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When does senseless violence make sense?

Posted: September 27, 2011 at 4:27 am   /   by

When a liberal writer oh-so-artfully lectures us that it is so.

The article is titled  Are Violent Flash Mobs Really a Trend?. It is very long, and more than a little annoying. It is well-written, of course, and it covers a lot of interesting ground. But the author’s bottom line point is this:

White-on-black mob violence occurred for many years, and it was bad.

Black-on-white mob violence is occurring now, and it is the result of a complex pastiche of social forces externally imposed on communities based on their class and race.

Of course, all the group-based absolution meted out by a hand-wringing liberal journalist doesn’t do much to help the poor guy who just had his teeth kicked in by a mob of “youths” for the crime of nothing at all. Or the woman who is beaten so badly that her leg breaks from the many blows. Or any of the other victims of mass-assault.

You get the impression throughout the article that these people are just collateral damage in a social conflict that they themselves have contributed to by their very being. The author writes about them as mere abstractions, a few bit players in a social drama playing itself out not as the result of individual actors, but as part of some grand interplay of groups and classes.

It is all too typical, and not surprising, but it is disturbing nonetheless. The author’s piece is long enough, and covers ground, that he could probably parse his way out of this charge, but it would be hollow sophistry. I got what he meant, and so did the commenters at the end of the article.

I will give him credit for allowing that there is no direct correlation between poverty and violent crime,

“There’s very little correlation between economic conditions and violent crime,” says Schneider, noting the rock bottom crime rates during the Great Depression.

. . . though that credit is quickly diminished by the assertion that another classic Marxian/leftist issue is the cause:

“It’s inequality more than economic distress. It’s unequal societies that have very high crime rates.

Ah, I get it. If we’re all poor slobs, we’re nice to each other. If, however, there are large gaps between classes, then the have-nots are just going to go after the haves, and there’s not much we can do about it. It’s just the way these things work.


First, there were plenty of rich people during the Great Depression, and plenty of income disparity. Certainly enough to “justify” this sort of violence, according to this formulation.

Second, well . . . read this:

You are walking in a dark alley.

A door opens and a dozen young men come out.

They are “victims” of every one of the social forces the author is dicsussing. They are black, young, unemployed, living in a poor section of a balkanized urban area. If they stand on the rooftops of their apartment buildings, they can see the neighborhoods of the “haves” off in the distance.

Under each of their arms is a Bible, and the door from which they emerge says “Bible Study.”

In this circumstance, you are not the least bit afraid. No matter what your race, religious belief (or lack thereof), or class . . . no matter where you live and whether you shop at Nordstroms or the Dollar Store . . . you KNOW these men will not hurt you. Why?

Because they have a moral code (in this case, Christian/ethical monotheist) that tells them not to do such things.

Understand, I didn’t just say these kids simply go along to church with their parents on Sundays. I said they were carrying Bibles and coming out of Bible study. In other words, they’re serious about their moral code.

This isn’t some ode to Bible study, nor am I engaging in Christian apologetics. I am just telling you that you can have all the “social forces” you want to explain mob violence, but they are all washed away and rendered meaningless by adherence to a simple moral code that says . . . wait for it . . . . Assaulting innocent people is wrong.

Poverty, income disparity, haves and have-nots, race . . . everything that the left believes in, so vehemently, as the cause of nearly every ill in society . . . all swept away as unimportant by a simple moral code.

A moral code that says that there is no excuse for this sort of violence no matter who the perpetrators—or the victims—are. Imagine that.

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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When does senseless violence make sense?