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Weaponizing the Other Cheek

Before I talk about “doing the right thing” and pacifism and shit I need to get some things off my chest. The rage I have must be exorcised before I can talk about what’s really important. I hope you stick around for the whole thing.

I watched a woman die yesterday on the internet. Maybe you saw it too. She was wearing a green shirt as the silver Challenger driven by a 20 year old from Ohio slammed her into the back of another car. 19 other people were hospitalized. You probably already know.

People die all the time for no reason. Car’s plow into other cars and people every day for no reason. But we all know this time there was a reason. And if you are like me: a human with a functioning limbic system and frontal lobe, this made you mad as fuck.

It made me fantasize about driving to that quaint little college town in Virginia. I wanted to watch those scrotum-faced cousin-loving morons throw their Off! brand bug-repellant torches and scream like baby rabbits as they dove out of the way of my shitty Suburu. I wanted to go bowling for Nazi’s.

You should know that I’m unabashadly Texan. If you know me for any amount of time, I’ll tell you. If you don’t know me, well. Hi. Nice to meet you. I’m a Texan. I love Buc-ee’s and Whataburger and Willie Nelson. It’s a thing I’m proud of.

I’m an Anglo-Saxon, blonde-haired blue-eyed Texan. My masonic great-great-great-great-great uncle fought in the 11th Texas Regiment for the Confederacy. I have a gun. I think people who are afraid of guns should shoot a gun at least once. I am a goddamned poster child of this new “alt-rightsister-fucking fear-mongering movement. If I met any of these chromosomally-deficient assholes in a bar they would probably buy me a beer. Had I been alive in the 1930’s Goebbels would have made me a movie star. I MEAN JUST LOOK AT THESE PURE BLOODED ARYAN FEATURES.

My grandfather was in France in WW2. I have some of the memorabilia he took off of dead Nazi’s. The prize objects are a Luftwaffe officer’s dress sword, and a beautiful black cigarette case adorned with a hand-carved ivory rose that I kept my joints in when I was in college. My grandmother worked as a riveter in Fort Worth assembling B-24 Liberators which were used extensively on bombing raids all across Western Europe and the Pacific Theatre.

Nazi killing is literally in my blood. I might as well move to Maynard, TN and call myself Aldo “The Apache” Raine.

And should the tangible need arise for me to go to arms against one of the shittier ideologies to ooze out of the bile duct of human civilization I will take up arms without even blinking. I still have my grandfather’s helmet.

The problem with that though is that I would be giving them exactly what they want.

I’ve probably got you nice and mad if you weren’t already. And that’s good. But now I really need you to listen. I need you to know how to channel this anger. Because the stuff that you and I fantasize about (bowling for instance) and writing long hateful, hyphenated insults is not helping anyone (I know I’m a hypocrite). All it does is breed hate. Which is what they want. They want you to respond violently. They want you to declare war. They want to be condemned by the press and the government. Because it justifies their fear.

And like a chiuhaua with rabies, they are foaming and quivering. They are fucking terrified.

This thing goes back pretty far. White people have always been afraid of, well, everything that isn’t them. (It’s really a human thing, it’s evolutionarily beneficial when you’re fighting over resources and caves and shit). But I think it really starts gaining momentum in the early-nineties with inarguably one of the most famous (and profoundly tragic) events northern Idaho has ever seen: Ruby Ridge.

Ruby Ridge is fascinating. Wikipedia does a decent job of summing it up. If your interest is piqued, you can watch a great documentary about it on Netflix.

Here’s the cliffnotes: A farmer in Iowa called Randy Weaver and his family were having a hard time financially. Due to general economic instability, a rise in terrorism, and other world events, this farmer decided to move his family to a remote cabin in northern Idaho. Just in case civilization was about to collapse. Since both the farmer and his wife Vicki were religious and believed in an apocalyptic interpretation of Revelation, it didn’t seem all that far-fetched to believe that the world was coming to an end. They were just getting ready. They were afraid.

So he took his family into the mountains where they built a cabin. No electricity, no running water. And since their new home was also the home of thousands of black bears, lynx, and mountain lions, they carried guns when they left the house.

This part of the world is a refuge for a lot of people looking for reprieve from society. From survivalists, to white separatists–this country lets the misguided and hate-filled and generally antisocial live their lives in relative peace and harmony, and, most importantly (for everyone), away from civilized society. There’s not a lot else out there. And since humans are social, it was inevitable that Randy Weaver would start hanging out with the wrong crowd. Mostly because there was no other crowd to hang around.

The FBI had been keeping tabs on these groups for a while. They had embedded agents and were keeping files on the leaders of these organizations. When Randy Weaver started attending more than just pot-lucks, that’s when they started paying attention to him. Since he was new and had a family, the FBI thought it would be an easy way to get more info: they summon him to court, lean on him, and due to his relative new social status and the devotion he had for his family, he would flip and give them whatever info they wanted. Pretty standard law enforcement procedure.

But when they went to arrest him, shit really hit the fan. There was a standoff. Eventually, Randy’s 14 year old son was shot and killed and a few days later his wife Vicki Weaver, was shot in the face by a sniper while holding her 10-month-old baby. One federal officer was also shot and killed.

It was poorly handled. Innocent people died. For no good reason, really. The local populace and most of the right-leaning people of America saw this as more than murder. They saw it as suppression of people’s freedoms, as an attack on people who had guns. They were now the target of the infinite power of the American military industrial complex. They were being persecuted.

Then, a year later, the siege at Mt. Carmel in Waco, Texas happened. To a lot of people Big Brother was real and he was descending on God-fearing Americans with tanks and shooting their children. The Oklahoma City bomber (himself connected to the white separatist movement) cites Ruby Ridge and Waco as his primary motivations for detonating a bomb right outside of the America’s Kids Day Care Center at the bottom of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. 19 of the 168 victims were children.

The FBI and ATF have since strongly revised their approaches to these situations. The evidence of this is the lack of body count during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon just last year. But the bad blood still runs deep. I remember being 9 and watching that flimsy-ass compound in Waco ignite knowing full well I was watching the 76 people inside die. To this day, there is still controversy about how that fire started.

Here are some truths:

Fear is a natural thing. Fear provides an evolutionary advantage (Ugg see bush move, Ugg run away. Ogg see bush move, Ogg no run away. Tiger eat Ogg, but not Ugg). But that’s about all it’s good for. Now we just use it to hate and kill each other.

Fear is caused by ignorance. (Ugg see bush move, Ugg no know what in bush, could be bad, Ugg run away). Ignorance is okay. Ignorance itself isn’t inherently deplorable. Willful ignorance however, is. Because it means you would rather retain your shallow worldview and spew venom then be a little uncomfortable and acknowledge that the world is complicated, that you aren’t as smart as you think you are.

So what, you’re probably asking. Why does it matter? Shouldn’t we fear the hateful? Shouldn’t we hate the hateful?

No. I hate to say it. But no. Because it only justifies their worldview. The worldview that the world wants to see them gun-less and put in concentration camps. It says they are right when they are just so pitifully wrong.

Now I’m going to talk about streaking.

Those of you who were alive back then probably remember streaking. It was a big deal in the 60’s and 70’s. It seemed like every other week some hippie was getting naked and running across a college campus or baseball field, their swimsuit areas flapping and flopping for all to see.

Then, as soon as it arrived the fad was over. Why? Because people stopped reporting it. People stopped putting it on TV. So people stopped caring.

Every second of airtime we give this white-trash-micropenis-fuckrag we further his cause. Every time we talk about him and google him, every breath we use to curse his coprophillic face we give him power. We validate his existence and his shitty worldview. When we click on an article about him and his fringe movement we are telling the press that they can make money by talking about him and his minion of angry, sexually-frustrated little boys. We should stop doing that.

Channel that rage into power and control. Don’t read about the shit they are doing. Don’t feed the trolls. Our anger only makes them stronger.

Let them protest without an audience. Let them shout into megaphones and their words echo emptily off buildings. Let their venom pass through us, over us. Because when we fight back, we are validating their cause. We might as well be screaming YOU’RE RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING in their faces. We are telling them that “Yes, the world is out to get you. You’re right. 9/11 was an inside job, the Waco fire was started by government tanks, white people are being put in concentration camps, frogs are turning gay because of Obama.” The NRA uses the exact same tactic (fear) to recruit members. They make a shit ton of money preying off these terrified folks and when we scream at them and fight with them and engage them we are basically the middle men in that exchange. We might as well be handing the NRA their money. We might as well be buying adspace from Alex Jones.

This is the beautiful kernel of non-violent resistance: when they are the only ones shouting, they are the maniacs. When no one fights back, they have only themselves to blame. They can no longer claim victimhood. When we don’t give a shit about their torches and shitty pseudo-Roman shields, it means that they aren’t a threat. That no one is a threat to them. That they are wrong about everything. Only then will they crawl back to the dark places from where they emerged. Only then will their poisonous ideology start to finally die off.

Because eventually no one, not even their kids, will give a shit.

And I can’t think of a more violent thing than to render someone’s existence a joke not even worth telling.

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