Social Question

Qingu's avatar

How difficult would it be, and what would the punishment for getting caught be, for successfully throwing a tomato or similar missile against the "persecuted" members of the 1%?

Asked by Qingu (21175points) December 20th, 2011
27 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

Inspired by this article, which quotes hedge fund managers and similarly “productive” members of upper-class society complaining about how they are villified and persecuted for their wealth. I’m just curious how hard it would be to give them something to cry about.

Do people like Jamie Dimon travel all the time in armored cars and walk directly to the office from underground parking lots, or do they ever expose themselves to thrown tomatoes, water balloons filled with sour milk, etc? And how much could you be sued or imprisoned if you were to get caught after throwing such a missile?

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JilltheTooth's avatar

I think attacking anyone with any kind of missile negates the concept of a “peaceful demonstration”.

Qingu's avatar

I used to think that, but then I read that article and now I’m on the fence. At least with respect to “attacking” with tomatoes and water balloons.

Though to be perfectly honest, if I were Emperor, I would fly every complaining person quoted in that article to Hawai’i and throw them into an active volcano. Not even joking.

Blackberry's avatar


ragingloli's avatar

They should stop complaining. Back in the good old days, those aristocrats would have faced the guillotine and angry mobs armed with pitchforks.

john65pennington's avatar

In my state, casting of a missile is a law violation.

This law arrived out of a case that occured in Knoxville, Tn.

Some UT students were throwing snowballs at passing-by cars and trucks. One snowball had a large rock in the center. It hit a driver of a tractor-trailer truck and caused his death.

So, as you can see, it was not worth it for the student involved. He was found guilty in a wrongful death charge and serrved time in prison.

A rock-layden snowball may not be a tomatoe, suppose the tomatoe receipient fired a gun in your direction as a retaliation?

In most cases, one action will always receive another action.

A tomatoe versus a handgun is no match to me.

Qingu's avatar

@john65pennington, you were a cop, right? What would someone who threw a tomato at another person typically be charged with? Assault and battery? Or would they just have to pay for the cost of clothing damage?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Ah, @Qingu , so people who say stupid stuff deserve to be physically attacked? Is that it? All those statements in the article are silly and maybe inflammatory to some (although I’m still going with silly) and you advocate an attack? I stand by my first post. It negates the concept of a peaceful demonstration. And it would qualify as battery.

Qingu's avatar

@JilltheTooth, like I said, if I were Emperor I wouldn’t just attack them, I’d have them thrown into a volcano. Though we live in a democratic society ruled by law, so I’ll take what I can get.

They aren’t just “people who say stupid stuff.” They are extremely, extremely powerful people who for all intents and purposes fund our political system. The guy who said that we ought to pamper him so that he feels “confident” enough to make the decision to hire more labors? A tomato in the face is the least he deserves. Though this is less about what I think these people deserve and more about the practicalities of such.

MrItty's avatar

Questions like this are why the self-described “99%” will never be taken seriously.

JilltheTooth's avatar

You are advocating attacking them based on what they said. That was your statement, vis a vis the article ”...but then I read that article and now I’m on the fence.”. Throw them into the volcano if you want for what they do. My interpretation of the article was that they dared to say the stupid stuff, it didn’t seem to me to be dealing with they’re power or the stuff they did. I’m guessing we are having two different conversations here.

Qingu's avatar

I see the 99% movement as basically having achieved what it could achieve. Income inequality is now the major “topic” of public conversation, much like how the tea party made debt the topic.

@JilltheTooth, it’s their sociopathic attitude. The quote I just mentioned is basically extortion. And the guy with a net worth of more than $67 million comparing himself to a feudal serf. It’s not just that they “said stupid stuff,” it’s that the stuff they said shows how utterly soulless, clueless, and dangerous to democracy they are.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Nothing ever happened to whoever egged Schwarzenegger, as far as I can discover, but the police have been especially vindictive towards OWS protesters. Given the amount of abuse they’ve received in the absence of any legitimate reason, I don’t want to see what happens if someone throws a tomato or a water balloon.

Like one of my favorite signs says: “If only they enforced bank regulations like they do park rules, we wouldn’t be in this mess.” What the people complaining in the linked article fail to realize is that no one is upset at them for being rich. People are upset at them because they are either criminals or colluding with criminals.

Even if they themselves have not engaged in the corrupt practices that led to the OWS movement, they bear some responsibility for not doing more to prevent those practices. Saying “we’re not all like that” doesn’t grant absolution. People have a responsibility to police their own ranks, even when it isn’t particularly pleasant to do so.

@MrItty This question wasn’t posed by an Occupier, so why put it on their account?

MrItty's avatar

@SavoirFaire Where did I mention any Occupiers?

submariner's avatar

OP: Yes, that’s enraging. This might make you feel a little better. Perhaps we should focus our attention on the system rather than individuals.

Qingu's avatar

Sure. Of course, the individuals in question are the ones donating millions of dollars to block system-wide reforms.

saracore's avatar

You would be charged with battery which is up to 5 years imprisonment. Given the amount of influence money has, they would see to it you serve the maximum sentence

Battery is contact. This is up to 5 years imprisonment.
Assault is causing fear of violence. This is up to 6 months and/or a fine.

You may even be charged right now for assault because of your thread, and the words you had written. It all depends on how one/authorities interpret your words (as an immediate threat of violence, or not). Better hope no one reports you to find out.

Qingu's avatar

I’m shakin’ in my boots.

saracore's avatar

I’m sure they’re shakin in their boots too.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@MrItty To whom does “the self-described 99%” refer if not the Occupiers? They’re the ones who describe themselves that way, so they must be the referent in the absence of clarification.

MrItty's avatar

You are incorrect. Search Google for “99%”, and you’ll see countless people describing themselves by that term, not just the folks with tents in public parks.

Further, the OP referred to the targets of his hatred as “the 1%”, thus implying that he is in “the other group”, ie, the 99%.

Qingu's avatar

I don’t really like or support the Occupy movement (basically, I don’t agree with “occupation” as a tactic to begin with), but I agree with many of their criticisms of the status quo and income inequality. So I don’t really know where that puts me.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@MrItty Thank you for the clarification, but it is unreasonable to assume people would get that meaning out of your comment. Context is important, after all, so the fact that people on the internet refer to themselves as the 99% (something of which I am aware) is irrelevant in the absence of a clear indication of who you meant to be naming. We understand one another now, though.

Still, it remains unclear to me how a question from someone who does not support OWS nor self-identifies as one of the 99%, could legitimately undermine the seriousness with which those of us who are part of OWS are taken. You might as well take us to task for statements made by George W. Bush.

MrItty's avatar

@SavoirFaire I have no idea what you’re complaining about. Someone who expresses anger at people he terms “the 1%” IS self-identifying as “the 99%”. I’m sorry my meaning wasn’t clear to you, but I think it was perfectly clear to everyone else. Regardless, this is off-topic for the question, so I’m done replying to you about it.

Qingu's avatar

Chances are everyone in this thread is in the 99% technically speaking. 99% is a designation of wealth. It’s also a term that’s been co-opted by the Occupy Movement, which is, @MrItty, what I believe you are actually talking about. And I don’t really identify much with that movement, so…

MrItty's avatar

No, @Qingu I’m not talking about OWS or any other Occupy movement. I’m talking about the people who refer to themselves as “the 99%”, the people who whine, bitch, moan, and complain about their lot in life, and blame the uber-wealthy for all their ills. The rest of us, regardless of whether or not we mathematically are part of the 99%, will never take those folks seriously, because of comments like the ones you make here. They are immature, childish, & offer no practical solutions or ideas to help themselves or anyone else.

submariner's avatar

I doubt I can frame the issue better than this lady does .

I’m pretty comfortable, materially, and my biggest problems are partially or mostly of my own making. But I happen to hold the US Constitution in high esteem, and I want to pass on our republican form of government to the next generation, and not let the country degenerate into an oligarchy.

Qingu's avatar

@MrItty, that sounds so pragmatic and self-reliant, and of course you are right that the suggestion of throwing a tomato at someone else is not a serious economic proposal.

Of course, I’m also on record as supporting a much higher level of progressive taxation, at least in the long term to pay down our debt, after we use fiscal policy—borrowing if we have to—to get unemployment under control. Feel free to peruse my history on Fluther for more details on economic proposals I prefer.

I’ve also never complained about my lot in life; I consider myself incredibly lucky. So I’m not sure where that comment comes from.

I also think it’s daft to imply that the 1% are not “to blame” for today’s economic ills as many in this group have used their tremendous power to not only directly promote tax policies that have allowed them to reap a windfall while the rest of the country’s income stagnates but, at least in the financial industry (which holds many of the richest 1%), engaged in risky behavior that directly caused the financial crisis. Of course it’s tricky to allocate blame precisely in a complex economy, but long-term unemployed today who were not unemployed before 2007 would certainly be fair in blaming the 1% in the financial industry for their ills.

And I find comments like yours more immature than my question, because there’s nothing easier than to tell an unfortunate person to pull himself or herself by their own bootstraps, stop complaining and “get a job,” and to pretend as if that’s how you got your pie and that you deserve every bite of it. There’s nothing easier than to pretend we live in a fairytale universe where if only people stopped complaining and tried hard they would be justly rewarded for their efforts.

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