[Imc-bigmuddy] Shoot them till they stop moving.
treesong at treesong.org
Fri Nov 5 19:08:27 PST 2004
Here are a few more thoughts on my "shoot them" comment.
Yes, that was a very powerful statement on my part. It's kinda like the
way that I tend to reserve curse words for very special occassions. If
someone witnessed me leaping up and down on a table and shouting "HOLY
FUCKING SHIT! HOLY FUCKING SHIT!", then that would carry much more
weight than if a drunken militant pro-Bush fanatic did the same. It's
similar with my mentioning violence of any sort -- hearing me even talk
about such things is a sign of the gravity of the situation.
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a man of peace. The hope for
creating a world of peace and understanding was enough to bring me back
from the brink of my own destruction. But what many people don't
realize is that this presence of peace in my life isn't some sort of
magickal quality that has been bestowed upon me by fate, by the gods,
or by a childhood filled with episodes of Mister Rogers and Sesame
Street. The peace in my life is not simply a given, not just an
automatic state of affairs like my hair color or eye color. No, my
peace is a choice -- a very conscious, very challenging choice that I
feel most fascists [and some of my fellow revolutionaries] greatly
People may see me being aloof, quiet, gentle, even passive, and assume
that I'm still the shy, introverted, and timid person that I was ten
years ago. Some of them even assume that I don't experience any real
anger beyond a mild annoyance at the usual delays and complications in
This simply isn't the case. This couldn't be farther from the truth. I
am as much "Rage Against The Machine" as I am "Gentle New Age Foo Foo
Harp Music." And I can't be fully understood without understanding both
sides of that coin.
Let me put it this way. Anyone who knows me -- really KNOWS me, not
just as an acquantaince or a community character -- knows that I have
an incredible rage inside of me that surpasses all boundaries.
Anarchists talk about "Love and Rage" in the same breath for a reason.
In a world of such violence and oppression, the two go hand in hand.
My RAGE is an unquenchable fire. My RAGE is like a burning rain that
consumes the entire Earth in flames and is still not satisfied. My RAGE
is the incomprehensible anguish of a soul whose heart lies in the
torturous wasteland between very realistic utopian visions and very
dystopian American reality.
If I truly believed that the reality of the United States of America on
November 2, 2004, were all that is possible, then I would rest easy at
night, get a higher-paying job at some computer firm somewhere, and
just enjoy the ride. But the fact that I see a very REAL potential for
a better world SQUANDERED on a daily basis, often for the most
senseless reasons imagineable, leaves me filled with enough RAGE to set
the world on fire and then some. As I watch the tides of fascism rising
all around me, it's very tempting to fall into a mindset similar to
what the fascists themselves experience. "Those CONSERVATIVES out there
are threatening the people, the communities, the beliefs, the hope for
a better tomorrow, that I love so dearly. Therefore, they are
EVILDOERS, and I must shoot them until they stop moving."
That's a very tempting perspective sometimes. Who among us hasn't
reacted to a major threat against our loved ones by feeling a homicidal
rage? That's a very natural feeling to have when you feel that your
loved ones are threatened, whether that threat is a semi truck with bad
brakes or a sophisticated empire in the process of conquering the world.
Armed struggle is certainly a much simpler solution -- much more black
and white -- than some complex effort to promote peace and
understanding through nonviolent direct action. It also feeds your ego
by making you out to be the suffering hero who takes up arms in spite
of a longing for peace. "Oh, poor little me, surrounded by all of these
fascists, the last bastion of hope in the world, forced to take up arms
in defense of true freedom, true democracy, ecological integrity, blah
dee blah." It also keeps us ANGRY and BITTER forever so that we don't
have to feel deeper, more tender feelings like DESPAIR, FEAR, and so
on. [Seriously -- when was the last time that you really let yourself
feel deep despair at the state of the world rather than immediately
turning that despair into rage, frustration, etc.?]
So, this is why I made the "shoot them" comment. Number one, because if
we fail to pursue an active campaign of strategic nonviolence right
here, right now, then sooner or later, THEY will come gunning for US
and give us a choice between violent resistance or death. That's not a
choice that I desire to make, so I'm not waiting for them to offer it
to us. Number two, my comment acknwoledging violence as a possible
response to fascism demonstrates that our advocacy of nonviolence is
not something that we do out of weakness and timidness, but something
that we do out of STRENGTH and COURAGE. It's a CHOICE that allows us to
reclaim our humanity in the face of an inhuman empire. That choice not
only affirms our own humanity, but also affirms the humanity of the
very people who would harm us. It's done as much to prevent harm to
THEM as it is to prevent harm to their intended victims. We see the
fascist's choice to support harm, and we could very easily respond to
that choice with armed violence. But INSTEAD, we have chosen to respect
THEIR humanity MORE than they respect OUR humanity. And that is a
choice that humanizes them and us alike, creating a "we" rather than
an "us versus them." If they can grasp the significance of our choice
to respond to their fascism with roses rather than the bullets that so
many would be eager to hand us, then maybe, just maybe, they can stop
feeling so goddamned paranoid and understand that we actually do care
about their freedom and well-being too. Maybe then, they will set aside
their will to power, if only on a trial basis, and start working
together with us to create a society that we all find agreeable.
Okay... so I've written a long email once again. But it's all important
stuff, so I hope no one's too aggravated about my long-winded
commentaries. Basically, I see the gist of that "shoot them" comment as
this: "We COULD simply engage in the same sort of murder that you
fascists are supporting, and we DO feel strongly enough about defending
others that we would march into certain doom to do so. BUT, we have
CHOSEN to approach you with nonviolence in the hopes that our
recognition of your humanity might empower you to start recognizing
your own humanity and the humanity of those who you are harming."
Anyway... that summary ended up being almost as long-winded as the
original explanation, and my ability to formulate coherent thoughts is
slipping away due to tiredness... :) So, I'd better get going. Let me
know what you think [and feel]... let us hope that somehow, some way,
we can create a world where everyone, whether reactionary or
revolutionary, understands and agrees that there can and must always be
some option other than "shoot them till they stop moving."
Love and Healing,
> This statement has been on my mind all day, I have chewing on it
every sense I read it.
> It wasn't said by Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Relly or Hugh
Muldoon. The Presidant said were gonna smoke'em out, but no He didn't
even say this.
> It was writtten by our own peace loving song singing Treesong
and I may even be quoteing it out of context which is something Rush
limbaugh would say.
> That is a bit of an exteme position to take and some times people
do feel that way. Just like in the news this last week when a guy at a
zoo climed into a lions den and tried to convert a lion to
Christainity. When the lion got the chance he attacked the guy and
tried to tear his arm off. I know how that lion feels. This actually
> I like this statment but it really wouldn't It would just cause
more fanactitics to rise up.
> The best time to talk to a fascist is when his ideals fail him or
her then you can talk to them.
> Shoot'em till they stop moving. I love it.
> Do you Yahoo!?
> Check out the new Yahoo! Front Page. www.yahoo.com/a
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