Addressing Violence in America

Social justice cannot be attained by violence.

Violence kills what it intends to create.

~Pope John Paul II~

We often hear and speak of fighting a war on violence. Efforts in this direction often carry their own hostility. What can we do besides fighting another war? Such efforts only increase aggression in our society. If we don’t use forceful means, what can we do?

For starters we can learn to understand where violence comes from and what its intent is. In my last post I suggested ways to understand the mind of the murderer. We know that murderers and perpetrators of other violence are angry, frustrated and desperate. Yet we can’t go from one person to the next individually addressing what ails them. We also do not know which people are likely to act in a violent way. Psychologists, psychiatrists and sociologists have been trying for years to find satisfactory ways to predict violence in individuals. So far no good ways have emerged.

Does that mean we have to give up? No. It just means we need to address violence on several levels. These include personal, interpersonal, family, community and governmental approaches.

Your own mind and emotions as well as your reactions to what happens to you in life incline you toward being either a peaceful or violent person. Understanding and possibly changing yourself is a good place to start.

What happens between any two people affects how each of them, think, feel and act toward each other as well as toward others? Each interaction carries forward to the next encounter.

Families set the tone for young children. Children learn how to think, feel and act from their parents and older siblings. Although children encounter many other influences, their families set the tone for future learning.

How we interact with each others in our communities influences how we think, feel and act toward each other for better or worse. We can work together to make our communities peaceful or violent.

Our government consists of those we elect to lead us toward our goals. Violent, divisive or self-absorbed leaders tear apart our society. Peaceful, considerate and supportive leaders help us build a healthy society.

Have you thought about what you can do to help address violence? What can you do in your own mind and with your emotions. What can you do in your relationships to make them more peaceful and encourage more peaceful actions thoughts and feelings among those you know? What can you do in your community and as a constituent of your town, state and country?

I plan to write further posts addressing each of these approaches in more detail. Stay tuned.

Joseph G. Langen is the author of nine books, Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life, Young Man of the Cloth, Navigating Life, The Pastor’s Inferno, Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life, Make the Best of Your Teen Years, From Violence to Peace, How to Transform your Anger and find Peace and Stress Briefly Noted. See more about his writing at http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-G.-Langen/e/B008TWW8M4/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Contact him at: [email protected]

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