The right-wing blogosphere is rallying around Thomas Ball, a man who committed suicide outside of a courthouse apparently in protest of being forced to pay $3,000 in child support. Amanda notes that abusers routinely use threats of suicide to control their victims, and that given Ball’s suggestion that men team up to hurl Molotov cocktails at police stations and prosecutors’ offices, he’s maybe not the best dude to step out and support. Nevertheless, conservative bloggers are comparing Amanda to the whore of Babylon (seriously, they actually say that, and it is kind of awesome) and praising Ball as a “warrior” who just got fed up.
So how was Ball unfairly maligned by the system? Allow him to tell you in his own words.
My story starts with the infamous slapping incident of April 2001. While putting my four year old daughter to bed, she began licking my hand. After giving her three verbal warnings I slapped her. She got a cut lip. My wife asked me to leave to calm things down.
Who hasn’t slapped a four-year-old across the face hard enough to cut her lip open because she licked your hand? I also like the phrasing here — “she got a cut lip.” She didn’t get a cut, you hit her hard enough to drive her teeth through her lip. Totally upstanding guy. Definitely a good dad. Nothing here to indicate that he’s at all abusive.
When then a man is arrested for domestic violence, one of two things can happen. If they are only dating and have separate apartments, then he can head home. But if they are living together, then this fellow has a real problem. Bail conditions and then a possible protective or restraining order prevent him from being with her. So he needs to find a new place to live, at least until the charges are resolved. The King of his Castle is no longer allowed into his castle.
So unfair that a man who beats his wife shouldn’t be allowed to return to “his” home immediately.
He continues to detail the indignity of getting divorced and being told to pay child support, and is particularly upset at the fact that he was sent to mandatory counseling before he could get custody of his kids. He refused to go on the grounds that he isn’t actually unstable (obviously people who set themselves on fire after writing 10,000-word letters to the local paper promoting terrorism are totally level and should be permitted to care for small children). He argues that divorce apparently equals homelessness, and that 25% of the adult U.S. population is homeless (or maybe 72 million people, it’s unclear). He warns that it’ll be 50% soon. And he compares men who are arrested for domestic violence to Jews in Germany during the Holocaust. And then he suggests a plan:
So boys, we need to start burning down police stations and courthouses. The Second Set of Books originated in Washington. But the dirty deeds are being carried out by our local police, prosecutors and judges. These are the people we pay good money to protect us and our families. And what do we get for our tax money? Collaborators who are no different than the Vichy of France or the Quislings of Norway during the Second World War. All because they go along to get along. They are an embarrassment, the whole lot of them. And they need to be held accountable. So burn them out.
He explains that most police stations in New England have wooden roofs which can be set ablaze, and explains how to construct a Molotov cocktail. He continues:
There will be some casualties in this war. Some killed, some wounded, some captured. Some of them will be theirs. Some of the casualties will be ours.
Now, nobody wants to get killed. But let us look at your life. You are broke after paying child support. She and the kids are not doing any better. None of you are middle class any more. You have no say in the kids education, their health treatment, you may not even have visitation with your sons and daughters. And everything you thought you knew to be true-the rule of law, the sanctity of the of the family, the belief that government was there to nurture your brood-all turned out to be a lie. Face it boys, we are no longer fathers. We are just piggy banks.
So you are not losing anything by picking up the Molotov cocktail.
And then he encourages men to abuse:
When a man batters or kills, there is no excuse. When a woman commits the same act, there is nothing but excuses. Simple though inaccurate. But there is one redeeming aspect to men being demonized. Now we men can act like devils. And we do not even need to apologize for it. Men are going to start acting just like they made us out to be. As an old high school semi-punk I can assure you boys of one thing. This is going to be fun. You guys are going to end up laughing like hyenas.
There’s really no question that he’s advocating terrorism here — he says, about lawmakers, “If they think Al Qaeda is a pain in the ass, wait to they see what Americans can do once their fuse is lit.”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s very sad that this man committed suicide. But rallying behind him, and casting him as someone who was legitimately “frustrated” with the system when in fact his own letter indicates that he was a violent, disturbed individual who promotes terrorism as a solution to his personal grievances? Does not do much for your cause.