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“None of us are going to be safe until you’re exterminated…”

“None of us are going to be safe until you’re exterminated.”

That’s a line from a four-part blog post written entirely about me and the writing I do for Gods and Radicals.
I’m going to be talking about violence in this article, so if that’s likely to be difficult for you I would just like you to know ahead of time.

I’m sure most of you are aware that Gods and Radicals has been getting a lot of criticism ever since we posted that article on the New Right. Some of that criticism has been intense, but that’s not a problem. Readers  have every right to call us out if they have an issue with something we’ve done.

I hope you’ll agree with me that calling for the “extermination” of our writers is a very different matter.

One of the things that drew me toward Gods and Radicals in the first place was that Rhyd Wildermuth and I have similar backgrounds. We both know what government cheese tastes like, we’ve both struggled with a lot of the same issues and we’ve come to similar conclusions about what’s wrong with this society. I’ve always thought of Rhyd as a person I could trust, because he’s seen what I’ve seen and he knows what I know.

Rhyd’s a better person than I am, though. As far as I can tell, he never lost his ethical center even in the hardest of hard times. That’s not me. It took me a lot of years to figure out who I really wanted to be.

For a lot of people, violence is something from outside normal life. You hope it never comes in and invades your life, and if you’re lucky it never will. When I was growing up, violence was an absolutely normal part of my daily life. No one I knew when I was a kid ever expected to be safe from it or to be able to avoid using it themselves. You expected to have to fight every day or run every day. You ran if you could, and you fought if you had to.

That is not a universal experience among people who grew up in the lower classes in the United States, but it’s not uncommon either.

When I was a kid, I once asked my father about the concept of a “fair fight.”

He could be a scary guy when he wanted to. He used to train racehorses at Rockingham during the heyday of Winter Hill, and his nickname on the racetrack was “Psycho.” So his response kind of surprised me.

“I hate violence, son, I really do. So if you give me no choice but to use it, the last thing I am ever going to give you is a fair fight.”

We ended up far away from all that, homesteading in the woods on a dirt road with no electricity or running water. But the things I’d experienced as a kid stuck with me. As a young man in the hardcore punk scene in the 1990s I saw a lot of violence. I once got hit in the face so hard my head broke the window behind me. Another time I was shocked with an electric cattle prod and then had mustard squirted directly in my eyes when I fell down.

So it took me a long, long time to really understand what my father was saying about violence. I didn’t know enough to hate it, because it was just too normal to me. By the time I was ready to stop fighting, I was almost ready to have kids of my own. And by that time I had a lot of horrible memories.

But he was absolutely right. Violence is disgusting, and that’s all there is to it. Deliberately hurting another living being when you don’t have to is a repulsive thing to do, and it has a poisonous effect on both the victim and the perpetrator – for the rest of their lives.

I’ve been studying a martial art for more than fifteen years now, but I haven’t thrown a punch outside of training in ten. When I say I’m committed to nonviolence, it’s not hypothetical. I know what violence really is, and I hate it as only those who know it can hate it.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t defend myself if I have no choice. The phrase “None of us are going to be safe until you’re exterminated” isn’t satire or hyperbole. It is a violent threat.

I’m not concerned about the blogger who wrote those words. He was obviously ranting, and not to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, one of the white supremacist groups he speaks positively of has a chapter in my home state, and I cannot know who might choose to act on his threats.

Under the circumstances, I consider this to be a death threat in retaliation for my writing on this site, and I will be taking appropriate precautions to ensure my physical safety and that of my family. One of those precautions is to let people know what’s been going on, and to reiterate that I will not initiate force under any circumstances – but I will be ready to defend myself if I need to.

I hope you’ll stand with me and speak up against these disgusting threats. No matter how you feel about Gods and Radicals, this is unacceptable. Disagreeing with us is one thing. Condemning us is one thing. Suggesting we should be killed is something else. Anyone who promotes or supports this sort of contemptible behavior is personally responsible for the consequences.

Christopher Scott Thompson

cst-photoChristopher Scott Thompson is a writer, historical fencing instructor and founding member of Clann Bhride, the Children of Brighid. He was active with Occupy Minneapolis and Occupy St. Paul. His political writing can be found at https://alienationorsolidarity.wordpress.com/.

39 Comments »

    • I agree that nothing is likely to come of it, but that’s not a good reason to simply ignore it. In the unlikely event that something actually happens, this will serve as a record that threats had been made. Also, people who do things like this should called out for it. Acting like nothing happened would be the same as accepting it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understood that much. Happy to know that your tension has been exterminated! There’s no banishing like laughter.

        Also, if you’d have linked to the blog post in question, I guess I’d have torn into the kid’s precious white boy ego like a rabid weasel. So, it’s probably for the better that you did not.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. If the author had been a woman writing on the internet, the first death threat would have come with the first article, just for a woman daring to speak. About anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your dad was/is a very smart man. If you find yourself in a fair fight you haven’t planned ahead enough.

    G&R provides a great service for me: it makes me rethink my own prejudices. So I may disagree with you often, but exterminate you? Never. G&R helps me to see things from the perspectives of others.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely agree that outing violent threats is imperative. If listened to and supported by only other threateners, threat becomes normal and acceptable. Hold it up to the light!

    Makes me smile, though….. I always told my children that fighting was a failure to negotiate. Firstly, they should try to run away but, if that failed, to try their best to teach the bully to think hard before ever starting a fight with them again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a general reply: I will not be approving any comments by any of the people involved in promoting these threats. Anyone with the stomach to read their blogs can see for themselves that anything I say will be grotesquely and deliberately misinterpreted by these people to suit their own agenda. They can lie on their own blogs, but they will find no platform here.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I live around people like this, too; there are still a group of people in my town that I’m worried might target me and my family because I tore down a Confederate flag from a classmate’s truck (it’s not likely, but you never know with these people; back when Obama was getting elected people’s houses got vandalized for having pro-Obama signs, and the grand majority of people here are voting for Trump, and damn near everyone owns a gun). These people have let hate consume them and cannot be reasoned with. Please be safe.

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    • I certainly agree with you that they can’t be reasoned with. I don’t know if I’ve ever read anything as bizarre as this guy’s interpretation of my “warrior path” article. And don’t worry, I’ll be careful. I don’t think anything will actually happen, but I’ll keep my eyes open.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Apparently daring to think differently is considered to be dangerous by some people, and that they have tightly linked their opinion, and ideas to their ego so that there is no way to disagree without be seen as a deadly enemy. I can understand why you find having marital arts as a necessary addition to your store of knowledge and skills.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I didn’t agree with the original article and, for the most part, I don’t agree with much of the politics on GNR… which does not stop me from reading the site. However, I do not agree with a call for “extermination”… regardless if it comes from the Left or the Right. You don’t change people’s minds by shutting them off. You change people’s mind’s by having a dialogue that is respectful and two way. I may not be willing to engage disinclusive racists and homophobes (generally, they don’t want to have a two way conversation) but I don’t call for their death’s either. Neither should anyone be calling for yours. You guys made a mistake in that article. That is hardly grounds for extermination. It must be noted though that the internet breeds a certain type of “tough guy” who is more than willing to say things while shielded by a computer screen. These are the very same people who would never say a thing to a person’s face.

    Like

  8. Changes are coming. Deep and fundamental ones. From climate change to awareness of others, much is moving. We’re not being taught well how to deal with this. Some people are being taught the exact opposite of what is needed to confront these changes and work with them. And it’s that kind who would like to see G&R die and its writers along with, whether symbolically or actually. It’s a vicious set of growing pains for the species. I’m damn sorry y’all got caught up in that side of it. I do hope nothing comes of it.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Having come through a week of online bullying that lead me to choosing to close my business, and having been called out to tidy up how I fought (verbally, online) in the process, I’d really be interested in backlinks to the relevant articles.

    Like

  10. As a woman I appreciate you taking this threat seriously and calling it out with no qualms. As another user pointed out, women on the internet regularly get these for simply doing their jobs. Often, we’re told not to take the threats seriously and treated as if we’re overreacting. I feel like men have grown up (somewhat as you suggested you did) believing that being mistreated is acceptable because it is normal. We as a society, as a species, do NOT have to accept living with normalized violence, even if it is a part of human nature. We can reduce this kind of behavior. But first we have to be willing to say we want to live differently. Best of luck to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your wisdom, and your father’s, shines. Thank you for your strength. We are all stronger for having you stand with us, and for standing with you in return. That Dad of yours, um, did he have a pair of ravens? I met those two in iceland.

    Like

  12. The first to throw the punch, has lost. Regardless of how the fight turns out. While this might not be universal, this truth is right in a civilized society far more often then that it is wrong.

    And this kind of threath, while not something to allow to take over your life, should not be ignored.

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    • in anglo society the first to throw the punch gets respect and the person defending hinself gets told he is the trouble maker. it’s one of gthe distinctive features of anglo culture, especially towards non anglos. a simple example–donald trump right now

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  13. I will say this, your own article is a screed against violence but it is also a Curriculum Vitae of your own experiences with violence and your own abilities, as well as what your limits and boundaries are. A not too subtle warning to those who might step beyond the computer screen. The warning was not lost on me. It was noticeable. Was this intended or did it happen by accident? Either way, it achieved it’s goal. Anyone who was considering acting violently with you now has to calculate the cost of that violence.

    Hearing someone scream while you have them on the ground and are punching them till they are out of the fight is the least pleasant thing in the universe. Throwing up after the adrenalin runs through you is awful. Breaking your hands, your feet on another human hurts. Having their blood all over you does not make you a hero. It makes you someone who fought. Humans have a deep prohibition against actually hitting one another. It is a biological reality. It has to be overcome on purpose. Doing that leaves internal scars on oneself.

    Abhor violence… but be ready to dispense it as a last resort… and then their are no rules. Only one person standing. I hope you never are pushed beyond your boundaries. For your sake (and your peace of mind/heart/soul) and for that poor bastard’s sake.

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    • Does it really provide a warning not to step beyond? Or does it give them valuable information about your abilities?

      Like

  14. If those types of douchebags want to “exterminate” you, then you are doing right. I’m quite sure you can take care of yourself! Carry on.

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  15. Thanks for your comments, everyone. I’m still getting the occasional comment from supporters of the person who made the threat, which I am not approving. Once threats have been made, we’re no longer having a back and forth discussion and I see no reason to give them space for their nonsense.

    Like

  16. I am disgusted that people cannot engage in civil discourse and criticism.

    Okay so some people don’t like G&R, fine. That’s no reason for them to incite violence towards us.

    Violence is the first resort of the inarticulate – that’s what my dad always told me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is standard strategy for the far right, at least in the US. Use constant violent rhetoric and wait for some reader or listener to act on it, then disclaim responsibility. There’s also a lot of doublethink going on. The blogger in question actually has a long post up on another website entitled “I Am a Racist” – yet he claims to be deeply offended that I referred to him as a racist. It’s like there are two faces – one calling for racism and violence, the other indignantly claiming innocence.

      Like

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