This article has been going the rounds lately. Before you read the rest of my post, check it out.
Frankly, the author has a point, a pretty damn good one.
In many modern societies, violence is not only frowned upon, it’s is considered inherently wrong. And as a result anybody involved with anything that comes close to violence is regarded with suspicion and incomprehension at best. More often than not, they’re seen as a brute or a barbarian. Given that martial arts are a big part of my life, I’ve run into this mindset now and then, to put it mildly…
The funny part is how this post captures the essence of several conversations I’ve had this last week. Here goes.
The one with a former teacher.
We talked about how before, you wrote the student a note when he misbehaved in class and that was the end of it. Now she has to write four different notes: for the parents, for the principal, for the administration and for a monitoring committee. Then the parent writes a note back or calls her up to complain and the whole process starts over. Writing two notes during a given hour in school means she has more work than it’s worth. So teachers don’t do it unless absolutely necessary and little Johnny learns squat because he gets away with everything in class.
Later on, the parents complain because their kid gets bad grades or fails every class. And then they blame the teacher…
They fail to see the problem, which is: it’s not the teacher’s job to raise your kid, it’s yours. If he acts like a total prat and you refuse to have him punished, regardless of whatever crap he pulls, then you have no right complaining when he doesn’t pass. None.
My mother was a school teacher so I know a wee bit of what I speak: it didn’t use to be like this. Kids were supposed to go to school and if they got bad grades, they got punished by their parents. People didn’t shift responsibility for the upbringing of their children to the school system and its teachers instead of doing it themselves. The took care of their own, they handled the responsibility. Today, this is less and less the case.
The insane gunman.
Last week, an insane gunman went to a Christmas Market here in Belgium and killed five people. He threw grenades into the crowd and opened up with automatic gunfire before killing himself. 5 people are dead (amongst which an elderly lady, an infant and teenagers) and over 120 injured.
Politicians are making sure they show up in the media to explain how they’re on top of things and will act decisively. Their plan so far: make it harder to get a license for firearms…
The absurdity is that the gunman didn’t own a legal weapon. All his firearms and other weapons (including a grenade launcher…) were illegally owned. So how does making licenses harder to get help any of this? Exactly…
People are noticing the total disconnect between the solution proposed by these politicians and any sort of logic or common sense. As a result, they’re increasingly vocal in claiming that the government is not doing it’s job in keeping the public safe and the cry for being allowed to carry weapons is getting louder (Please remember that in Belgium, we don’t have a constitutional right to bear arms.)
This then brings out the media spinners and “peace movements” who are claiming the biggest nonsense I’ve ever heard about firearms and violence. Which brings it back to the original article: their idea is a society in which all weapons are banned and therefor there is no violence. I’ve had people telling my that right to my face and actually believe it is a realistic option.
The only factor I can attribute that to is a total lack of experience with violence. If you’ve experienced but a small bit of violence in your life, then you know this argument is a pile of bovine fecal matter. The bad guys, assholes and criminals don’t care about your Utopian society. In fact, they’d love it if you strive to implement one. Because that ensures them absolutely free reign and no repercussions for their actions.
It didn’t used to be like this. People didn’t always surrender the right to defend themselves over to their government. But nowadays, they increasingly do so. Which I don’t really blame them for because if you’ve never faced violence, then it isn’t real. It doesn’t exist in your world. When something like that crazy gunman happens, it literally blows your world to pieces. Then it’s only natural to want some comforting news and have somebody feed you sweet lies so you can go on pretending all that yucky violence isn’t real.
I understand why this seems like a good path to take. But it’s bullshit. Violence doesn’t go away because you don’t believe in it. And like it or not, it’s one of the few constants in human history: people always end up hurting and killing other people. It’s only a matter of time.
Mind you, I’m not saying we should all buy guns and shoot at anything that moves and vaguely looks like a threat. But as things are now, becoming a nation of neutered adults, I don’t think that’s the solution either.
Nature is cruel.
There’s a mindset I’ve seen cropping up more and more in the last few years. Last week’s conversation with somebody illustrated it well.
She remarked that it wasn’t fair how the small house sparrows got their food taken away by the big-ass crows. The crows always attacked them for the food she left out in the garden and never, ever lost that fight. We talked a bit about the way nature works and it struck me that I seemed to be in a different dimension than her: I don’t expect nature to be fair. I also don’t hate it or get angry at it. Nature just is. A hurricane doesn’t care whose house it levels. A tsunami doesn’t give a damn who it drowns.
People are apparently so unaccustomed to nature tearing them a new one that they believe it shouldn’t happen at all. Our society has come to the point that it can handle pretty much any attack from nature. Not as in withstanding it 100% but at the very least mitigate the effects and for sure, clean up and rebuild afterwards. When nature suddenly strikes and there’s nothing you can do, it can be frightening if you’ve lived in that fantasy world where earthquakes and floods are things that only happen to other people, in far away countries.
Again, there’s this theme of not taking responsibility and believing (however erroneously) that “It can’t happen to me!” which brings everything back full circle with the original article.
I agree with the author. People no longer have realistic ideas about violence because they don’t know what it is to fight or defend yourself. As a result, they make bad decisions or take the wrong course of action and eventually end up in a violent situation. They don’t know what to do then and mess up. Afterwards, they are shattered and traumatized by the event. Because nobody else understands violence either, they can’t really talk about it and it feels even worse.
The root cause I see here is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions and safety along with a refusal to accept that reality and life are larger than your little neck of the woods. Somehow, a lot of people have lost track of that and this article reminds us that it didn’t used to be like this.
We can argue about what caused all this or we can move on and try to fix it. Me, I vote for the latter. Which is why I teach my children how to defend themselves and explain to them how there are also bad people in this world. I also don’t expect anybody to solve my problems for me. If I dig myself into a pit, I’ll claw out of it myself.
There’s nothing heroic or special about this. It’s the way people should behave IMO. You don’t get an applause or a cookie for doing what you were supposed to do in the first place. I guess some people need to get punched in the face more often before they learn that lesson.
UPDATE: A few people pointed to some inflammatory statements of the author in that original article. I understand your point but that wasn’t what I am talking about here. I also don’t agree with everything he wrote (not by a long shot) but some of his points are spot on in my opinion. I tried to give my own perspective on those here on my blog. No more, no less.