Why All the Smashy-Smashy? A Beginner's Guide to Targeted Property Destruction. | Slog:
But first, let's clear something up: Reporters today on KOMO and Slog and beyond have made the mistake of calling today's targeted property destruction "violence." There is an enormous moral distinction between smashing a bank window and smashing a person. Lumping the two under the umbrella of "violence" is linguistically lazy and politically irresponsible. It is worth noting that in the dramatic property-destruction campaigns of groups like the Earth Liberation Front—burning SUV lots, ski lodges, and in one of their stupider and more infamous moments, a botanical research facility at the UW—people don't get hurt.
In fact, the only "violence" I saw today, aside from some minor pushing back and forth between protesters and police and some pepper spray, was a guy in a tie who was (understandably) pissed off when someone broke the rear window of his car. He chased down a protester and they both fell down in the street and had a minor scuffle. That was violence (however paltry). Smashing a window is not violence, it's vandalism. There is a difference—unless you think of people as the moral equivalent of property.