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In today?s day and age, violence almost seems like a way of life. Aggression is the way to solve a problem, and the only way to make someone listen is to yell louder than them. Today is a day when it is alright to show a cold blooded murder on television or in a film. People enjoy seeing cartoon characters (namely Japanamation) kill each other and have graphic sex. Violence is everywhere and is almost impossible to escape and even more difficult to keep out of your life. However, in these times we must learn to live as part of society, and make meaningful contributions rather than just adding to the same heap of hate and aggression that animals are prone to and people should be above that stage in their life. People need to use reason to think out things before they say them and think even harder before they do some thing. Too many people do things in the heat of the moment. They hit their wives and children, shoot their classmates, give the finger to a car as it drives by, mindlessly watch murder and destruction on TV and in the theatres, and say things that they don?t mean in the passion of the altercation. These behaviors are destructive and bring about even more hate and nothing ever gets accomplished. War never came without a price. Far too many men were killed who never got to see their families again, and we are still so caught up in ourselves that we don?t see the suffering of the people around us. We get mad and angry and lash out with violence and hate because it?s all we know. Although we were taught from the dawn of our existence that violence isn?t the way to go, that doesn?t make it the less natural way to go. It is so much more natural to just punch the loser who hurt your feelings instead of turning the other cheek and walking away and being the bigger person. Being the bigger person is always harder, because it means maintaining dignity and pride even though you didn?t fight back which is what society has come to expect from us.
School ViolenceWhat seems to frighten me most lately is school violence. I am almost afraid to come into school because some kid my get the wrong idea and do something that they?ll regret. I feel that the school should be a safe place where one feels that they are safe and secure and not where they feel that their hall ways could become a battle ground any moment. These recent school shootings have also left me afraid to say the wrong thing. It?s ridiculous that people so much meaning behind something that used mean nothing more than it was meant to mean. It seems that now if you say something ?I could kill you? or the ever popular ?Do you want to die?? you are just simply asking to be reprimanded. Then again, why would you want to say any of those things anyway? It just seems like people aren?t seeing where the problem is. They think that we should be looking for ?the signs,? but they are just too na?ve to see the signs they should be looking for. They should be looking at signs within their own family and how violence is portrayed in their own home. Then perhaps they should look at the kinds of things their kids are playing on video games and watching on TV. Perhaps they should look at society, and watch the movies that are the box office smashes, because that?s where the violence begins. It?s hard for me to believe that a person is just violent by nature. I am a firm believer that it is something that is learned through years of being part of an aggressive society. Albert Bandura suggests that the problem lies often with the parents. He suggests that parents of aggressive boys often reinforce their children?s combative behavior because it shows that he can stick up for himself. Also, parents of non- aggressive children sometimes push their children too hard to stand up for themselves and as a result the child often becomes almost emotionless in matters of aggression because they have been bombarded into thinking that was right.
Violence (Women And Children)Domestic violence is one of the cruelest forms of violence. It involves the degradation of someone that one loves. Spousal abuse, first of all, is the bad foundation of a family. No family can survive when there is fear more predominant than love in the husband and wife relationship. Second of all, it emotionally scars children to see this sort of abuse, and the children always know. No one can live in a house and simply not see the violence. It?s evident in how people act at the dinner table and how they act in the morning. The terrible tragedy is that they don?t even see what terrible things are going on. Let us take the most common example, a battered wife and an abusive husband. The husband doesn?t see how much he is hurting the woman he loves, while the meek woman is so blinded by love that she doesn?t see that his actions are totally inappropriate. Dr. Richard J. Hazler would suggest that the man and the woman in this scenario reverse roles and show each other how they see one another. He feels that direct interventions are one of the best ways to ?Break the Cycle of Violence? which is consequently the title of his book. He discusses the bully and victim relationship and how they interact and how they tent to perpetuate that relationship by never getting anything done about it. Domestic violence in America is obscenely common and it needs to be stopped. Children too are being bullied. Defenseless children who can?t stand up to someone six times their size, especially their father or mother. All too often children are being emotionally scarred from the get go, and it is what makes our country lousy. Our children are growing up with emotional scars that are dangerous to society. Dr. Hazler also comments on the all too popular study that children of abusive parents go on to be abusive parents themselves. However, only one generation needs to stop the violence and I should imagine that child abuse in the future would be next to impossible because children will not have seen it in their homes. I feel that when violence is a memory, and the memory dies out with a generation, that is when world peace can begin to come around.
TV ViolenceViolence on television makes me sick. It literally disgusts me. One Saturday, I found myself with nothing better to do than to sit around and watch television. I have never seen more people killed and shot dead in one day. It was terrible, and it was over the span of 5 television shows that I saw ten people get shot and die graphically. No expense was spared on realistic blood. It was ridiculous and made me sick. Censorship, in my opinion is a good thing. However, censorship should be more focused on content than words. If a character in a film swears, it?s because that is the vernacular in America. People swear and say dirty words. Perhaps we should get past the four and five letter words and start censoring violence and hate and other such things that desensitize our viewers to what is going around them.
WARWar is one of the vilest things we have on the planet. There is no real purpose to it. America tries to justify their involvement in war to being helpful. The truth is, it is not helpful. It is destructive. In RENT, Marc Cohen says at the end of Act I, ?The opposite of war isn?t peace, it?s creation.? The brutal reality is that war kills, and it destroys. War is a direct violation of human dignity. Why should people argue over land? There is more than enough for everyone. Why should we fight people because they want to be communist? It is very commendable that Americans want to be helpful, but we shouldn?t force our government on another country anymore than we would like them to come and force a government on us. War is pointless, especially since our earthly lives are so shot. Why should we waste our time trying to acquire power and land when we can not take it with us? There is more to this world than money and power and sex and greed. People are so blind though, and it drives me up a wall.
Road RageWhat is our world coming to? Now we are not even safe in our own cars. There is a simple solution to road rage and its called common courtesy. People need to learn how to drive politely. As my mother says, ?they think they are the only one on the road? and it is true. No one else in any car around as wants to go somewhere besides you. You are the only one who has to come home or get to work or get to class. People need to use their reason to think about some of the things they are doing and how it is affecting other people around them. When one drives they must consider the person in the other car before they consider what they want to get out of it. Now, of course, it?s logical that you can?t stop for every car trying to pull off a side street, because that would be stupid. But it couldn?t hurt to do it every now and then, and in fact it would probably do the opposite of hurt, it would help. It would make someone feel happier, even if just for a minute. The book ?Reason and Violence? tends to take the obvious view of its title. There is not a single violent situation that can?t be reasoned out and an alternative could be selected. An example is of Road Rage where someone cuts someone off and speeds away. Instead of chasing after them, one should think ?Well, if they need to get somewhere so fast, than whatever. I?m not going to get mad, I?ll just let it go. I?ll just let them drive away.?
Violence Against MinoritiesCould there be a more ridiculous form of violence. Why hate someone because they are different? As if hating them will accomplish what end? Killing them? Making them change their skin color, religion, race, way they dress, or sexual orientation. It all doesn?t add up because I guess I am just too na?ve to see how hate in society works. I have never labeled people like my father does. Whenever I bring a friend home, his first question is what is their last name. He refers to my friends as ?the black girl? or ?the polarc.? While my father is not prejudiced against polish or African people, he somehow feels the need to label them. Labels are the first thing to go, because once you put a label on someone it makes it so much easier to think of them as less than you are. (That hypothesis is that of Mr. Grieger.) But it is too true, because the labels serve to say ?well, he?s only a freshman, we can beat him up and no one will care.? It?s better to look at people simply for who they are. I used to maliciously tell my father that I was going to marry an Asian girl just to get him mad. The truth is, I totally ignore all racial barriers. This is not to say that I don?t see when someone is of another heritage, I just simply ignore it. A perfect example is this girl Erin who I know. I met her in the summer of 1999, and she has a large birth mark on her cheek. It is very noticeable, and it was something distinctive that I remembered her by. However in the summer of 2000, she and I became close friends, and now when I picture her face, its not even something that I remember. All I remember is that she is a talented actress and a great friend. I usually follow the same mindset when it comes to people of different race or religion. Its something that I know, but its not something that I see as a determining factor about someone?s personality.
Verbal ViolenceVerbal violence depicts yet another of the all to common Bully and Victim conflict. Sometimes we forget that it?s the verbal violence that can sometimes hurt the most. Children who get put down again and again by parents are often shy and have little self esteem. They are also very aggressive towards people in the outside world because they know they can?t take it out on their parents, so they take it out on everyone else. Or students who get put down again and again by classmates are also people who can be very scarred by the immaturity and insensitivity. People today seem to think that they only way that they can be above everyone is to put everyone down below them. A bully, in theory, is afraid of not being accepted, so he makes himself seem to be more powerful and more in control than the victim and thus he feels fulfilled. Yet, he does not see that his comfort is artificial and so is the premise of his whole life. His friends are illusions and his greatness is simply a trick on the mind. Now, we realize that the bully?s actions are futile, but why does it hurt the victim so much? Why to people take it so seriously that they feel the need to hurt the people who verbally abused them? The answer is pride and dignity. When one?s pride and human dignity have been violated, it?s only a matter of time before that person will stand up for themselves in the only way that they know how to protect themselves, and that is with a gun.
Stopping The ViolenceAs one can see, there are many different kinds of violence. So what does one do about it? This is simple. Just live and create. If you see destruction, create over it. If you see violence and hatred, mend it and manipulate it into love. Where there is barrenness, make something grow. Especially, where there is love, embrace it. Share it with as many people as you can. Violence can only persist if we let it. Lets have one more World War, the War against violence and hatred. Instead of bombs we can use smiles and instead of guns we can use acceptance. The earth will be a battleground for God and the emblem on my shield will be Jesus. He started the battle, now lets finish the war.
Works CitedThe Anatomy of Human Destructiveness ? Erich Fromm
Aggression: A Social Learning Analysis ? Albert Bandura
Breaking the Cycle of Violence ? Richard J. Hazler, Ph.D.
Violence in America ? Stephen Goode
Reason and Violence – Sherman M. Stanage
Bully/Victim Conflict: An Overview for Educators ? Beverly B. Title, Ph.D.
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