Among the great many flagrant failings of the woke is violence. It was once about punching Nazis, but has metastasized since into justified violence against anyone who doesn’t share their religion. But it’s unfair to chalk up the provocation faced by 27-year-old Corey Pujols, the manager of a Dunkin’ (formerly Donuts) when a 77-year-old angry customer pushed his button. Twice.
A Dunkin’ employee faces a manslaughter charge after punching a customer who then fell, hit his head and later died, police say.
The single punch that led to the arrest of 27-year-old Corey Pujols was thrown May 4 at the Dunkin’ store in the Marathon gas station at 410 S 50th St., just south of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, according to an arrest report. Pujols told police the man called him a racial slur.
The specific slur uttered is left to the imagination, but let’s assume it was the N-word, the worst word, because there’s no reason to assume otherwise.
According to information released Monday in a Tampa police news release, the man first went through the drive-thru window and became upset about the service. Employees asked him to leave. Instead, he parked his car, went inside the building and began arguing with Pujols, according to police.
Pujols told police that the man was a regular customer, was “extremely rude” that day and called Pujols a racial slur, according to the arrest report. Pujols, who is Black, said he asked the man to repeat what he said, and he uttered the same slur. Pujols said he punched the man once in the face, causing him to fall, the report said. The slur is not included in the report.
The old man, who never touched Pujols, went down, and Pujols was arrested for assault. The old man died from the skull fracture suffered when his head hit the ground. Pujols’ charge was raised to aggravated manslaughter of a person over 65. He had been free on $2,000 bail. He was then detained.
Legally, there is little about this that raises much of an issue. Words are not violence, and their utterance cannot be met with violence. No matter how offensive the rude old man was, twice, it does not justify Pujols’ reaction of punching him in the face. This isn’t to say that it’s not an understandable human reaction, but that it’s not a lawful one. Among the many things the law seeks to accomplish is to limit the visceral impulses to violence, not because they’re abnormal or unexpected but because violence is not the way* to address offensive words.
What makes this situation significant isn’t that there was some exceptionally offensive old guy who uttered the slur twice, thus daring the younger man to react. If such a thing as “fighting words” still existed and applied, these might well be those words intended to evoke a violent reaction.
Pujols could have reacted differently. He could have used offensive words in reply. He could have called the police to have the man ejected from Dunkin’s. He could have ushered him to the door with the admonition not to return. Instead, he punched him. To be fair, it was “just” a punch without use of any weapon. Then again, a 27-year-old man punching a 77-year-old man tends to have severe consequences.
But it’s the reaction to the punch, which was the reaction to the word, that raises questions.
A 77 yo white customer at Dunkin Donuts was upset about something and he called a Black 27 yo employee the n-word. The brother told him say it again. The old man did. The brother knocked him out. The old man fell, lost consciousness, and died. He fucked around and found out.
— Young Daddy (@Toure) May 12, 2021
Are these the voices of tolerance, comity, civility? Obviously not, given that they clearly justify the use of violence. Is it because of the word? Is it because the old man was so reprehensible as to utter the word? Is it because of Pujols’ race, or that given that Pujols was black, his violent reaction was justified?
Bear in mind that the old man died here. Among the concerns put forth by the woke is that black lives matter, even when that life happens to be about to thrust a knife into another black life, even when they try to flee the police, even when they are carrying a gun as part of their involvement with a gang. And indeed, they do matter, despite all the bad things they may have done before or been doing at the time. Because they are still human beings, and because the lives of human beings matter.
Yet, there is little concern for the life of the old man.
He fucked around and he found out.
If this reminds you of the old Baretta line, “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime,” you’re not alone. It’s not surprising the same base excuses are reimagined when it’s convenient, as it happens constantly. But to the extent anyone pretends that they hold some level of moral superiority, the claim rings hollow. They’re just the other side of vicious, for whom lives matter as long as they’re the lives they favor. As for the old man who said the word, twice, he got what he deserved as far as they’re concerned. So no, not all lives matter.
*As that renowned wag, Andrew Fleischman notes, this is not true in Georgia, which explains a lot about Georgia.