Thursday, January 12, 2012
Creating a society of victims
I couldn’t work up a head of steam about the Brady Campaign’s candle light vigil against gun violence. I long ago wrote them off as nut-jobs undeserving of my attention. However, their goal is instructive. For all their words about eliminating guns and there-by reducing the number of gun-violence victims, their result is really just the opposite – they create victims.
I’ve been chewing on this for years and have shared my thoughts with friends. Many times I see the “knowing nod” that usually means I’m just a bit “out there” on this whole “creating victims” deal. So, I thought I would share this with you folks and see where you come down on the issue.
A little history – I am officially becoming a C.O.G. – a Crotchety Old Guy. I have no problem with that, been one all my life. But it does give me a longer period of time to view this issue.
Violence is simply part of life. In my youth my protagonist was a fellow by the name of Jack – 5th-6thth grade playground was a bitch for me, usually because of him. He was the typical bully using physical violence to get what he wanted. However, at that time you still had the opportunity to “work things out” – usually on the playground, sometimes after school. But, we had the freedom to confront and resolve the issue. For me and Jack it ended the day he pounded on me and I bit the top of his knuckle off. I stood my ground, fought back and ended my victim hood. Jack’s end came years later with him on his knees, a .45 at the back of his head and the disappearance of his face. It wasn’t surprising to anyone who knew Jack.
The lesson I learned on the playground in 1961-1962 was that you needed to defend yourself – that it was not OK to be hammered on and that I didn’t need to depend on anyone else to save me, I was responsible for me.
Fast forward to 1970 and Vietnam. War is a terrific place to learn all about violence. On the battlefield it is painfully obvious that violence does, indeed, settle issues and that victims – those who see themselves as victims – die.
As a country, with the end of Vietnam, we then entered this very weird, anti-violence at any cost time period that today has solidified into a society so “violence adverse” that a child who points a piece of pizza like a gun is suspended from school. Along the way my own son went through the whole bully thing. His was during 3rd grade with a particular fellow pounding on him on a regular basis. Discussions with the teachers and principle had no affect. Our school had (and still does have) a policy of both kids being equally at fault so the victim and attacker have equal punishments. This went on for a month while I tried to be “civilized”. Nothing. Finally I had a discussion with his teacher and the principal. My son had a problem and he was going to fix it. I shared directly that the next time he was attacked he would simply pound the young fellow into the ground and take his suspension. And, that’s how it went down. But, he learned he didn’t need to be a victim in his own life. And, he learned an even more valuable lesson – he was ultimately responsible for his own defense, period. Not the teachers, not the principal, not his parents – HE was responsible.
Let’s fast-forward to today and the most egregious example I can think of where young men and women were taught that violence was bad and to be avoided at all costs. This past summer in Norway, on the small island of Utoeya, a gunman dressed as a policeman came ashore and called the campers together. These were kids in their mid-teens. After they surrounded him he pulled an automatic weapon and, over the next hour, shot 80 kids to death. Their immediate response was to run. One man, surrounded by 50+ kids had a field day hunting them. My point here is that they did what they were conditioned to do – to flee, hide and hope. What if these same kids had been taught to respond to stop violence, not flee it. Would some have died – certainly. But, would this animal have had an hour hunt 80 of them down and kill them?? No.
Of course, we have our own example of this – Columbine High School in Colorado. Two animals had as much time as they wanted to roam the school corridors and classrooms, taking time in one case to bend down and talk to a girl hiding under her desk to ask if she truly believed in Jesus before he shot her to death. The children of 1999 reacted as trained by today’s compassionate society and acted like lowly cattle being herded into their classrooms for slaughter. We are again presented with the possibility that if these students been taught to be responsible for their own safety, taught to fight violence brought against them and taught that help is not coming – the outcome would have been much less tragic.
Today you listen to the caterwauls of the anti-gun crowd talking about the need to eliminate all guns in the hope that gun violence will stop. They have learned nothing. What if each and every violent criminal had to stop and wonder if the cute little blonde he was about to attack was packing a .45 in her handbag? What if every robber walking into a local gas station/market had to wonder if the clerk or the other customers were armed? What if every burglar breaking down a door or a window had to wonder if they would be met with a shotgun blast?
When you meet violence with overwhelming violence – it ends. When you meet violence with a victim’s mindset, you’re dead. Simple as that.
We need to be teaching our children to stop violence - not wait for it to stop. Soon. Today. Now.