Left Wing Calls for Violence vs. Right Wing Calls For Violence
With the baseball-shooter in the news some people are thrilled to finally have a decidedly left-wing shooter who is white and not (trivially identifiable as) crazy. Conservatives are asking if the left is engaging in some self reflection over its calls for violence now. Are they? Should they be?
It's pretty clear that "the left" isn't exactly taking this all on themselves. Rachel Maddow has not called on Bernie Sanders to calm his hateful rhetoric. Democrats have not decided to vote for the AHCA out of shame for the shooting. In fact, some of them have said Trump's responsible for the tone today!
Imagine that! So it falls to us to see what the left vs. the right looks like in calls-for-violence. Let's do it.
Right Wing Violence vs. Left Wing Violence
There is left-wing and right-wing violence and threats of violence. Antifa idiots in masks have led actual riots on the Berkeley campus. One of them famously cold-cocked Richard Spencer on camera. There have been numerous anti-WTO demonstrations--for years--that involve property damage, thrown bricks, etc. BlackLivesMatter protests have, in numerous cases led to arson and looting. In cases where things were not totally out of control, there have been kill-police chants and free-way shutdowns (as planned). In one of these, an anti-police sniper shot and killed several cops.
In every one of these cases--including the cop-shooting--you can find people on Twitter who are happy to defend it.
On the right, there too, is violence. Dylan Roof drank his vile-fill of online hate-group propaganda. Recent white nationalist stabbings have made the news. At the Bundy Ranch, armed "peace keepers" descended on the ranch (and took over a Food and Wildlife outpost) to protect against the federal government.
Spencer led a torch-bearing march through his town of, basically, Nazis.
It is not an objectively answerable question as to how much of this does The Left and The Right each own, respectively, unfortunately.
However, we can look at what each side won't say as a way of determining where each part refuses to own its "negative space." This is, it turns out, a pretty good analysis.
On The Left: What They Won't Say
There Are Killing Advocates On "The Left"Nobody owns Micah Johnson--the Dallas police shooter. Not only did leaders associated with #BLM condemn him--but it turns out even the Black Panthers kicked him out (and, indeed, . Not everyone would though--there are groups that advocate killing police officers. And while they disowned him, members of the new Black Panther Party have advocated for killing officers earlier.
NOTE HOWEVER: The Black Panther Party didn't endorse Hillary and didn't like Obama (or Trump, for that matter).
Kathy Griffin's beheaded Trump was both grotesque and an endorsement--despite what people might say. Griffin is (apparently) a popular comedian and having her "do it" cannot be read as a caution against it (and, notably, no one is making that defense). Town Hall has rounded up several non-Twitter-Randos calling for violence against Republicans.
The "Left" Does Have Endorsements and Defenses of Violence
While some of these are anemic, some are detailed and, well very, very angry. Obama used a quote from The Untouchables to suggest that if there was violence he expected his supporters to want to be fully engaged.
NOTE HOWEVER: Kathy Griffin lost her career over her call for violence. It had almost no support on the left or right.
The Left does not have a clean record when it comes to violence-laced trash-talking. If our standard is that even allegorical endorsements of violence can lead to violence then the Left / Liberals certainly have blood on their hands.
On The Right: What They Won't Say
The Right, As A Party, Talks A Whole Lot About Political Gun ViolenceThe idea of restricting the 2nd Amendment in any way is that it's pretty obvious to most people that while some civilians probably shouldn't have guns, almost no civilian should have grenades and rocket launchers. The purpose of the 2A, however is to use guns to kill politicians. When you are defending any limits to access to weapons on the 2A basis, you are establishing a right--in fact, a duty--to kill politicians involved in tyranny.
Now, who is involved in tyranny? Left wing Democrats--notably Obama. Almost everyone in the right-wing media sphere has accused Obama of orchestrating a coup/coup attempt.
One of the websites that heavily influenced church-shooter Dylan Roof is the Council of Conservative Citizens (get it? They're the CCC!). This is a group that is not exactly mainstream right-wing ... but ...
The Right Has A Problem With Its Endorsement of Racial Violence
NOTE HOWEVER: Note however, nothing. The racist-Nazi support for Trump and the Right's closeness to it in general should be enough to give everyone pause. These people represent political violence.
There, Of Course Have Been Political, Racist Attacks Other Than The Church ShootingYou can go back to Tim McVey who wanted to start a race-war--but you don't have to. Weeks ago two different white supremacists stabbed and killed people (in one case defenders after he was verbally attacking Muslims). To suggest that these people were not acting on a political basis is denial: Racial violence like that is political--the same with the Dallas shooter.
The problem comes when you look for a link between their statements and the Republican Party. The problem is that it's there. There is no denying that the white national groups see their rise as tied to Trump. There is, similarly, no great effort on Trump's part to distance himself from them. That Trump does not spout racist remarks directed at blacks is not in and of itself meaningful.
Trump and his strategists know that a substantial part of their success centers on racial animus--either to Mexicans, Muslims, or, yes, Blacks. We can't know what's in their hearts--but we can see their actions.
The Right Has Called For 2nd Amendment Solutions For Real And NOT Disowned The SpeakersIf you found Sarah Palin's flyer pretty anodyne (it was) and Trump's discourse about "2nd Amendment people" and Hillary kind of vague (it was), you still have to deal with guys like Ted Nugent calling for Hillary to "suck on a machine gun" and getting invited to the oval office. Kathy Griffin is not getting an invite to the next Democratic Oval Office--well, most likely--and would not have been welcomed to the Obama White House.
The fact is that discussing a "2nd Amendment Solution" as 'valid' is not an automatic disqualifier for a GOP candidate.
NOTE HOWEVER: Where Kathy Griffin was excoriated and fired, some people on the right still associate with Ted Nugent. A story in three acts:
Trump, Himself, Has Said Some Weird Things About ViolenceTrump cited two guys who beat up a Hispanic man in his name "passionate." He advised supporters to, well, see for yourself:
The "I will pay for the legal fees" takes this out of the "quoting a movie" zone and in to an endorsement of real physical violence. Trump's "Maybe 2nd Amendment People could do something" about Hillary was conceivably a statement that "well, if you elect her--you'll have to assassinate her." The use of 2nd Amendment rather than some other group is, of course, telling there.
Conclusions: The right certainly uses more graphic language and has less backlash to its violence calls. It also endorses violent groups to a larger degree and at a higher level.