Violence is criminal behavior
It is good to talk about community issues. It reveals different understandings, giving each an opportunity to fine tune beliefs.
Take the controversy about Dr. Ralph Blaiser’s statement to the Escanaba City Council. When I first read it, my response was relief. Finally, a local leader saying that anyone who uses demonstrations to cover terrorist activities in this town, will find themselves facing law enforcement.
I read his “shot in both legs and left lying there till dawn” as hyperbole, an exaggeration to make a point. I did not believe he was encouraging the shooting of community members, nor did I believe our law enforcement would do such a thing. Impossible!
Meanwhile, watching cities being destroyed by violence was frightening. Seeing violent people honored was unsettling. The worst-case scenario is where those in authority disempowered police and firemen giving domestic terrorists free reign to burn and rob whole city blocks, with businesses and residences destroyed. What are we coming to?
When one chooses violence, he has removed himself from the protected demonstrator or protester category and made him/herself into a criminal. The police should restrain such a person and we should all hold him/her accountable. (Thank God for our men/women in blue!)
I’d like to share a tool I learned while working with survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence. It is a truth: “There is no excuse for abuse.” Those who give themselves permission to do harmful things to family members or intimate others, are full of excuses. When approached to be held accountable, they spew excuses: none of their behavior is their fault.
Yet, individuals choose violent behaviors when they could have chosen non-violent. It is often faster, easier and more exciting to control through violence.
Our job was to make sure violence resulted in uncomfortable consequences, partly investment of time and money learning non-violent behaviors. Getting away with criminal behavior rewards criminals and leads to more of the same.
A powerful complication to treatment was survivors excusing their perpetrator, repeating their excuses. When the family believes these lies, it is harder for them to learn non-violence.
If community members minimize the impact of lawlessness and terrorism in our communities, we likewise support violence. But, there is no excuse for abuse. Violent behavior is criminal behavior. We will see behavior improve when offenders are held accountable by community members as a group.