Pacifist to the Rescue!

This story is awful; apparently some guy traveling with a toddler got out of the truck and beat the child to death before police intervened and fatally shot the guy.

I don't know how old the other motorists were who "tried to help out"; at least one couple was elderly so presumably they couldn't do anything. I would like to think that if I saw a guy doing that I would either tackle him or grab the kid and run. I don't think it would take the cops showing up to stop it.


  1. Anonymous3:35 PM

    I would either tackle him


    or grab the kid


    and run

    violence (when holding a human being captive)

  2. Ever since I've read and meditated on Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You, I have adopted a fairly complete pacifism. To me, this means that I do not hold that there are laws I ought to enforce on others. I reject the idea that we can divide all possible actions in the universe into either "justified" or "not justified" categories.

    And yet in cases of extreme distress, such as the one in this example (or as an absolute extreme, I come home one day to find someone raping my wife) I recognize that I would intervene using force.

    Bob, it seems you take a similar position, so I'd like to see how you reconcile the two.

    I haven't yet really come to a good reconciliation, but I generally take the approach that it is the intent of an action that qualifies it as violent or not rather than whether physical contact is involved.

  3. Anonymous5:32 PM

    No conflict for me.

    1. IANAP (I am not a pacifist.)
    2. I have a black belt in Judo.
    3. I am not shy.

  4. Anonymous6:25 PM

    Wouldn't you jump out of your car run up to him and start beating yourself up?

  5. Anonymous8:37 PM


    It is the sisification of America. I once got involved in Chicago in breaking up a fight between a crazy guy who was beating up, on the sidewalk, a young petite girl he didn't know. The guy had been doing it to various women for two years and nobody had stopped him. (The Chicago Tribune did a Sunday Front page story on him.)

    Also after the brouhaha, the police statements, etc. I realized that a bunch of construction workers with helmets and hammers were right next door and didn't do a damn thing.

    I did take pride, though, in walking past the next day and overheard one construction worker pointng to the spot where the altercation occurred and telling someone "...and then this guy came over and beat the shit out of him."

    Just last week, a semi-serious automobile accident happened right in front of me on a very busy street. I immediately went to both cars to make sure no one needed immediate assitance, when I got back to the sidewalk I realized there were about a half dozen people standing on the sidewalk observing the entire damn thing and who had an intial better view of the accident but did not leave the sidewalk to see if everyone was ok in the severly damaged vehicles.

    I don't know who first coined the term Wimpus America, but he is right.

  6. Surely the term is "Wimpus Americus"--or possibly "Wimpa America." I think that in sufficiently extreme circumstances, well built psyches just blow. You'd come to a moment later with the crazy person dead at your feet. This gets around cowardice as well as philosophical issues. God saw philosophy coming and wired us with safeties.

  7. OK quick reactions:

    Silas: Are you making a joke? Tackling the guy, fine, call me a hypocrite. But even actual kidnapping isn't violence, let alone when the kid is unconscious. If you aren't kidding and actually think you've got me on this, then I will stop worrying about my cap and trade article. You have entered the Gene Zone at this point.

    Jacob: I wrote a bunch of LRC articles on this very topic. But then I wiped the slate clean when I went into the financial sector. If you want me to email you the articles drop me a note (

    Pepe: Good one, literal LOL on it.

    Robert: After you showed that guy what was up, did a black girl say you were the coolest guy ever?

  8. Anonymous11:42 PM

    Actually, it was a black girl I saved.

    But, afterall that, she did say she was into econometrcians.

  9. Robert,

    Why do you think the construction guys didn't do anything? You'd think they would want to be a hero, especially in front of their buddies.

    I can understand people not jumping out of their cars at night on a lonely road (the case where the nutjob killed the toddler). But a bunch of burly construction guys in broad daylight? Wth?

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