What seem to be riots arising from labor disputes may turn out to have a strong racial coloration, when one finds white workers attacking black scabs or imported Chinese laborers.
In the past, for example, labor often got the blame for violent outbursts that were primarily the work of police or other agents of employers. Here, as always, however, one encounters the latent, the unexamined assumption: violence will deliver that which is expected of it. Violence has now become, to a degree unprecedented in the United States, the outgrowth of forcible acts by dissidents and radicals who are expressing hostility to middle-class ways and to established power. Again, all frontiers do not automatically produce similar patterns of violence, as a comparison of American with Canadian and Australian behavior would show. Who wants more money?
Violence in our country today is escalating because we don't control the distribution of the guns sold. The problem here is people can still smuggle them in. Such has been the character of most mob and vigilante movements. There was, to be sure, one very effective series of extra-legal actions by labor—the sit-downs of the s.
Such occasional tactics as pulling runaways out of jail and lynching them, burying a slave alive for the murder of his master, tortures to get confessions of slave revolt plots, and whipping to near the point of death bespeak a certain purposive brutality. Gun violence has problems on different levels including within local communities, politically and international.
Most of the social reforms in American history have been brought about without violence, or with only a marginal and inessential use of it, by reformers who were prepared to carry on a long-term campaign of education and propaganda. According to Mass Shooting Tracker there has been about shootings so far since the year started Mass Shooting Tracker. Most vigilante organizations seem to have accelerated in violence, moving rather rapidly from whipping and expulsion to hanging.
Granny Get Yer Gun Every aspect of violence in our history, from riots to presidential assassinations, has been exacerbated by the fact that ours is a gun culture—a thing without parallel among the industrial nations of the world. Blood-letting is republican high spirits in action.
Intermittent group warfare has been our substitute for, or alternative to, class war, and class war itself, when it has flared up, has seldom taken place in a clear atmosphere, unclouded by our racial-ethnic antagonisms and by our complex hierarchy of status based upon religious-ethnic-racial qualities. What may be called election riots, for example, often prove to be the result of an effort to keep some minority group from voting. In one New Orleans revolt of the heads of sixteen captured rebels were posted on poles as a warning to others. There the native factions had been aroused by a no-popery campaign being carried out by the Louisville Journal.
Today, gun control and gun violence has become a controversial issue in America. Perhaps we came to take it for granted that, as all things are supposed to get better, violence would take care of itself too. In the main, vigilantism, which moved westward with the frontier, was a mid-nineteenth-century phenomenon. Today the supplies for an armed crowd are more accessible than ever. What any man sees as a just war or a necessary police action will, of course, depend upon his situation and his politics; but only a few pacifists quarrel with the idea that just wars are conceivable, and only a few utopian anarchists are likely to deny that under some circumstances authorities have to use force or violence to keep order. Historically, violence has not been an effective weapon of the Left, except in that rarest of rare circumstances, the truly revolutionary situation.
But if we had more complete histories of smaller communities, the number of identifiable riots would probably grow considerably.
Depending on whom you discuss this with, that case is not always true.