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Where Does All This Violence Come From &
What Can We Do About It?
by Nancy Oden, CLEAN: Maine
In today's world, dominated by aging capitalism running out of markets, ever more violent acts are visited upon us by multinational corporations in the name of science, which they own, in collusion with the US government, which they also own. Aside from their wars, which inflict much human suffering and poisoning of nature (and bring them gluttonous profits), we have toxic chemicals, genetic mutilation of plants, animals, and humans, nuclear poisoning of Native American lands, nuclear waste emitting deadly rays, food irradiation, continued use of chloroflourocarbons and other ozone-depleting chemicals, and increased violence by police protecting corporate interests.
We can decrease violence among individuals now, while we're fighting corporate and government-sanctioned violence, and while working towards a saner, truly democratic society where we, the people, make the decisions that affect our lives. Here are some ideas:
- Children learn best from example. But today's children watch a lot of corporate-created TV, aimed at enticing those with the spending money (primarily younger males) to buy their useless and environmentally harmful products. By law the airwaves belong to us. Let's take them back. Challenge every radio and TV license as it comes up for renewal, demand we be given the airwaves plus funding to create programs for real people—programs and stories that enrich, enlighten, amuse, and set good examples for children and the rest of us.
- Discourage use of personally insulting and vulgar language amongst ourselves and in public. Insulting people and calling it a joke is an act of violence.
- Demand that women not be portrayed as physically incompetent or sexual victims by the entertainment industry. We must be shown truly as strong and able to defend ourselves, else the violent predators among us are only encouraged to attack.
- Police protection is not available everywhere at all times, and is often prejudicial to the victim. Therefore, we must provide people likely to be attacked by violent predators, women in particular, with means of self-defense. Young girls and women can be taught the martial arts, but that isn't sufficient since men are physically stronger. Women or physically weak people who live alone or travel alone at night should be encouraged to learn to use and carry a gun. Also, women whose jobs necessitate their commuting at night should be provided escorts door to door.
- All able citizens who wish to could be trained as peacekeepers (police) and defenders (military), so we can take turns keeping the populace safe from violent marauders. Then we'd be in control of the police and military because they would be us. Weaponry not needed for personal protection can be kept in local armories for use in case of attack.
It is neither realistic nor desirable to "get rid of guns," even though they're a primary instrument used by violent predators. A gun is easily made in a home workshop, and thousands are smuggled illegally across our borders all the time.
All able citizens who wish to could be trained as peacekeepers (police) and defenders (military)...
- Incarcerate only those who commit violence against others. Create restorative, rehabilitative programs for the rest in calm, supervised settings. Get drug, alcohol, nicotine (and caffeine?) addicts into withdrawal programs, teach them survival skills of growing their own food, building or fixing shelter, weaving or sewing clothing, raising chickens for eggs, sheep for wool, etc.
It is neither realistic nor desirable to "get rid of guns..."
Do the same with prisons where the violent prisoners are, creating organic farms so they can raise their own food and food for the needy, make their own clothes and clothes for the needy, and so on. They should watch no violent television or movies, take no stimulating drugs (caffeine, nicotine) so they can lead calm, productive lives.
- Make sure children are made part of their community, allow them to do good works and publicly reward them. Encourage street parties and local gatherings, especially in cities where people often don't know their neighbors, and make sure children are a prominent part of events. People who feel part of a community and who are respected, even for small contributions to the neighborhood, are much less likely to commit violence.
- When organizing protest demonstrations, ensure that people are safe from those who would attack the demonstration or harm the movement. This means organizing marshals with armbands along the march or around the demonstration to keep violence from the marchers or demonstrators. It also means clearly segregating those who wish to commit civil disobedience from those who wish to remain legal and peaceful. Beware of police-paid provocateurs, who may try to lead a march off the route or into civil disobedience. Being watchful always, keeping a clear head, and using common sense will do most of the work. But we must be vigilant so that building the movement isn't stymied by those who wish us ill.
- Work toward ending violence against animals, including on farms and one of the most horrible places imaginable: huge slaughterhouses. An excellent protein alternative to meat is eggs from free-ranging, organically fed chickens. Chickens can easily be kept happy and healthy and running free nearly anywhere. Cheese isn't a good option now because of Monsanto's rBGH growth hormone in the country's milk supply, but there are organically-fed and free grazing cattle whose milk and cheese is available in some places.
- American arms manufacturers' exporting tools of violence to the world must be stopped. No more international arms trade.
- Elect arbitration panels to deal with local disputes before they escalate into violence. Dogs barking or running loose, loud or late parties, noisy lawnmowers, chainsaws run at night, ongoing domestic disputes, property boundary disputes: these are the stuff of neighbor-neighbor violence. An arbitration panel could help keep the peace, virtually eliminating police involvement in emotionally charged situations.
Elect arbitration panels to deal with local disputes before they escalate into violence.
A lot of what has been said here is just common sense—why isn't it being done? Because corporations and governments control much of our lives: where we work, what we learn, what we buy, what we get paid, what we eat, and more. When we're making the decisions that affect our lives, we can begin to flourish as truly loving, caring, productive human beings, who take good care of our only home, Earth.
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