Despite my best filtering and blacklisting efforts I still see a few calls to violently attack fascists on my dashboard every day. Practically all of them specifically call for beating up fascists with a baseball bat.
I wonder what it is about baseball bats. Is it that they’re household items? But steak knives are moreso, and I haven’t seen any calls to stab fascists with your steak knives. Is it that blunt force trauma is less physically dramatic, so calls for it feel less like calls for premeditated murder?
Because let’s be really fucking clear: you can kill someone with a baseball bat. If you really went out on the streets and beat people up with a baseball bat you would likely kill some and inflict permanent brain damage on others. And, of course, killing people by accident in the course of beating them up on purpose is murder.
Maybe some of those people endorse that. But since I haven’t seen widely reblogged enthusiastic calls to shoot fascists point-blank in the drive-thru, or carry a steak knife so you can stab them, I can’t help but wonder if some of those people don’t endorse that, if they mistakenly believe that they’re calling for some sort of tamer, less homicidal flavor of violence.
Or maybe that’s too optimistic and lots of people on tumblr think extrajudicial murders of people for their political views are how to build a society in which marginalized people can be safe.
(I think the real answer is that these posts are not supposed to be taken at face value: ‘beat up fascists with a baseball bat’ means ‘I dislike fascists really emphatically’, not ‘beat up fascists with a baseball bat’. But some people will take them at face value, and other people will have to plan for their own safety around the assumption that others might be taking them at face value, and by being impossible to distinguish from actual calls by murderers to commit murder they provide those with cover. I believe that these posts are evil and indefensible, no matter how metaphorically intended.)