Some Thoughts on Appropriate and Inappropriate Use of Violence

  • by Gitabushi

Let’s talk a little bit about violence and responsibility. Whoops! Nope, to be accurate, I’m going to talk about violence and responsibility.

As always, these views are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent the views of PC Bushi or Kaijubushi.

As you may have recently seen in the news, a GOP candidate for office probably violently assaulted a journalist who was asking him questions. I have some thoughts regarding this. These thoughts were originally done on Twitter, so they may seem silted in this medium that allows for longer sentences. Them’s the breaks, though. The ideas don’t change from medium to medium, so you’ll just have to suffer through:

Gianforte is a GOP politician. However, his inability to retain control of his temper, and descent into violence, is his responsibility.

Violence is always bad, right? Not necessarily. Violence is an important tool. People will use violence, or threat of violence, to intimidate others.

But intimidation is bad, right? Again, not always. Sometimes the intimidation is good. A threat of violence might have stopped Syria from using chemical weapons. Empty threats don’t persuade.

Violence is also a useful tool for countering violence. We could not have stopped Hitler’s slaughter of Jews without violence.  Now we know we should have started the violence earlier. Maybe more Jews could have been saved.  It required violence to keep the South in the Union so they could be subject to laws ending slavery. The Founders of the nation included the Right to Bear Arms as a basic Right. Bearing Arms is a threat of violence to preserve life & liberty.

So the threat of violence isn’t always wrong. Likewise, violence isn’t always wrong.

When is violence appropriate? Well, obviously, to preserve life. To protect yourself. To protect the weak and/or vulnerable. Absolutely true, right?

But there are other times where the threat of violence is appropriate. And remember, if the threat of violence is appropriate, then the violence behind the threat is, too. Or else it is an empty threat.

If someone threatens me with actions that put me in fear of my life, I am justified in using deadly violence. It doesn’t have to be the threat of certain death, merely something that *could* reasonably result in my death, or incapacitate me to the point where I can no longer resist someone trying to kill me.

That means if someone breaks into my home, I do not have to check to see if they have a weapon before using deadly violence. They might be armed only with a crowbar. I can still use a firearm to defend my life and my family.

In some cases, even if life is not threatened, you can use deadly force. I don’t think anyone would object to a woman killing a violent rapist*.

I am on record that I will escalate the violence level to defend any Jews within my space. Meaning, I will use violence (fists) to stop someone from verbally abusing a Jew.  I will use deadly force to stop someone from violently assaulting a Jew.  But from what I’ve seen, someone intent on taking away liberty always starts with abusing Jews. So by defending them, I am defending civilization and myself.

Sorry for the digression, but I thought it might help to give a real-world example of applying this philosophy.

The point is, if someone is verbally abusing my daughter, or wife, or sister, I will also use violence to stop it, if need be.  If someone is stalking a woman, leaving notes, saying lewd/disgusting things, that person is ruining her safety.

It is an asymmetrical attack. There are no words she can use to stop him. There are no words she can use to respond in kind. She can only effectively stop him with an  asymmetric technique of her own: with violence.

Oh, sure, she could use the law to try and stop him, of course. Restraining orders are available, true.  She probably should try something like this first.

But those are passive protections. If the jerk decides to violate the protections, the law can only help after the fact. Lawsuits dismissed against police establish that they are under no obligation to actually protect you. (And that actually makes sense: the police can’t be everywhere, can’t give everyone 24-hour protection)

So if legal methods fail, as they will against a persistent harasser, the threat of violence can keep a woman safe.

Why am I emphasizing “a woman”? Because men are expected to handle their problems themselves.

And there’s the crux, isn’t it? *HOW* are men supposed to handle it themselves?

Can’t men be harassed? Can’t men be stalked? Can’t men be threatened? Can’t men be put in fear of their safety, health, & life with mere words?

Absolutely. So how are men expected to deal with it? If it goes too far: with the threat of violence, and possibly violence itself.

If someone threatens to lie to your boss about something you said/did to get you fired, what are you supposed to do?  This is a threat against you, against your livelihood, and against your ability to support your family. It’s an asymmetric attack. You can’t threaten to lie to your threatener’s employer…you may not even know who their employer is.

The only real way you can protect yourself is with the threat of violence: If you try to ruin my life, I’ll hurt you so bad you can’t walk.” This is how men are expected to handle problems. It’s asymmetric in return, but that’s likely the only deterrence possible.

Of course, I can’t think of or cover all scenarios. If there are other ways to deter before trying violence, by all means: do so.

However, I think we’ve fairly strongly established that violence works as a deterrence.

Behavioral scientists tell us that the most effective punishment is the one that is immediate and powerful. Emotional pain sometimes works. Physical pain usually works better. We are biologically programmed to avoid physical pain. We are biologically programmed to wallow in emotional pain.

Okay, so violence works. When, then, should you use physical violence or the threat of physical violence to deter or punish others?  When does someone else’s words or actions rise to the level that violence is an appropriate response?

We had** a phrase in the military when asking for advice, “You do whatever you think your career can handle.”  That’s a way of saying, “You will be held accountable for your decisions and results of those decisions.”


Not your unit. Not everyone with the same rank. Not everyone with the same job classification.


So use your own judgment.

Gianforte acted. He was charged. He will face a court. He will be held accountable for his actions. The GOP has nothing to do with it.

In court, we may learn some things about the guy he attacked. Perhaps Gianforte had been harassed by journalists previously.

Journalists have asymmetrical power. They have the ability to have their interpretation of something printed as if it were fact. As a result journalists can take things out of context. They can ask inappropriate questions and imply wrongdoing if you don’t answer.  Journalists can threaten your career, your reputation, your livelihood. You can’t threaten theirs. You have no bully pulpit like they do. There is little/no accountability for a journalist misusing his power if he is misusing it in the way his employer wants him to.

Just in the last few years, we’ve seen journalists ruin the lives of Joe the Plumber, Sarah Palin, Memories Pizza, Todd Akin, the CEO of Mozilla, a restauranteur in California that support Prop 8, George Zimmerman, several florists and photographers…

So many that I can’t remember all the names and situations, and I have a good memory for these things.

And yet, when the Left uses violence, their lives are usually not ruined.

President Obama used his position as the President of the United States to encourage and condone violence by his favored groups against his disfavored groups.

We have pictures of someone who pooped on a cop car in Occupy Wall Street. Why don’t we know his name? Was he arrested? Why not? Why wasn’t he shamed?

The Left protected him. Just as they protected the Berkeley rioters. Just as the DC rioters expected to be protected.

None of this justifies Gianforte. But it doesn’t have to. He made his decision, he faces the consequences.

I haven’t seen one GOP individual try to take action to prevent him from facing court.

I’ve seen some people praise the action…but that’s an opinion. It doesn’t stop Gianforte from facing the consequences of his action.

The Left was trying to nationalize the Montana special election. They were trying to energize their base to get a victory against the GOP. We don’t know, but the guy Gianforte assaulted seemed to be trying to catch Gianforte with a gotcha scenario. From the audio, he was pushing Gianforte to answer a question about a GOP bill Gianforte had no input into. The info had just come out. Gianforte may have felt he was being pushed into a hasty answer that would be used against him, a no-win situation that would have harmed his livelihood.

That does *not* justify him for his actions. Or, more accurately, it doesn’t give him a pass for his actions. He will go to court. If his explanation satisfies the court, then his reasons were justified. If not, then not. But we don’t decide. The court does.

To everyone demanding the GOP denounce the violence: Why don’t you trust the court? Why do you want to overturn the court system?

Violence is not always wrong. But I think we can make a strong case that it is always wrong to try someone in the court of public opinion, to deny them their chance to explain in court.

Some of the exit polls from the election seemed to indicate that Gianforte assaulting a journalist actually earned him more votes than it lost. To the extent that it represents the views of GOP voters, it indicates that voters see journalists as taking sides and attempting to interfere with elections, rather than just reporting events. The press, which always responds to Islamic Terrorism attacks with calls to understand why they hate us, should take some time to try to understand why common voters hate them enough to cheer an assault on a reporter.


*Thanks, Feminists, for watering down the term “rape” so that I have to specify it wouldn’t be appropriate for a woman to gun down a guy for trying to kiss her without getting written permission first

**”had” meaning, when I was in the military. I’m sure they still have that phrase, but I’m no longer in the military to claim it.


9 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Appropriate and Inappropriate Use of Violence

  1. “the law can only help after the fact”

    Dang right. Which is why conceal and carry is a must for any woman in any urban area. And with the wave of spinelessness gripping our nation, women can’t even count on men to step in in a bad situation.

    Too bad jihadists don’t target journalists ;-)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The thing about violence is that it’s inescapable. Dialogue and negotiation and even legal enforcement all require the cooperation of the subject’s will, to some extent. And if he’s the kind of man who would, say, assault a woman, he’s probably the kind who would find such things more encouraging than anything else. But he can’t ignore a fist to the jaw or a bullet in the gut.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said.
      And that applies to everyone in society, bullies included.
      I don’t want to shift to a might-makes-right model, but I also don’t like the litigation model we have. I think the bully problem could be mitigated by the fact that 1) 2+ people can negate the advantage of a really strong bully, and 2) 2nd Amendment will provide incentives to keep a bully from using his power to coerce people.
      Still not a perfect solution, as some people may overuse their 2A rights, but I’m growing more cold-blooded as I get older: everyone dies, so it is better that people die for the *right* reasons and not the wrong ones.
      I’d rather have someone accidentally killed by stupid/immature gun use than by terrorists.

      If that makes any sense.


    1. Agreed, but there must be some penalty imposed on those who refuse to answer a challenge to a duel for this to work. This was part of the problem with the antebellum South.


      1. There used to be a law I think that you could summon a police officer to ref a fight. But I might be thinking of Ireland.


  3. “…women can’t even count on men to step in in a bad situation.”

    What are you talking about? That’s sexist! Women are strong, fierce and independent. They don’t need a man to save them.

    “…should take some time to try to understand why common voters hate them enough to cheer an assault on a reporter.”

    Modern “journalists” are the enemy of the people. The mass media is much more of a threat to the average American than ISIS is.

    Liked by 1 person

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