Roasted Coffee

The events of yesterday, last night, ran the gamut of moving and peaceful to mindless and violent. There are arguments over who’s to blame, as people take credit for the good and point fingers for the bad. The police do as the police usually do, overbearing at best and outrageous when they get tired of being barely tolerant.

Then again, what’s a cop to do when his car is surrounded by protesters, unsure whether it’s about to be set ablaze?

The rationalizations have shifted over the past few days in ways they have in the past, and in ways that those of us who have followed and fought the twin problems of police violence and police racism for decades anticipated. Protests directed at concrete problems that give rise to consensus morphed into sophistry about historic grievances justifying violence and looting, because protests, they argued, haven’t “fixed” anything so it’s time to destroy (and snag a Louis Vuitton handbag in the process because why not?).

In Philadelphia, a Starbucks was burned.

Why? One genius answered “why not?” Another gave a more “thoughtful” reason.

Why, fuck Starbucks especially one that forced it’s way to a city hall spot right across from a local brewer.

There were people who worked in that Starbucks, who relied on their salary to feed their children. Too bad for them. But not everyone bought into the “destruction and looting is cool” narrative.

One Target was saved from looting. It will still be there when this is over. Another was not. When someone asks why there’s no Target available in their neighborhood, the answer may be obvious but no one will say it aloud. Access to healthy food? Want to invest in a supermarket?

In an interesting interview, Cornell West made a point, that “the system cannot reform itself,” and so there is nothing left to do but destroy it.

Does this mean there open warfare is the answer? How will that turn out?

Cornell West may be right, that the system can’t reform itself, at least not to his satisfaction. It gets better. It gets worse. But it never gets fixed, and never to everyone’s satisfaction. Even as people try to fix it, it just gets more broken under the weight of good intentions coupled with simplistic solutions, hysteria and outrage.

But burning a Starbucks won’t stop police from acting upon their presumption that black men are more likely to be violence criminals. The other day, I wondered aloud whether the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery would bring us back the core focus of Black Lives Matter, and maybe even deeper into the recognition that Daniel Shaver, white though he was, is just as dead as Floyd.

Ironically, Roxane Gay has wriggled out of her hole to add her narcissistic delusion to the morass.

When I warned in 2018 that no one was coming to save us, I wrote that I was tired of comfortable lies. I’m even more exhausted now. Like many black people, I am furious and fed up, but that doesn’t matter at all.

This time, she may have a point. She cares only for herself and her own, and she’s “furious and fed up,” and even “more exhausted now.” Most people are even “more exhausted now,” even though their main concern isn’t where Gay will get her next meal. If it’s going to be warfare, people will fight to save themselves, their families, and there will be nowhere to get a mocha latte when the Starbucks is burned down.

The system still won’t fix itself, and it won’t get fixed by looting Target or running over people with cars or horses. If what you’re fighting for is anarchy, then I will fight against you. And as hard as I’ve fought against needless police killings over the decades, my fight ends at my home and my family. I would fight to prevent the needless killing of black men. I will not fight for your right to loot Louis Vuitton. And it doesn’t matter what your race is, your gender is, your ideology is. If you expect a nation to burn for you, I will fight to put the fire out.

27 thoughts on “Roasted Coffee

  1. Tom Kirkendall

    “And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, .  .  . the laws all being flat?”

    “This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, .  .  . do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?”

    “Yes, I’d give the Devil the benefit of the law.”

    “For my own safety’s sake.”

  2. Hunting Guy

    We are all waiting for it. We know it’s going to happen.

    At some point, rather than see his livelihood going up in flames, a store owner will be standing out front with a firearm and kill someone.

    1. SHG Post author

      There’s a vid of a Fed Ex truck stopped by protesters, who proceed to beat on the windows as if to get at the driver and harm him, and he starts to drive away, with his rioters falling under the wheels of his semi. Should he stay there and be beaten or killed, or should he drive away and kill those foolish enough to think their bodies will win in a contest against a semi?

      1. norahc

        As a truck driver, I’ve thought about what I would do in similar situation (as have a lot of drivers I’ve spoken with). The most common response is that we’re not going to risk someone’s life for the contents of the trailer, but the moment someone tries to get into or onto the tractor we’re going to do what it takes to get clear and keep ourselves safe.

        1. SHG Post author

          The load can be replaced. Your life can’t. Neither can theirs, but they made their choice and chose poorly.

  3. B. McLeod

    I have been very surprised by the number of usually rational people who have been speaking out on social media in favor of the burning and looting. Many are assuming (incorrectly, I believe) that the property losses from the destruction will be covered by insurance. Almost all of them justify the burning and looting by suggesting these actions are less wrong than the killing of George Floyd. The comparison is completely irrational, as is the notion that businesses and residents in 25 different urban centers should be randomly punished for an act or acts of excessive force by police officers. However bad the officers’ conduct was, the courts are the proper mechanism to address it. The burning and looting is not furthering “justice” for anyone, and cannot be permitted to continue.

    1. SHG Post author

      The source of the frustration and outrage is understandable. The question is whether it somehow justifies burning and looting (by some, not all). The irony is that many of those harmed are no less innocent and outraged as those doing the burning, and even the big corps like Target and Starbucks being burned and looted didn’t kill George Floyd.

      And yet, otherwise rational people have picked sides and embraced violence and insanity.

    2. Jardinero1

      The purpose of insurance is to transfer the risk of financial loss to a third party. The insurance argument is stupid, on its face, for that reason. The economic loss still occurs; now it is transferred to the insurance company.

      Leaving the argument aside, it is not a given that insurance will cover the loss. Commercial package policies(CPP) and business owners policies(BOP) do, typically, cover riot and civil commotion. But that is for the building and fixtures. Inventory is a different matter. It may or may not be insured depending on the form and endorsements. It depends upon who is contractually agreed to insure the inventory, the merchant or the vendor? Commercial property losses are subject to a deductible and coinsurance requirements. Getting the coinsurance right on inventory is tricky. Did the insured state the correct amount of inventory on the application? Did he state the building and fixtures correctly? Lots of if’s. Supposing the loss is covered, the merchant may have to pay a much higher renewal premium, or may not be able to obtain any insurance at renewal.

      1. Aaron

        I own a commercial building. My Berkshire Guard policy specifically excludes damage and destruction from riots and civil disorder, and so do policies issued by their competitors. If my building gets torched, I don’t get made whole.

  4. losingtrader

    So that was your Healey parked in front of Louis Vuitton?
    Clever post, but now we know where you went yesterday when you tweeted about the car.

    As to B Mcleod’s comment on insurance, the standard Business Owners Policy in every state I have seen covers physical damage from riot, vandalism and civil commotion. Business interruption also likely applies as long as there is physical damage.
    (There was a 65 year old insurance brokerage carrying the name of cousin Sol if he decides to switch professions. The family will sell him back his own name).

    I was going to advertise on Soldier of Fortune seeking someone willing to vandalize the 31 strip malls in which I have an interest, but since the blogger can divert from his vandalism of Louis Vuitton, I though I’d start here, given you guys can’t visit your clients in jail right now.

    1. Sol Wisenberg

      “[T]he standard Business Owners Policy in every state I have seen covers physical damage from riot, vandalism and civil commotion.”

      Wrong. That was a custom version the family created just for you. We didn’t have the heart to tell you.

  5. LocoYokel

    “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
    ― Isaac Asimov, Foundation


    “Now any dogma, based primarily on faith and emotionalism, is a dangerous weapon to use on others, since it is almost impossible to guarantee that the weapon will never be turned on the user.”
    ― Isaac Asimov, Foundation

  6. KP

    ” If what you’re fighting for is anarchy, then I will fight against you. ”

    But if you’re fighting for justice and equal treatment, then I will…. um…

    Maybe when the Law is so unjust then anarchy is a better bet, although their anarchy should be directed against the Police, that’s where they say their enemy lies. Funny how they’re not looting Police stations and and burning squad cars, maybe those are harder targets.

    1. SHG Post author

      They are burning squad cars and the third precinct in Minneaopolis. If you think anarchy will treat you better than bad law, you might be in for a rude awakening. It could be your car and house that gets burned next and, well, that’s anarchy for you.

      1. Sam

        That’s true if you have a house to burn and a family to protect. That’s where members of a society draw the line.

        If your interaction with the police and our criminal justice system has stripped you of such things and replaced it with the humiliation of explaining your criminal record to every landlord, employer and potential girlfriend you meet for the rest of your life than you don’t only want revenge against the police. You want revenge against those in society that have what you lost and you are not overly concerned what you break. A police protest is the perfect forum to vent that rage and I suspect that is a part of what we are witnessing.
        That’s no excuse and such behavior can’t be tolerated in any functional society, but how much better if we could find some way to not create the monster in the first place.

        I suspect that is exactly who Mr. West is appealing to and as far as I can tell his audience is only getting larger.

        1. SHG Post author

          Hate to tell you, but even black people have homes and families. Some even have jobs and an education.

          1. Sam

            I didn’t read your post as being exclusively about black rioters breaking things and I certainly wasn’t responding as if it were. I was referring to something more universal.

            I have a Palestinian friend who owns a small donut shop. During the last Intifada he expressed rage over the situation back home and the type of questions his customers were asking about this, but he also has a house, kids in school and an investment in our community. My point was for many that makes all the difference.
            Camus describes it well in the Rebel from his own experience with Rioters. I don’t think it’s a leap to acknowledge that some of this intersects with our criminal justice system.

        2. Miles

          It’s brutal when the guy spewing woke bullshit turns out to be the racist in the room.

          1. Sam

            I didn’t make the leap that everyone breaking something was black, or that only black people fit the profile I described, but it.

            Woke is a coinages so overused that it has lost all its embossing. I would argue its more brutal still to be so caught up in virtue signaling that it limits your ability to understand a point that transcends tribalism.

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