“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
Christopher 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/.