On minor acts of violence

Is a glass of water or a punch in the face always wrong?


Absolutely not. I’m not some syrupy idiot who believes the cliché that violence is never the answer. Violence is a powerful tool, and when used for good, it is the purest form of necessary evil. (Of course, what people believe to be good is inevitably where we get into trouble when it comes to justifying violence.)

As for me personally, I believe hurling drinks and punching people to be generally wrong, but I also believe punching Nazis like Richard Spencer in the face or throwing water on garbage monsters like Tomi Lahren to be highly individualistic forms of civil disobedience, and in those specific instances, there is a greater good to consider. That said, it’s still assault, so don’t go around doing that kind of shit without being fully aware of the potential consequences. It is against the law to assault people, even shitty people, (as well it should be), but just because something is illegal, that doesn’t make it inherently wrong.

Also consider this: if the drink is hurled or the fist is thrown on impulse and out of anger, then you’re gonna lose most of your moral high ground. Outside of genuine self-defense, it is incredibly difficult to justify violence that stems from impulse or anger. Another thing to consider is proportionality. Throwing water on Tomi Lahren and ruining her night is a proportional response to her presence at the bar, whereas throwing acid on her would be completely unjustifiable. Punching Richard Spencer in the face and ruining his day is a proportional response to his presence at the Nazi rally, whereas shooting him in the face would be completely unjustifiable. Outside of total war, it is impossible to justify violence that isn’t proportional.


87 thoughts on “On minor acts of violence

  1. Maria says:

    God, I’ve missed you. Good to see you’re just as sharp as always–it’s like a surprise note from a good friend with whom you’ve lost touch. What a wonderful start to the weekend.

    • Chris says:

      Meh, kind of over it. Part of me wants to just stir up trouble by saying something really ridiculous, but I think this is where I’m supposed to just say “thanks, Coke,” for teaching me new things, showing me a new way, and giving me some good laughs.

      • Lit says:

        I don’t mind either. I feel like I know and trust Coke enough to see that whether she posts here or not, she is pursuing something of value in life. That comforts me.

        • Paige Nine says:

          I know 4 different people in real life who say almost the exact same things Coke says, but every single one of them is a 60+yo gay guy who has no patience for bullshit.

          I think Coke is a 60+yo gay gay, tbh, not that there is anything wrong with that!

  2. Barefootsie says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on this point! I’ve been wrestling with my thoughts on the incident for a few days.

    (And of course: good to see you, love this, love you.)

  3. Bored of this says:

    “Violence is a powerful tool, and when used for good, it is the purest form of necessary evil.” Seriously? That’s what a sociopathic totalitarian would say. Do you think i.e. Hitler and Pol Pot thought of themselves as evil? They thought they were doing what’s necessary.

  4. Chris says:

    So I finally decided to see what this is about. From the video I saw, Tomi Lahren had no physical reaction to the water-throw because it didn’t hit her. Also, she was already leaving.

    Lahren went on TV later to say, “You don’t have to agree with my political opinions, but is this where we are? That you can’t disagree without having things thrown on you?”

    Putting aside that she didn’t notice that something was thrown at her, the same could be said of her approach to the Anthem kneelers. She didn’t agree with their opinion, and feels they should lose their ability to earn a living in the way they do best.

    Why is this important (the jobs thing)? Because it was documented in the book “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” that online harassment teams and hackers specific goal for men they target is to get them fired from their jobs. Why? Because when a man loses his job, he loses so much more.

  5. aviva says:

    If the act needs to be proportional to their brand of assholery then maybe someone should make Tomi Lahren listen to Strange Fruit at max volume until she gets permanent hearing loss.

  6. Sarab says:

    The danger here is that people aren’t always good at deciding who is evil and who isn’t. And that’s why we let the law do that, instead of punching every Nazi in the face. Nazis suck, for sure, but these days people are starting to stretch the definition of a Nazi to include other things, or simply label anyone who disagrees with their left-leaning views as a Nazi. Then what happens? We just get to punch anyone we disagree with? Sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me.

    I’m not sure where to draw the line here. We absolutely don’t want Nazis spreading their influence, but free speech is also a thing. People have a right to rally. You can’t punch someone for their thoughts, or what you imagine their thoughts are. That’s fucking chaos.

    • Chris says:

      Absolutely. Lahren’s words might be encouraging to a group of ignorant people, but those people are merely looking to be validated. Also, while she’s skilled at speaking on camera (above average, at least) she does not have deep knowledge of the subjects she covers, which is why the person-to-camera format is best for her, and also why when Trevor Noah asked her “what could be more peaceful than taking a knee?” she had to drop back to things like respect for the flag or the troops or something. Had she had a grandfather who went to Bouganville, she’d have said he was disrespected.

      Being a person who has an audience doesn’t deserve a punch.

    • Strangely Rational says:

      “The danger here is that people aren’t always good at deciding who is evil and who isn’t. And that’s why we let the law do that”

      Because the law is so much more effective at it? LOL

      In all seriousness, the law is not about punishing evil. It’s about punishing certain behaviors. And since the law is created and maintained by people, it’s just as fallible. A good person can be punished for something that shouldn’t even be illegal in the first place, and a terrible person can get away with a horrific crime on a technicality.

      • Chris says:

        Laws are in place to control the population. Many happen to be good, but they are there for the benefit of the lawmakers, not us.

  7. Damien Otis says:

    Nazis want to systemically eliminate entire populations; how is any violence against them disproportionate? not that I’m advocating for shooting Nazis in the face, but given their politics, isn’t that proportionate?

    • Chris says:

      Fair questions: Once you decide you can shoot people for their beliefs instead of their deeds, then it is fair for them to do the same when power swings in their direction, because those are the rules as established. Nazis are not going to lessen a rule of power, only enhance it.

      Ken Follett’s “Century Trilogy” does a good job of showing this, particularly in the 2nd book where nazis are tearing apart the office of a Berlin newspaper.

    • bigbollox says:

      Where do you see Nazis attempting to “systemically eliminate entire populations” in 2018?

      This isn’t 1939. Get a grip.

        • bigbollox says:

          Comparing ‘Trump’s America’ to Nazi Germany is just sad. It’s the type of hysterical thinking that got him elected.

          • Girl Comic says:

            No, Trump got elected because Hillary is very unlikeable and just as elderly and frail. He would have been beaten by Sanders, and will lose to any one of the many Dems coming in, like Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard or Tammy Duckworth. Literally any Dem who is under 55 and has some kind of conviction (Hillary was against gay marriage on the Ellen show in 2008, then for it after it was a law) can beat Trump.

            I also like Andrew Yang. Have you guys seen him?

          • Kai says:

            I mean Trump supporters are now justifying the concentration camps for Mexican toddlers that now exist, but sure, calling out overt racism is “hysterical”.

          • bigbollox says:

            There are 2.7 million kids with a parent in prison and 400,000 kids in foster care, but all we focus on is 2,000 illegal immigrants who broke the law and got temporarily separated from their kids. The media as usual is winding you up. It’s absolutely true that there are people voting for Trump purely as a middle finger to hysterical “SJWs”- it’s one of the only things some of us like about him

          • Chris says:

            Putting aside the evil of separating a child from its parent for this particular crime – peacefully crossing the border – you bring up fair points on the state of US children. Of our 4, we adopted 1, and even with her never having lived with anyone but us the process took years.

        • TeamSalamander says:

          Unlawful detentions, coups, etc. have a long American history that Americans don’t like to acknowledge. Pouring your heart out over atrocities of the moment without taking their historical context into account is stupid. As usual we are enouraged to claim moral high ground and denounce one another. I was upset when Trump got elected but now the liberal progressive propoganda really does look hysterical to me.

          • flblbl says:

            “America has always been full of fascists” yeah we know they’re the ones who inspired the Third Reich, but we’re not gonna pretend like there isn’t a quick escalation toward a full-blown ethnostate right now.
            The country that invented the concept of concentration camps, destroyed their first iteration during WW2, only to start building them up itself. The system wasn’t built in a day, but one can understand why descendants of those who came to the US to escape mass genocide might be *a little bit* on the edge now that US concentration camps are officially a thing the government is doing.

  8. bigbollox says:

    Nothing particularly good or helpful came from throwing that glass of water. It just makes leftists look bad.

    • Chris says:

      Plus, it was a total wimp move. There was no boldness in the action. It might has well been from 10 miles. The result would have been the same except that the bus staff wouldn’t have had an unnecessary mess to clean up when it was already busy.

    • Veryon says:

      Lol. “Leftists”
      In whose eyes do they “look bad?” Oh noes…trump supporters think “leftists” look bad.
      “God damn leftists…always throwing water and punching nazi’s. Nothing a bullet or lack of wedding cake wouldn’t fix! God they look bad.”

      • bigbollox says:

        Trump supporters? How about just the regular, decent, moderate folk who aren’t all the way left or all the way right. Did you know those exist? Or are you too ideologically possessed to even entertain the idea?

          • bigbollox says:

            If you’re all the way on either side of the aisle you are deranged, in my view. I thought I was a liberal until I heard some of the shit liberals come out with. But I definitely don’t agree with everything republican either.
            Is that too complicated to understand?

          • chermobile says:

            sorry balls, you have about as much nuance as a sledgehammer. your labels are shite and you don’t know what people stand for if you slam them into boxes instead of asking questions. the idea that centrists are somehow better is dumb. “i think we should build a bridge” vs “i think we shouldn’t.” centrist, “let’s build half a bridge.”
            and before you say, “that’s a terrible analogy” consider racism, gay rights, abortion, and trans rights. there is no middle ground, punch a nazi homophobe misogynist today!

          • bigbollox says:

            They’re not “my labels”, but I agree with you that labels are shite. However there’s no shortage of people who identify as all the way left or right.
            Also you and the other poster brought up the term ‘centrist’, not me. But anyone that can identify positives and negatives on both sides (which exist politically) rather subscribing all the way to one or the other is obviously a more thoughtful and rational person. That just stands to reason.
            Your analogy IS terrible, btw. A ‘centrist’ doesn’t necessarily want half a bridge, they may agree with you all the way on minority/gay/trans rights etc, but not on other policies.

          • bigbollox says:

            I watched it. It’s along the lines of my own POV. Are you saying you now agree? Because you’re not making any counter-arguments, just snark

      • Chris says:

        But why? She didn’t throw the glass of water Lahren’s face, like would happen in the fantasy where liberals are bold, heroic, Hitler-punchers. She sullied the floor of a business, and was asked to leave.

        Maybe as someone who bused tables for 5 years I’m too focused on this point, but some poor schmuck had to clean that up.

  9. TeamSalamander says:

    There was still some tongue in ass cq worship going on in this thread but thoughtful remarks on the content seem to have won the round. Congratulations everybody!

      • Girl Comic says:

        It’s a tie. We’re all like, ‘yay, Coquette is here to be say the things!’ and then others are like, ‘we need civil discourse so as to be civilly discourseful’ while the counter-pointers say, ‘it was the best; I knuckle-shuffled to it for a week.’

        Time to take a poll: Which camp are you in?

        I’m in the ‘yay, she’s saying the things’ camp.

    • flblbl says:

      you sound like the cousin at christmas dinner who keep saying “please, no talking about politics tonight”. ew.

      • Chris says:

        Good one. But I’ve talked politics here.

        When it comes to family gatherings, it’s the same argument over and over with some of the names changed, which is why I am out of there before I have to hear (AGAIN!) about Newt Gingrich in the ’90s.

        It’s not that people can’t handle “talking about politics tonight,” it’s that the participants don’t realize they are having the same discussion over and over, like some variation of a sci-fi show where it’s an experiment the subjects think is real.

        And (like you right now) everyone walks away thinking the other is an idiot while (like me right now) carrying the weight of the misguided notion they said something that made an impact.

        • Girl Comic says:

          “….everyone walks away thinking the other is an idiot while…….carrying the weight of the misguided notion they said something that made an impact.”


          Hey peeps, don’t forget that today is 7/11. Free Slurpees at your local establishments!

        • flblbl says:

          … Anyway.
          My point was, if you’re annoyed by the politics talks stagnating around here, the solution is not to make us sing kumbaya around some youtube vid of one sort or another.
          It got that way when the MAGA little flucks started invading the comments section a little while ago. If it seems like people are talking to walls, it’s because they are. They are not disputing minute details just to keep the conversation going and you should know better than that. But instead you’re tagging the reaction as negative without looking at the action.
          If there’s one reaction you could be bitching about however, it’s Coke’s absence of one when it comes to cleaning the place regularly. But you’re not. You’re just complaining about people complaining to have an excuse to post, to have an excuse to post. The place is already rife with trite mental masturbation, why add to it ?

          • Chris says:

            But that was my main point: “Dammit, Coke. You let so much time pass….”

            We’re checking this corpse of a site while refusing to pull the plug.

          • Girl Comic says:

            “The place is already rife with trite mental masturbation, why add to it ?”

            True. That’s all this whole post is. In months of silence CQ has surely received better questions than ‘is it ok to throw water at the abortion-loving, speech-hating lady with all that bleach on her dumb head?’ but this is the one she plucked from the hundreds.

            You two are fighting because the one to blame has left while leaving the door open as though it’s not really goodbye. That’s what’s happening.

  10. Valerie says:

    How is spilling a drink violence?

    Are conservatives such snowflakes that a mere gesture of distaste is an act of violence?

    • apricot says:

      Throwing or even spitting a drink deliberately in someones face is not a mere gesture of distaste. It’s certainly not done with nonviolent intent.

      • Valerie says:

        My senior year of college I’m dancing with a guy. His ex-girlfriend sneaks up and pours a drink down the back of my dress. I noticed out of the corner of my eye something was up, so was able to keep dancing as though nothing happened. I later had an incredible laugh while they kept checking their phone for the video.

        “Did it really happen?” I actually heard one ask. “Let’s check again.”
        “I’m so confused,” another said, constantly looking at me.

        As the person who actually had a drink poured on her, which Tomi Lahren did not, I’m saying it was a prank. It was mean. It was cunt-ish. But it was not violence.

        We are getting to the point where everything is labeled as violence from mean words to people talking with their hands {micro-aggressions}.

        • Chris says:

          Sounds like you got the last and only laugh. Nice job.

          Having a sense of humor probably made your HS and college years much easier.

    • Chris says:

      In this case, it isn’t. As I’ve annoyingly noted above, she only tossed her drink in the direction of her target.

      Apricot’s description would be an assault because whether you throw a nerf ball, water, or whatever at someone who is not engaging in a game of catch or a water gun fight, you are crossing the line and intruding on them.

      To be very clear, this is why a fight is not assault, by law. It’s also why pro boxer Luis Resto went to jail for his match against Billy Collins [his hand wraps were actually plaster]:

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