Everywhere I turn the last day or two, someone is posting that spectacular video of a Nazi getting punched in Seattle — and really getting walloped, ending up flattened and unmoving on the sidewalk. The puncher knew what he was doing.
I approve of Nazi-punching. I know, it’s violent action, but when you’re dealing with people advocating for genocide, a little ramping up of the response is appropriate and necessary. Not whip-out-a-gun-&-shoot escalation, not run-’em-over-with-a-car execution, which is what they have done, but we can’t avoid a sock-’em-in-the-jaw response to fighting words and extreme provocation. And yes, I think it’s fair to regard parading about in Nazi gear is extreme provocation.
Obviously, the man is wearing an armband with a Nazi swastika on it, on public transportation,
in Ballard and center city. He’s spoiling for a confrontation.
He harassed a black man on the bus.
He was wandering around, yelling at random people — it was characterized as “Alex Jones” style yelling.
Other people were alarmed enough that they called the police.
He threw a banana at someone and called them an ape.
When the police arrived, nothing was done because the Nazi would not press charges, nor would anyone else complain.
It’s fair to say he was trying to provoke a reaction. He got one. I’m actually a little more troubled by this than I am by the punching:
When the man in the armband began to recover, he rolled over onto his hands and knees and reached up to someone for help, but “nobody wanted to help him,” Duff said. Soon, police officers patrolling the area arrived to the scene and the crowd dispersed.
“Everyone was so joyous,” Duff said. “It was like a bonding for the community.”
No. Don’t be joyous. Punching Nazis is an unpleasant, necessary action, not something to celebrate and bond over. Let’s take this seriously: we have a genuine problem with a subset of the citizenry advocating for racism and normalizing deportation and mass murder, and we have to take a range of actions, most of them political and social, against them…and sometimes that may involve physically subduing them. Let’s not do it because it’s fun. Do it because we want to suppress violence.
Also, boy do I miss Seattle. I need an excuse to get back there and recharge…but unfortunately it’s not going to fit into my travel plans for a while.