"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Mar 24, 2011


Assume that you know of a woman who is living in a home with a man who is accused of abusive behavior. Assume that you are aware of her, but don't actually know her by name, location or contact. You have never actually met her. You do know the husband's name, and perhaps even where he works. You also have it on relatively reliable report that he's got a bit of a history, when it comes to smacking women around. Rumor has it the woman would like some assistance in escaping her plight, but you cannot confirm this as unassailable fact. It seems reasonable, and in agreement with almost everyone you know, you hope and wish she manages to free herself.

With only that information available to you, what is your opinion of the following scenario? -

At 3 AM on a Sunday morning an entire neighborhood, totaling almost fifty homes, is raided by the local police department, with assistance from country sheriffs and the State Police. They are searching for the abusive husband, in an attempt to rescue his wife.

Four people are killed in their beds outright, after policemen are fired upon by the startled inhabitants of several houses, and one apartment. Another six die in the hospital from wounds received in the cross fire, including two children. Five homes are set on fire, perhaps owing to the confusion, the use of crowd control gasses, and other factors not yet clear on first reporting. Three more people die of smoke inhalation. Another fifteen are wounded by bullets, flame and collapsing structures.

The police do not apprehend the husband suspected of beating his wife. And in the days following the raid, her whereabouts remain undetermined.

Was it worth it? Is it right for you to advocate for the police response, especially knowing from prior experience the manner, impact and tendency towards overkill of their involvement?


My apologies in advance for not finding a way to link this all to something a cultural studies professor once wrote on the margins of a term paper, a film produced for a Swedish festival, two obscure books published by University Tenure Press, Lady Gaga's state of undress, and the social sexual habits of the inhabitants of Zeta Kleepak Four.

(originally a reply, here slightly modified, en chez IOZ)


mp said...

You've been excellent on this subject. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yeah that's a great hypo. Nice work Jack.

Jack Crow said...

Thank you.

darms said...

"The police do not apprehend the husband suspected of beating his wife. And in the days following the raid, her whereabouts remain undetermined."

And there are thirteen dead, fifteen wounded + five burned houses? Sounds like Libya but I oppose that war for different reasons, namely the repeatedly-proven incompetence of the US military although it's not the soldiers themselves that are the incompetents, it's their leaders. (longtime lurker)

Jack Crow said...


Thanks for the reply. I'm sure there's plenty of room to agree, even if we have different reasons for coming to banquet.

Randal Graves said...

Hey now, they were only doing their job.

senecal said...

You left out one crucial element - the racial. This doesn't often happen in white neighborhoods, but frequently in non-white. And that has application to Libya too.

Jack Crow said...

Race is not essential to a generic example used to illustrate a failure of logic, Sen.

I understand your point, in almost any other context agree with it, but I elided it deliberately, because it adds an elements which burdens the whole and distracts from the point I was trying to make.

Cüneyt said...

I wonder if righteous class war would result in no wrongful death, no misdirected fury, no failure to solve the problem...

Jack Crow said...

...and there's probably a way to distinguish between the ill equipped, illegal violent struggle of the destitute and poor of the earth from the sanctioned, legal, well funded, industrially armed and supplied military violence of organized powers.

Cüneyt said...

You're absolutely right. There are many differences, and they matter. But if you want to bash the violence based on who's doing it, then do that. Don't present the consequences of war as somehow the matter here when you seem to be no pacifist, and when you have yet to explain how any war would avoid the consequences of our current dirty, capitalists' war.

A tangent: You know what a state is, right? It's the force that wins. Whatever force that wins.

And just to show you I don't take myself too seriously: You know the worst part of Return of the Jedi? In real life, the Ewoks become the new Empire.

Jack Crow said...

My argument has naught to do with the origin of violence, Cuneyt. Only that its magnitudes vary, and that means something.