We at Cop Block would like to address the article written and shared to Cop Block’s Facebook page by former author, Christopher Cantwell, entitled Dead Men Don’t Start Revolutions, as it was reasonably and understandably concerning to many of you and many of us.
As you know, Cop Block is entirely run by, and composed of, various dedicated and passionate volunteers. Our practice is to encourage almost all forms of discourse, as we believe there to be merit in the free exchange of ideas. We welcome discussions of all types, and are always thrilled when people volunteer to take on more responsibilities in the organization. However, we seek to maintain an underlying commitment to the non-aggression principle. In our view, Mr. Cantwell’s inflammatory call for violence and thinly-veiled implication that all cops, regardless of individual actions, should be subject to death, encourages a violation of the non-aggression principle.
We, the undersigned, would like to make known that we as individuals do not endorse Cantwell’s writings and as writers and team members of Cop Block, we affirm the Non-Aggression Principle and do not wish violence on anyone. We aren’t about promoting violence; we’re about educating, revealing the reality of the police state, and spreading the idea that Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.
- Pete Eyre, Co-founder
- Nathan Cox, Virginia Cop Block
- R0thbard, Tech team, LWA
- Georgia Sand, Editor/Writer
- Janel Florez, Co-Founder of MO/KS Cop Block
- DEO Odolecki, Greater Cleveland Cop Block, Ohio Cop Block
- (Edit:Toni bones has requested her name be removed to avoid any confusion. “I requested my name be removed to avoid any confusion. admittedly I should have gone over this better before attaching my name to it. while I agree that Christopher’s post was against CopBlock guidelines and that I certainly do not advocate slaughtering anyone in public at your own discretion whether they have stolen others or not and find such notions extremely counterproductive to achieving a peaceful transition out of oppression. I do however advocate self defense and absolutely support his right to express himself. I do think that he violated CopBlock guidelines but I do not I think that he violated the non aggression principle and I would not wish to give the impression that I did not believe wholeheartedly that controversial speech is the very most important to protect, whether we agree with it or not. peace love and liberty”)
For a good breakdown of our reasoning, please see the following.
The idea that people do not have the right to initiate violence upon others is one that can be subject to a multitude of different interpretations. For our purposes here at Cop Block, it looks something like this:
First, let’s define “self-defense” and “justified force/violence.”
As a general matter, self-defense (or defense of another) is the use of reasonable force to repel, prevent, or protect the self, or another from imminent attack or danger. Another type of justified force would be use of violence/force for purposes of rectifying/compensating the effects of initiatory violence. Examples of this would be using appropriate/proportional force to retrieve stolen property, or seek restitution for a victim of initiatory violence, among others.
Contrary to what Mr. Cantwell’s article claims, it is not impossible to murder an aggressor, or aggress upon an aggressor; this is patently incorrect. Consider, for example, the following: Aggressor 1 punches Victim in the head, and runs off. The next day, Aggressor 2, a stranger to both Aggressor 1 and Victim, randomly ambushes Aggressor 1 and kills him. As Agressor 2’s actions are neither 1) reasonable force to prevent an attack, nor 2) use of violence/force for purposes of rectifying/compensating initiatory violence against himself, this would constitute murder. It is still initiation of aggression, even though Aggressor 1 also was an initiator of aggression upon someone else, in a separate circumstance.
This analysis does not change if the actors are police officers. Here at Cop Block, we stress that police are human like everyone else; they are not gods as most Americans are led to believe thanks to decades of indoctrination via government schools and corporate media, and ought to be subject to the same rules, responsibilities, and consequences as ordinary individuals. Badges don’t grant extra rights, but neither do they strip people of basic rights.
We have a fundamental difference in understanding of what is accurately described as self-defense or appropriate (non-initiatory) violence in the context of Mr. Cantwell’s article. In our view, self-defense (or defense of another) constitutes using deadly force upon the police only if they were initiating deadly force on a victim at the moment. Justified violence might be (and some may disagree) among the following:
- Using a reasonable amount of violence to obtain the money those particular cops stole from a specific victim(s)
- Using a reasonable amount of violence to obtain compensation for a specific victim(s) injured by those specific officers
- At the very worst, if there was evidence those particular officers murdered someone, some advocates of the non-aggression principle might find (and many would disagree) that it is acceptable for a family member or private defense agency to exact some kind of forceful punishment.
These are the principles we believe to be applicable to all human beings, police officers included. With reference to the Las Vegas killings, in the absence of any evidence that those cops murdered anyone, killing them while they were eating lunch fits neither within the definition of self-defense, defense of another, or justified violence. It is thus murder. If Mr. Cantwell’s premise is to be accepted, then it follows that it is morally correct for random people (non-victims) to murder any criminal who has initiated violence, no matter how petty the offense. This is simply absurd.
Mr. Cantwell’s claim that anyone is entitled to kill cops at any time, because cops are constantly initiating aggression, is merely an ugly form of collectivism. This claim is essentially that because some cops commit murder, and many of them steal, all cops deserve to be ambushed and randomly executed, regardless of individual actions. This is no different from gang enhancement penalties, wherein people are punished excessively for crimes that otherwise should bear lesser penalties, on the sole basis that they are member of a gang. This is no different from saying that violence is acceptable if enforced for the “greater good.” If the non-aggression principle does not allow for street-style execution of people who have committed theft, it certainly doesn’t allow for street-style execution of cops who have been proven guilty of nothing.
It is also worthwhile to note there are different levels of aggression. Yes, there are cops that have committed murder, rape, and/or abuse. There are plenty that have not nearly committed anything rising to those levels. There are police officers who do very little aside from conduct traffic. There are police officers who spend most of their time at a desk. Even if we assume that all police officers commit some kind of theft through traffic tickets, the appropriate and proportionate punishment for theft is not death. It is a dangerous error to claim that it is justified to kill all police officers on the grounds set forth by Mr. Cantwell.
Calling for the blanket death of all cops is not the appropriate response to whatever unknown/unproven aggressions one particular cop may or may not have committed. Central to creating a reality absent the institutionalized violence of the police state is the recognition of individual rights, individual responsibilities, and individual accountability based on specific individual actions and consequences. It is not about probabilities, possibilities, or likelihoods based on one’s profession/membership in a group/gang and what one has likely done and/or will do. That’s called statism.
In sum, it is a violation of the non-aggression principle to indiscriminately condone killing any particular group of people with no regard to individual actions. In application to Cop Block’s mission, we are are certainly a diverse group of people with a wide range of opinions. However, most of us agree with the above-stated conception of the non-aggression principle. We also seek to avoid inflammatory calls for violence, although we fully embrace the right of self-defense and realize that it is necessary and justified.