Anyone who argues that violence has no place in civil rights is willfully ignoring the fact that most of the historic breakthroughs in civil rights occurred not just at gunpoint, but at entire formations of gunpoints in the hands of thousands of federal troops. Multiple Presidents had to invoke the insurrection exception to the Posse Comitatus Act and deploy the Army domestically, which is quite literally the most extreme form of force that the U.S. federal government has access to. The difference between “infantry in the streets” and “tanks in the streets” is purely psychological; legally and practically speaking, the moment the Army is brought into the picture, the federal government has already pulled the trigger on its ultimate sanction.
As much as we hope that level of force is not necessary, there’s no denying that history has repeatedly proven that it sometimes is.
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