Violence … Becomes … Us?

I’m quoting the entire post because it is short. It is from vindicius blog. We have always been violent. As Pinker says, violence is at an all time low. Look at the news around you and remember that this is the least violent this planet and species has ever been. One might argue that this is the most civilized we’ve ever been but I think there is room to argue on that point.

How much of the violence in the news is religiously oriented? Did gods make people do that? Does it matter, they use god as an excuse. Perhaps it was much more brutal, but when apes killed other apes over territory it was at least honest. Killing with divine sanction is just murder with an alibi that you’re following orders. Whose is not certain but none will argue much if you say god told  you to do it, that it’s god’s law you were enforcing. It’s a shame that gods won’t enforce their own laws so we can live in peace.

From 2001 A Space Oddessy - unknown credit


The Freedom to Kill

The illusion of gun violence is becoming quite annoying. We seem to be under the impression that it is only guns that kill our children, the neighbors down the street or the people in another country. We seem to think that a gun is by its nature a very bad thing. We seem to think these things because we are not thinking rationally, but overly emotional.

To illustrate my point: If someone were to place a gun on a table or surface of some sort, the gun would not randomly begin pointing at people and shooting at will. A baseball bat will not bludgeon to death anyone all by itself, nor will a knife begin slashing people by way of freewill. Bombs explode, but their parts will not arrange themselves in the order they are eventually found.

No, these are not weapons, but tools. And tools do not become weapons until they are placed in the hands of those who intend to use them as such. We have become (or worse, still are) a people who assess blame on the object of the crime and not on the person responsible. A trend does not illustrate truth, for the only trend in murder is the human being responsible for the act. It has been this way throughout our existence, though we seem to forget ourselves as the prime tool in need of repair.

I can call for mental-health reform all I want, though in the world of today we seem to distance our mental illnesses far from the reality of our troubled nature. Deep down we all have the freedom to kill, and that is certainly something to be afraid of. But so long as we ignore the darker side of our natures, we will forever drown ourselves in the depths of denial. And that is not a place where humanity can survive.

Is a gun really different than the bone in this picture? Does the tool change the problem? Should the gods have removed all the bones from the face of the earth? Would it have helped?


Did we become violent … or did violence become us?


What say you, my hairless ape cousins?



  1. Whereas I agree with you that these are tools and in each of us, there is the ability to kill another person, the gun, the bomb changes the game. It is possible to fly over a village dropping target bombs, leaving the whole village flat in less than an hour or even shorter! In history, men laid siege to towns, killing its inhabitants and burning almost everything on their path taking only those that were of value and keeping people as slaves, but such took horribly long to accomplish. Whether we are least violent, I don’t know, hard to tell, whether we are more civilised I highly doubt it.

  2. I understand your argument and the way I perceive it is this: you’d rather I just break both your legs instead of hacking off an arm. The argument that you offer takes a subjective value assignment for the harms done and summarily settles for what is determined to be the least harm.

    In truth, all harm is bad and we should strive to stop all harm, not minimize it to something we can ignore and sleep well with.

    It does not matter that we have the ability to destroy the planet 43 times over if we are wise enough to not do that. Nuclear power is very useful. Guns are very useful. When thinking of military technology, consider a few thoughts:

    – it has driven innovation since there was war
    – it gave us telescopic views of the solar system
    – it has variously imperilled us, but was developed to keep us safe

    Unilateral disarmament seems a good thought, but it brings huge deficits with it. I am not a fan of guns and bombs. I just think that education and reform will make the guns and bombs less useful and redundant before unilateral disarmament can happen.

    Same goal, different approaches.

    • No, I don’t want my legs broken. No I don’t want wars, that’s just it.

      I agree with you that military technology has given us several advantages. Would it have been possible to pursue this goals without having to make chemical weapons or bullets. These have been made for one reason alone and that is to kill nothing else.

      We are in agreement again that education and reform is the way to go. Why not stop making more guns and bullets while at it?

      • That is an admirable idea, and worth pursuing. I just do not believe it is the only answer. There are hundreds of things that can be done… and should be, all at once.

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