Just a Thought: Violence in History

Anyone who clings to the historically untrue - and thoroughly immoral - doctrine that violence never settles anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee ...

Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history

than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is

wishful thinking at its worst.

Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid

for it with their
lives and freedom.
(Robert A. Heinlein)

Here are a couple of though experiments we can try in the privacy of our own minds:

You are a decent sort. Not perfect. You have credit card debt, spend more on luxuries than you should, have a one drink too many some days, been known to fudge on your taxes...but overall, you're a decent sort. At work you shine--inventive, productive. Some folks like you for your straightforward opinions, others think you're a loud opinionated boor. Mixed reviews.

There you are, in all your mixed glory and

1. You are happily joggin' through your city park's nature trail and see a man holding a puppy by its ears, beating the hell out of the wee creature. You.....[fill in the blank]....

2. You are happily joggin' through your city park's nature trail and see a man sodomizing a five year old boy. You.....[fill in the blank]....

3. You are happily joggin' through your city park's nature trail and see a woman snatching the purse of crippled lady in a wheel chair. You....[fill in the blank]....

4. You are a city commissioner and uncover a city official who has used her position to threaten neighbors into giving her "protection" money and favors. You....[fill in the blanks]...

5. You are a little league coach and see a boy's father physically roughing up another child on the team because his own son lost a position to this child. You...[fill in blanks]...

6. You are a devoted mother. Your children, 6 and 9, are normal, they are not perfect, but you've raised them to be fair, show respect for others, not to litter, watch out for smaller children and don't kick puppies. You believe in tolerance and understanding. No one wants to grow up to be a "bad person." Next door is a older bully and her lawyer dad who does pro-bono work for Greenpeace. This kid picks on the smaller children, puts matches to the tail of your kid's kitty, throws rocks at your car window as you drive down the street. On several occasions you mention her behavior to her father who says his kid thinks you are a mean spirited nut. He reminds you that he is a lawyer. You suggest the acting out behavior is a symptom of something deeper, an emotional need, perhaps more parental attention? He reminds you he is a lawyer.
You feel sorry for the kid--you have her in for juice and cookies, she takes more than her share of the cookies, you offer her the whole bag. She takes it. And steals you child's favorite teddy bear on her way home.

You suggest a healthy outlet for her belligerence, like mud-wrestling, her dad reminds you he is a lawyer. The day comes when this kid hangs your kid's kitty from the tree at your doorway. You're sure you can discuss this like two adults, so you call the parent, he reminds you that he is a lawyer. Next day, your daughter's bike is hanging from the tree, bent spokes and all. You call the bully's dad over, he says too bad your kid is such a poor cyclist, and reminds you, he is a lawyer.It dawns on you that her aggression is growing. Why? You wonder? Could it be that no one ever stops her, and aggression is paying dividends?

You hear shrieks one afternoon a few days later and run outside to find the bully has climbed your fence and tied your six year old to his swing and is using him for target practice with her base ball. You.....[fill in the blanks].....

Every individual understands that there may come a time --that is not chosen--that will require of him a physical intervention or even violence to stop an unjust violence.

Nations know this too.

It is the soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier, not the politician,
who has given us the right to vote.

It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
who serves beneath the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.
(Charles M. Province)

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