In talking with a friend earlier I began really thinking about my stance on violence. From the time I could make such decisions I’ve been a pacifist, someone who believes non-violence is the best way to go at all times. Maybe that’s only been the case, though, because no one did anything that forced me into a violent reaction. Or maybe I’m just a wimp. Who knows? All I know is that I can’t imagine starting something physical with someone else, no matter what they’ve done to me.
I think about it this way: my mom always told me that violence solves nothing, but I had to make my own decision based on what I saw in the world around me. I haven’t been around for too many wars that have gotten extensive coverage in the U.S., but I have seen evidence of violence in the news on a consistent basis. And it never ends well. All I’ve seen violence do is create an atmosphere of fear, and then a cycle of retaliation that never seems to end and just fosters even more violence.
Even when violence is effective, meaning no violence comes in response to it, it’s just ugly. That’s how I’ve always seen it. Violence is an ugly beast that rampages where it will, creating destruction, devastation, and tears. It’s an obvious beast, too. It doesn’t sneak up on you. It shows up and nothing is the same once it has gone, if indeed it ever goes away. That’s because violence is addictive, like a drug. Once you become a violent person it is so much easier to be violent again. It’s a learned behavior, which is sad in all sorts of ways.
I wonder if there’s a 12-step program for people who have violent tendencies, and I wonder if they have a bouncer at their meetings. It would probably be prudent.