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Reply #25: I'd say you are. [View All]

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Euromutt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-05-09 02:38 AM
Response to Reply #13
25. I'd say you are.
I'm going to repeat certain points already made by TPaine7 above, but the notion that "violence begets violence" has got to be one of the most abused aphorisms in history. It strikes me as having been conceived as a caution against aggression, but for some inexplicable reason, it practically only gets used to admonish those would oppose aggression with countervailing force. And that creates an internal contradiction right there. If aggression is not met with countervailing force, the effect would be that violence does not, in fact, beget more violence. QNED.

The reality is, of course, that violence can beget any number of results. Sometimes, (aggressive) violence can beget submission. Sometimes, it can beget a violent response, which in turn may lead to a cessation of violence. For example, you may have noticed that Germany and Japan haven't gone to war with anyone in the past sixty-odd years. Heaven only knows what the world would have looked like if the Allies had been persuaded not to fight back on the basis that "violence only creates more violence."

The Rwandan genocide was brought to a halt not by hand-wringing and singing "Kumbaya," but by organized and efficient violence on the part of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, and the only reason that fighting spilled over into Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) is because French intervention allowed many of the Hutu gnocidaires to escape across the border.

I spent more than three years working for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the experience taught me that, trite as it may sound, there are some people for whom the phrase "violence is the only thing they understand" holds absolutely true. The international community floundered in the former Yugoslavia for four years because it would not apply pressure to the people who were wrong (i.e. the Serbs). "What if they escalate?" was the constant refrain, which led the Serbs to rightly conclude they could get away with anything. So no violence begot more violence. Serbia's genocidal wars of nationalist aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo were brought to an end largely by the generous application of American air power.

In a more domestic criminal context, a survey of prison inmates (Wright & Rossi, 1986) found that they were generally more afraid of encountering a prospective victim with a firearm than of encountering a law enforcement officer. And as TPaine7 pointed out, if you rely on an alarm system, you're not avoiding violence; you're just subcontracting it out to the police. And as I pointed out before, the SCOTUS's rulings in Warren v. D.C. and Castle Rock, CO v. Gonzales firmly established that if the cops fail to show up, you have no redress available.
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