Violence: Acceptable in America?

Posted on 02 May 2012 by admin

We cannot encourage violence in some areas while condemning it in others

By: Victoria Barmak

ILLUSTRATION | CORY MONTERO


Staff Writer

When the article of the April 9 fight on STLCC-Meramec’s campus first broke on http://meramecmontage.com, it came as a shock to many. Some online comments raised questions about safety on campus. One student was even reconsidering attending Meramec in the upcoming fall semester due to safety concerns. A comment on http//:kirkwood.patch.com read, “Meramec was once considered the safe and respectable community college to attend.” Missouri Education Watchdog referred to the fight as “scary time at Meramec”.

The above sentiments are odd given the fact that our society is steeped in violence.

In this country, violence is heavily promoted. Just watch any news program. Despite the violent crime rates being significantly down, the reports of violence are on the rise. Why? Violence is the ultimate attention grabber; it brings in the viewers (in other words: money). “This was quality entertainment! Why’s everyone so uptight?!” read one of the comments on http://meramecmontage.com, referring to the fight. So maybe if the fight on Meramec was brought to us by a sponsor, as is TV programming, the fight would be acceptable.

War is the epitome of violence. Yet, this country has been involved in some kind of war for 69 years out of 238 – approximately one third of the country’s existence. The most recent one has been going on for the last 10 years with enthusiastic support from many people. They scorn diplomatic solutions and vehemently defend any violent intervention necessary to achieve the goal of that war. But you cannot have it both ways. Condoning war, the ultimate violence, while condemning the local college altercation is beyond hypocritical.

Ever heard of WWE? Instead of protesting it, people love it. They are willing to pay big bucks to watch others get beaten to a pulp, maimed, break each other’s bones and see blood splatter. Some consider it great entertainment. They defend WWE by stating the organization gives back to the community via Make-A-Wish foundation. So maybe Meramec’s brawl observers should have paid an admission fee to watch the fight to make it acceptable. Oh, proceeds can go to the local Ronald McDonald house. How lovely.

And last, but not at all least, the Bible. The world’s best seller is violent. There is no way around it. The moral compass that is the Bible demands those who believe (let us not get into it here) to kill those working on Sabbath, false prophets, women who are not virgins on their wedding night and children. Mass murder is also practiced in the Bible. But hey, in the name of religion anything goes, right? So maybe if a clergyman was present during the campus fight it would be acceptable. It would be a religious experience.

The bottom line is we are a culture of theoretical anti-violence but push violence in people’s faces all the time. When it is on TV, it is entertainment. When it is from a church pulpit, it is a word of God. When it is in another country, it is foreign policy. No one seems to mind until an isolated incident like a campus fight reminds everybody what violence really is.

But as the adage goes: you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Violence cannot be condemned while being condoned. But, alas, that is the American way.

 

 

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