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Olympia’s violent radicals need legal smackdown

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on July 11, 2011 at 8:31 pm with 13 Comments »
July 11, 2011 8:31 pm

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Maybe it’s a quirk of perception or news coverage, but politically motivated crime appears more common in Olympia than in Seattle, whose population is approximately 12 times larger.

And much of the crime – vandalism, assaults, the occasional riot – can be linked directly to “anarchists” and local college radicals, groups that partly overlap.

Different crimes push different peoples’ hot buttons. Ours got pushed – hard – when anarchists defaced the offices of The Olympian, The News Tribune’s sister newspaper, and the home of an Olympian photojournalist, Tony Overman.

Overman’s offense consisted of photographing rioters and vandals at Olympia demonstrations; police have used his images to prosecute those crimes. He and The Olympian were targeted by anonymous political thugs for documenting public events, a direct assault on the First Amendment.

But what happened to Overman and the Olympian is only part of a much broader problem. The state capital has been plagued for years by a malignant subculture of radicals who feel entitled to attack the persons and property of people they don’t like. They have physically assaulted police officers, smashed police cars, thrown bricks through windows, jammed locks and ATMs with glue, defaced public buildings, churches and businesses.

As The News Tribune’s Sean Robinson reported Sunday, self-styled anarchists – some of them imports from Oregon and California – have taken a prominent role in the violence in recent years.

Anarchism is a nearly useless word because it covers so many differing political tendencies. Some anarchists are peaceable people who don’t like capitalism and concentrations of power in general. But the anarchist movement has been associated with political violence since its birth in the 19th century, and it continues to spawn angry, hateful thugs who see things that need smashing everywhere they look.

It’s especially ironic that some of them have protested “police brutality” by brutalizing individual officers during demonstrations.
Most appear to be young and emotionally immature; that doesn’t make them less dangerous or their victims any less victimized.

Their numbers shouldn’t be exaggerated; the reports suggest that relatively few people are generating most of the violence and vandalism. That should make them a target of opportunity for law enforcement. A year or so of aggressive investigations and felony prosecutions would go a long way toward making Olympia a place where peaceful dissent is welcome – but political crime not tolerated.

Leave a comment Comments → 13
  1. But the anarchist movement has been associated with political violence since its birth in the 19th century, and it continues to spawn angry, hateful thugs who see things that need smashing everywhere they look.

    Every movement has been associated with political violence since its birth. We don’t blame conservatives or liberals for the violence committed in the name of their cause. We shouldn’t do it to fringe beliefs either, no matter how misguided we think they might be.

  2. jimkingjr says:

    Broad brush, Derek- and wrong. Not every movement has been violent, or had a violent fringe. On the other hand, the “anarchists” have always been violent. But these “anarchists” are not a movement- just a bunch of over-pampered losers who still think Mommy and Daddy can get them out of anything. It is well past the time to prove them wrong- if Olympia can overcome its fear of appearing politically incorrect.

  3. Well, I’d agree with you on who these particular folks are Jim. And hopefully a lesson is made of them. But I can’t think of a political movement that hasn’t had violent actors in their midst. Anarchists aren’t any different in that regard. Heck, in the 19th century their movement started in, violence was just a part of every day politics and they were often in more trouble for their pacifism than anything.

    I guess in a time when we have abortion doctors who need elaborate security measures to keep themselves alive, or socialists in Greece try to destroy pretty much every institution they have left, or a major political party advocates torture in the US, it seems absurd to say that one philosophy is inherently more connected to violence than another.

  4. “We don’t blame conservatives or liberals for the violence committed in the name of their cause. We shouldn’t do it to fringe beliefs either, no matter how misguided we think they might be.”

    I don’t totally buy this statement. Many of us have blamed religious groups for their violence against those who think and act differently. Many of us have renounced the violence of Nazism.

    So to say we don’t blame conservatives, liberals, theocrats, and others for their violence is just plain wrong.

  5. olympicmtn says:

    Anarchist want to overthrow the rule of government. Anyone who has lived overseas knows exactly what I am talking about. Their goal is disruption of government. I find in incredible though that Mayor Baarsma provoked some of the support during the Port of Tacoma rally by telling the paper, the city will sue the federal government for police support due to local anarchist protesters. Our mayor should have said we stand by protecting the interesting of the government and not give lip service to the protesters by blaming the federal government. Words do matter and with these nut jobs they take it to the fifth element. We should never stand behind anarchy.

  6. olympicmtn says:

    And if there are politicians out there state and local representatives elected to office and swear an oath to protect the constitution and now write or spew rhetoric about somehow it is ok to act as anarchist then you all should leave office. This isn’t a social science project, people who have lived overseas know exactly what I am talking about. Anarchy is not a game, it is an orchestrated attempt to overthrow the government. And if these politicians believe otherwise please do not grant them any government clearances.

  7. Patrick O'Callahan says:

    The distinction I would make is between movements and parties that have explicitly advocated violence – as some schools of anarchism have – and those that condemn it and try to police it within their ranks.

    Communists historically have advocated violence against their political opponents. Democratic socialists have opposed it.

    Nazis and their American equivalents (Ku Klux Klan, etc.) have advocated it; American conservatives have opposed it. American liberals have opposed it; many radicals of the left have favored it.

    A minuscule number of abortion opponents favor or practice violence; the vast majority vehemently oppose it. George Wallace holding an ax handle in the schoolhouse door was implicitly condoning segregationist violence; Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders explicitly condemned it.

    As noted, the problem with the word “anarchism” is that it covers too much territory. We’re talking about a particular strain of anarchism that likes to kick police officers in the groin.

    Big moral difference, in my book.

  8. Patrick, I guess that’s fair and the problem might be in the definition. When I hear the term I think more Chomsky or Zinn, less of a violent thug. So it struck me as strange wording, but if there are some groups that specifically advocate this sort of behavior, then I stand corrected.

    Appreciate the explanation.

  9. PumainTacoma says:

    If they are wearing “A” bands and wearing black head wear, they do not want to walk your dog or help your grandma cross the street. Get real, they have one motive and that is disruption of government at all cost.

  10. If they are wearing “A” bands and wearing black head wear, they do not want to walk your dog or help your grandma cross the street. Get real, they have one motive and that is disruption of government at all cost.

    I thought those guys marched around in colonial costume with bags of tea?

  11. AnonAnok says:

    Why do the political beliefs of the people in question make their actions more or less worthy of policing? The real threat that’s being warned against here is that these actions will become contagious. The fear is that those of us who see no future in this rotting corrupt world will lash out at those responsible for perpetuating it. It’s a reasonable fear, given the state of the world these days.

    As said eloquently by some allies down in Oakland recently:

    “Now, finally, the money is gone. The world has run out of future, used it up, wasted it on the grotesque fantasies of the rich, on technologies of death and alienation, on dead cities. Everywhere the same refrain, the same banners and headlines: there is nothing left for you. From the US to Greece, from Chile to Spain, whatever human face the State might have had: gone. The State is no longer a provider of education or care, jobs or housing. It is just a police force, a prison system, a bureaucracy with guns. . ”

    Ain’t it funny that the factory doors close. Around the time the school doors close. Around the time that a hundred thousand jail cells. Open up to greet you like the reaper.

    I’m not from Olympia, but I stand in solidarity with the anarchists there. While this editorial is only remarkable in terms of it’s unabashed bias, it’s a useful reminder of the role the media serve. When your content is driven by advertising money, it will likely reflect those views which pay the bills. This paper, like any other, is just a tool of capitalists for creating a narrative that suits their interests. The fact that Tony Overman provided unpublished photos to the police only reinforces that point.

    So, as anarchists, we know who the enemy is. But for any neutral observers, hopefully this editorial and the Overman episode demonstrate the true extent to which capitalists, cops, and the media conspire to crush resistance.

    Judging by events occurring around the world, they won’t be successful. No amount of intimidation or repression will stop those determined to resist. Your world has nothing left to offer us except the hope for it’s destruction.

    Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/07/12/1741825/olympias-violent-radicals-need.html#ixzz1Rwm7kC7i

  12. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    The person who is main focus of the article is 23 y.o., 10th grade dropout with a pregnant g.f., and he taunts corrections staff while spewing illogical crud and not havig a job to support his “family”. Let’s not elevate him, but evaluate what we all see: a petty window smashing, non-conforming criminal with wild ideas about how everybody but him is at fault for the decisions he makes to break the law and not do do anything productive (not get a job).

  13. PumainTacoma says:

    Derek Is a dope. Remind me to not vote for him as he mocks what he does not know.

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