bart is an acronym for Bay Area Rapid Transit. It is the underground train and railway system people use throughout the Bay Area to get them in and out of San Francisco. This unofficial poster should simply read, “Violence is prohibited in the BART system at all times.” There’s no need to single out where the violence comes from. Violence is violence and it needn’t be qualified or labeled. The poster’s creator had good intentions but it gives insight into where we are as a nation psychologically.
This feels like the seeds of the concept of #thoughtcrime are being sown.
We have freedom of choice as human beings. Even if others’ choices differ from ours we have to accept that and not single them out.
There are situation-specific instances when dealing with these types of people. For instance, Richard Spencer, the poster boy for the white nationalist movement, was punched by an anarchist. Spencer has a history of encouraging violence in his speeches. He riles the audience up, and when they leave his meetings, their goal seems to target minorities and show violence against them.
So, for the anarchist to punch him seemed appropriate. Do I think Spencer should be arrested? Sadly, no. Should the anarchist be arrested? No. He took the moral high ground and sucker punching someone doesn’t have a lot of incentive for the police anyway.
Only those who actually commit actual real forceful violence should be arrested. The punishment must always fit the crime and I think a random, spur of the moment, soft act of violence that didn’t leave any more damage than a black eye should not be contested. If the anarchist had beat him into a coma then yes there should be punishment.
I try to be consistent so I suppose if a racist punched a minority in the same way Spencer was punched by the anarchist, then that racist should also not be arrested.
I am more concerned with the emboldened militarized, trigger happy police in this nation then I am of any citizen who does the occasional sucker punch. My intellectual goal is to keep the police immobilized, to little by little inform my readers of their amorality and violence against the citizenry and through this, my hope is to remove and weaken the corrupted police power that has seized our nation. The police in this country have zero training in mental illness, no de-escalation skills and are far too quick to murder with impunity. My goal is not to judge the citizenry for their choices, no matter how reprehensible those choices are.
Bringing corporations or transit agencies or even the police, or even pretending to, as is the case with this stylized poster, into the foray feels like the next step would be a violation of human rights.
These types of guerrilla art pieces are instruction manuals on manipulation. This poster does nothing more than encourage and exploit our PC outrage. It crowds our mind with selective thought, controls us so that we miss the bigger picture and the deeper more sinister machinations. There is something insidious about the stylized calculated placement of this poster on one of the most heavily populated mass transit systems on the globe. It is an invasion of our thoughts and ideas, lest those thoughts and ideas lead to bigger solutions that might challenge the status quo. It exploits watered down American sentimentality and manufactures a consent to keep us in constant savior mode.
Not only that, some susceptible individual might feel this poster would give him the permission to start committing acts of lethal violence against the described people in the poster. The placement of this poster was an ominous troubling thing to see, for sure, but it was equally irresponsible to hang it in the first place.
It felt strange and Orwellian to read this poster, even if it is fake, and even more troubling was the reaction to it. Too many people seemed to agree with it, and gave it no critical thought.
The danger of this deep truth in our American psyche is a chilling peek into what’s to come.