Over at Grim's Hall, Texan99 has a post about "Permission Slips" for violence, which in turn links to similar discussions beyond. Quite useful. It is an extension one encounters in many places, of those who will not do violence themselves, but make excuses for those who do, and thus consider themselves peaceful people. Mafia bosses don't do rubouts. They wear nice suits and expensive shoes. Yet they, at least, understand that violence undergirds their position.
My recollection in the 1960s was that the violent radicals were few, but very serious. Theirs was hot violence, with rage and getting into people's faces. Most radicalism was cooler, with condescension and humor about violence, as if not quite taking it seriously. Though there were Days of Rage, those were elsewhere and they didn't impact most of us much. Still, city protests were worse than college protests, and I may have a false picture.
Cool rage continued to be the norm, as even peaceful liberals made excuses for those who wished violence on Reagan because well, you could understand. It wasn't liberals who were the violent ones (though they were), it was those conservatives. We knew that because they had guns, and liked them (shudder). And that was mostly who went into the military, so like, more guns and violence. Not so much violence at independent bookstores and NPR studios, so that proves it. Bill Ayers went into cool anger, because he thought it would be more successful. Yet there was always the subtext that some people were going to be violent, and who could blame them.?
I think the election of 2000 was a real change. I thought cool anger turned to hot anger on the left, and stayed there a bit. It got dealt a severe blow on September 11 and mostly went cool again. It was not violent that I recall, but the rage was clearer. They had been robbed, robbed, I tell you. I think cool rage continued under Obama, with repeated upticks in hot anger as well. Occupy had some hot rage, but was mostly that protest tactic of trying to goad others into violence. (See also, the challenging of Trump supporters at rallies, usually by Bernie Bros.) There was no switch this time, there was just addition. Obama was very good at cold - yet he was also the one who talked about bringing a gun to a knife fight. Leakage.
If you look at the video T99 posted, you will see that there is still cool anger, justifying violence. But hot rage is leaking out, even among the cold people.