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Violence – 21st Century Style

By Annie Byam

Writing this article (framed partly as questions) is aimed at opening up some serious debate/dialogue – however, there may be a few drawbacks! There could, perhaps, be not much of a commentary as everyone will no doubt agree that the subject of violence is horrid to contemplate, therefore can only be slammed, damned and disdained, as one of the most totally undesirable and shocking situations in society today and most all will agree that something must be done about it, and quickly.

Although having some thoughts of my own on how to deal with increasing violence, I am more interested in others’ opinions. Which is precisely why I write on this very unattractive subject. I make no excuses for having particularly, a ‘go’ at the MSM and social media here – and others.

Violence is perpetrated thus:

* Against children, in many situations.

* On the streets of major cities and small towns.

* Against women – wherever opportunity presents itself to a perpetrator.

* Against men – wherever opportunity presents itself, to a perpetrator.

* Against people who are mentally or physically challenged.

* School child – against school child … bully children against children.

* By peodophiles against the youngest of our society.

* Domestically – most often in a marriage, or partnership.

* In the work place.

* In the prison system.

* On the roads: ‘road rage’.

* – – – – The weapons used are of infinite variety.

They are used to threaten, dominate, injure, maim or kill.

Guns, Knives, Machetes.

Serious and/or repeated threat, acted upon (often domestically).

Deliberate emotional and mental harassment.

Stalking.

Threatening texts, posts and emails.

Vehicles aimed at persons, or other vehicles.

Sporting instruments used as weapons to inflict injury or worse.

The use of sexual dominance – one over another – without consent.

Gang rape, – rape of either gender, by more than one perpetrator.

… and the latest of grossness …

The ‘king hit punch’, which can kill or seriously damage, very quickly.

(This is not a pretty list of ways and means – nor is it meant to be).

The Court system seems to be hiding under some table when it comes to handing out appropriate punishment, if and when a perpetrator has been caught. How often have we been appalled at hearing of sentences given to perpetrators of violence – in particularly vile circumstance … because a judge has imposed a lenient sentence, with time in remand seen as time served … which effectively means the punishment given (e.g. say 7 years) … means little to nothing, as it is reduced to 3 years or less?

Some form of in-depth study must be made to realize first the reasons for increasing violence in this world, specific areas of and for violence, the reasons behind the apparent need for violence, and a study of how and why a larger and larger number of the global population, prefer to use violence to drive home some point, rather than discussion and intervention, particularly in the area of domestic and neighbourhood violence. I know that studies are being done – far and wide, but no solutions have yet been found, and the situation appears to be increasing, in number and in degree.

A warning in advance … this article will advance the idea of some censorship – which in turn could bring about comment, as censorship seems to be a no-no for many many people; is not seen as desirable and stifles what is considered ‘freedom of speech’. Yet, censorship already exists, in the form of what can be said that is or is not, ‘politically correct’, on the sports field against racial and sensitive personal vilification, and against terming people of black African descent, no matter where they reside, as less by far than white peoples (which is often done surreptitiously). Not to mention the news rags that bow and scrape to the incumbent government, as to what they should and should not say. That is already a form of censorship and is perpetrated by the likes of the Murdoch machine who are right-wing conservative to the enth degree.

May I make it clear, that I do not condone any form of racial vilification – but would ask, exactly what that is, and how it should be defined. No matter our own colour, humans react in different ways to different situations … re : sports – – throwing a banana at a coloured sports person is made a huge deal of by the MSM … but what if that banana had been thrown at a white player? (as objects were 50 years back, with narry a word said? – saw that with my own eyes – bottles, fruit, ‘stuff’ chucked at a player who had displeased an onlooker to the game)?

Consider, if you will, the following (the ‘Results’ shown are possibilities):

* De-senisitisation – which reduces good decision making, integrity, and a desire to make changes if possible … the human brain can only take in so much negativity, without developing an aversion to the input. Thus develops antipathy, indifference and de-sensitisation.

* News broadcasts – violence ( here and other countries ) … particularly from Channels 9 and 7. The ‘horror’ hour from 6 – 7 pm every night. Prime time viewing, and in too many cases, the ‘news’ is more important to the adults viewing it than are their children – who also might be viewing it – or at least hearing the reports. What enters the subconscious, remains there.

  • Conduct by politicians – particularly here and in the USA, which we get daily doses of. Result? – Increasing distrust in people who are supposed to govern for <B>us</B>.
  • The super duper advancement of technology – which is good in the right hands, but can/could make people think “ we (humans) are becoming redundant – what is there to hope for?”… again largely reported by the commercial TV channels. Result? – despondency, which can and often does, lead to violent frustrated behaviour that the perpetrator of same, would never have thought possible.
  • The several (and very wrong) reports by in particular channel 9 (and occasionally 7), of advances or otherwise in medical science – with advice given as to what is good and what is bad in medication and procedures. The news departments are cunning enough to make sure at least 1 doctor or scientist give their opinions, but too many can be tempted to go off prescribed medications, or on to over the counter meds. “ because Channel X said so “?? … and that information is passed on to others; becomes something akin to the Chinese whisper – totally warped and absolutely wrong … Result? … possible danger to health. This IS relevant, as at times it can culminate in frustrated outbursts of rage, worry and confusion …
  • Long gone have the days that fun and laughter have been shown constantly on our TV screens, from whichever country makes it. Particularly from the USA which promotes violence at every turn, in their ‘series’ and even in their sitcoms, behavour is impolite, condescending and shows aggression … The USA rarely these days produces anything that is uplifting and gives a damn good laugh. So laughter as ‘the best medicine’ is disappearing (except for the BBC who is trying to uphold laughter whenever it can). Result? – more despondency, and more desensitization to violence.
  • Police chases, road rage, CCTV footage of thefts and attacks on proprietors of businesses, dreadful images of vehicles totally destroyed in accidents ( the latest 15th September – most channels – train horror ) … giving a clear picture of the obvious deaths of two women, not in detail of injury but the wreckage left little to the imagination. Most all professional people attending that scene, would have had to be counseled I would think. Result? … further desensitization, and indifference to what is being shown, for the viewer. The viewer <B>does have</B> a limit.

Social Media — Facebook and Twitter etc. ~ Many have experienced the way Facebook, uses its’ vast technological analyses, when it decrees some quite extraordinary posts to a home page. For me, it is often from people I have never heard of. Perhaps they are others ‘associated only’ with people on another’s own friends list. I could truthfully say, that a maximum of 30% of posts are positive, joyful, inspiring and of good repute. The other 70% can be troubling, and deeply troubling at times which does not promote good vibes, and can raise in the reader a tendency to want to ‘slam back’ at the poster. It can also so often be very upsetting to the reader – – – resulting in depression (albeit hopefully, temporary).

Ah, but then, we do not in fact ‘own’ anything – not even our own Timeline/Home pages, e.g. on Facebook, which frankly is quite out of control and I doubt there is any way they could be made to listen to arguments about content. Their stock answer to queries and complaints is “this does not contravene our policies” (not verbatim, but close enough). People are backing off, to a degree, this form of demoralisation.

Twitter demands very short entries, which – in the written word, can come across as brusque, rude and un-necessary, in terms of X number of words or less required. This leads to verbal punch-ups, albeit short, and whole myriads of misunderstanding. Being short ‘tweets’ there is little room for apology, recanting, explanations etc … Twitter promotes a slam dunk – “like it or lump it” – “cop this” vehicle for those who want to use it that way. Occasionally a reader will see a very funny, or even inspiring post – but not often.

Violent acts – not just shown once on MSM, but repeated over and over again – to thrust home the point of not the act itself, but of the violence of the act. This is something the MSM thrives on. How many times? (hundreds and to this day) have we seen the Twin Towers in New York, September 11th, 2001, being attacked and destroyed on that fateful day. And how many times have we been reminded of it – every year, when the anniversary is acknowledged at least – and at other times as well … It has become an ongoing saga, and I do not denigrate here, the dreadful seriousness of it, or insult the people who lost their lives, were maimed, who had to attend the horror of it, or any of their families.

But people get very tired of it all – in their inner being… and begin to turn their back or ‘switch off’ … which leads to desensitisation. NOT a good thing. This has two effects – the “oh no – not again”… and the reliving of the moments on that day, which causes people to watch – yet again – and relive the situation – where they were when they heard of it, how horrified they were – and thus then protect themselves with a de-sensitising reaction, that the protective mind / brain dictates. Following reminders will have those watchers, again retreat into ‘safe mode’, which is probably a good thing, as long as it does not totally desensitise.

The Political Scene – Let’s add the likes of Pauline Hanson to the mix. She spreads lies, rumours and theories (“Aboriginal women ate their babies”), hatred, bigotry, and illinformed crap, whenever she opens her mouth.

Is it possible, in this day of ‘political correctedness’ and ‘freedom of speech’, to dis-allow her to continue to spread this garbage?

Is there anyone, with any authority to stop her?

Back in the days of the old USSR, the one party system there, largely oversaw the news items presented by the then ‘Pravda’ (which still exists, but in a vastly different way). The USSR dominance, took it upon themselves to dictate what could, should or needed to be – reported. It was allegedly for the good of the people – the news readers. I recall an explanation for it some many years back: (not verbatim ) “Why should we introduce upsetting news items to readers, when all it can do is undermine the psyche, and prevail negatively on the minds of the people”. Perhaps they had a good idea going there ????

Violent Games for young and old!! – They nourish the worst and darkest side of human nature that nurtures bigotry, hatred and violent outlooks. There is however, much from IT and education therein, that benefits students, and others wishing to increase their knowledge. But that seems far less than the promotion of war mongering, and violence.

Religion – Religious books the Bible and the Q’ran are ambiguous – appeal to both the dark side and the better side of nature … but not without a great deal of confusion. Never written for todays’ world, but many still do rely heavily on these books, to excuse reprehensible behaviour.

Alcohol and Drugs – Not a wowser as regards alcohol, but most thinking people would be against illegal drugs. Yet alcohol figures so much in carnage on the roads, and violence on the street and in the home … Illegal drugs make it just that much worse.

Current threats of terrorism and/or impending war – Last but not least, and promoted by many on social media. Not only are these based on fear tactics, oppression, projected worry about the future for our children ~ which is very definitely a reality – but also expressions by individuals in an ever increasing incidence, of their own fears, ills and concerns, and ‘things they find’ on the internet, which is rife with bad news. These are often written by bloggers with warped intentions – yet it is all so often swallowed, hook line and sinker, and passed on for the edification (?) of other friends and acquaintances, via social media or emails. This can result in a total turn-off from social media of any form, and a resumption of kindlier things in life ~ by choice … which would be healthier – OR it can result in persons being more deeply sucked in to others disenchantment at the world, and (on a bad day ~ we all have them) biting the bullet and hitting back hard … or feeling sapped of good sense and feelings, which can leave one with a rather nasty taste in the mouth. I speak from experience on both counts.

I have no doubt some commenters will refer to Stephen Pinker’s book ‘The Better Angels of our Nature’ in reply to this. He explores evidence of a lessening of human violence and betrayal, over centuries – and promotes the idea of our ‘better angels’ being currently dominant. An interesting read, but one I cannot agree with altogether. That’s just my opinion.

The population explosion of the planet, denotes a new meaning to the statistics and statements therein … however, as always, it is up to the reader to agree or disagree.

To kick start opinions – I believe legislators should come down hard and heavy on the court system, and ‘up’ the sentences given to proven perpetrators of violence, domestic or otherwise, extreme or otherwise. With no consideration given whatsoever to ‘time served’ in remand. Is this possible?

Over to you, dear readers.

 

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12 comments

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  1. jimhaz

    Nope, I do not think longer sentences would help. I’d go the other way shorter sentences – perhaps with the exception of the DV stalker types.

    What we need are different forms of jail and more rules about what ex-prisoners can do when released.

    All significantly violent or otherwise predatory criminals would under Electric Shock Treatment (it’s safe)

    All prisoners would be taught eastern philosophy and about the ego and undertake anger management classes to teach more passive reactions.

    All prisoners would be taught the basics of manual work/trades currently in demand.

    All repeat or young prisoners would have to partake in boot camps designed to provide experience in overcoming obstacles.
    Prisoners would be allowed a pet and plants to care for.

    All repeat long term prisoners would be allowed to euthanize.

    I would not let them live in the same suburb or country town as they did before being jailed, for a period say 2 years, however I would give special assistance in relation to job placement.

    Just some brainstorming ideas –not all workable.

  2. Miriam English

    Violence is actually declining. Ask any criminologist. Look at the statistics. The murder rate is dropping almost everywhere. Here in QLD the population has gone up but the number of murders has gone down — not just the rate but the absolute number.

    As jimhaz says, longer sentences do nothing to address the causes. We need to start seeing prison as rehabilitation instead of revenge. Revenge accomplishes nothing except further brutalising offenders (who are often the way they are because of a brutal past). It almost guarantees further violence after they’re released.

    Otherwise I agree with much of what you and jimhaz said.

  3. @RosemaryJ36

    At 80, with 3 children, 4 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren, plus experience in teaching, mediating and as a lawyer, I have developed some opinions which might be worth sharing.
    Firstly, I think some people are born with a brain which is wired (for lack of a better term) to make them liable to behave irrationally, violently and antisocially. If that is so, then the need to explore ways of changing behaviour would be very challenging and I leave to those qualified to consider this situation.
    This would be a minority. Early experience is vitally important in many cases so that living in surroundings where violence is regularly experienced, either personally or by observation, will surely develop an acceptance of violence as being normal. Reversing this acceptance may well be possible but not easy.
    Parenting skills vary widely and largely depend on repeating methods which the parent experienced as a child, with some modifications based on more recent fads and fancies.
    Our culture seems to favour an approach that feels that love is the most important requirement for a child but that has the danger that a child is not provided with suitable discipline from an early age to recognise that others, too, have needs.
    Now an agnostic, I grew up in a Prebysterian Christian household where moral tales like Charles Kingsley’s “Water Babies” instilled the do as you would be done by approach to life – by which I still live!
    Violence begets violence is often true so it is critically important that violence be controlled from an early age with firm but non-violent reactions.
    It is way past time, in my opinion, for us to stop believing that ancient religious books can be a guide in the modern world. After all, assuming some accurate history exists in the Bible, even Jesus Christ modified the 10 commandments down to two – so he did not see the ancient teachings as set in concrete!
    Religions can do more harm than good if the believer fails to recognise that their belief is not necessarily a universal belief.
    There are cultures where violence and a show of strength are highly regarded so that people from this background may not easily adapt to living in less aggressive and macho surroundings.
    Having represented people in the criminal court, I think people need to be more circumspect in criticising the sentences handed down as the factors determining the decision are quite complex.
    What is much more important is what – if anything – are we doing to discouraging the behaviours which result in criminal charges?
    At all times, whether for crime or for ill health – prevention is better than cure!

  4. Annie B

    Very interesting comments here, about the way to deal with this problem of violence, whether it is on the increase or decrease – it is still prevalent in our society.

    jimhaz … your suggestion of ECT for offenders … was – – a bit of a shock ( no pun intended btw ). …. However, if medical intervention could be had, in that form or another, it could well be a partial solution. Food for thought, that one.

    As RosemaryJ36 said … violence begets violence … no truer words uttered. What to do about it ? Control from an early age. … Children do learn ‘behaviour’ .. from their parents and others in the familial circle.

    Miriam …. I think we could have a good debate about ‘increase / decrease’ in violence. … I do, as always respect your opinions.

    …….

    If indeed there are further suggestions, I will ( try to ) not interfere. !! 😉

  5. Miriam English

    Huh. I’m an idiot. It didn’t occur to me that you were the author, Annie. 🙂

    I really have no opinion on crime rates. I was just mentioning the facts.

    In your article you mentioned violent video games. It has always felt to me that they would habituate kids to violence and teach the wrong lessons. However it has always puzzled me that all the reputable research I’ve read on the topic shows zero effect. It seems that kids who play violent video games are not predisposed to violence. We have to be very careful of our biases in such things. I have an intense aversion to violent games, movies, and books, but I have to recognise that even though such repellent things are very popular, rates of violence are nevertheless dropping. As far as I can see there are at least two possible explanations — 1) violent entertainment really does have no bad effect and might actually be cathartic, or 2) that people would be becoming even less violent much more quickly if there wasn’t so much violent entertainment. Which one is true, I can’t say, though I have to wonder if it might be the second.

    I remember that the security for Alice Cooper’s shows would express surprise that his audiences were always more gentle, polite, and subdued than audiences of other, less violent shows.

  6. townsvilleblog

    Miriam, Murder is one crime statistic but sexual violence and domestic violence seem to me to be on the rise, as the federal government squeezes people harder and harder, the tension has to display itself somewhere and more often than not women are on the wrong side of the equation. Also I have been a campaigner for many decades against paedophiles who I hate with a passion. I am for much higher sentencing for those bastards.

    Paedophiles rob children of their mental health for life. I was interfered with as a naive 14 year old by a paedophile in the workplkace, however I later knew a life-long friend who was repeatedly raped from the age of 6 by her grandfather, who had previously raped the 6 year old’s mother. This turd dies two decades ago by left a legacy, at least two lifetimes of mental anguish in the minds of mother and daughter. These animals need minimum sentencing of 5 years for the first offence, and 20-25 years for any subsequent offense.

    They give up their right to live among ‘our’ society when they harm ‘our’ children.

  7. Harquebus

    Not many are born violent. What turns them this way?
    Overcrowding and shortages create stresses that can manifest themselves as violence at all levels from international to local levels.

    “Violent Games for young and old!! – They nourish the worst and darkest side of human nature that nurtures bigotry, hatred and violent outlooks.”
    Most who play violent computer games quickly realize just how easy it is to be killed in violent situations and they live to tell.

    This author wants to punish all for the crimes of a few who, in all probability, would not be violent if they were raised in a better communal environment. Attacking symptoms will not cure the disease.

  8. diannaart

    Top article, Annie B

  9. Annie B

    Harquebus ……

    Not my intention at all to ‘ want to punish all for the crimes of a few ‘ … which is why the article is framed mainly in questions / queries / with question marks – with necessary background portrayal.

    “Attacking symptoms will not cure the disease.” . …. Agreed. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. … I did ask for opinions on how to reduce / prevent these violent situations.

    Overcrowding / shortage, certainly assists violence rising. … Years ago, an experiment with mice, in a small box home – first two, then more were added one by one, until they were overcrowded — at which time they turned on one another violently, for survival, food, space and safety. … Interesting.

    ……….

    townsvilleblog …. Totally agree – and can empathise 100% … for a reason that would be obvious, without going into detail. …

    Sentencing cannot be too high for paedophile mongrels.

  10. Annie B

    No problems Harquebus …. ( re “My apologies for my misunderstanding.” )

    The link you provided was to do with what I was thinking about. … my memory didn’t serve me too well – as I thought it was a much quicker experiment, with mice being added … but this was a far more comprehensive, long term set of experiments, with no happy outcomes … and won’t have, for humanity if we are not very careful.

    Thanks for the link …….

  11. Annie B

    Thank you, diannaart …. 🙂

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