Thursday, April 18, 2013


One of my coping mechanisms involves going radio silent for a while, keeping my head down until I know more and I'm calmer. This is a mechanism I learned in 2001, because my primary reaction is to analyze, guess, and rant. So know I just rant to my wife and keep my mouth shut the rest of the time, soaking up information.

Most things I learn to let go and not stress about, but one of my friends posted something on Facebook which I've been putting some thought into. He wrote, "Such a sad event. We live in a world and culture where violence is not just normal, but seen as entertainment - so how can we wonder why people would turn to violence to make a statement?"

Historically, though, our society is quite exceptional, not for how we embrace violent entertainment but for how we reject violent action. The last major bombing in the US was over a decade ago. The last real riot was the LA Riot. Political assassination has been effectively shelved as a tool.

More poignant, violence as a political tool is an ancient tradition, from the burning down of Druidic groves to the assassination of Julius Caesar, from the crucifixion of Christ to the riots from the early days of Labor. Violence has a long and storied tradition in politics and religion, and that doesn't even include wars, which are inherently both violent and political.

In a more recent perspective, consider the Taliban. The IRA. The CIA. The PLO. Jihad. Subway bombings in London, Spain, Japan. International and domestic terrorism are common in many nations today.

If anything, our country has been blessed by a relative shortage of political violence and terrorism. Combined with the effectiveness of the FBI in combatting terror, I've come to two conclusions: we're really lucky AND current society is doing something right when it comes to violence.


  1. We have been blessed. Love your comments. It's acts like this that bring out the best off our people. I remember after 2001 we were all kinder. My opinion is that it comes from the melting pot that we are. We are a nation of many ethnicity's who have come here for a better life that is what makes us a great nation a great people. I am the type person who needs to know everything. I watch but rarely voice an opinion. The tragedy here is the loss of life and the families on both sides whom are left to rebuild their lives.

  2. Maybe instead of criticizing video games, television, and music as "glorifying violence" we should look at the stories they tell, about the real message they tell about violence. I'm sure there are exceptions, but many games, shows, and music which supposedly "glorify" violence are actually showing the way violent action and resorting to violence destroy the people who engage in such a way. A steady diet of such violent media leaves one solidly inoculated against the possibility of using violence as a means of political expression.

    It is no accident that the worst school shootings in the past few years involved shooters who were mentally ill. Their brains could not appropriately process the inoculation. I, for one, would much prefer a generally peaceful society with the occasional violent outburst, from an inoculation gone wrong, to a generally more violent society with no inoculation and no harmless outlet for violent sentiments.