I recently posted this on my Facebook wall:
Monuments to the Confederacy have no place in public squares but protesters destroying them is similar logic to mailing bombs.
I had three people voice dissent concerning my premise. One friend wrote:
I disagree. There’s a vast difference between targeting humans and targeting statuary.
While another said:
One is done under the cloak of secrecy the other is done in full view of the public.
One is done to cause pain and injury to innocent people, the other is done to remove a pain set upon a people.
I see nothing similar.
The third friend simply agreed with friend number two’s assertions. Of course, they’re wrong and I’m right.
I don’t disagree with their assertions. There is a difference in degree between targeting humans and targeting a symbol. Additionally, destroying a symbol of hate, an implied premise from friend number two with which I agree, is different than targeting people for pain, injury, disfigurement and possible death. I am just shy of a pacifist, meaning that I believe violence is only justified under clear and present danger to self or other, anything else is vigilantism and that’s exactly what both the bomber(s) and the social-justice vandal(s) are employing; vigilantism.
George Zimmerman is a well-known vigilante. In 2012 he used lethal force against Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen whom Zimmerman viewed as a threat. The Ku Klux Klan is another well-known vigilante group who used extra-judicial measures to, in their minds, ensure the peace and wellbeing in the South amidst the overwhelming social upheaval and lawlessness that plagued the former Confederacy following the war of rebellion that haunted the USA from 1861 through 1865. Zimmerman and the Klan weren’t acting in self-defense, they were acting outside the law in attempts to make their surroundings “better,” and this, theoretically, is exactly what both the bomber(s) and Vandal(s) are doing: They are using violence in an attempt to make their surroundings “better.”
Monuments to the Confederacy have no place in our public squares because the values of the Confederacy are anathema to equality and portraying the traitors that rebelled against the Union as heroes is laughable. We need to remove the monuments lauding the traitors and replace them with plaques enumerating their sins. This needs to be done, but as the monuments provide no clear and present danger then the vandal(s) that choose to destroy them are using the logic of vigilantism.
Vote for the monuments’ removal or vote out the callous scalawags who insist that the symbols of hatred be revered, but do not take the law into our own hands and expect applause rather than consequence as this is the logic of vigilantism and NEVER is violence warranted unless it is employed to defend self or other against clear and present danger.
When we accept and laud violent acts done in the name of causes with which we agree then we normalize violence and perpetuate the cycle of hatred and disrespect that currently grips our nation. Civil disobedience is our right but violence in the name of justice is the drumbeat of hatred reigning supreme in a land where civil liberties are enshrined in our Constitution.
We must not equate ire for righteousness nor normalize violence as a political tool.