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.
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.