will never let black and brown people arm themselves to the teeth — we get gun control every time white folks see black people carrying guns. Philando Castle died because he was a black man with a legally owned gun. Tamir died because he was a black youth with a BB gun. John Crawford died because he as a black man picked up a pretend gun toy for his son and a white man lied to cops that he had a real weapon and was pointing it at people in a Walmart. Breonna Taylor died because her boyfriend was a black man who fired his legal gun against who he thought were intruders. And on and on.

      You aren’t going to be able to protect your property with a gun. You aren’t going to stop people from breaking windows with a gun. (That’s what insurance is for.) You aren’t going to stop the police from trashing your place if they want with a gun — they’ll just shoot you, or if you’re lucky and white, tear gas you and arrest you. It’s a fantasy. And we know that proper gun control and banning of military weapons does in fact lower violent crime, gun crime, domestic violence and a host of ills, from both what’s happened in other countries and in the U.S. when we’ve had some decent gun control regulations. This is not a moment of rampaging mobs — words you keep trying to make true to the point where you lied about it and the cops keep lying about it. It’s a protest movement about building a more peaceful society for all Americans equally, not by turning the country into a bunch of armed camps and an apocalyptic wasteland.

      So you can sit in your property with a gun and hopefully you won’t shoot and kill someone or get shot. And Larry can have his fantasy that cities are just dying for armed white warriors to ride in and save all the foolish city folk when that philosophy has been the exact problem forcing POC to live in a police state. These white supremacist, authoritarian fantasies have run the U.S. for a long time. And sent an awful lot of POC to their deaths or to incarceration on minor charges. They have made black bodies pretend dangerous threats and that’s what these protests are about. It’s not just the cops, it’s the courts, the D.A., the government, the businesses and corporations, the churches, the organizations, the tech world and the entertainment world. It’s the notion that property is more important than human lives — both in policing and in how the U.S. dealt with the pandemic and healthcare access.

      So maybe your apocalyptic wasteland vision will win out and you’ll get to shoot people to protect your windows. But you’re not going to last long if that’s the case. Again, I’ve had white right-wingers threatening to kill me for their protection my entire adult life — and telling me I’ll be sorry some day to boot. The biggest threat has always been white authorities with guns and white people who want to keep ruling with guns. And a lot of unarmed people are standing up to that at the moment, even in the middle of a disease. But you can go with the lobbyists for the gun companies if you want. Just stop lying about black people being rampaging mobs to justify you wanting to have lots of guns.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I have not mentioned any property of the looting rampaging mobs aside from their being looting rampaging mobs, so I don’t know what you think I’m lying about. I’m not waiting to shoot anyone. I live in Manhattan and I don’t own a gun. I do think it’s fine to shoot looters while they’re in the act of looting and rampaging, and I would be delighted if the people shot happened to be white provocateurs. But as you say, that’s not likely to happen.

    Unfortunately, the people living in an apocalyptic wasteland of violence right now are the residents of Chicago.
    https://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/2020/6/8/21281998/chicago-violence-murder-history-homicide-police-crime
    On May 31, in one day, 18 people were murdered in Chicago and another 30 or so were shot and wounded. In all of 2020 so far, 3 people have been killed in Chicago in police-involved shootings.

    As horrendous as the police are, they’re not the ones murdering lots of people.

    Like

    1. Invoking Chicago crime rates is a notorious and well-known racist dogwhistle. People who do that never ever acknowledge violence of state actors there, which is real, longstanding and has brutalized POC and poor communities for a century.

      If you want to talk about armed looters and looting, here is an investigative piece by lawyers and journalists at Reason (a libertarian-leaning outfit, so not left-biased). They found Chicago PD engaged in “civil asset forfeiture” — the seizure of private property with very little recourse available — 23,000 times between 2012-2017.
      https://reason.com/2017/06/13/poor-neighborhoods-hit-hardest-by-asset/

      Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a brilliant and powerful article “The Case for Reparations” in the Atlantic in June 2014 in which he very clearly and directly showed the way structural poverty was imposed on Chicago black communities through a series of conscious public policies and financial practices.
      https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/

      Chicago PD is so violent and corrupt the State Government created the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission to investigate the patterns of torture by police in 2009. They found at least 125 documented torture cases including many later proved to be innocent. (More at Wikipedia) There is an entire book written on Chicago police torture.
      https://www.thenation.com/article/culture/lawrence-ralph-torture-letters-review/

      Since 2003 the city has spent at least $213 million dollars on private lawyers to defend officers against misconduct charges. (source: Chicago Tribune, 12 Sept 2019)

      If problems were easy to solve, they’d be solved by now. It’s important to recognize complexity, history, structural problems, vested interests etc.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. You said that there were rampaging mobs of protesters in Minneapolis. There were not. You said a rampaging mob burned down the bookstore. A rampaging mob did not. Those choice of words matter. The choice of words was a lie and builds a narrative of black protesters being always violent and thus illegitimate, and of justification for more guns instead of gun control regulation and making guns harder to access. Rampaging mob and looters are dog whistles for POC in our society.

      You are pointing out recent murders in Chicago, which is cherry picking a stat. Chicago’s murder rate dropped steadily for the last three years, as did rates of shootings, theft and other violent crime. And Chicago saw a significant dip in the crime rate, like other cities, in the covid shutdowns. This is a continuation of the trend that’s been going on for the last thirty years — crime rates have been declining as gun ownership declines and they drop in areas when sensible gun control measures are put in place like background checks and waiting periods. Mass shootings have increased, though they are only a small measure of gun violence, since the ban on assault rifles was lapsed and not renewed. The statistics going over decades are clear — more guns have made the U.S. less safe with more gun deaths than other countries, most of which are accidents or from arguments, not more safe. When there are fewer guns, crime rates go down. Guns are not used successfully nor frequently by individuals to guard property. The U.S.’s odd rates of violence for democracies is directly linked to the last four decades of trying to block gun control and the high number of guns still left in the country. Gun owners are not righteous warriors who need to come rescue us like LC and others keep trying to promote. The cops don’t need tanks, tear gas and military gear to handle the declining crime rates in cities.

      And that’s the problem — that narrative of the desperate need for guns to guard property (and white people,) is the root of systemic racism and white supremacy in the U.S. In Minneapolis, they just caught the cops slashing car tires, meaning to again have black protesters blamed for it as a rioting act and make themselves look more essential. (And yeah, a good percentage of Chicago’s crime is notoriously cops faking crimes.) Caught on video, they claimed it was a strategic move to either protect protesters from cars or stop cars filled with brick to be supposedly thrown at police. One of the cars was owned by a New York reporter covering the protest and now the vandalism of his car by cops. The excuses were ridiculous. The cops were trying to frame black protesters as again a “rampaging mob.”

      And that narrative — that black people protesting for their rights and against violence are inferior, rampaging, violent, thieving threats who must be fended off by white people with guns protecting towns and property — is one that many white people in the U.S. are eager to believe and use to justify violence including gun shootings against BIPOC. In a small town of Oregon they had a small BLM protest with POC and white students/LGBTQ folk. And Facebook announced, as must be believed apparently, that two buses of antifa were being bused into their small town by George Soros to rampage and destroy their town — and come for their guns probably. Because Murdoch’s Fox Cable and other right wing media have been pushing Barr and Trump’s latest white supremacist fairy tale, to give right wing white people an enemy to fight and fear. So a bunch of white people with guns showed up to terrify the protesters, be held off by a small number of cops and tried to start a fist fight (thankfully not shooting anybody with guns they didn’t know how to hold safely.) And they decided, since they looked ridiculous, to claim that their presence instead scared off the two buses of antifa which is why said imaginary buses never showed up. They were the righteous white armed warriors against lefties and BIPOC. They felt they needed to be the ones to protect their town against black and brown people.

      That philosophy, that Larry used rhetorically, that is used to invoke the 2nd Amendment for arming white people, got Ahmaud Arbery killed. And Trayvon Martin. And countless others. Because you can claim anybody is looting to justify your shooting them. Or just suspicious and probably looting. Or just looking at you funny because you’re a cop. That’s what killed George Lloyd. That’s why black people disproportionately die from police and from others. Because the concept of blackness is that they are inherently the looters, the enemy, coming for your neighborhood or your small town. And the concept of whiteness is that they are the good, rescuing warriors with guns who guard the homestead. That’s exactly what they are protesting — that narrative that makes their kids live in a police state.

      You want “looters” to be shot in the city, a human life worth less than insured property owned mainly by white people? It’s not going to be white people they shoot. It’s going to be black kids. It’s been black kids for decades, in the cities and in the rural areas where black and brown people make up most of the labor force. Because the narrative says that they are the looters and thus it’s okay to do anything to them, that it is virtuous to do it to them — like those white gun wielders in the small town in Oregon. Shooting (and jailing) black people makes white people virtuous, in the U.S. especially as part of our culture. And this entire protest movement, the resistance to it, is because the movement is saying that shooting black people doesn’t make white people virtuous warriors. It makes them what our society is engineered to be — white supremacist. Shooting looters and supposed other threats is just resurrecting the escaped slave patrol. It’s a system being rejected because it’s racist and exploitative and genocidal. We are tired of watching black people be executed because they are supposedly looters, cheaters, acting suspicious and thus surely doing something wrong that justifies beating, shooting and jailing them as less than human. All to make white people the virtuous rescuers — who just happen to take most of the stuff and disproportionately run everything while they’re shooting and jailing BIPOC.

      So no, I don’t want a bunch of white people running off to buy more guns and shoot “looters” so they have an excuse to shoot more POC. Because that’s what they always do. Broken windows are not worth one, single black life. Not one. And the guns are not going to make white people safer or more righteously virtuous. It’s definitely not going to make me safer because I’m the enemy to them. But it does make a lot of white people get richer, grab political office and feel more powerful, so that’s going to be a hard thing to get a lot of them to give up, to give up the chance to shoot black and brown people and terrorize people with guns.

      Liked by 4 people

  14. More-or-less rampaging looting mob in Minneapolis at around timestamp 5:00:00 – https://youtu.be/cHcELsLF7cg?t=22228 (this video also includes Uncle Hugo’s burning). More of a desultory mob, really, just doing a little contributory looting and arson.

    The reason that Chicago murders are mentioned is that some people would like to claim that all disparity in arrest rates, incarceration, and other encounters with the justice system are due only to racism at the point of encounter with the system. (As opposed to systemic racism, which fosters the conditions that lead to the disparity.)

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    1. Okay, if you’re going to try to argue that systemic racism is separate from the justice system, then we’re done. Systemic racism in the justice system — police targeting black and brown people and their neighborhoods despite it being illegal, black people 3 to 5 times more likely to be approached by police, demanded i.d., detained, beaten and handcuffed, shot, arrested, charged, convicted and given jail time over non-incarceration sentences and all the rest of it — is exactly what the BLM protests are about. If you don’t understand the notorious corruption of the Chicago police force and courts and that it is almost entirely built on racism and racial discrimination, there’s nothing to say.

      Your pals don’t invoke the 2nd Amendment because they want black New Yorkers to arm themselves with legal guns and protect buildings — even though some of them have done it, wisely or not. They want white people to arm themselves to shoot against the enemy — black and brown people, which is justified as them being criminal mobs — and not have the government be able to stop them. Which is why the police have made themselves a powerful political force, doing what they are supposed to do — harass, control and jail black and brown people in the name of supposed safety and making white people feel good about themselves. And the numbers of them who they are arresting, draining with fees and jailing are increasing, even as violent crime rates fall. The amount of military equipment of the police from tanks to chemical weapons has increased even as violent crime rates have fallen — to use against black and brown people. The police have lied about protest damage and theft, about weapons protesters supposedly have, have slashed tires, are driving cars into protesters themselves, and committed essentially war crimes against American citizens to maintain the argument that black and brown people are out of control and the police must suppress them and keep giant budgets they don’t need. And other white people are running around with their guns, driving cars into protesters, harassing and attacking them, claiming the black and brown people and their leftie allies are coming to get them, to feel powerful and in control in the name of supposed safety.

      And it’s an argument you’re buying, and as I’ve said before, you’re entitled to the bunker mentality even though stats show you’re wrong. But it’s an argument built on racism, white supremacy and sham security theater, not gun rights or property protection. It’s the school to prison pipeline. It’s a dog whistle. It’s the Southern Strategy. We just had a woman have a stun grenade launched into her belly by the cops at one of the protests. They’re not sure she’s going to live. But then again, this is what a whole lot of right wing white people have been waiting for. If they don’t get a race war, they’re going to try to make one. There’s really nothing black and brown people can do to change that desire — it’s been trained in.

      Liked by 4 people

  15. I said that some people would have us believe that disparity in encounters with the justice system is due *only* to racism at those encounters. Looking at the Chicago murders tells us definitively that this is false. Black people in Chicago murder each other at enormously higher rates than other groups. The *reason* is the systemic racism that has denied wealth and opportunity to black people in America since its inception. But because of that reason, black people commit crimes at a higher rate, and the murders show it in ways that people made uncomfortable by that can’t sweep under the rug. That means that black people are going to have concomitantly more encounters with the justice system even if it weren’t racist (which it is).

    As far as “KKK talking points,” the signature liberal fault is the Orwellian belief that controlling people’s language is the way to bring about change, and that a truth unspoken may be assumed false. Unfortunately for liberals (everyone, really), the universe doesn’t care what people think, or how fervently they wish or believe that false things are true and that true things are false. Whenever you start thinking that, it’s a good time to go and reread Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings.”

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    1. I’m going to try this one more time. The constant claim that black on black crime and murder is the big crime problem in society and that black people commit most of the crime is a conservative racist dog whistle that lies about some facts and willfully misrepresents others for a false narrative when applied to Chicago and elsewhere. You’re repeating a dog whistle.

      Black people do kill other black people, same as any other group, since they usually are segregated into neighborhoods with each other due to white supremacy. The first claim the right wing makes is that all those deaths are gang and crime related. They aren’t. That’s a lie. A majority of them are escalated personal arguments and domestic violence — same as white people. White people kill white people near the same rate as black people kill black people. Poor urban white people commit crime at a higher rate than poor urban black people, etc. the numbers are very close. And yet, we never hear about how white people have a white on white crime and murder problem. We don’t even hear about how poor white people create a massive crime and murder problem in general. That’s partly because white people are just counted as people, the norm, the center, not as the Other who are inherently violent and thus have an internal murder problem. We’re only supposed to be concerned with black people murdering or committing violent crime, not rates of white people doing so that are in the same ballpark. Black people’s crime rates make all black people suspect, but white people’s crime rates don’t make all whites suspect. Because of white supremacy controlling the narrative.

      White people commit massive amounts of theft, gun violence, property destruction and lead in shoplifting (and that’s not even counting the much more huge amount of non-criminalized theft white people do through wage theft, unfair fees, finance manipulation, pollution, etc.) White people are the main users of drugs (possession,) and the main dealers of drugs. The opioid crisis is our biggest drug crisis. And who runs the opioid trade? White people (plus of course white run pharmaceutical companies doing non-criminalized drug trade.) And a lot of it is rural, not city. There are tons of black people who live in rural areas and tons of white people who live in cities. But urban is a coded dog whistle for violent and dangerous black people pushing drugs and gangs, while white people claim the dog whistle of salt of the earth rural folk with nice communities — that run opioids and things like cigarette smuggling from Canada.

      But why are the black people rates of crime arrest, conviction and jailtime higher than whites if white people commit a lot of crime? Why do cops and security guards concentrate on black and brown people maybe shoplifting in stores when it’s mainly white people who do it? Systemic racism of the justice system. Black people have “higher,” though not really much higher, crime and murder rates because they are targeted as possibly doing crime by existing and constantly surveiled for crime, because the cops make up criminal offenses for black and brown people as ordered by higher ups to make justifying ticket quotas. White people call the cops on black and brown people all the time for like, using the public bathroom, and they don’t for white people.

      Once corralled by police, black people are at least 3 times more likely to be arrested and charged than a white person (5 times more in a place like Chicago.) And if they’re arrested, they get higher fees or bail that they can’t pay and sit in jails in just detention for months and even years; they are 3 times more likely to be convicted of the offense than white people; and most of all they are 3 times more likely to go to jail as their sentence while white people get issued probation, community service and other non-incarceration sentences that clear their record and don’t make them a convicted felon who then can’t get a job or may not be able to vote. So the white people’s “crimes” count for less because a systematically racist justice system (adding on top massive racist corruption in Chicago,) says that white people have not committed crimes that are, remarkably, crimes when supposedly committed by black people.

      A black person will get jail time for an error, like accidentally voting in the wrong district. A white person will get probation, acquittal or a fine — if they even get prosecuted for it. And even before that, in schools, black kids are beaten by school cops, given detention and punishments, suspended, expelled and arrested for actions white students aren’t punished for. So yes, black crime stats are higher, because we pretend that black people commit a lot more crime than white people do. It’s not a matter of them purely being in poor neighborhoods with fewer options and poor schools (because again poor urban whites commit more crime than poor urban black people.) It’s because we criminalize them early with the justice system and run the school to prison pipeline for them. They aren’t choosing to run that pipeline themselves. They are pushed into it by the justice system on frequently flimsy excuses that often boil down to supposedly disrespecting white people/cops.

      This has all been extensively documented and studied. Right wingers cherry pick stats and ignore the rest, just as they ignored that white looters and window breakers were not being arrested by cops in the cities dealing with protests, but black people were being arrested for standing near stores on suspicion of looting. White protesters who were beaten by cops simply for protesting or from being kettled repeatedly report that the black protesters were beaten twice as hard and as often by the cops and arrested/detained/cuffed more often. Black people are criminalized and prosecuted for being black while white people skate — and pass on the blame for stuff they do to black people. (The guy they’ve arrested for helping to set fire to that Minneapolis police precinct? A young white guy who also stole equipment out of the building. He’s probably not a protester and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s from out of the city and a white supremacist agitator to boot. )

      But what about the black on black murder rates being slightly higher than white on white murder rates? What about black people committing 50% of the murders in the U.S. despite only being 13% of the population? Surely that shows that black people are just more murderous. But again the proportion of black people within the 13% of black Americans who murder is less than 1% and not that much higher than the proportion of white people within the white population who murder. And the reality is that there are a lot of murders white people commit that aren’t counted as murder for white folk (but are if they’re black, again thanks to a systemically racist justice system.) Domestic violence “accidents,” traffic “accidents,” arguments that escalated, etc., aren’t necessarily ever charged as murder, much less convicted for it, if a white person, especially a white man, does them. If a white woman shoots a violent partner or other attacker in self-defense, she may avoid a murder charge as self-defense. A black woman is much less likely to avoid arrest for murder for the same action. Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend was charged with attempted murder because he fired a warning shot at intruders. If the movement hadn’t sought justice in the case, he would have gone to trial and likely jail. And black people routinely get accused and convicted of murders they didn’t do and it can take years to get them out of jail (the Innocence Project.)

      Ahmaud Arbery was chased, beaten and murdered in broad daylight by white men who were not charged with murder or even manslaughter thanks to the racist justice system in the county. If one of them hadn’t taped the lynching and it got out, they still would have never been charged. Trayvon Martin was chased, beaten and shot in broad daylight by a man who was then not charged due to a self-defense excuse, and would never have been charged if civil rights activists hadn’t pressed the case. He was then acquitted — not a murder stat. How many murders of black people by non-blacks, by white people, aren’t counted as murders? A lot. How many murders in general aren’t counted because white people did them? A lot. The surveys of known data and scientific estimates from them are unpleasant.

      And then there are the cops, who are still majority white, and who disproportionately kill black and brown people, including unarmed ones, as they shoot several thousand Americans a year. But those are only the official shooting deaths that police and FBI are willing to release to the public. They won’t release a lot of other data. They don’t release figures on non-shooting murders like George Floyd, or off-duty killings by cops. How many “accidental” deaths from “pre-existing conditions” in police custody aren’t being counted. How many supposed suicides like Sandra Bland? Chavis Carter was arrested for possessing cannabis and an outstanding warrant while his white friends with him were not. He was allowed to call his girlfriend to arrange to be picked up at the prison when he got out from being arrested. He was searched for weapons twice, handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car. A bullet through his right temple (he was left handed) killed him and there was a gun nearby him. Cops claimed he had somehow hidden the gun, got it out and used it while handcuffed and that it was a suicide, and that’s what the courts ruled as well. Thousands and thousands of cases that are suspicious and not counted.

      But when the justice system thinks it can charge a black person (who isn’t a cop at least) with murder? They are charged with murder. Scientists have been trying to gather clearer data for a long time, especially on cops who don’t want to provide it. But even with the definite stats we have, the rates of black crime and black murder are clearly inflated by the system and court decisions while the rates for white people are clearly and deliberately lessened. Which is how we have lots of white people breaking windows, setting fires and looting — on video no less — and yet black people protesting get blamed and more frequently arrested for it. Even when it doesn’t happen, they get blamed on a lie. Police claimed a jewelry store was robbed of millions in Rolex watches by protesters. In reality, the store only got a few windows broken and lost no stock. Because the aim is to delegitamize the protest and the complaint of it — black civil rights and justice system reform. Even if someone concedes that it might be white people causing some damage (or that the current efforts to destroy racist statues has merit,) we still get the white people should arm themselves and shoot black protesters or whoever they decide are looters to save buildings philosophy.

      I mentioned the one small town in Oregon that due to a Facebook rumor had white supremacists with guns out to harass protesters and threaten everyone in their diligent search for buses of “antifa” which they decided they’d scared off. It’s apparently been happening in small towns all over the country. The white people believe it, even though it’s ridiculous, for the same reason they believed the first black president was sending the military in under cover of the Jade military exercises to take over their “white” towns — because they want a black enemy to shoot and prove white supremacy — and their status as righteous warriors from it — will prevail to protect “their” property.

      https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/antifa-rumors-george-floyd-protests

      Meanwhile the Trump administration is refusing to tell anyone who they gave 500 billion to in corona bailout money after having refused to have any Congressional oversight on the distributions and firing any inspector general who was investigating what they are doing. But the really important thing is that windows were broken in insured buildings near where black people are protesting for their rights. One isn’t considered a crime or out of control. The other is painted as a civilization devastating threat. In Seattle, a protest zone was established and police forced to stand down from it. It’s turned into a festival of poetry, music, speeches and kids chalk painting. But the right wing is claiming that Seattle is a war zone of rioting.

      Chicago’s murder and crime rates have been declining for nearly thirty years. But their police budget has increased and increased and they’ve become more militarized for no reason except to justify that budget. Community services, trade school training and other non-gun, non-cop methods have been directly measured as responsible for much of the crime drop — and black organizations have been major players in it. The guns in Chicago are brought in from rural Illinois, which is majority white. The cops are still notoriously and openly corrupt in the city and target black people disproportionately. But the media happily covered Trump’s claim that Chicago was a war zone of black and Latino gangs long before the protests, to shore up his racist white base, without media bothering to check facts. But yeah sure, lets go with racist myths to justify white people stocking up on guns. Not that they even really need one, but it helps with them seeing themselves as again righteous warriors saving “their” towns and neighborhoods.

      It’s very hard to get people who have made it a part of their identities of the fallacy that they are the good people who need guns to be the protectors in whatever disaster may come, that this belief is the core of bigoted repression and violence. It’s very hard to convince them that the cops are targeting and oppressing black people in their name, including making stuff up (like slashing tires) and massive violence and criminalization of black people — even when they have the stats that show it and see the evidence right on video tape, (see all the kneeling on neck demonstrations mocking George Floyd’s death that white people are doing.) It’s very easy to get them to believe that black people and antifa allies are headed on buses to take over their podunk towns or that half a city has burned down due to black people. Because one worldview makes them gun-toting heroes. The other — reality — makes them assholes using supposed crime and mayhem to pursue armed autocracy. Which would you rather be? So that’s what they choose.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. A thought I had recently is that conservatives believe comforting lies about the past and liberals believe comforting lies about the future.

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  16. “the signature liberal fault is the Orwellian belief that controlling people’s language is the way to bring about change,”

    I missed this in cross-posting. That’s a crock accusation and you know it. I’m sorry now I bothered with one last post. It’s a waste of breath.

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    1. If I believed it was a crock accusation I wouldn’t have said it. There are any number of examples of liberals advocating for changes in terminology. “Illegal alien” to “undocumented immigrant”. “Handicapped” to “disabled” to “differently abled”. “Retarded” to “mentally handicapped” to “mentally challenged”. A rotating set of terms for darker-skinned Americans of African descent. “Hispanic” to “Latino/Latina” to “Latinx”. “Women” to “people who menstruate”. “Bums” to “the homeless”. “Miss/Mrs.” to “Ms.”.

      And it’s not just people choosing to use the new terms because they believe those terms better reflect reality. Once those people decide on the new language, use of the old language becomes a means for them to attack the unrepentant users.

      Now, the fact that the process is Orwellian does not make either the process or its outcome inherently wrong, it just describes the process. In many cases it works out fine – “Ms.” is preferable to the alternatives, for example. The signature *flaw* is the belief that forcing the language change will alter hearts and minds in the direction that the promulgators of the newspeak term would prefer, or at least that it will do so quickly. People who deplore illegal aliens aren’t going to be moved by having the illegal aliens be called undocumented immigrants. Racists aren’t going to become less racist by having the objects of their animus called African-Americans rather than Negroes. Deplatforming Tom Cotton and Andrew Sullivan isn’t going to change anyone’s mind about what the response to riots should be.

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      1. Mr Rosen, you are clearly an up-to-date and well-informed person, so now I can only conclude that you enjoy trying to provoke “the libs”, or sealioning, both of which are tiresome, time-wasting and kind of childish TBH.

        Language is a contested space linked to power. Always has been, always will be. There is nothing new or ideologically specific about that. Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich, and Frank Luntz are just two well known Republican messaging guys from the late 20th c. But explicit recognition of the power of naming can be found as far back as Genesis 2:20-21 when humankind was given dominion over animals by the act of naming them.

        You know perfectly well that it was the Republican Governor of Florida who banned any state document or employee from using the term “climate change” and “global warming.” You know perfectly well that it was Congressional Republicans in 2003 who passed an act gutting regulations on polluters and pollutants and called it “the clear skies act.” You remember perfectly well who framed debates by introducing and hammering on terms “welfare queen”, “death panels”, “death tax” (instead of estate tax), and “states’ rights”.

        So, yeah, tiresome.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. People who deplore illegal aliens aren’t going to be moved by having the illegal aliens be called undocumented immigrants. Racists aren’t going to become less racist by having the objects of their animus called African-Americans rather than Negroes.

        I was going to stay out of this, but this is simply too much.

        It is entirely irrelevant how the deplorables, as Hillary Clinton so aptly put it, feel about any of the terms on your list. Racists etc are gonna racist. It is relevant, however, that the harm being brought upon the various groups is mitigated by societal disapproval of the hurtful terms (or failing that, in our modern era, the power of Twitter blowups). A lot of your list came from the affected groups, who stood up to say, “Hey, this term hurts us. Please stop using it and use this term instead.” I don’t give a crap about anyone throwing a hissy fit because they can’t say the n-word anymore, or call mentally challenged persons r*****s. I care that they know the consequences that will fall on their heads if they say that, and stop saying it.

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  17. A comforting lie is better than a hurtful truth? Perhaps. But I think one reason the words keep changing is that the truth exists regardless of what you make people say, and because of that, the new word soon becomes just as hurtful as the old, because everyone knows what it really means. Whether he’s a bum or one of the homeless, no one looks kindly at the reeking man with his bundles sleeping on the subway taking up a full row of seats.

    Meanwhile, here’s Matt Taibbi on the unwillingness of liberals to allow truth to be spoken to power, when they have the power: https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-news-media-is-destroying-itself He’s got pretty solid liberal bona fides, so it says a lot that he’s deserting the sinking ship.

    The thing is, despite all the posturing and the circular firing squads, the only people being fooled, whether it’s liberals or conservatives, are the ones so deep in epistemic closure that they’re unreachable. Everyone else sees that the emperor is naked and no one is shy about saying it, but the people locked in keep talking about the fine cut of his suit.

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    1. Congratulations on moving away from your exceptionally bad take re the relative value of human lives and property, and into your exceptionally bad take re the power of language.Via, of course, the bad take of “we need more guns to solve gun violence.”

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      1. We do not “need more guns to solve gun violence.” We need guns when the government does not provide the protection for people and property that they are supposed to offer in exchange for people not using guns to to protect themselves. You are free to value human life more than *your* property, but you are not free to extend that generosity to property that isn’t yours, or at least not be surprised when some of those property owners demur in accepting your valuation.

        My take on language is that liberals paper over unpleasant truths through euphemisms in order to make good social policies more palatable, while conservatives invent terms to emphasize or invent unpleasant truths in attempts to derail them. Liberals invent “undocumented immigrants” and conservatives invent “welfare queens.” Liberals call for “affirmative action” and conservatives decry “racial preferences.” Instead of a way to communicate, language is just another front in the culture wars.

        One thing is certain – no problem can be solved if the people who want to solve it are unwilling to follow facts wherever they might lead, and instead simply seek to implement ideology. Liberals don’t have any problem deciding that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. They need to apply the same analysis to their own pet theories. Lee Fang tried to talk about the problem of gun violence, and liberals turned on him in rabid rage. Being liberal himself, he abased himself to try to get their forgiveness, but half our country isn’t liberal, so they just point and laugh.

        And finally, if liberals actually think that a policy of “those poor people have been so put upon, we’re not going to stop them from rioting, or even let it be criticized” is a winning argument, they are going to be extremely surprised at the ballot box. They have so far been extremely lucky that the rioting ended quickly. If the latest police killing of a black man in Atlanta stirs it up again, the New York Times suppressing Tom Cotton’s op-ed piece isn’t going to make sending in troops to quell the violence any less attractive to lots of Americans.

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