Thursday, March 28, 2013

Night Raid

Trey Smith

Picture this. A man, armored in tattoos, bursts into a living room not his own. He confronts an enemy. He barks orders. He throws that enemy into a chair. Then against a wall. He plants himself in the middle of the room, feet widespread, fists clenched, muscles straining, face contorted in a scream of rage. The tendons in his neck are taut with the intensity of his terrifying performance. He chases the enemy to the next room, stopping escape with a quick grab and thrust and body block that pins the enemy, bent back, against a counter. He shouts more orders: his enemy can go with him to the basement for a "private talk," or be beaten to a pulp right here. Then he wraps his fingers around the neck of his enemy and begins to choke her.

No, that invader isn't an American soldier leading a night raid on an Afghan village, nor is the enemy an anonymous Afghan householder. This combat warrior is just a guy in Ohio named Shane. He's doing what so many men find exhilarating: disciplining his girlfriend with a heavy dose of the violence we render harmless by calling it "domestic."
~ from The Men Who Kick Down Doors: How Domestic Violence Mirrors War by Ann Jones ~
One of the problems with societies that glorify violence is that violence comes to permeate all aspects of life. As Jones illustrates above, it becomes the modus operandi of too many husbands, boyfriends and fathers. It often manifests itself in the acts of rape and abuse. It becomes the prime way athletic coaches deal with members of their team. And it has frequently become the way local police forces deal with citizens they encounter (for whatever reason).

When your nation's leaders adopt a "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality, that serves as a blueprint for agencies and individuals throughout the land. When the president declares that he has the right to serve as the judge, jury and executioner, it encourages local authorities to behave in exactly the same manner on issues within their own jurisdiction. When your federal government defines enemy in a very broad and nebulous fashion, it sets a poor example that is copied by others in that society.

I know a lot of people who say that they don't pay much attention to domestic and foreign policy. They say it doesn't impact their everyday lives. Me thinks they are wrong. The actions and behaviors modeled by the power brokers and elite of every society trickles down to everyone else. It sets a standard of decorum. If the standards set are moral and ethical, the society progresses. If the standards set lack morality and ethics, then society becomes polluted.

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