One-Liner Wednesday — Violence and Incompetence


“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

Isaac Asimov, American science fiction and popular science writer

This quote comes from a character, Salvor Hardin, in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation saga. Hardin uses this saying to mean that violence is such a useless option that only the incompetent would use it, and even they would only use it as their last resort. He feels that the incompetent are eventually forced to resort to violence because a better solution remains outside of their grasp.

Donald Trump’s Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, in reference to the protests in cities across the country after the brutal murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, called America’s streets the “battle space” and called upon governors to “dominate the battle space.”

Donald Trump and his Attorney General, Bill Barr, ordered police to use tear gas and flash bang grenades on peaceful demonstrators in order to clear the streets of Washington, DC (aka the battle space) near the White House so that Trump could walk across those streets for a brief photo op of him standing in front of a church awkwardly holding up a Bible.

Trump has deployed members of the active-duty military to “quell the protests” and threatened to attack the demonstrators with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons.” He tweeted “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Issac Asimov died in 1992, but he was uncannily prescient with that quote about violence and incompetence, given what has been happening in America’s “battle spaces” over the past few weeks under the “leadership” of America’s most incompetent president.

Written for today’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G.Hill.

31 thoughts on “One-Liner Wednesday — Violence and Incompetence

  1. JoAnna June 10, 2020 / 6:35 am

    It’s frightening that violence (including violent language) is the first refuge of this particular US president. His political ads say he’s a “bull in a China shop,” like that’s supposed to be a good thing.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Linda G. Hill June 10, 2020 / 6:47 am

    The sooner he’s out, the better. I keep thinking the most current thing he’s done will be the last straw, and yet he remains out of prison somehow.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Sadje June 10, 2020 / 7:48 am

    This current occupant of white horse is not only incompetent but a coward too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. James Pyles June 10, 2020 / 7:49 am

    I’ve been giving a great deal of thought about the whole defund, disband, and abolish police departments replacing them with ???

    I favorite Talmudic quote came to mind, and yes, it won’t be popular:

    “Rebbe Chanina says: Pray for the welfare of the government. For without fear of it, people would swallow each other alive.” Chapter 3, Mishna 2, Part 1


    • Marleen June 10, 2020 / 8:29 am

      Plenty of leaders are pointing out the wording isn’t right, or that they don’t think it’s helpful. It’s not going to happen. There’s a place in New Jersey (a city) that people point to as better after they defunded a department. But they replaced the police work — with a department from the wider county. All if that is different from Trumps nonsensical stomping around.


      • Marleen June 16, 2020 / 7:50 am

        …. All of that is different from Trumps nonsensical stomping around. [Correction.]

        Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango June 10, 2020 / 11:46 am

      Defunding the police means reallocating some of the funding to support people and services in marginalized communities. It doesn’t mean abolishing or disbanding the police, although it probably does mean demilitarizing them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • James Pyles June 10, 2020 / 1:14 pm

        So, law enforcement officers with no firearms? For me, I guess that’s okay, since I have guns and I can shoot, but what about my 88 year old Mom who lives in an independent living home? I guess she’s protected there, but there are a lot of people who aren’t. Besides, I’ve been reading some of the commentaries written by the pro-defund police politicians, and they really mean replacing the police with X, except they have no plan to define what X is (a few have mentioned medics and social workers) or how they would implement this as yet to be created plan. This has all the ear-markings of an emotional response/panic attack rather than a rational, well thought out decision.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marleen June 10, 2020 / 3:15 pm

          Demilitarized doesn’t mean no guns; it’s about not making our cities like war zones (such as with tanks). Most of the well-known politicians (including Biden and Clyburn) are clearly against “defunding” — at least as terminology. But they want to reform.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Fandango June 10, 2020 / 5:38 pm

          Who said anything about disarming the police? Not me. Of course there are those on the right and on Fox News who think defunding means disbanding or disabling the police. And there may be some on the left who would like that, but that is not what those who proposed defunding the police intended.


          • James Pyles June 11, 2020 / 5:07 am

            I did say I was referencing those leftist politicians who proposed defunding as disbanding, not Fox News. I don’t even watch Fox News.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Marleen June 11, 2020 / 7:40 am

              In my 3:15pm post, of yesterday, I see I was a bit unclear. Defund is different from demilitarize (while they can overlap); probably should’ve been two separate paragraphs. As for defunding, it means a variety of things, right now, as you have surmised (and, some of them, rather vague).

              Demilitarizing is an interest of both the right and the left. I know that when I was indoctrinated into the far right, it was very clear the local police forces were not supposed to be like the army or any such thing. (This was seen as a Constitutional matter.) It was even said it’s probably not a good idea for ex-military to be hired to serve as police officers, as their training would evince a different frame of mind. Lately, though, cities have been acquiring actual military equipment. And I don’t think there are any rules against hiring people trained in the military. Personnel are mainly local decisions, though.

              Whereas there had been a warning, back in the seventies, not to militarize the police, now the need is to de-militarize. To some extent, it seems, bringing battlefield surplus arms (mostly different from what we usually think of neighborhood policemen as carrying), surplus vehicles, and battlefield habits to domestic soil has led to a change in perceived relationship between civilians and (properly) civilian law enforcement (in the mindset(s) of officers of the peace).

              On the other hand, there are two additional factors (for the officers as well as the rest of us). In the relationship, an influence is now the current president… someone who has little to no grounding in Constitutional understandings, respect for other humans, or much of anything else. Another factor influencing what we perceive to be happening (as if it were different) is the greater knowledge, across the whole culture, of minority citizens as full citizens… if, in the past (to yet a greater extent than the general population is discovering now and the white population never experienced then), some shocking tactics may have been deployed against black citizens more often than we knew… as if it wasn’t our concern. Dogs, for instance, don’t strike me as much of a military feature but were more routinely employed in matters involving black lives. [Of course, third, we have ubiquitous cell phone cameras.]

              I hope that makes sense.

              Another context in which we sometimes speak of defunding occurring is where traditionally-public schools are depleted of needed resources due to profits going to charter schools and/or vouchers from our taxes. Certainly, in this case, “the right” is often in favor of that.


            • Marleen June 17, 2020 / 1:19 am

              Ana Kasparian, Michael brooks, 6/13/2020 weekend (with guest Kshama Shawant)

              Liked by 1 person

            • Marleen June 22, 2020 / 12:04 pm

              From that article I just linked to above: Between 2007 and 2017, the city paid out $2.1 million to settle misconduct lawsuits involving Third Precinct officers. Judges have thrown out cases for “outrageous” conduct of the officers, and prosecutors have been forced to drop charges for searches found to be illegal, according to court records.

              The brand of aggressive policing on display in the Floyd video has long been standard practice for some Third Precinct officers when dealing with suspects of nonviolent, low-level crimes, often involving people of color, said Abigail Cerra, a commissioner for Minneapolis’ Police Conduct Oversight Commission.

              “My clients were constantly getting anal searches,” said Cerra, who also has been a public defender. “Not at the hospital. At the Third Precinct.”






              Combustible Mix

              Cerra believes the Third Precinct’s culture dates to the infamous Metro Gang Strike Force. The state shut down the task force in 2009 after an investigation revealed officers stole money, cars and other evidence, and routinely beat suspects, including, in one case, an officer kicking a 2-year-old child in the head. The state has paid out more than $3.6 million to victims of the strike force’s misconduct.

              Some task force officers ended up in the Third Precinct.

              Greg Hestness, a retired Minneapolis deputy chief, thinks the precinct’s cocky, swaggering culture dates to the 1980s, when a flood of transfers from downtown’s First Precinct and the then-recently shuttered Sixth Precinct brought a combustible mix of “old timers” and “young Vietnam vets.”

              “The Third Precinct was kind of sleepy until then,” said Hestness. Almost overnight, the precinct’s culture changed, he said, suddenly overrun with a new brand of “go-getters and hard chargers.”

              The third covers Minneapolis’ largest geographic area, bound by Interstate 35W, I-94 and the Mississippi River. It includes some of the most racially diverse neighborhoods in Minneapolis such as Little Earth, a housing project that has long been the heart of the region’s urban American Indian population.


              Liked by 1 person

      • Marleen June 11, 2020 / 3:26 am

        Sorry for the bits of repetition. Not too bad, though. They weren’t complete duplicates. My device wasn’t working properly, yesterday morning. (So, two of the posts didn’t show up — and seemed to have dropped off of the face of the earth… until this morning… nice to find them.)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Marleen June 10, 2020 / 8:55 am

    A city police department (decidedly known as very bad) in New Jersey was disbanded and replaced with police from a wider county department. Plenty of leaders (including Democrats) are saying the terminology of defund (if it sounds like completely getting rid of) isn’t helpful, particularly if not clarified. But all of that is a bit different from what Trump (and that bunch) have done. For instance, having unidentified people out there like they are authorities is weird. I have no compunction to take orders from or even cooperate with just any old bloke. But I haven’t been out there. I’ve had a police officer walk on my bare foot as he came into my house (like twenty years ago), though. I guess that’s supposed to engender respect. That was in the same neighborhood where a police car blocked the way to school on a first day of school, following which, an officer gave me a ticket for pulling around him. They aren’t all created equal (but were all white). I’ve moved.


  6. Paula Light June 10, 2020 / 9:25 am

    I’m not in favor of no police, but they need to be held accountable. Make their discipline records public like lawyers are. And obviously we need a new president!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango June 10, 2020 / 3:16 pm

      Defunding the police doesn’t mean no police, it means diverting some funds into other social welfare programs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paula Light June 10, 2020 / 4:26 pm

        It’s not a great slogan since it has to be explained. When the right says “defund Planned Parenthood,” they mean pull all tax money from it.

        Liked by 1 person

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