Let's leave aside the fact that a person who carries out these steps is basically acting no better than the KKK at a 60's civil rights demonstration. Or that by using violence to make a point, this hypothetical person is in effect admitting that he lacks the vocabulary to make himself understood by any other means. Instead of this, let's point out all the things that are wrong with this from a logical point of view, because if I deviate from cold logic then I'll slip into ranting.

Re-read step four. There are a couple of assumptions made there:

  1. That "Because ... we should not cause more violence." is an effective summary of his argument.

  2. The person referred to as 'you' in the above writeup is not prepared to listen.

That most certainly doesn't sound like your average noder. So let's assume that this retired navy chief correctly predicted the arguments of a naïve student, and continue to step 6, assuming you punched him in mid-sentence (now you'll never know what his argument was! Damn!):

When he gets back up to punch you, point out that it would be a mistake and contrary to his values to strike you, because that would, "be awful and he should not cause more violence."

The assumptions made here?

  1. He wants to punch you back.

  2. That his values include non-violence at any price.

The latter is called a hasty generalization, and it's one of those logical fallacies. You have this naïve student's opinion on one issue: the use of force in retaliation for the WTC terrorist attack, and the killing of > 6,000 people. From here, we have cleverly extrapolated his entire philosophy and world-view, and decided that he must be against the use of force, no matter what.

I could go on: step seven is obviously stupid. Most naïve students protest with their naïve friends, and (as with most demonstrations) there will be witnesses, like the police, not to say Lawyers' Guild people - and the best place for patriotic (and violent) Americans is not in prison - it is in the army.

The last thing I should say is this: The American government responds to the terrorists attack by:

  1. Ascertaining who is responsible.

  2. Attacking the people who are responsible.

Now, for what it's worth, I approve of this1, 2. But one thing which nobody except maybe the Taliban wants to see is Americans beating the shit out of each other. Right?

1: At least, I did. Briefly. (added 06/11/01)
2: Now undecided. See The dangers of being open minded. (added 21/11/01)