Does Anyone Care About Actual Political Violence?

Over the last year, we have seen absurd efforts to blame violent acts committed by people who had nothing to do with politics on politicians and activists who have nothing to do with violence. No matter: it is all about political opportunism.

In fact, however, we do have a political or quasi-political movement in the United States that in recent years has often resorted to violence: the union movement. To cite just one example, one of the terrible, little-known outrages of our modern history was the 1990 Greyhound bus strike, when union snipers fired on Greyhound buses across the country. There were at least 21 such incidents, in some of which passengers were shot. Union leaders, to my knowledge, were never punished for the armed guerrilla attacks they organized.

Another outburst of union violence occurred last week in Lambertville, Michigan. John King, who lives in Lambertville, owns a construction company called King Electrical Services which has the temerity to hire men and women who–like 93% of America’s private sector workers–do not belong to unions. This outrages union bosses who want either to force King’s employees to join unions against their will, or else drive King’s company out of business. Their preferred tactic to achieve these ends is low-level violence:

King is the largest non-union electrical contractor company in the area of southeastern Michigan near the Ohio border.

He has a long history of being on the receiving end of union-related violence, and this case doesn’t appear to be any different. …

“Since he’s been in business, in addition to the legal battles and verbal abuse, King’s company has been vandalized and threatened on numerous occasions,” reports. “Unfortunately, the vandalism has never stopped. This year alone, he’s had to report three incidents of damage to police. This doesn’t include the incidents of stalking he and his men have to go through while they’re working.

“In one incident earlier this year, rocks were thrown through the front windows of his shop, one of which had the word ‘kill’ written on it.”

Imagine the hysteria if Tea Partiers did such a thing! But such violence is routine if you are a businessman who is willing to employ construction workers without making them pay tribute to corrupt union bosses. Last week, things took a more serious turn when a union organizer shot John King:

The altercation started when King woke up late last Wednesday to find someone in his driveway. He described the intruder as a “silhouette figure” because he didn’t see the person clearly enough to offer a description. The individual was attempting to vandalize his SUV. When King went outside his Lambertville, Mich., home to confront the person, the vandal shot him in the arm.

Thankfully, King wasn’t killed. I assume that is because the union organizer is a bad shot. The union organizer succeeded in vandalizing King’s car. Here it is:

Our media try endlessly to draw fictitious connections between violence and political or quasi-political movements. They do this to advance their own political agenda. But, when it comes to the one movement that has actually used violence to advance its interests over a period of decades, our reporters and editors carefully avert their eyes. This is one of the many media scandals of our time.

Should unions be legal, or are they so hopelessly corrupt that they should be banned? In the public sector, I would say they definitely should not be permitted. In the private sector, I am open-minded. At a bare minimum, however, unions should not be singled out for privileged legal treatment. Section 6 of the Clayton Act exempts unions from scrutiny under the antitrust laws. Thus, they don’t have to abide by the same legal principles that govern the rest of us. There is no justification for such sweetheart treatment: at a minimum, Section 6 of the Clayton Act should be repealed, and unions should be judged on a level playing field with other people and entities.

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