Violence against Bush supporters

Anti-anti-Bush protesters beaten up by anti-Bush protesters in Boston. Ugh! How about NOT demonstrating in New York in September?

The Philosoraptor is outraged that a bunch of Ironworkers (or maybe Steelworkers — accounts differ) beat up a bunch of Freepers who were had gone to the site of an anti-Bush protest to support the President. Here’s the account by one of the FReepers, and here’s the account by Glenn Reynolds, who quotes approving the observation that the Democratic party is being taken over by totalitarians.

What to say?

1. If the event happened as described, the Iron (or Steel) workers behaved disgracefully, and so did the Boston cops by not intervening promptly and not arresting the assailants.

2. I don’t know what actually happened. Margolis, the FReeper, says that all the insults and violence were on one side. Well, he was there and I wasn’t.

3. Margolis notes, but Reynolds doesn’t, that the anti-Bush crowd “weren’t necessarily Kerry fans.” So I’m not sure why Reynolds thinks it appropriate to blame the Democratic party, or why Philosoraptor thinks Kerry has any control over such behavior. (His proposal that Kerry denounce it is nonetheless a good one.)

4. Margolis notes, but Reynolds doesn’t, that members of the Lawyers’ Guild (there, presumably, primarily to protect the anti-Bush protesters from the police) intervented to force the cops to protect the pro-Bush protesters from the anti-Bush protesters. I’m no fan of the Lawyers’ Guild, which is way far to my left, but kudos to them for doing the right thing.

5. I’m delighted to know that the right wing now disapproves of union members’ beating up young protesters. As I recall, the position of the right was somewhat different during the Vietnam War. I’m hoping to hear equal screams of outrage if it’s anti-war protesters on the receiving end of violence the next time.

6. Demonstrations and counter-demonstrations are mostly a complete waste of time and energy. In particular, the risks of demonstrating near the Republican Convention in Manhattan are enormous: violence, or even mass disorder, there wold be a gift to the Bushies.

Don’t rally, organize!

Update Actually Kerry might be able to do some good by saying, early and often, that he hopes that anyone who supports his candidacy for President will refrain from any sort of protest or demonstration directed at the Republican Convention.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

One thought on “Violence against Bush supporters”

  1. This Margolis thing.

    Look, on the one hand I'm appalled by it on general principles, on the other hand I can't believe that any of my Lefty readers here would have a reaction substantially different than Philosoraptor's and on the gripping hand I

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