Tuesday, October 11, 2005

 

The V is for Vandalism

Challenging once again the point of local IMC sites, Melbourne Indymedia is running the story of French anti-SUV Vandals, sorry, Activists.
The eco-guerrillas deflate tires without damaging them, smear doors with mud and paste handbills on windshields proclaiming that the vehicles are dangerous, polluting behemoths that do not belong in the city.

"We use the mud to say that if the owners will not take the four-wheel-drives to the countryside, we will bring the countryside to the four-wheel-drives," said Marrant, 28, who uses an alias because angry drivers deluge his website, http://degonfle.blogg.org with e-mails threatening mayhem and questioning his manhood.
But don't worry...
"We emphasize the comic, the burlesque side," Marrant said with the earnest, wide-eyed look of a prankster trying to keep a straight face. "It would be hard to take us to court. We don't slash tires, we deflate them. Air doesn't cost anything.
Of course hot air is even cheaper. What does a new set of wheel rims cost? Try saying "don't worry, air doesn't cost anything" to a victim who loses their job or can't transport a loved one to hospital because their car has been damaged.
As for getting cars dirty, that's nothing. I would plead guilty to that. Our rules are to never run from the police. And always run from the owners."

The rise of anti-SUV activism in France shows that one man's vandal can be another man's avenger. The deflators are on the fringe of a movement that has considerable support at City Hall, which is governed by an alliance of the Socialist and Green parties.
It gets better...
He says the French public supports his group's approach. People send e-mails asking to participate or suggesting tactics, such as a special tool the activists now use for lightning-fast deflations.

"It's a kind of key that deflates a tire very fast and completely, in two seconds," he said. "A mechanic sent an e-mail telling us about it. He said, 'You can do better than you have been doing.' "

Delabre, meanwhile, fears an eventual confrontation.

"I put myself in the place of an owner of a four-wheel-drive who sees people messing up his vehicle," he said. "I worry that things will get out of control. We can't accept that in our fine democracy. People have died for the freedom we have today."
My hero...

Comments:
Hi.

I've lived in France and people there are much more environmentally-minded than in other places.

So it's no surprise that these guys are getting quite a lot of support. That is not a lie in my view.

As for the thing you say about the owner of the SUV not being able to get their kids to school or take a loved one to hospital; well, if they can afford an SUV surely they can afford a taxi?

It's pretty narrow-minded to be more concerned about the well-being of one guy who happens to like big cars than that of the population of the whole planet who is facing geopolitical conflict over oil and global warming.

My two cents.

Xenmate

Xenmate
 
As for the thing you say about the owner of the SUV not being able to get their kids to school or take a loved one to hospital; well, if they can afford an SUV surely they can afford a taxi?

Either you have never had to transport a loved one to hospital or never had to wait for a taxi...
 
That's all the answer?

Jesus.

How about ambulances then?

Neighbours?

Or even. What are the chances that the one day your SUV has its bloody wheels sabotaged is the day your brother will have a heart attack?

Come on!

What I'm trying to debate is the wider issue. Sometimes it is ok to break the law. To be a vandal. It puts a message accross, and I think in this case, a worthy message.

Xenmate
 
None of what you say is a defence for vandalism. The fact that it may never happen or is statistically insignificant is not a justification either. You will probably never be hit by a drunk driver either if it were suddenly made legal. What's your point?

Say you had built a house, legally, which I took exception to. So I superglued all the locks and covered the walls in excrement and sewerage.

You could stay at a friend's house, or in a hotel (if you had all that money to build a house) while it was cleaned up.

But you might not like it.

Do you see my point yet?

Being a vandal certainly does put a point across, but only of what the vandal is, not what he chooses to destroy.
 
It all depends for what reasons you took exception to my house.

If to build it I had cut off or diverted a stream with the subsequent negative effects on the wildlife in the area then yes, you may have been wholly justified in superglueing (sic) the locks.

If on top of that you had began a campaign to tell others about what I had done, and used the superglueing (sic again) as a publicity stunt, then the more power to you.

Maybe your illegal act would have brought my legal act to the attention of a lawyer who lives not far away and who could have mounted a legal challenge to punish me, legally, for my wrecklesness. For example.

See my point?

Xenmate
 
Maybe your illegal act would have brought my legal act to the attention of a lawyer who lives not far away and who could have mounted a legal challenge to punish me, legally, for my wrecklesness. For example.

See my point?



Frankly, no. Why not just protest through legal means? Approach the media? Hire a lawyer? Lobby politicians? Absolutely nothing in your argument justifies acts of vandalism.
 
Do I see your point? No.

Perhaps however, when you are sitting in your front yard, locked out of your own house thanks to my actions, and it starts to snow, you will begin to see mine.
 
Approach the media, hire a lawyer, lobby politicians...

Are you serious? You don't think enough noise has been made to call to the attention of the media and politicians that we are going to shit in a basket because we overindulge in stupid things like SUV's?

Nah. I don't buy it. People with SUV's do not deserve my respect. Sorry.

Xenmate
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
I don't care if you respect SUV owners or not. That's your choice. We were talking about the legitimacy of vandalism as political comment, and I was commenting on your response to The Watcher's house example.

Let's try a new example: An abortion clinic opens in your neighbourhood. Anti-abortion protesters superglue the locks and smear blood all over the windows. Do you think that's an acceptable protest? How about someone doing something similar to, say, a gay bar? A mosque? The office of a political party?

It seems to me that you believe that strongly disliking something strips you of all obligation to respect the rights of others and to adhere to the law. Talk about a slippery slope!
 
The happy owners of SUV's are disregarding my rights and the rights of my fellowmen by polluting the air unnecesarilly. Jesus, they are prepared to pay $10,000 to do it! Just like that! Coz it's fashionable!

Are they going to really *really* need an SUV in their daily lives? Most won't. They buy the thing because it looks good and to shit with the environment and people with respiratory diseases and all that whiney crap.

A clinic isn't built because it's fashionable. Same with mosques. Same with political party offices.

SUV'S???

They are environmentalist vandals! Fuck'em!

Xenmate

Sorry about the coarse language, but I get incensed sometimes.
 
So, in other words, you do believe that strongly disliking something strips you of all obligation to respect the rights of others and to adhere to the law?
 
The happy owners of SUV's are disregarding my rights and the rights of my fellowmen by polluting the air unnecesarilly.

Would a twelve year old sedan that pollutes far more, receive the same 'treatment' from you? Or is your hatred solely directed against SUV's.

Jesus, they are prepared to pay $10,000 to do it! Just like that! Coz it's fashionable!

Are they going to really *really* need an SUV in their daily lives? Most won't.


Do you bother to find out before you damage and destroy? Or do you just assume you have statistical probability on your side. I'd be interested in your research...

They buy the thing because it looks good and to shit with the environment and people with respiratory diseases and all that whiney crap.

Or because they have children, go camping, prefer the safety features, carry cargo or made an educated commercial decision. Feel free however to write them all off as trendy self-centred criminals, it's clear you have thought the matter out well...

That you got incensed doesn't come as a surprise, it is common to many of the same political view as regards to vandalism and 'activism'. I have documented much of it on this site.
 
By the way Xenmate, you may also want to look into the use of the editorial term 'sic'. One doesn't generally use it on one's own errors, rather in reference to someone else's.

The watcher never wrote "superglueing" - you did. Just a thought.
 
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