An Overlooked Lesson

     I’ve written to this effect on several occasions:

     Nevertheless, the idea isn’t sinking in very widely. I suppose that’s just the consequence of a small readership. All the same, it’s somewhat depressing.

     “But what’s the lesson?” I hear you ask. Aha! You haven’t been paying attention either, have you? It’s that success breeds emulators. That is: If you and yours succeed at gaining what you seek by doing some specific thing, others who notice (and who seek the same goal or something comparable) will copy your example. That process will grow exponentially until: 1) there’s no one left to copy you, or: 2) someone comes up with a countermeasure.

     This applies perfectly to open violence.


     This Revolver article is very much on point:

     It is a summer day in the United States, so naturally Minneapolis is on the brink of boiling over.
     The latest ugly mess is the death of Andrew Tekle Sundberg. To summarize it quickly: Sundberg began shooting into the apartment of his neighbor, then when she called 911 fired on police as well. This led to a six-hour standoff which ended when a police sniper shot Sundberg dead.
     That’s too bad, but as they say, play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Shoot at your neighbors and shoot at cops and nobody should shed a tear when you get shot yourself.
     At least, that’s how it is in any sane land. But Minneapolis, Minnesota is not a sane land. So instead of lauding the snipers who removed a deadly danger from the community, it was time for another round of protests. And the chief target, of course, was the woman Sundberg attempted to kill.

     Please read the whole thing. No one in his right mind genuinely regrets the death of this Sundberg character. Given the facts above, he deserved to die. That he was put down by a police sniper should occasion nothing more than a grunted “Good.” But this is America in the Year of Our Lord 2022, where the death of a black felon at police hands is considered justification for rioting, looting, and vandalism, especially in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

     If it seems to you that the police can’t win in a situation such as that one – that had they refrained from intervening out of fear of provoking another riot, they would have been pilloried for it and blamed for the death and destruction Sundberg caused – you would be exactly correct. It’s a wonder more police haven’t gone completely insane…or completely rogue. Much of the public is braced for those developments. But I digress.

     In Minneapolis, and in several other cities, when the police kill a black man, the consequences include several days of rioting. Various groups with an interest in rioting have noticed. The original ones, which first played the race-riot card over violent felon George Floyd, were swiftly and severally emulated – so many times that I can no longer remember all the names. At this point some of those groups’ leaders probably pray for such police killings. There’s money to be made from them.

     The editors of Revolver are clear-eyed about the necessary countermeasure:

     Whatever the reason for Minneapolis’s fall, it is important to understand what it shows: The suicide of America’s cities is not a rational process. The “racial reckoning” demanded by the Minneapolis activist class immediately devastated the city and sent it into a tailspin. This was not slowly cooking the frog; the frog was dumped right into a boiling cauldron. There is no saving and no salvaging the most committed believers of the modern liberal cult. They will not reform, they will not learn, they will not change course. They can only be beaten into submission.

     In other words, the countermeasure is counter-violence: an overt and unrestrained violent response to the rioters and looters. It cannot aim at arrests and trials. It cannot be a measured attempt to bring anyone to “justice.” It must achieve a degree of bloodshed sufficient that anyone who contemplates emulating them is deterred by the probable consequences. Most people, no matter how rapaciously amoral, would rather live another day than chance being killed over their ersatz outrage.

     Public peace and social stability cannot be restored by anything less. The gains reaped by the George Floyd rioters and their many emulators have rendered a “measured” response pointless. Yet there is a downside. An effective response would create a state of affairs in which vigilantism could flourish. While there are many flaws in the “public” system of law enforcement and justice, Americans aren’t enthusiastic about private citizens taking matters into their own hands.

     Whatever might happen, the authorities who reacted so cringingly to the rioters to date will be to blame for all of it.


     We have been passive in the face of open violence. We have reaped the foreseeable consequences: every half-assed excuse for a riot now results in one. That the excuse is race-based far more often than not is itself worthy of contemplation, but for the moment let that be to the side.

     Were the fawning politicians and the spineless police commanders aware of what would flow from their passivity and inaction? Perhaps. It should be turned into a warning to their successors: Behave this way again, and we will regard you as complicit in what follows. But in this too, there be dragons. Dictators have risen from chaos such as what our cities have suffered:

     “Even the iron hand of a national dictator is preferable to a paralytic stroke.” – Alf Landon, governor of Kansas and 1936 candidate for President, in a letter to newly elected president Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933

     “If this nation ever needed a Mussolini, it needs one now.” – David Reed, United States Senator of Pennsylvania, on the floor of the Senate, 1933

     If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we cannot merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective. We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at a larger good. This I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.

     With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.

     [Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933]

     Let there not be two deadly overlooked lessons.


    • Waidmann on August 1, 2022 at 11:54 AM

    If I understand your point correctly, if/when the rioters hit the streets following the shooting of this Andrew Tekle Sundberg character (or someone/somewhere like him), the police will probably do nothing.  No arrests will be made and the police will stand around watching.  If a vigilante crowd or team(s) open fire on the rioters with deadly intent, and perhaps kill a dozen or so, what makes you think the police/FBI won’t dedicate every recourse at their disposal into finding, arresting and making examples of the vigilante(s)?  And if that happens, what makes you think the vigilantes won’t then start shooting and killing the police/FBI guys?  You have to remember, the police are tacitly on the side of the looters/rioters.   I think this may be why “Americans aren’t enthusiastic about private citizens taking matters into their own hands”.  They don’t expect law-abiding behavior from bad guys; but they do demand it from good guys.

    1. If the police don’t mount such a response to the next series of riots, the probability that a private response of that sort — private citizens wielding their own firearms — rises higher. It’s already risen somewhat, especially in the wake of the Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal. People will eventually snap, as I said in the piece below this one. The determinant will be the degree of anger at the riots, which are being professionally engineered, and contempt at the police, which are behaving spinelessly, whether out of indifference, cowardice, or orders from above. And yes: the “forces of order” could be on citizens’ target list at that point.

      You don’t have to like it. I don’t. But the social dynamic is moving in that direction. And should we get there, the political class and the “forces of order” will be to blame.

      1. All of what you say is implied in the mantra LIVE AND LET LIVE. Thems that don’t won’t.

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