A metaphor for our times

A man in a suit and tie was caught on a security camera kicking a homeless person in the head in a completely unprovoked attack. You can see him with a briefcase and hat making a point of coming back just to kick the person.

The man was later identified as a computer technician Samuel Gabel Youmtoub, aged 58. He has a history of violent behavior towards random people. He was charged with carrying out many such attacks and gave his explanation for his abhorrent behavior in this particular case.

The computer technician accused of kicking a sleeping homeless person in the face for no apparent reason told police upon arrest that he was maddened by the failure of public officials to solve homelessness in San Francisco.

Samuel Gabel Youmtoub, 58, is facing various charges for allegedly carrying out a series of attacks in San Francisco including an incident captured on surveillance footage May 24, when Youmtoub allegedly walked passed a sleeping man in the Tenderloin, turned around and kicked the man twice before walking away.

In court records filed Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Diane Knoles said that Youmtoub asked officers who arrested him near United Nations Plaza on Sunday, “Why aren’t you doing anything about the homeless?”

Youmtoub “feels that the homeless situation is sad, but doesn’t personally blame the homeless,” Knoles said. “He stated that the failure of public officials to resolve the homeless problem makes him mad. He believes The City’s most urgent problem concerns the homeless and wants to help come up with solutions.”

You want to help solve the homeless problem by kicking them in the head? But these are the times we live in, where we ‘solve’ problems by harshly treating the people who need help. It is called ‘tough love’, folks.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Would not it be better to kick a couple of city councilors in the head? Youmtoub’s psychiatric examination should be bizarre.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    I’ve known homeless people who would have torn the fucker a new one. I guess he only picks people who look vulnerable.

  3. file thirteen says

    He believes The City’s most urgent problem concerns the homeless and wants to help come up with solutions.

    Do his solutions involve gas chambers and incinerators?

  4. says

    “Computer technician”? So is this another googlebro and the media is downplaying that aspect of ‘privileged white asshole’ because tech is cool or something?

  5. lanir says

    Computer technician usually means something like helpdesk work or someone who physically assembles PCs and/or installs the OS. It’s the geek squad at Best Buy or the geniuses at the Apple store. Some people in those roles are really quite knowledgeable, others manage with confidence and a few routines that maybe aren’t the best fit for every occasion but do leave you with a functional system (something like wiping the drive and reinstalling Windows to cure every software problem).

  6. johnson catman says

    I think it would be appropriate if someone gave Samuel Gabel Youmtoub the same treatment that Richard Spencer received:

  7. alixmo says

    Sorry for sounding like such a cliche “lefty”. But here we go:

    Neoliberal economics is a inhumane system, fostering only sociopaths. It created a dog-eat-dog-world, people fighting like dogs for the crumbs that fall from the master`s table. The Wealth Gap is obscene (just look it up, you would not believe me otherwise). Solidarity, helping and caring for each other (or the environment) is seen as stupidity and weakness. Everyone is afraid that they will fall back if they do not step on each other. Everyone is afraid to lose what they have got. Everyone kicks down -- quite literally.

    The Germans have an expression: “Radfahrermentalität”, meaning “acting like a cyclist” -- “kicking” down (on the vulnerable) and buckling upwards (to the master`s pleasure who are on top of the hierarchy). Many see this “mentality” as one of the reasons for why so many Germans accepted not only the authoritarian regime of the “Kaiser” but also the Nazis, both resulting in a World War.

    The “Verrohung” (loosely “brutalisation”) of society is mostly a result of a callous kleptocratic economic system. As “Maggie” Thatcher (who introduced neoliberalism to Great Britain) said: “There is no such thing as society.” We are all individuals now -- and divided we fall. Scary.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    You can’t applaud the treatment of Spencer and complain about this. Not with any semblance of integrity anyway. Violently assaulting people is wrong.

  9. says

    You can’t applaud the treatment of Spencer and complain about this. Not with any semblance of integrity anyway.

    Or you can because context and motivation matter.

  10. lorn says

    Well, of course … makes perfect sense … at least it does if you are steeped in right-wing, authoritarian thinking.

    It goes like this:
    1) I am successful and have been successful primarily because of my own choices and efforts within the context of this free and open market-based economic environment.
    2) Anyone can do well if they apply the effort.
    3) Failure is a matter of choice and acceptance of the amount of rewards/ pain.
    4) I have no direct ability to make you do more to advance your cause.
    5) I can increase your level of pain and thus indirectly stimulate your desire to apply more effort to advancing your standard of living.
    6) I should be rewarded for caring so deeply for the homeless that I am willing to spend my valuable time doing the dirty job of properly motivating homeless people so they too can become successful.

    This is right up there with: ‘Beatings will continue until morale improves’ for logic but it is, essentially, conservative dogma. The other half is that wealth must be lavishly rewarded so that everyone will be motivated to become billionaires. Motivation and success are always best maximized through a structured system of pleasure and pain. That this is also a method of control and maintaining predictability (business loves predictability) is gravy.

    And yes, I can “applaud the treatment of Spencer and complain about this” and maintain integrity.

    Spencer’s MO is to provoke discord and incite violence on his terms with the hopes of advancing his agenda of bigotry and violence. It is a plan to cause and magnify chaos and confusion until the general population will, out of desperation and frustration, settle for trading freedom for all (in practical terms, most) for relative peace and predictability for themselves and their tribe. Generally this involves implementation of of a police state and strict minority rule.

    As far as I can tell the homeless man was advancing an agenda of rest with violence toward none.

    Failure to see the difference is to dogmatically apply principles equally in both fervor and degree to people with, and without any commitment to any principles. For Spencer and his ilk civility and non-violence are just postures adopted to advance their goal of a world where they get to chose when and where incivility and violence are used. Like the Skinheads I’ve known who are gentle and loving at home with their kind but go out on Friday nights for beer and a bash with ‘muds’ as the guests of honor.

    All men, and women, are capable of terrible things. We are all potentially violent. We should all seek an environment where grievances and differences are openly addressed. For when humans are deeply aggrieved, offended, and cornered we can all get violent. It is our nature. We are all still primates. Solve, minimize, or harmonize the issues and you minimize the violence at its source. Cover them up and they fester and come out later in a more extreme form.

    Which is the point. Spencer is not seeking to solve any conflicts. His goal is to maximize conflicts to sow chaos and to use that chaos to advance his plan for a world where some people/s get to use violence while others do not. Stifling all violence in all forms and degrees and contexts solves nothing. Typically, doing that involves even great amounts of violence. Time in an American jail is far more violent than a simple beating. And when the inmate gets out, with lost time and friends, and a criminal record that makes the unemployable the real violence begins. Which, in this case, may be poetic justice if our kicker becomes homeless. The remedies available are clearly inadequate, but not entirely without value.

    Indiscriminate, unmeasured and inappropriate violence should be seen as socially incorrect and harmful to society. Correction, some mix or reparations and punishment, is called for. Limited and measured violence applied to people seeking to provoke violence and to create a world in which their tribe has near unilateral privilege to use violence is far less a problem. Hard for me to get worked up over it, even entirely independent of his politics. I would, ideally (We still human/primate), feel the same way about any liberal movement advocating violence. That may be as principled and consistent as humans get.

    So you punched Richard Spencer?
    Yes, your honor.
    One hour picking up litter on the side of a road. Next case.

  11. Quirky says

    @ # 10 sonofrojblake
    Well, we finally agree on something.

    Too bad Tabby @ 11 believes it OK to violate the safety of others just because she doesn’t agree with their the context and/or their position. Authoritarianism at it best.

  12. Saad says

    Tabby Lavalamp, #11

    Or you can because context and motivation matter.

    Not all of us can differentiate between a homeless person sleeping on the pavement and a famous white supremacist who draws crowds of Nazis and calls for ethnic cleansing all under the protection of the law.

  13. Quirky says

    @ Saad,
    The inability to “differentiate ….” doesn’t give anyone a right to initiate violence against anyone.
    Everyone is under the protection of the law and regardless whether I consider what you promote to be repugnant to all human sensibilities, I still do not have the right to initiate violence or to stop you except for one situation. That would be where you were inciting an immediate impending threat against me or someone else..
    If what you are verbally promoting is about to incite the violation of the peace and safety of the community in that very moment, then a plausible argument could be made to justify the violent averting of such an immediate impending threat.
    Otherwise, as despicable as what Spencer promotes is, the fact that it does not rise to the level of an immediate impending threat, one is neither justified in initiating a physical attack on him, nor arresting his speech by any method.
    We are now seeing laws against certain speech being enacted and enforced in countries around the world that are the result of going down this slippery slope. After speech, comes the thought police.

  14. mnb0 says

    “The Germans have an expression”
    The Dutch prefer the ladder metaphor, so that you can kick downward and hit the people underneath you in their face while licking the boots of those just above you.

  15. jrkrideau says

    @ 10 sonofrojblake
    Of course you can. Punching a noted alt-right hatemonger is a virtuous activity.

    Kicking a harmless sleeping homeless man is psychotic behaviour.

    @12 lorn [Slight correction]
    So you punched Richard Spencer?
    Yes, your honor.
    Let me shake your hand, sir.

  16. file thirteen says

    I believe the right place for Youmtoub is in jail, and I believe the right place for the person who punched Spencer is also in jail. Hopefully that’s where they’ll end up.

  17. Quirky says

    @ filethirteen, Well I bet you thought you and I would never agree.
    We do, well sorta.
    In an anarchic society I am not sure when jails, or something like that, would be employed as a means of defense or punishment against persons out of control, but within the political paradigm we presently live, some sort of jail is appropriate.
    For more info on how anarchy could work in the real world see

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