Home / Still No Arrest in the BART Police Shooting Death of Oscar Grant

Still No Arrest in the BART Police Shooting Death of Oscar Grant

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Bay Area Rapid Transit officers were dispatched to the Fruitvale Station in Oakland, California at about 2:00 a.m. on New Year's day to break up an altercation between two groups of passengers aboard an arriving train. Officers detained some passengers involved in the conflict on the station platform. Among these was Oscar Juliuss Grant III, a 22-year-old Hayward man. Grant was an apprentice butcher at a supermarket. A caring father whose own estranged father was in prison, Grant was raised by his mother and grandmother. BART officials did not release any details regarding the disturbance between the groups of youths on the train.

Witness videos, posted to YouTube and sent to media outlets, captured events from at least three different angles of the shooting. This video shows Grant lying face down on the station platform. We see an officer's knee pinning Grant down at the neck. A second officer, Johannes Mehserle, appears to be trying to handcuff Grant, while a third officer watches. Suddenly, Mehserle stands, unholsters his weapon, aims, and shoots Grant in the back.

[Warning: All videos show the actual shooting death of Oscar Grant]


Police attempted, but failed, to confiscate all witness video. Karina Vargas, a witness who recorded the shooting, boarded the train just before the doors closed. A female officer banged on the doors attempting to retrieve Vargas' recording. Vargas refused and later released the video to the media. Vargas was interviewed and walks a reporter through events in her video. "I see that the cop starts… they start hitting them. So, I realize that this is not okay… He's being cooperative. But yet they still… they yell at him… You see them lay him down, flat on his belly. He's [the officer] hitting him [Grant] at that point. You just see the two police officers on top of him. He's flat on his belly. I'm looking at his face, lying flat on the floor. He's not squirming. He's not fidgeting. He's being cooperative… You hear the gunshot."

In the clearest video the shooting is only somewhat visible. But prior to the shooting, we hear the passengers in the train become upset and shout to the police. This may be the point where Vargas said, "…they start hitting them."

Witnesses said Grant advised his friends to cooperate with the police. Oscar Grant also apparently attempted to personalize himself to the officers, much like the victim of a crime might appeal to an aggressor. According to witnesses he made pleas for his safety, telling the officers he has a four-year-old daughter.

BART official Jim Allison stated that the Fruitvale Station cameras were not equipped to record. This claim was recanted two days later, when officials then said that the camera tapes were running, but did not pick up any of the details of the shooting.

Police found no weapons on anyone involved in the incident. Grant was pronounced dead at the hospital at 9:13 a.m., according to the coroner.

Could Oscar Grant Have Been Handcuffed Before He Was Shot?

According to early news reports, witness accounts indicated Grant was handcuffed and lying face down on the platform when he was shot. Jim Allison said, "…the officer's gun went off while police were trying to restrain Grant and that Grant was not cuffed." John Burris, the civil rights attorney for the family, has recently stated that, according to witness statements, Oscar Grant was not handcuffed before he was shot. Burris says witnesses said the officers handcuffed Grant after he was shot and then later removed the handcuffs prior to the arrival of the media. The lawyer's statement makes it seem unlikely that Grant was handcuffed first. Yet, YouTube video posters have attempted to show evidence that Grant was handcuffed before he was shot. One points out that Grant's arms remain behind his back during and after the bullet's impact and perhaps even as Grant is being moved by police after the shooting.

Oakland Riots

Officer Mehserle was placed on paid leave after the shooting. He later resigned from his position and refused to be interviewed by BART investigators. No news accounts have reported that Mehserle has been questioned yet by any of the investigators, including the District Attorney's office and the Oakland police, who were requested to investigate by Mayor Ron Dellums on January 8.

Peaceful demonstrators gathered to march in Oakland on January 7 in protest of Grant's death and the failure of police to arrest Mehserle. Crowds chanted, "We are all Oscar Grant." Later that evening anger flared. Some protesters attacked a police vehicle, breaking the windows, and making what looked like an attempt to flip it over. A garbage dumpster was set aflame. Some stores and cars were damaged. Mayor Dellums appeared on the street offering assurances and support to some peaceful participants. Oscar Grant's family has called for an end to any violence.

Tom Orloff, the District Attorney for Alameda County, said that the decision about whether Mehserle will be charged is pending the investigation, which is still ongoing.

Saturday, January 10, California Attorney General Jerry Brown entered the case after speaking with the N.A.A.C.P. He assigned a special prosecutor to monitor the investigation. "There’s an ancient saying that justice must not only be done but must also appear to be done,” Brown said.

Oscar Grant leaves behind his little girl, to whom he was devoted. "After his daughter was born four years ago, [he]…kept on driving around with two huge pink flags on his car that proclaimed, 'It's a girl,' until the material disintegrated."

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  • Cindy D

    Here is the train view. It’s blurrier, but it’s narrated by a reporter and you can see the officer who kills Grant from a more visible angle.

    It’s an important view to see.

  • Cindy,

    Get that website (sorry, copy onto browser address, still have problem with links).
    Anyway, it’s my neck of the woods; Fruitvale, Oakland, just a stone’s throw from Alameda.
    Thisis an account from East Bay Express, an alternative press, weekly publication, from Berkeley. I’ll provide you shortly with local papers and local coverage.
    Good job.

  • This isn’t politics.

  • Cindy,

    Here’s another one, from Oakland Post Newspapers, Oakland, one of the first black-owned newspapers in the country, started in the 60s by Mr. Berkley.
    Used to work there and write op-ed pieces for them.
    More to come,

  • I guess they should have put you in a different section, Cindy. Let me see, Culture? Nope!
    Come to think, we have no category for your subject matter. Out of luck again. Sorry!

  • Cindy D

    It is about police oppression. police are part of the state.

  • Cindy D

    In my world the state is politics. It’s very political. How the cop isn’t even arrested yet or even questioned.

    How can civil rights not be politics?

  • Cindy D

    Gee, even Dave didn’t say that. Now I will be thinking of how open minded Dave is.

  • Cindy D

    you lived in san francisco right?

  • Cindy,

    Just look up at the local rag, Alameda Sun. No mention of Oscar Grant. Interestingly, though. It’s a bedroom community and virtually no crime except for small shit. All of a sudden, they have a rash of homicides. The sign of the times?
    But in the neighboring Oakland, of course, it’s almost an everyday occurrence.

  • Cindy,
    There IS hope for him.

  • Cindy D

    Unbelievable it doesn’t mention him.

  • Cindy D

    who dave?

    i’m getting quite a lot of respect for dave lately.

  • Cindy D

    police matthew are required in a political system that includes a centralized state. police are a part of that entity. part of that which enforces it.

  • Come to think of it.
    What if you were covering events in Johannensburg during the height of apartheid? Police matters wouldn’t qualify, I bet, for inclusion in the Politics section. The’d be listed most likely under “Petty Crimes” or some such section of police blotter.

  • This isn’t politics.

    It mentions Ron Dellums and Jerry Brown – what could be more political than that?

    As for this incident, it makes me wonder just how much training BART police have. If they’re like other transit cops they’re the police force’s rejects – often for psychological reason – and get a short version of police training, and probably shouldn’t be trusted with a gun at all.


  • Cindy D

    Dave 🙂

  • The difference, though, Cindy is – it’s just one person, and one person doesn’t make a crowd. You need police brutality on a truly massive scale for it to count as a major event. No?

  • Cindy D


    But it is on a massive scale. I wrote about this example. Here, I’ll show you. I suppose I already see it as widespread. So, I didn’t think to include that information for people who wouldn’t necessarily see that. Okay, that helpful. I’m getting a link.

  • Shame on you, Cindy. You usurped first place in the Politics section by sneaking up on me like that. (Reference to your smug remark to Dan Miller on my own thread.)

  • I was only being facetious, Cindy! As I said earlier though a comment or two ago, it’s a daily occurrence in Oakland. People are used to it there and don’t care. Life is cheap, especially if you’re in the flatlands, West Oakland, and other ghetto areas, especially if you’re black. It is a real problem.

  • Cindy,

    It’s almost impossible to imagine how things have deteriorated in parts of the Bay Area over the last twenty years. There are parts of Oakland, and a whole section of Richmond (North Richmond, in fact) where police won’t even come in: entire areas and neighborhoods are run by drug lords, and they control the territory. Everyone sort of works for them. And that’s in spite of the fact that there is a black church on almost every other corner, to match, I suppose an equal number of liquor stores. It’s a city of blight, no hope whatsoever, just drug dealing. These kids have no future, and nothing is being done to change that.
    You need some major overhaul, God knows what, to turn this situation around. It’s a way of life, and everyone accepts that.

  • Cindy D

    Well, okay so technically, it’s justice or law.

    But, I will find it hard to write anything on this site that anyone would want to read.

    Okay, so here are the Seattle videos:

    This is only a few of the worst of Seattle alone.

    More Seattle cases

  • Cindy D


    They have all these elite proactive police teams. They are supposed to stop crimes before they happen. What do you imagine stopping crimes before they happen would entail?

    They have been removed from some cities because they harass and brutalize people who haven’t even committed any crimes.

  • The first one is a good site, Cindy; the second one temporarily disabled.
    But why do you think you have to apologize for anything? It’s a very good piece of investigative reporting (second in the row), and you’re very good at it.
    So perhaps write a little commentary about it as a follow up: e.g., what can be done, what are to socio-economic-political conditions which perpetuate these situations, things of that sort.

  • Cindy D

    RE # 22

    That’s why they get these elite police teams. But they are trained to act with excessive independent and force. They often proactively end up creating situations in which they can use their training.

  • Cindy D

    I have dozens and dozens of cases for all over the country. It’s pretty frightening.

  • Cindy D


    Here is the deal. I can write at the end of the article. Get rid of the state. And that is how it is political. It would get boring to people here to write that every time.

    By the way. The taxpayer is paying that cop’s defense.

  • Cindy D

    This is to me an example of what is wrong with a Republic or a Democracy. To them it’s just law or justice. To me it’s about the political system and how it is defended. And what horrors are needed to defend it.

  • Well, see again “The Minority Report.” I think the message is pretty clear, so I don’t even want to go there. But crime on any large scale (and I don’t mean organized crime) is an index of the disease of a society. There’s got to be a future people must believe in, and real opportunities, if they’re to follow the rules. Now, Richmond, CA, you must know, was the seat of the Black Panthers in the 60s; so at least then, there was a strong political undercurrent. At present moment, there’s nothing of the kind. The Civil Rights have been won, but the white society failed to deliver. That’s the mindset, whether I agree with it or not. So all you’ve got is crime.

  • Cindy D

    People were rioting to change the system.

  • Cindy D

    The community demanded a hearing with the mayor. They filled the room and demanded action.

    I should have included that.

  • Cindy D

    I’ll try globalization.

  • I suggest, Cindy, that you should contact the publisher of the Oakland Post Newspaper Group and that of Oakland Globe. They’re black owned and operated, and I’m certain they’d respond to your questions and perhaps give you a personal scoop on these events, especially appertaining to Oakland. I know some of these people and they came up from the ranks. Ask about Charles Aikens. He may be working for these papers or not, but they’d know how to get hold of him. He used to write very radical pieces way back, too radical even for black newspapers, but that was a long time ago. And he is of an anarchistic state of mind but very well thought-through; very well educated and very well read. If you do manage to connect with him, mention me: he’d still remember me from the old times. But you can’t just say, “Let’s do away with the State” and leave it at that. Even anarchistic thought has rhyme and reason to it.

  • Cindy D


    I was being brief and to the point. That is the end goal.

  • Cindy D


    Are you sure I shouldn’t call and tell him that? LOL

    maybe I will ask him how to make a molotov cocktail then instead?

  • Cindy D

    I’ll say you sent me.

  • #31, yes, they were rioting to change the system but not in the sense you’re thinking. They still believe in “American values,” only that its a two-tier system and they are the second or third class as citizens and people. And so the whites protect property values and personal life by putting polic on the street, while the value of a black life counts for naught. That’s the injustice and double standard they see and respond to.

  • They wouldn’t remember, unless you get hold of Gail Berkley who used to be the editor for her dad’s old paper, which had been bought out by another party. But I would start with the piece you just wrote for BC, forward it to them, and say that you want to do a follow-up, by digging deeper. They should respond to that. Anyway, it’s worth a try.

  • Cindy D

    Most of them yes. But a few voices were different–the minority.

    I read some of their personal writings.

  • Canada

    I am from vancouver, bc and i must say as a Canadian i am digusted with the police officers i think that the one who did should get the death penalty and no less he didnt just shoot him he excuted a young man with a daughter and family he should be killed for what he did

  • Cindy D

    He didn’t even get question or arrested yet Canada. Not even questioned.

    Because he quit the BART he has no obligation to answer their questions about the job. Which is why his lawyer likely told him to quit. The law says He only has to do that if he is employed there.

    He does have to answer criminally. But so far no one is moving on that.

  • Canada,

    I lived in the Bay Area for 30 some years (SF) and in Oakland and neighboring area for 15 of that 30. This is nothing new. Every couple of months or so you have episodes of that nature, public rises us, and soon after, everyone forgets. Until another incident wakes ’em up again. And it makes no difference who is the mayor, Jerry Brown or Ron Dellums. They just won’t do anything about these conditions and give people anything to cheer about. Life goes on!

  • Cindy D

    Well we have the economic crises to continue to add motivation for change.

  • Cindy,
    I’ll be checking out for today. Don’t be discouraged. Very nice work of investigative reporting. Just make some conclusions at the end, or in a follow-up. May I suggest a classic movie with Clark Gable (a newspaper man) and Doris Day (a journalist teacher), “Teacher’s Pet.” There’s a line there you wouldn’t want to miss, so I ain’t telling it. It’s a fun movie, anyway. You’ll enjoy it if you haven’t seen it already.


  • Cindy D

    Good night.

    Not discouraged. Just been up oh about 36 hours now.

  • #44,

    You’re right about that. If the whites be hurting as well, there may well be widespread riots. And they’ll probably invade the Oakland Hills where the rich folks live, and Berkeley Hills, and Kensington, and El Cerrito. So Dave may have been right in his article about guns.
    Checking out, Roger

  • Me too. There was a lot of editing before my piece made it though. It’s done at last and I feel like I’ve given birth. Great sense of release. Manana

  • Marcia Neil

    Isn’t old dynamite pink, and there’s been finds in the news during past weeks?

  • Doug Hunter

    “People were rioting to change the system.”

    It’s not the system that needs changing, it’s the ghetto culture that permeates our inner cities. In order for a society to prosper ‘the system’ must be complementary to the culture and values of the people. Different people thrive under different systems. The root of the problem is that the government the ghetto needs is not the same government everyone else in this country needs or wants.

  • Cindy,

    Here’s another would-be link to yet another local Oakland paper, the Globe, black owned. Christopher Rose, the comments editor was kind enough to convert two previous references to links; perhaps it’ll get done this time as well.

    Anyone, why don’t you give the HTML code so I could do it myself within this or any other thread. Would you?


  • Also, you’ll find a referral there to another site, “A Stirring the Pot Minute” which is a blog site by activists and local residents, commenting on this event.

  • Here’s another one for you, Cindy. It made a big splash a few years back; and it’s another view to add to your list of what’s wrong:

    Editor’s Murder Shows Failure of Tolerance
    Posted Aug 7, 07 2:47 PM CDT in Arts & Living, Crime & Courts, US
    (Newser) – The notoriously irreligious Christopher Hitchens decries the Oakland police’s tolerance of Your Black Muslim Bakery, one of whose employees has been arrested for the murder of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey. In an op-ed for Slate Hitchens writes that the bakery is in fact a front for jihadism and that Bay Area law enforcement is guilty of “official apathy— amounting to collusion.”

    Hitchens chides the police for reluctance to investigate an enterprise whose associates have been accused of rape and murder. And he charges that black leaders such as Oakland mayor Ron Dellums and Rep. Barbara Lee have validated black Muslim racism and criminality. Hitchens wonders just how much the police would countenance: “Should we wait until unveiled women are attacked on the street?”
    SOURCE: Slate

  • Hi Roger, learning how to format a link properly is the first thing anyone should learn to do. This site will show you how to format a link and lots of other groovy tricks with HTML.

  • Thanks. I’ll take a nap now since I got up too early.

  • Thanks for the video. I answered on the other thread.

  • I replied on my thread, Cindy

  • Just wondering how you’re doing, Cindy? Are you recouping?

  • Cindy D

    I am at the factory Roger,

    We have a very important job to do today, that cannot be done from home.

    See the “What’s worse than the U.S. Economy” thread.

  • Later, then!

  • Steve

    That murdering pig is still walking around breathing free air, eh? And we’re supposed to fall all over ourselves in grief when one of these Stormtroopers get their facsist brains blown out like it’s some national tragedy? Please.

    Why isn’t this fucker in jail? Why didn’t the other cops involved draw down on their buddy when he shot someone for no reason, and arrest him? Why isn’t he being treated like any other low-life murderer?

  • Steve

    [Entire comment deleted by Comments Editor. People can chat as much as they want about anything they want to.]

  • Hey, Steve.

    I agree I may have overstepped a little; but I was trying to give her encouragement. She did a nice job but virtually no response.

  • He has finally been arrested and is in custody. Now, the courts will decide on his fate. That is the best course, lynchings no longer being fashionable.


  • Cindy D

    Steve are you with the internet police? Maybe you’d like to arrest us.

    Thanks Dan (Miller). I hadn’t seen that news.

  • Cindy D

    He was arrested in Nevada on a fugitive warrant according to U.S.A. Today.

  • Cindy D,

    According to the link, he was arrested on a fugitive warrant; little more information is available so far, but perhaps he had become difficult to find. The delay will likely be spun in multiple ways.

    Should you be arrested by the Internet Police, I am confident that you will have a fair trial prior to being hung.


  • That’s interesting, Cindy. So he was on the run?
    How in the hell was he released in the first place, given the explosive situation? Should have never been granted bail, at least until preliminary investigation. Tells you about our justice system. You might want to look into that in a follow-up.


  • Cindy D


    They didn’t release him on bail. The problem was he was never arrested. In the “investigations” (and there were 3), he was not even questioned.

    The law says that if he is not an employee of BART he doesn’t have to answer any questions about what happened on the job. I presume his lawyer advised him to quit because of this.

    The D.A. couldn’t decide whether to charge him. No one interviewed him in 14 days.

    People were outraged. That’s why Jerry Brown got involved.

    The BART official Jim Allison said there were no tapes at the station. Only two days later “oh, guess what, there are tapes”. What does that tell you? It tells me that they wanted to buy time to review the tapes to protect the criminal.

  • We’ll all go down, Cindy and me, like some wayward couple.

  • Cindy D

    Dan (Miller) LOL.

    If I am arrested by the internet police, I’m giving them your business card.

    BTW, Your proton joke works well IRL.

  • #69,

    That is f… ridiculous! You mean no charges were filed ever! No wonder the people are pissed! It is a cause for a riot (as if Oakland wasn’t already on the verge). How could a criminal justice system be so skewed. I bet you, if it was a white person shot by a black, it would be a different story.

  • Gosh, I forgot. Dan was a practicing attorney.

  • No, Cindy! Not to protect the criminal but their own skin. But there will be a law suit, negligence being a probable cause, count on that!

  • Cindy,
    Do you mean he was an independent contractor, working for some security firm that BART uses to ensure safety and protection? Dan might know if and to what extent BART would still be liable in cases like that. I’m almost certain, though: they’re not off the hook.

  • Cindy D


    Dan (Miller) can defend us based on the constitution and our right to free speech.

    In a country where you can get a felony for dancing…

    …apparently dancing at a peaceful protest can be seen as inciting a riot, but (there was no riot in this case–a mere technicality) only the police attacked everyone–maybe they were inciting a riot (ponders on arresting the police)…

    I think Dan would have to make a plea bargain, we’d probably be hung, then shot.

  • Cindy D


    He was an employee of BART. The law says that he only has to answer questions about the job while he remains an employee.

    He would have to answer questions on the criminal investigation though, but it had never turned into a criminal investigation.

  • I don’t want to contribute anymore to this topic. I don’t want to see Steve chased out from this thread. It’d only confirm his suspicion that we’ve been using it for our own personal edification – an impression I don’t want to leave. The more, the merrier. Don’t you think?

  • Cindy D

    Steve who?

    I personally like my own personal edification. If that contributes to someone else’s–even better.

    Steve can go f…

    …find a blog where it commands you to “please stay on topic or your posts will be incinerated”.

    If you listen to some miscellaneous person on the internet…it can only be because you suspect he is correct.

    That I’ll accept.

  • That doesn’t make any sense. No criminal investigation. Perhaps Dan could enlighten us here. And that ruling, about not having to answer questions just because you quit your job after you fucked up. It’s unbelievable. Some head had better roll. Jerry Brown is a State Attorney General, don’t forget; also an ex-mayor of Oakland. (This may be good or bad.) I hope he does his job, though, and bring the guilty parties into account.

  • No, Cindy! The reason why I didn’t respond is because he didn’t say anything outrageous. We’re all supposed to be expanding our horizons and reaching out, building bridges. So I didn’t want to antagonize him unnecessarily. Even to your enemies, you’re supposed to give as much rope as as you can. (And Steve isn’t an enemy just because of the comment he made. So why make him one?) That’s all!

  • Cindy D

    He seems he might respond to antagonism. He’s not my enemy.

    (But, I doubt he was doing more than just passing through.)

  • You mean like eavesdropping and getting horrified by some comments? So much the better! Mission accomplished!

  • Marcia Neil

    OK, who already knew about the pink dynamite visually near site? Some cows in a pasture?

  • he claims he want to stay with family because of death threats he recieved

  • Cindy D


    I sure wish I could figure out your koanish provocations. It’s not for not trying. I still don’t get what one hand clapping sounds like.

  • I still don’t get what the hell she (Marcia) is talking about. Speak up, please, so we can continue this conversation.

    As to El Bicho’s comment, I don’t understand the spirit in which it is offered. If as an excuse, I don’t buy it. He deserves the same fate that befell the innocent victim. I wish I could be more sympathetic here, like Martin Sheen.

    I’m sorry. I cannot.

  • Cindy D

    Just an update, I would think.

  • Makes you wonder, though, how those who are guilty of crime, like taking a human life, would have balls enough to worry about their own. The proper attitude, I should think, would be to own up to the “mistake” you made and surrender. What happened to the good old remorse?

    But I guess it takes all kinds.

  • He deserves the same fate that befell the innocent victim. Possibly so, but wouldn’t it be best to wait until after he has been tried and convicted — if for no other reason than to learn from our no-capital-punishment-in-any-circumstances friends why it shouldn’t happen to him?

    On the other hand, all of the incendiary pre-trial publicity may make it very difficult to find a jury to hear the case. At least here, however, the prosecuting attorney apparently has not made inflammatory statements of the sort in which the illustrious Mike Nifong engaged — before all of the charges against the Duke lacrosse players were dropped as unfounded and he was disbarred.

    Oh. Here is one additional link which may have at least tangential relevance.


  • I’m truly conflicted about capital punishment, Dan, and I mean generally. Certain crimes, I tend to feel, like against the children and sex-related,I feel are intolerable. But that’s in my “normal,” human moments. I realize that in a larger scheme of things I ought to be more forgiving: it’s not for us to judge.

    Getting down to cases, I didn’t of course mean to be prejudicial or on in any way to circumvent the workings of justice. Everyone deserves his or her day in court. It was just an emotional response on my part, not any vindictive kind of attitude. Sorry for not having been clearer as to my intent. I’d like to believe I’m too civilized for that.

  • Cindy D

    Death is too gentle for such a fiend.

  • Cindy,

    I’m trying to be humane. If we don’t, we’re back to the same kind of practices as lynchings.
    I wouldn’t want to be among that crowd.

  • Cindy D

    Me neither. Good thing I have an excuse. I don’t believe in the death penalty.

  • I wish I could say the same. The blood boils when you hear of some cases. (You should read James Elroy, “The Black Dahlia,” for instance.) There is of course a counter-argument. Some people, by virtue of their horrid acts, have forfeited the right to be call humans. So what do we do? Incarcerate them for life or say good riddance? It’s an unresolved problem – not that different, perhaps, from that of pacifism in light of all odds or defending one’s country against the enemy. One of the perpetual dilemmas of liberalism!

  • Cindy D

    My biggest concern is not someone like this cop. But someone innocent.

  • Can’t be helped! It can’t be undone. So you had better believe – in the hereafter, afterlife, whatever!

  • Cindy D

    I don’t believe in an afterlife. I believe innocent people shouldn’t be killed.

  • Cindy D

    If society is going to act like a maniac producing machine. Then I don’t want one single innocent person killed. Not one single one.

  • Well, Cindy,

    All I can say is that you’re up for to a great deal of disappointment.

    Think on this, though. Though it’s society that may or may not facilitate it, it’s a man – and I’m not being sexist here, only parsimonious from linguistic standpoint – that kills. And it all comes down to human nature.

    So do you wonder, now, why I think literature is the best venue for dealing with problems which beset humanity?

    I’ll leave on this sad note and will resume tomorrow. Stay well and think happy thoughts!


  • Cindy D

    There are no evil babies.

  • Cindy D

    Besides, I’m used to disappointment.

    Good night Roger.

  • Steve

    I’d like to apologize to Roger and Cindy for my outburst in the chatbox here earlier. Had a terrible morning but, certainly no excuse.

    I was being an assface, sorry. It won’t happen again!

  • Cindy D

    Hey Steve,

    Nice to see you back. No problem. 🙂

  • Marcia Neil

    It’s simple, really — some influence-network was trying to elicit a family history from the Grants while others wanted a Pulitzer Prize to expose in writing the various old-explosives sites in the San Francisco/Oakland region.

  • Cindy D

    Thanks Marcia.

    That would be a tough one. I still can’t find any news about dynamite or explosives in that area. I guess no Pulitzer was offered.

  • Steve,

    I apologize, too, for having been somewhat on the flippant side in a few of my comments; it had gnawed at me all day. I am therefore glad that you got back on this thread, which presented me with this opportunity.

  • bliffle

    I haven’t noticed that the BC Gun Guru, Vox Populi, has chimed in yet on this subject, so let me anticipate what he might say.

    Oscar Brant has only himself to blame for his death (says Vox). This is what happens to a person who goes out into society with inadequate weaponry.

    Had he been properly armed, perhaps with that clever revolver that employs .410 deer slugs as ammo, nobody would have violated his rights and thrown him to the ground.

    Any reasonable policeman, upon approaching Oscar, would have carefully chosen his words and manner so as to handle the situation in a reasonable and polite manner. Indeed, an armed society is a polite society.

    So says Vox. An armed society is a polite society.

    Words to remember.

  • Who IS Vox?

  • Mark Eden

    Vox Populi, man of mystery and agent provocateur…aka Dave Nalle

  • Jet

    He’s not going to rip his clothes of to reveal blue and red longjohns is he?

  • Cindy D

    Johannes Mehserle entered the plea Thursday in a packed Alameda County courtroom with supporters and family members of both the officer and the victim, 22-year-old Oscar Grant.

    Prosecutors say Mehserle was standing over Grant, who was lying facedown and restrained on a train platform, when the Bay Area Rapid Transit officer fired one shot into the man’s back.

  • Cindy D

    Plead Not Guilty to Murder

  • Marcia Neil

    Didn’t a young football player have a sudden back problem that landed him in the hospital with lots of machine gadgetry?

  • Marcia,

    What are you talking about? And what has this got to do with Cindy’s article? Please enlighten me.

  • Marcia Neil

    If he was killed because tackled that is a different circumstance that most others.

  • bliffle

    IMO Marcia is in intimate telepathic communication with Vox Populi.

    Listen and learn.

  • Cindy D

    I am still trying to figure that last one out. I can’t find any news of a football player going to the hospital with a back injury.

  • Cindy,

    Here’s a slightly different take from The East Bay Express, an alternative-press weekly from Berkeley. There are two articles there.


  • Cindy D

    Thanks for that link Roger. It was interesting that the community organization CAPE is asking for, The D.A. to be removed for perceived inaction/inadequacy in prosecuting police abuse cases, here and in the past. And I like this:

    CAPE also demands creation of a citizen review board empowered to determine whether BART police are needed at all, and if so, whether they need to carry firearms…

  • Yea,

    I thought it was a new twist, kind of unusual for them, i.e., that publications that is, though I’ll have to re-read it.

  • Cindy D

    In my county we have a township with 18,000 or so people and 40 police officers. This is in a town with zero murders, zero arsons, and a very low crime rate in general.

    Other small local towns are suffering from needlessly multiplying police forces. They just seem to keep hiring more for no apparent reason except they can.

    There is also a complete state police system in place.

  • The reason is obvious, I think. They all know that trouble is brewing ahead.

  • Cindy D

    Well, these have been at this for years. They’re like rabbits.

    The company manager is fighting to remove a few of the 7 officers in her township. They can’t afford to pay all these unneeded police. They all have new cruisers yet.

  • You should look when you have a chance at Robert Reich’s The Work of Nations. Though written during the Clinton era, it was prophetic.

    Reich predicted that the most explosive area for job growth will be in the security sector, private or public, to protect the property in view of the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots.

    I have a nice review somewhere, written during my more radical years; and I may e-mail it to you if you if you like (if I find it, that is). But the trend is, everyone is arming themselves – even my sister who had never a gun before and is petrified of firearms. Sign of the times!

  • Cindy
  • There’s going to be more of the same in times ahead. Don’t these people ever fucking learn? And you would thing the state of Washington isn’t redneck.

  • Cindy

    They have video of the police beating the girl.

  • Cindy, isn’t that something? I saw the film on the news yet I wasn’t shocked. They pretty much beat the hell out of her in a manner that should be used if Shaq was on PCP.

    What a man! The guy has to turn in his badge and gun but us taxpayers still have to pay this asshole??? Administrative leave….


  • tyrone matthews

    well my take on the BART police shooting is.i belive because it was new years the police was drinking but not drunk he left the area so he could get a lawyer and he tell him what to do next.also i belive the police help make this victim dead by turning him over,so his blood would run on the street.we all know cops lie and tell lies for one another,what makes this case any different.the cop will lie.get a good lawyer,waste a lot of time and money and look to get because of some techinal issue.This happens all the time,but i do belive also if this was a white man this would never have happened.

  • micky duxbury

    I am a Berkeley based freelance writer working on an article about the witnesses to Grant’s shooting. I am especially interested in talking with youth that were on the train or platform and how this event affected them over the past year.[Personal contact info deleted]

  • Aside from calling it interesting, you don’t comment on the linked article. Maybe you think it speaks for itself.

    According to KALW’s Ali Winston, “Law enforcement around the world tends to view anarchism as a terrorist threat. The FBI even has a primer about them on their website, under the domestic terrorism section. … But these preventive measures taken by state and federal agents, including the use of undercover officers and informants, draw to mind parallels to COINTELPRO … similar tactics could be at play right now to undermine any kind of organized anti-government activism or activity.”

    Without your interpretation, I’m unsure what to make of this. Are anarchists a terrorist threat? Or is that a lie perpetrated by governments here and abroad?

  • If I correctly interpret that poster you linked to, you believe the United States is a police state! But wouldn’t that justify terrorism against the state? I don’t mean dissent, which can take many forms. I mean outright violence, Cindy. Forget for a moment about Tunisia and Egypt. Isn’t terrorist violence justified in this country, right now, to overturn the police state?

  • I believe violence is the problem.

    “There is no way to peace — peace is the way.” –AJ Muste

    I believe that.

  • Then, to bring us back to the Berkeley case in point (which interests me because I live in the Bay Area), if anarchists were involved in the demonstrations that turned ugly, resulting in seemingly random destruction of property, those anarchists were merely bystanders. They took no action apart from peaceful protest. Is that what you’re telling me?

    Or perhaps you believe there were no anarchists present at all, that those whom local law enforcement and local media mistook for anarchists were really COINTELPRO agents provocateurs. In other words, it was all a big government conspiracy to make anarchists look bad. Am I getting warm? If so, we’re trespassing onto Alex Jones territory here, Cindy.

  • Sorry, I said “Berkeley case” when of course it is an Oakland case. But please bear in mind, Oakland is less than 20 minutes by car from Berkeley, and also conveniently accessible via BART. Since it’s been widely rumored that there are actual anarchists to be found in the city of Berkeley and on the UC Berkeley campus, it’s a stretch to suppose that there were no anarchists present at the high-profile Oakland protests so close at hand.

  • Philosophically justifiable, yes. Not morally though. And certainly on practical grounds, because all you end up doing is replacing one totalitarian regime with another.

    Fortunately, history has a way of righting past wrongs, and the neat thing about it, you can’t pin it on the human agency.

    Am I reifying history speaking of it so? Perhaps. But I’m quite comfortable with this conception if for no other reason that responsibility and the blame for the unfolding events is always a collective enterprise, an easier burden to bear, I daresay.

  • and certainly not on practical …

  • I’m sorry you butted in. I was trying to get a sense of what Cindy believes, independent of her mentor and guiding light. And for a couple of exchanges there, we were actually having civil discourse. But you never miss an opportunity to insert yourself, do you, Roger?

  • Carry on, then. But YOU shouldn’t be sorry I butted in; if anything, you should be incensed. It is I who should be sorry – I, I, and I.

    You know, BTW, that I can never leave Cindy to her own devices because her whole world would fall apart.

  • 137 – Alan,

    Then, to bring us back to the Berkeley case in point (which interests me because I live in the Bay Area), if anarchists were involved in the demonstrations that turned ugly, resulting in seemingly random destruction of property, those anarchists were merely bystanders. They took no action apart from peaceful protest. Is that what you’re telling me?

    No, that is not what I am telling you. I never said anything about ‘anarchists’ but what I, personally, believe. Some anarchists are pacifists others are not.

    Or perhaps you believe there were no anarchists present at all

    I never suggested any such thing.

  • 142 – lol, Roger.

  • Cindy (#143), you are contradicting KALW’s Ali Winston, to whose interview you linked to commence today’s dialog (#132). He’s the one who drew parallels to COINTELPRO with reference to anarchists participating in the Oakland protests. But here you concede that there may have been non-pacifist anarchists involved in the violence, instead of or in addition to COINTELPRO agents provocateurs posing as anarchists.

    That is definitely a more nuanced view than Winston’s, so I consider our exchange to have been productive. We’ve now established that law enforcement around the world may be entirely justified in viewing anarchism as a terrorist threat. Thank you, Cindy.

  • I don’t find violence against property to be terrorist threat. I have seen anarchists break windows during a demonstration. That doesn’t make them terrorists.

    Now terrorists would be people like GB, Dick Cheney, and the US military. Not someone who sets a police car on fire.

  • 141,

    Roger is a great person to bounce ideas off, a brilliant thinker and also wonderful at helping me decipher all sorts of things I find puzzling, but he seems to easily grasp.

    What Roger is not, is my mentor. I think you presume too much.

  • We have a mutually sharing relationship.

  • We’ve now established that law enforcement around the world may be entirely justified in viewing anarchism as a terrorist threat.

    Anarchism is theoretically a threat to law enforcement. That does not make it a terroristic threat. Unless you also find that your founding fathers were terrorists? Do you?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Speaking from experience during the 2010 Olympics here in Vancouver, I can certainly say that violence against property can be terrorizing in some circumstances.

    When masked protesters took to the streets smashing windows and destroying property in the presence of families enjoying the Olympic events, that, to me, was terrorism.

    Violence again property can be a terrorist act. It certainly doesn’t ring out as a form of peaceful protest or pacifist resistance, but I also agree that it can be an effective medium in the right context (the G20 protests in Toronto, for instance, featured a creative use of property damage as the city was literally transformed into a police state under Harper’s suspension of civil rights).

  • Jordan Richardson

    Of course, it should be added that there are hundreds of definitions of terrorism and not one that is legally binding. If we define it as “violent actions committed with the intention of furthering a political/religious/philosophical/ideological goal” we may be casting a wide net. On the other hand, it’s probably a pretty accurate net.

    It’s also probably fair to say that terrorism is generally understood to target “civilians” or “non-combatants.” In this case, flaming up a cop car is probably not terrorism whereas trashing a random window or burning a civilian’s vehicle could be.

  • Cindy (#146), so you advocate violent crimes against property as a means of social protest. But where to draw the line? For you, breaking windows and setting fire to police cars is justified. But shattered glass can lacerate innocent bystanders. A torched police car can explode, sending deadly shrapnel in all directions.

    Let’s set aside the loaded term terrorism for a moment. Instead, let’s elevate your protest to burning down a building. Will you toss the first lighted match, Cindy? Are you positive the building is unoccupied? Even if it is, firefighters will soon respond, and could well be injured or even killed in trying to put out the conflagration that you started.

    Like so many idealists, you are incredibly naive about the unpredictable consequences of violence.

  • The window I saw broken was a War Profiteer on the march on the Pentagon.

    I have no problem when people burn down police stations or other symbols of gov’t authority or corporate oppression (as longer as no one is physically harmed.) But I have a problem with people who would burn up just any old body’s car. That is not acceptable to me.

  • Alan,

    I don’t personally partake in violence against property. But I would post bills! 🙂

    Yes, plenty of danger exists when people destroy property in protest. I am ever hopeful that they are extremely cautious for the sake of human life.

  • Life is dangerous.

  • Spoken like a true bourgeoisie (#154). “When you go out to throw your bombs at the demonstration tonight,” his mom sternly admonished Leon, “be extremely cautious for the sake of human life.”

  • Jordan Richardson

    you are incredibly naive about the unpredictable consequences of violence.


    I’m reading Wallace Shawn’s Essays at the moment. In his classic essay “Morality,” Shawn notes that we are all connected. History, he notes, is at the “mercy of our thoughts.”

    “Everything you are affects me, and everything I am affects…the course of history,” he says.

    Violence against property may not just be violence against property. You say you “have no problem” with burning down a police station or a government building or a symbol of authority, but people work in those buildings on a daily basis and count on those jobs to feed their families. I’m not talking about the soulless cops or politicians or whomever. I’m talking about the paper-pushers, the janitors and the cleaning companies, the secretaries, and so on.

    Destroying their occupational locations seems, to me, counterproductive to the cause of positively moving forward. It can be the difference between a paycheque and the unemployment line.

    That action, the “small” action of burning down a building or destroying a piece of property, is not immune to the universal laws of cause and effect. For every Starbucks window gleefully destroyed by a disguised teenager, there’s a consequence. It may be fear in the eyes of the little girl enjoying time with her mother across the street. And that fear may transplant itself into something else, maybe distress or distrust down the line because of what the little girl witnessed when the man smashed the window. And that goes on.

    Or maybe someone hears about how “anarchists” burned a police car and decides that those “anarchists” are just about destruction. Maybe that someone, instead of looking into the value of the movement, discards all “anarchists” as punks and even turns to violence himself.

    Actions have consequences, as to words and thoughts. Property destruction, it would seem to me, should unacceptable on these grounds – and then some.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Life is dangerous.

    Yes it is. Which is why we ought to take very seriously the idea of ANY violence when marching for causes of peace.

  • I love Wallace Shawn.

    Much of what you say I think has merit. Also, I have already considered most of it. I still find that I can tolerate violence against property depending on the situation. having thought through and past the issues you raise. That is my view. I am not claiming it is superior, just that that is how I feel. For now, I can accept anger at oppression that results in violence against property.

  • I am not in favor of smashing Starbucks windows to frighten little girls. Nor am I generally in favor of anarchists going into neighborhoods to recklessly destroy property without adding anything positive to that neighborhood.

    When I think of property destruction in protest, I am thinking very much of the Greek uprising.

  • Jordan Richardson

    But again, it comes back to this notion of controlled violence against property versus unimagined, unintended consequences.

    I don’t think anyone smashing a Starbucks window in a righteous protest intends to frighten a little girl. That’s not the desired cause. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a cause.

    You say you can tolerate it “depending on the situation,” but that’s just it. The situation isn’t in a bubble of carefully controlled outcomes. The situation is unpredictable with respect to consequences and results, so is it not a better and more productive notion to steer clear of ALL forms of violent protest in light of what can’t be seen over the horizon? Shouldn’t violence of any kind always be a last resort rather than a first tactic?

  • Jordan Richardson

    This article in the VERY “left-wing” Georgia Straight illustrated what happened during the Olympics somewhat. The main thrust is that peaceful protesters to the event were essentially infiltrated by thuggish protesters and the violence escalated from there while people were taking in the events.

    If you read through the selection of enraged comments, you can pick up on the general tone of the city. Opposition to the Olympics was no longer the issue because of the violent actions of the protesters. The issue became “Vancouver under attack.”

    These shifts in narrative and in public perception are important in assessing what actions to take. Perception does matter when a movement is ideological, so property damage takes on symbolic significance. The results, the symbolism associated with it, are often terrorizing to many – even those who may actually adhere to the ideologies.

  • Reminds of a line from Havana with Robert Redford, Raul Julia and Lena Olin. When discussion turns to how to deal with/get rid off Batista, Raul Julia says something to the effect, “but you can’t do that nicely.”

  • Anyway, perhaps re-reading Fanon and Sorel on violence is in order.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I think I’ve heard the same line used to justify state terrorism, torture and illegal prisons, Roger.

  • No doubt, but it’s quite compelling in a properly defined literary context or a well-done movie.

  • Well, after a good night’s rest, this is where I think I stand (for now).

    When the window broken at the march I participated in, there was a lot of tsk tsking from many of the demonstrators. They acted as good children who didn’t want to upset the authorities. There was zero danger of injury to anyone (due to distance) and the crack of glass was swallowed up by the chanting protesters.

    My thought was, what’s the point of that? But on later analysis I saw the point. It may not have been an effective way to express this, but the anarchists were trying to get the point across to the liberal demonstrators that this march was not helping anything but to assuage their sense that they did something. That is because the permitted march took place in pretty much a vacuum on a weekend when everything was closed and out of sight of the public.

    I heard the exchanges between the anarchist who broke the window and the critical demonstrators. I decided, base on all I saw and heard, that I would withhold judgment. I still feel that way about the incident. I also feel that way about the Greek uprising.

    That said, I think it is unfruitful, dangerous, and pointless to just wantonly damage property during your average demonstration. I think it turns people off and reinforces stereotypes about anarchists. I think it is generally not appropriate to appear in someone else’s neighborhood, cause destruction then leave. I think it is more effective to show up in a neighborhood and feed the homeless (which the DC anarchists also did during their demonstrations).

    I recall being disappointed that the cars of ordinary people were burned during the Oscar Grant uprising. I do not feel it to be very anarchistic to burn people’s cars. Also, throwing bricks and stones can hurt one’s fellow protesters. And yet, I see ordinary people armed with stones in Egypt chasing the police away. I see ordinary people in Palestine armed with stones. I don’t know everything, nor can I judge others when I don’t.

    So, I still have mixed feelings. Your points are well-taken, Jordan. And have given me food for thought. This is just where I happen to be now.

  • M

    we can resist the use of violence on many grounds — but it was the terrifying semiotics of self-immolation that set off the protests in the Arab countries

  • M, some early reports had it that 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi took the action he did after reading Wikileaks about the corruption in Tunisia but that isn’t being mentioned now.

    Both Wikileaks and brave people like the late Mr Bouazizi deserve our respect and support.

  • There is an emotional aspect to revolutionary violence that Jordan, in spite of the leading question (see posts 163 through 166) failed to pick up on. It doesn’t make it right, but it’s no less real for the fact.

  • Jordan, though, did say this: “…but I also agree that it [property damage] can be an effective medium in the right context (the G20 protests in Toronto, for instance, featured a creative use of property damage as the city was literally transformed into a police state under Harper’s suspension of civil rights).”

    So, he also allows exceptions.

  • Jordan Richardson

    No, Roger, I don’t “fail” to pick up on the “emotional aspects of revolutionary violence.” There are emotional aspects to all violence, including state-orchestrated violence and domestic violence. I just don’t see it as an excuse.

    My concern is the message it sends in certain contexts and in ensuring that we are vigilant in using it as a force because of the unpredictable consequences. I would advocate the use of violence only as a last resort. I’m not arguing that it’s “less real for the fact.”

    Acts of desperation, like the aforementioned Bouazizi, have an emotional and physical impact that we cannot take for granted. But I’m hard-pressed to see much kinship between Bouazizi’s act and a disguised “protester” throwing a brick through a store window. Same goes for the protesters in Egypt or elsewhere, as they are, in many cases, literally fighting for their lives.

    I honestly didn’t think it was much of a stretch to suggest movements for peace ought to strive to avoid the use of violence, even property violence, as much as possible.

  • As usual, Alan speaks from both ends of his mouth. After berating Cindy for possibly condoning acts of violence (against property) in whatever good cause, he proceeds to chastise her for being a true bourgeoisie (#156) because her revolutionary activity would preclude breaking windows and such in favor of posting bills.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Of course there are exceptions. I’m failing to see where I’ve described myself as a pacifist or one who suggests to avoid violence at all costs.

    I started this conversation by saying this rather (or so I thought) uncontroversial statement:

    “I can certainly say that violence against property can be terrorizing in some circumstances.”


    “Violence against property may not just be violence against property.”

    I also describe the symbolism of property violence and frame it in the context of the Olympic protests where I live, as I saw firsthand the frightened citizens just trying to go about their day in a sea of balaclava-wearing thugs smashing windows.

    I’m arguing for the use of all violence, even property damage, as a last resort in peaceful protests. Does anybody actually disagree with this?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Also, Cindy, thanks for the thoughtful #167.

    I’ve been in similar situations, only the tsk-tsking came from other protesters that did not want their message obscured by the broken glass and fires. It was not a matter of “playing nice” or even acting like a good kid not wanting to piss of authorities at all, at least in my experience.

    The “Battle in Seattle” is a good indication of how messages can be lost in the tear gas and escalation of violence. If you’ve ever seen the Stuart Townsend film of the same name, you’ll note that the damage got most of the coverage while the content of the protesters was lost.

  • Correct, Jordan, I don’t excuse it either, but that doesn’t make it any less real or human – especially on the part of colonized peoples that have been under the boot of the oppressor. So yes, perhaps we ought to make some relevant distinctions here between say, a peace movement, and colonial people’s struggles for independence (and make proper allowances). There is a way of looking at the Egyptian regime along the same lines (for Mubarak may well be perceived as installed dictator to do the bidding of the West, i.e., colonization by proxy). Of course we in the West haven’t experienced (yet) that level of oppression, which is why perhaps different standards still apply.

    Just thinking.

  • The point in our pentagon march was that no one was going to hear any message. The message in this particular case was already lost. Despite what the liberals believed about what they were doing.

    I think that I think that much of the property violence in the battle in Seattle was warranted and made a point to the authorities. I also don’t believe that the content was lost on the attuned.

  • If I am correct, the violence was initiated by police teargas.

  • I would like some liberals to speak out on the awfulness of the state oppression in such cases. Then,I may be more inclined to see their point re their property damage response.

  • I think Mark makes the best point in the thread.

  • Jordan Richardson

    but that doesn’t make it any less real or human

    Of course it doesn’t. Who would suggest otherwise?

    yes, perhaps we ought to make some relevant distinctions here between say, a peace movement, and colonial people’s struggles for independence (and make proper allowances

    Of course!

    The question I’m raising is whether property damage is just property damage. Or is there room for unintended consequences? And does that need to be addressed in a meaningful way? Is it simply an act of attacking a building when we smash windows and burn things? Or do we need to consider the possibility that those actions have consequences beyond our intentions?

    There is, as I’ve said, a vast, vast, vast difference between someone struggling for his or her life amid real oppression and some kid smashing one of many Starbucks stores up. The use of force/violence in each case deserves specific reasoning or it’s meaningless and likely to be discarded.

    Interestingly, many of the Vancouver Olympics protesters spent the first day of the event smashing windows and destroying things downtown near the festivities. The next few days, they made their way around to all of the free venues and took in the Olympics as best they could.

    And I can’t count how many times I’ve seen the laughable sight of a protester clad in designer gear carrying a Starbucks mug smashing up a, yep, Starbucks.

  • The question I’m raising is whether property damage is just property damage. Or is there room for unintended consequences? And does that need to be addressed in a meaningful way? Is it simply an act of attacking a building when we smash windows and burn things? Or do we need to consider the possibility that those actions have consequences beyond our intentions?

    Now that is a reasonable query to raise. Boiling it down like that makes it clear.

  • We don’t disagree, Jordan. Your thoughts, however, on storming the Bastille? It’s nice to be judicious speaking from on high – I’m referring to all of us here – but any mass movement is bound to carry unintended consequences. There is a frenzy to a crowd. Even the best-planned revolutions or episodes of coup d’etat were followed by unintended consequences because irrationality inevitably sets in.

    Just sayin’

  • Jordan Richardson

    So the following statements weren’t clear?

    “I can certainly say that violence against property can be terrorizing in some circumstances.”


    “It’s also probably fair to say that terrorism is generally understood to target “civilians” or “non-combatants.” In this case, flaming up a cop car is probably not terrorism whereas trashing a random window or burning a civilian’s vehicle could be.”


    “Violence against property may not just be violence against property.”


    “That action, the “small” action of burning down a building or destroying a piece of property, is not immune to the universal laws of cause and effect.”

    or here, where it’s boiled down even more than in 181:

    “I’m arguing for the use of all violence, even property damage, as a last resort in peaceful protests. Does anybody actually disagree with this?”

    And so on. I’ve basically been saying the same thing post after post.

    As to context/different situations, I said this:

    “The situation isn’t in a bubble of carefully controlled outcomes. The situation is unpredictable with respect to consequences and results, so is it not a better and more productive notion to steer clear of ALL forms of violent protest in light of what can’t be seen over the horizon? Shouldn’t violence of any kind always be a last resort rather than a first tactic?”

    I feel like I’m repeating myself (because I am) in looking for a straight answer. I also feel like I may be confusing the issue by providing examples of what I mean.

    This is, for whatever reason, the general way that my conversations with you and Roger tend to go. I’m not sure why, but things tend to get either confusing or contentious even when we agree. Of course, sometimes they just get that way for no reason (like when Roger insists on branding me a “liberal” or a “Christian” or implies that I’m having a “tantrum” because I’m cracking wise about people complaining about the comment policy or when you cheese me out over “porn” when I’m virtually agreeing with you every step of the way).

    In any event, I’ve said everything I have to say and this conversation has arrived at its usual point ahead of schedule: the confusing end.

    And Roger, you don’t need my “thoughts on storming the Bastille.” I’ve, again, already answered as to context and different situations. Quite a few times, actually.

    I honestly don’t know how I could be more clear, so I think it’s time I cut my losses.

  • Things are contentious? My comment wasn’t implying anything more than my own lack of understanding. But, if you say so. I think perhaps you ought to cut your losses. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • Sorry, Jordan, didn’t mean to evoke this -and forget the past. I never carry grudges and I know neither do you. Why bring it up then, especially when things said were in the heat of the moment?

    I only tried to bring out the complexity of the issue, so no, we haven’t arrived at any confusing end, you know it ain’t so, only at somewhat inconclusive end. I can live with ambiguities and I know you can too.

    The question of violence is a very pertinent one. In fact, Schmitt’s notion of “state of exception” was, and I quote,

    a response to Walter Benjamin’s concept of a “pure” or “revolutionary” violence, which did not enter into any relationship whatsoever with right. Through the state of exception, Schmitt included all types of violence under right, in the case of the authority of Hitler leading to the formulation “The leader defends the law” (“Der Führer schützt das Recht”). (End of quote) (Carl Schmitt, Wiki)

    So again, I don’t see any confusion here, only complexity.

    Take care.

  • Zing is contentious, Cindy, can’t have an extended discussion with him ’cause he’s got ready-made answers for virtually every subject under the sun. With Jordan you can, one of the few people here you can.

    Am I not contentious too? as no doubt many would say. Heck, even you thought that way of me at first. It’s all a matter of chess game, remember? Contentiousness is a valid move and oft a sound strategy provided you always have a backup, the next move and then, the move after that, and so on. And that backup of course is true intellectual humility – integrity is another name – and it translates to the simple fact that we’re all in the process of perfecting our ideas through challenge and discourse. To be married to one’s opinions at any time is an act of folly and awful conceit because ultimately, it’s not we the persons who are on trial but our ideas are. That’s why I’ll never understand the kind of association people claim, connecting their ideas to their own persons, as though criticizing or even questioning their ideas and thoughts amounted to character assassination. That’s asinine. So just remember what you said earlier, it’s all in the questioning. Right kind of questions are more important than answers because they already contain the germ of an answer.

    I seriously think you and Jordan should give it another go, this time from scratch. No sense rehashing past histories.

  • El Bicho

    Considering Cindy called out pablo for his crack about Maddow’s sexuality, it does seem a bit hypocritical to then insult Jordan with a homosexual slur.

  • That is true El-B. Point taken.

  • Roger,

    I agree with all that. But I am not the one who has the problem with Jordan. Jordan is the one who continually has the problem with me.

    Even when I say something I consider supportive he finds some bone of contention in it.

  • Do you suppose it’s because he prefers submissive females? Which kind of throws a new light on your CS epithet. Are you certain now the imagery didn’t figure in forming your overall conception of Jordan?

  • Roger,

    I don’t sense that he prefers submissive females. And cocksucker is a word that I never would have used until I was cajoled into doing it by a friend on the net. It found it so freeing that from time to time I still indulge. There is no other intention or meaning in it beyond that–hidden or otherwise.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    I take you at your word in #200. You’re human, too, and everyone here’s seen me make my share of mistakes.

  • It is a liberating expression, even among gays.

  • But the best rendition of the line, without a doubt, is one in The Usual Suspects.

  • Boeke

    What is the obverse to c*cks*cker (you see, I use obfuscation to reserve the full impact of a word for the infrequent occasion that it is finally required; else, repeated use waters it down to uselessness)?

    What immensely pejorative appellation does one give to a male who happily gives oral pleasure to a woman? I can’t even imagine. Clitsucker? Sounds pretty wimpy – no sting at all.

    I give up. It’s hard to imagine a cuss word for any sex act between consenting adults.

    An acquaintance of mine has a Master Key for elevators that he acquired while a Master Mechanic for large buildings. He soon discovered that his wife was mad for sex in elevators, and he could turn off all systems whenever they entered one, which they did more frequently upon that discovery.

    So what curse should we throw her (their?) way? “Otis f*cker”?

  • You’re being too analytical, Boeke. The CS turn of phrase carries a connotation, that’s all. And to say that isn’t to say that any form of sexual engagement between consenting adults merits a cuss word.

  • Jordan Richardson


    All I did walking into this conversation was state, from experience, my belief that violence can be terrorizing in some contexts.

    I have no problem with you or Roger, Cindy, despite your continued insistence that this is the case. At least 50 percent of the go-around with you two is about how I’m something I’m not. Perception is everything, I suppose, and with you two I am most assuredly making the wrong impression. The reason I went back through my posts and repeated myself was to find out why that happened in this scenario. I actually took exclusive steps NOT to be misunderstood and thought I was being exceptionally clear, but it didn’t seem that way.

    What’s weird is that this hasn’t been the way it’s always been. You haven’t always had such contempt for your fellow posters here, like the way you abused Glenn recently and relentlessly or the way you divide people into their ready-made ideologies for ease of use. Discussions with the two of you used to have more nuance, more room for subtle discord. I think for some reason that’s gone and I’m confused as to why that is. In response to my confusion, I’m called a “cocksucker.”

    That, I’m afraid, is my cue to avoid discussing anything with the likes of you.


    I appreciate what you said. I always do and I always have, even if you’ve been dismissive of alleged “tantrums” and the like. I’m not the only one to have noticed a certain change in the way you’ve approached others here over the last while, I can tell you that. Glenn’s reaction the other day was nail-on-the-head accurate, I think.

    One key moment, at least for me, was a recent book review I wrote of Chomksy’s latest. In the thread, you suddenly tell Cindy that “he’s a progressive” and Cindy replies with something along the lines of “even progressives can read Chomsky” or something of the like.

    Prior to that point, I’d actually never considered whether progressives (like me, apparently) could ever “read Chomsky” and get something out of it. I only know that I’ve been reading Chomsky for ages, never as a “progressive” or anything. Just as a person looking to understand things.

    Interestingly, I then pull a bunch more context out of the book review than originally planned (like about the fragmenting of the anarchist movements and the uselessness of labels) and both you and Cindy scatter and don’t return.

    As I said in that thread:

    “We need to (quoting Chomsky again) stray from the ‘insistence on purity of proposal’ because it ‘simply isolates you from effectiveness in activism, and even from reaching, from even approaching your own goals.'”

    I’m essentially seeing the same thing here. What I see in this discussion of property violence and in the discussion on “porn” and in other subsequent discussions isn’t an openness to other ideas or considerations. I’m seeing a distinct “purity of purpose” from you and Cindy. Constantly. Should somebody poke around in that, like with questions with a little nuance, there’s generally some sort of small explosion or an avoidance of discussions of principles. There’s considerable evasion, at least from my experience, because a lot of the conversation is bluster (Alan hit on this earlier somewhere else and was dismissed, but I think he has a valid point).

    So my contention is that you and Cindy fight for “purity of purpose.” The labels go along with that because you can file off those people, those nasty progressives who don’t go “far enough” for you, as you like and discard the rest too. You can create “cocksuckers” out of others you butt heads with and claim it’s personal. You can use any other tactics to achieve the same results, too, and smash the proverbial windows of human interaction all to smithereens.

    I’ve no doubt you have an explanation for this. But I really think I’m on to something and I think that, for once, you should consider the possibility of “purity of purpose” rather than rushing to defend it. You, believe it or not, might learn something along with the rest of us lesser souls.

    That’s that.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I take you at your word in #200. You’re human, too, and everyone here’s seen me make my share of mistakes.

    I take her at her word, too. Just as I take Roger at his word when he implies others “aren’t real men” or something of the sort.

    See, bad words or bad thoughts only have meaning when they’re offered by the wrong people. Were I to call Cindy the “c-word,” for instance, I’d be tarred and feathered to no end. She, however, can use words like “prick” and “cocksucker,” both derogatory terms, because she’s the right person. Alan, Irvin, whoever else…well, let’s just say those posts would have been edited down long ago. Cindy’s posts, which damn sure contain personal attacks, have stood for what appears to be nearly six hours now.

    Fair is fair, though.

  • Appreciate your comment, Jordan. You are right about one thing, though. After butting heads with lots of people here for over two years now, occasionally I am losing patience and resort to sarcasm since nuance doesn’t seem to work. Don’t attribute it though to any radical change in my circumstances as Glenn had recently done – no loss of Camaro or any such. I’m too mature for little shit like this to affect me in the long run. It’s just natural attrition, for lack of a better word, as a result of communications getting stale. So if I have used terms in the past that were pejorative or demeaning – CS was never one of them – rest assured they were but an expression of frustration, nothing else.

    As to what you call “purity of purpose,” you’re partly right. But it’s not purity of purpose that I harp on as relating to individuals per se. This only comes in time. What I’m mainly about is purity of purpose with respect to ideas, nothing else. So if I do come across as putting down a person now and then, it’s the their ideas that are always my proper target, not them personally.

    As to my interaction with Glenn, I beg to disagree. Sure, I was “beating on him” (because I care, I might add) but look at the results. In my estimation, he’s about to free himself of the stale outlook.

    I suppose the unfortunate thing is, these communications are online, not between real life persons. It would have been much easier under normal, real-life circumstances, which explains no doubt the misunderstandings that inevitably creep in, misunderstandings that would be easily resolved in person-to-person contacts. So yes, we are being limited here by the media. Still, we can all strive to do out best.

    Nuff said.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Understood, Roger. Thanks for taking the time.

  • “Just as I take Roger at his word when he implies others “aren’t real men” or something of the sort.”

    Care to refresh my memory?

  • Jordan Richardson

    I can look for it. I remember you saying “Cindy’s gonna kill me for this” or something to that effect right after. It may take some hunting, but I believe it was in a thread involving Alan.

  • Don’t bother. I was making a tongue in cheek comment about zing, or Alan perhaps, equating their temper tantrums to approximate that of a “woman on the rag.” The very fact though that I closed my comment with “Cindy’s gonna …” should have been indication enough that I was partly jesting.

    Don’t you think?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Meh, I can’t find it right now.

    I thought it was in the Lohan/Charlie Sheen thread, but all that was there was a bunch of confusion between you, zingzing and handyguy.

    There was also a point on the famed soldier suicides thread where you said that Alan sometimes “acts like a woman.”

    Again, I said that I take you at your word when you define the usage of these sorts of terms and phrases. I’m being sincere.

  • Jordan Richardson

    should have been indication enough that I was partly jesting.

    Yes. That’s what I said. I take you at your word. But if someone else had said it or something similar, I’m not convinced he or she would have been afforded the same…ideological clemency.

    Just a hunch.

  • Well, that’s the internet for you. I’ll be less frivolous in the future.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I wouldn’t really say that, but it’s up to you. What I would say is that we should all be afforded the opportunity for such frivolity.

  • Jordan Richardson

    By the way, you have a sudden “f” at the end of your user name.

  • Thanks for letting me know, the laptop keyboard stinks.

    As to your #208, I’d have no problem with it. I should be able to discern what is what and when in doubt, one can always ask.