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View Diary: Fascist wingnut tries to defend himself (updated) (352 comments)

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  •  I actually did not (7+ / 0-)

    I thought about it a lot, both on the ride, and after.  I thought about asking him where his ancestors came from, or whether he was a Native American, or some such.  But I didn't.

    The reason I didn't is that such a confrontation would not have had any chance of changing his views, might have provoked violence (which troubled me as he was an old old guy with think glasses, and if I had hit him, in self defence, he might have died) and would have just drawn more attention to him.  

    But on thinking it over, I think I was right not to say anything for another reason. This guy, unlike Vox Day, was not advocating anything illegal, indeed, he was not advocating anything at all.  He was just stating his views.  So, he was within his first amendment rights.  

    Now, I would have equally within my rights to state my own rather different views, but that would have, I think, just added to the level of annoyance everyone was having.

    "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants, and the creed of slaves." William Pitt

    by plf515 on Wed May 17, 2006 at 11:05:34 AM PDT

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    •  I can understand that (6+ / 0-)

      but my level of tolerance has dropped to zero within recent years.  So it's just me.

      •  Not just you (5+ / 0-)

        thanks for your understanding.

        But it's not just you.  It might be that saying something would have made other people feel better. I dunno.  There were several members of the groups he hated within earshot of him, including the driver, who was Latino.

        I'm not sure I did the right thing.

        "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants, and the creed of slaves." William Pitt

        by plf515 on Wed May 17, 2006 at 11:32:25 AM PDT

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        •  Well, plf (8+ / 0-)

          As a fellow New Yorker, I really can't say you did the WRONG thing.  After all, the unwritten social contract here includes the rule: "Ignore the ranting crazy person on the street/ bus/subway unless he/she is threatening another person - then, and only then, act."  Your fellow riders who were being hated at could have, if they had wanted to, told the guy to shut the fuck up.  They probably refrained for reasons similar to yours. ... Yes, you could have made another choice, but I think you're right that you would have added to the general tension rather than reducing it.  A bus isn't as bad as a subway car, but it's still claustrophobic.

          Mind you, a couple of weekends ago I was walking in the Village w/ my small son, and a large woman suddenly got in his face and started shrieking things at him - fortunately indecipherable.  I pulled him behind me, looked her in the eye, and said "YO!" as loud as I could w/o yelling (didn't want to scare him more).  And you know what?  She said, in a tiny voice, "Sorry," and scampered away.  I'm female and small, so don't try that often, but had been taken over by my inner mother cheetah.

          The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. - Thomas Paine

          by javelina on Wed May 17, 2006 at 12:27:39 PM PDT

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          •  What a bully she was! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            historys mysteries

            Good for you, mother cheetah! :)

          •  Hmmmm (5+ / 0-)

            Thanks for your comment.

            I do remember once, when I was about 12, being followed by a woman yelling that she wanted to kill all the people with n***er hair.  Although I am Jewish, my hair is like that of a Black person. That was no fun.

            Another time, I was on a bus in New Jersey, and a bunch of kids were talking about how Jews prayed.....they did NOT get the prayers right.  Commenting then might have gotten me hurt.

            "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants, and the creed of slaves." William Pitt

            by plf515 on Wed May 17, 2006 at 12:46:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, my God (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              plf515

              First episode you describe - had I been there I would have gotten in that woman's face, too, because people have to leave kids alone, no matter what those people's "issues" are.  Mental illness is not an excuse.

              Second - there are few things one encounters regularly that are harder to deal with than a bunch of kids acting horrible.  We live near a particularly troubled public high school w/ gang problems, so I see something going on almost every day.  One deals by making oneself invisible, doesn't one?  It must have been awful for you.

              The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. - Thomas Paine

              by javelina on Wed May 17, 2006 at 01:43:52 PM PDT

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              •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Rita in DC, Black Max

                To the extent possible.

                But then one wonders, when is one acting wisely in self-defence, and when is one acting cowardly?
                When does one start down the path that Niemoller described so eloquently when he wrote

                "In Germany, first they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew.  Then they came for.....And I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a ....  Then they came for me.  And there was no one to speak up"

                It's very tricky.

                Republicans believe that government is the enemy. When they are in charge, they're right.

                by plf515 on Wed May 17, 2006 at 02:47:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  mental illness is an excuse (0+ / 0-)

                unless you are talking about depression or a mild paranoia, mental illness is an excuse because if they could control themselves they wouldn't be mentally ill.
                That doesn't meant you can't scare or intimidate someone in to going away which you should if they are bothering a child or other vulnerable person.

                •  Okay, Teresa, yes (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Rita in DC, Black Max

                  I revise my phrasing.  I have to admit I do so reluctantly, because I am still really angry at the women who frightened my son.

                  But you're right.  Mental illness is, in principle, an excuse.  People who are (as I had to describe it to my son) "sick in the head" are not in control.  At least not consistently.  I do know this, I've dealt with mental illness in my personal and professional life.

                  However, we are in agreement abt part 2 of this, which is - someone comes after my kid, I'm going to go ballistic.  And I'm going to get pissed off and think, she picked someone vulnerable, and littler than her, and that was a really shitty choice.

                  Yeah, it's not always a choice, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be happy about it.

                  The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. - Thomas Paine

                  by javelina on Wed May 17, 2006 at 06:14:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Well, let's say (4+ / 0-)

          you did the proper thing.  Propriety has its place, and as Javelina says above, it's not always safe to confront people in the streets, buses, and subways of NYC.

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