I recently saw a video in which Patrick Stewart talked about violence against women and post-traumatic stress disorder.
So, here’s the the take home message.
VIOLENCE IS NEVER THE ANSWER.
To which some might ask, “What if someone is attacking me or my family?”
We’re not saying you shouldn’t defend you and your family if attacked. But the violence isn’t being initiated by you either. Violence isn’t the answer… but what is the question?
Why has someone (individual, group, organization, city, state, or country) resorted to violence in the first place? That’s the question we should be asking ourselves. We’re not saying, in the heat of the moment, roll over and let yourself be hurt.
But I have to ask, what is it that begat the violence… not from you, but from the attacker. Is the person hungry? Do they have no money? Do they have an addiction problem and want to score another hit? Are they desiring a material thing that you happen to have? Are they just nuts?
All of these issues that I just described are failures of our society. Instead of helping those in need, we tend to vilify them. “Damn panhandlers should just get a job.”
My wife, with a Master’s degree, 7 years of teaching experience and 10 years of experience in managing a non-profit (including grant writing) can’t get a job. How in the hell can a guy who just got out of prison on a drug charge get job? It’s not going to happen.
Deal with the individual’s addiction problem, not his addiction target. People who have addictive personalities will just find something else to burn their life on. I know this for a fact. I’ve seen it in my own family.
Hunger is a huge issue, even in first world countries. According to some reports, 1 in 6 Americans are food insecure… meaning that they aren’t 100% sure when or where there next meal is coming from.
Wikipedia – Food Security
Who wouldn’t threaten or commit a little violence to make sure your kid has something to eat once a day?
Material things? Are just that… stuff. I speak from privilege here because I have stuff now. Growing up, I had some stuff. I didn’t have everything. But I had new clothes (mostly) and some toys at Christmas. Even so, I think we have a lot of stuff we don’t need. I don’t need a new car and I won’t for at least a decade or so. What would I even do with another one? I can only live in one place at a time. Why do I need another house?
We live in a culture that has glorified stuff. Talk about your false idols. We worship stuff. I get it, I am totally a part of that society. But maybe, just maybe, our society is simply wrong. Ideally, we (somehow) make it to a post-scarcity society. Technology reduces stuff to how much you can actually store and use. When we’re not using, it’s recycled into raw materials and created again, the next time we need it.
But when a kid kills another kid for a pair of shoes (this was last year too)? What the hell is wrong with our society?
I can’t even begin to describe how fundamentally screwed up this is.
No, violence isn’t the answer. But we don’t know what the real answer is because know one is asking the question.
Why are people turning to violence?
Are they deprived of some fundamental part of life (food, shelter, safety)?
Are they damaged or ill in some way (addicted, PTSD)?
How our society somehow made them feel inferior because they can’t get the damn shoes?
When someone turns to violence… and the above applies to leaders of countries as much as the bully at the local middle school… there is something wrong. By not treating the underlying issue, we are making the problem worse.