The "Occupy" protests have turned deadly. Many people are shocked by this fact; I, however, am not. I believed, from the beginning, that this would be an inevitable product of the class warfare mentality behind the protests.
At the core of these protests is the erosion of property rights. The socialists encamped in our cities believe that individual property rights are "unfair" to those who have less property, and they seek to have government take property from its owners and redistribute it to others.
The link between a lack of respect for property rights and a lack of respect for the rights of the individual is well-known. Noted economist Walter Williams predicted this type of violence when he referenced this quote from John Adams:
"Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty." Adding, "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence."Unfortunately, a large segment of our population doesn't grasp this connection.
This segment of the population, unaccustomed to violence, still maintain romantic notions of property crime. In their Mayberry-inspired worldview, burglars commit burglary because they are hungry, "things (property) can be replaced, but lives cannot", and "poor" shoplifters steal because they can't find work. This conduct, while illegal, can be excused because only those "down on their luck" would resort to such measures. These are the same snow-white souls who believe pornography and video games inspire violent thoughts and actions- they simply can't fathom how violent minds actually form.
In the real world, however, the situation is much more grave: Some people, such as the "Occupiers", harbor blind hatred for those who have more money and more property than themselves. These people have been taught to believe that any financially successful person obtained their wealth through criminal means; they have been raised to believe that no person advances through hard work (indeed, most of them have never had to perform "hard work"); they believe the criminal justice system exists solely to persecute them; and they believe savage, unmitigated violence is justified to redistribute property and "punish" the successful.
And "punish", they do: One need only see the sort of violence meted out during home invasion crimes (another form of class warfare): Raping and murdering adults and children, male and female alike; beating, torturing, disfiguring, and burning their victims alive; destroying property, homes, and businesses. These criminals believe that their victims- financially-stable nuclear families- have "stolen" from them, and believe themselves justified in inflicting a barbaric level of destruction and suffering as "punishment".
I have stated in other venues, and I will state here, that I strongly believe home invasion crimes will soon escalate in frequency and intensity, fueled by the class warfare furor of the "Occupy" protests. Both have the same basis: A hatred of those who "have more" than themselves. And both have degenerated to scarcely-believable levels of violence.
Those familiar with my self-defense activism know that I subscribe to the "personal autonomy" school of self-defense: The belief that each of us has a natural right to go about our lives unmolested, and to use any necessary means to ensure that condition. Far from justifying the debasement or punishment of others (as described above), this view of self-defense elevates and enhances the rights of the defender. This view encapsulates Oliver Wendell Holmes' view of rights: "Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins".
(I strongly encourage the reader to visit the link above.)
Today we are faced with a "movement" which numbers in the hundreds of thousands of particpants, who are destroying honest people's livelihoods and ability to feed their families, who are destroying our cities, who commit horrific acts of violence in broad daylight, and who have no apparent fear of police action (in part because politicians have restricted the ability of the police to combat them). The innocent person cannot hope to resist this violence with non-injurious means- and those who have attempted, have been even more brutally savaged.
This condition leaves only one tenable response: Recognition of the right of the individual to use any necessary means to combat this savagery- by which I mean, the employment of deadly force.
A few states- Texas being the prime example- already recognize a person's natural right to kill in defense of their property. In Texas, no person is mandated by the state to suffer the burglary or arson of their home or any other property. The age-old Castle Doctrine finds its greatest recognition in this state. Even the theft of property at night may be resisted with deadly force.
As a natural result, "Occupy Dallas" has been substantially less violent than other "Occupy" protests. In fact, "Occupy Dallas" has resorted to seeking a legal remedy to prevent their eviction. The lesson learned here: Recognizing the natural right of the innocent to defend their property with deadly force enhances, rather than erodes, the rule of law.
Unfortunately, most states grant little recognition of this right. In this regard, the state of Wisconsin is the worst offender, explicitly stating in its criminal code that self-defense is a privilege licensed by the state to the individual, not a right, and explicitly prohibiting the use of deadly force to protect property under any circumstances. One need only see the atrocious nature of the state capitol protests months ago to see the effect of this policy.
Adams' words are as correct today as they were two centuries ago. The erosion of any right cherished by the people will eventually lead to the erosion of all rights. We are seeing the cumulative effect of this erosion- Adams' "anarchy and tyranny"- today.