I'm, yet again, visiting for a couple of days a colleague with whom I've worked for a couple years. He lives on the campus of Stanford University
. The rally was organized by undergrads; the handful of guys that showed up to disrupt it were students, too.
Such a sign I'd normally interpret as really strong sarcasm, but here it was evident it was serious. The guy carrying it got given the chance to speak to the congregated crowd before the rally started, and read out quite a rant, key bits of which I will try to give the flavor of by memory:
If a demented psycho were to attack you, with the intention of chopping up all your body parts into bits, would you sit down with this person and try to reason peacefully? This is what you are asking America [sic] to do.
Of course, the fallacy here is transparent. Whatever the appropriate reaction is to the psycho situation, the principles appropriate to individual self-defense in a situation where split-second decisions count don't have to generalize to international sociopolitic scenarios.
He went on and finished his speech, which nobody interrupted. Then, in the middle of the rally, his gang started reading it again out loud, walking among the audience, to stop the speakers from having the privilege the very same audience had given them.
I'd known Stanford undergrads to be apathetic little privileged pricks (save for people like the organizers of the rally, who are awesome), but these guys were borderline psychos. If one of them were to attack me with the intention of chopping my body to bits, what should I do about it?