“When riots erupted in Milwaukee after police shot an armed suspect, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld flew to the city to engage in a dialogue with rioters and looters – in an attempt to reason them away from their destructive actions. And, it worked.
“I was just about to beat the hell out of this white driver, but then Greg Gutfeld from Fox News showed up and explained to me how there was another way to resolve conflict,” says Joe. “So instead of beating the driver’s brains in, we went and got coffee and he explained to me all the nuances of black-on-black crime, and now I’m a conservative advertising executive with a cool apartment and a great girlfriend.” Another looter added: “Greg cracked a lot of jokes, and we thought – wow, this smart guy is great – let’s listen to him! He really makes more sense than my peers, and more fun than pot! I didn’t realize how much a white guy in his 50s knew about me!”
This never happened.
And it will never happen. It’s the consequence of who I am, and where I am, and who they are, and where they are. A Fox News host can blather until his mouth foams like a root beer float about black-on-black crime, inner cities in ruin, or how noncompliance leads to tragic chaos -- but it reaches no one but the people who already agree with the host (being me).
That’s the world we live in.
We watch a riot predicated on nothing more than the opportunity to riot -- in which participants made it about race -- targeting whites the same way gangs in Baltimore targeted Asian groceries.
The progressive will say that such violence is a natural result of the hopelessness and rage due to structural racism. Some will say (as before) that it should be viewed and encouraged as an act of protest. This belief allows for everything and anything to happen, including not just rioting and attacking privileged whites – but also blacks attacking blacks. You could present the dismal numbers of violence committed by young black men on other black men – and the response will be, as a factual matter, that it is the system’s fault. So have at it.
The conclusion: there is no control over behavior.
How odd that the left-wing apologist and the right-wing racist agree!! These folks just can’t help themselves!
Both sides exempt an entire group of people from creating mechanisms for resolving disputes. Rioting makes more sense, and anything more civil is a sign of wussiness. Discussion is seen as an appeasement signal -- the mark of a coward.
This is spreading.
Look around, friends: where there is no dispute mechanism, there is only submission before the threat of raw violence.
It wasn’t always like this.
On a small scale, like the family squabbles in your two-bedroom home, the dispute mechanism used to be the 10 foot square area above and around the kitchen table. It’s where allowances were worked out, punishments were discussed, curfews were arranged. It’s where the sister cried, the brother laughed -- all while eating.
In a neighborhood, city councils functioned much the same way, to hear complaints about noise, litter or dangerous behaviors (speeding on streets where children live). This rarely led to violence: instead it led to new street signs, patrols, fines, and more meetings to air grievances.
Sunday, in church -- was the day we had to look at the neighbors we hated. And resolve not to hate them another week. We rarely made it that far, but we tried.
More and more, police function as soldiers of dispute, solving issues between angry locals high on whatever, and marital discord exacerbated by booze. It’s why every episode of “Cops” had more therapy in it than Frasier.
Absent a dispute resolution mechanism, the brutal replacement is aggression -- you can find it on the streets among gangs, you can find it in prisons among gangs, you can find it in the chaotic ruins of Syrian villages.
All disagreements are settled with a finality that cements your masculine authority, your manhood. Someone rolls a window down and shoots you as you exit a party because you wised off an hour before; someone slashes your face in a shower because you inadvertently dissed someone, you’re thrown off a rooftop because you had sex with a dude…and the extremist says there’s no other recourse.
So, as we allow our elites to elevate the idea that dispute resolution cannot be expected of “certain” people, and that violence in all shapes is simply a just response to an unjust world – then we will rely more and more on quick, extreme rejoinders to all grievance.
It doesn’t help that daily -- instead of relying on facts -- we move on to hysteria because we have no interest in actually persuading anyone. I can be for orderly immigration, but now that’s degenerated into a corrosive “us vs. them.” You can blame Trump for taking big ideas and putting him through the blender of impulsive, simplistic outrage – but he didn’t start this. It started decades ago when the modern left announced that all opposition is not wrong (and therefore debatable), but evil (not to be discussed, only condemned, then cleansed, to paraphrase Will Smith).
So what we have now is left-wing elitist culture indulging the most destructive defeatist behaviors: rioting and looting is a legitimate response because our country deserves it.
And, ultimately the far left and the far right unite together under the same sick umbrella -- you can’t do anything, but accept bad behavior:
-in discussions of crime, the left defines factual data as racist. Bring up statistics, and you’re a bigot. Truth is replaced by outrage.
-in discussions of crime, a hard-right bigot uses data to underline racial notions on theories of inferiority. Truth is replaced by ideology.
That’s the yin and yang of bad thinking -- both sides saying the same thing, which is essentially, “there is nothing you can do,” because it’s either structural or genetic.
Both are wrong and exist only to prevent discussion, except among their own separate, nodding factions.
Are there solutions? Sure. It would be good to identify arenas of conflict and apply what works in families, at work, in churches. But for the worst places, it won’t stick.
In prison, you are rewarded for allegiances, not dialogue. No chap in ISIS will listen to what you have to say about secularism. He will just sharpen his blade. Gangs will gleefully strip you naked and leave you to bleed out.
But it is not hopeless. The conversation must go on in communities, here. It must happen in inner cities, in mosques, and anywhere that one senses no one is speaking to each other about the horrors unfolding before them.
Finally, we must accept a commonality -- found in terror, gangs, prisons -- that young men view violence as an acceptable alternative to hashing stuff out. In part, it has to do with hormone levels -- as you age, you become less violent , more docile. Young men- including myself 30 years ago -- were risk-taking animals.
There were options when dealing with the unruliness of the young male of every color. The goal, unconsciously, was to get that dangerous boy to stable manhood, where he’s less likely to act so stupid. Those paths included military service, career pursuits, marriage and family, sport and hobbies.
Not all of these work, but statistics show that a 30-year-old is less likely to kill you than a 20-year-old. It’s the same with traffic fatalities: Most occur with a young male behind the wheel. With age comes experience, and scruples, and a desire to live longer as you feel more investment in the life you’re living.
Call it a bridge to decency -- a path men can take instead of some of these paths currently on offer that harm themselves and others.
If you have any ideas, let me know.