Thoughts stirring from a couple of different statements and a conversation from BC Vancouver VioDy –EDITED...
Humans aren’t a fan of acknowledging violence as an element of our biological nature and yet we have always used it to establish territories, to affirm hierarchies, to punish and to set tribal membership boundaries.
We have grown into a colonized species and like ants, have figured out how to live in large numbers without eating each other or ripping each other’s heads off (literally). Most of us like the results of the skill set.
And even with this evolutionary trend toward civil colonization, we struggle to keep ourselves in check.
In the past week I’ve heard two law enforcement professionals create a distinction between violence and use of force. One made the distinction overtly and argued for it openly. The other one made the distinction in a conversation; not quite as consciously, but no doubt was still anchoring into violence and use of force are different.
post published edit to the above paragraph: flushing this out a bit - I know plenty of LEO's who do not separate use-of-force & violence contextually. I think the need to differentiate among force professionals is anchored in the idea that violence is bad and therefore if a force pro is one of the good guys, what s/he does in the line of duty can't be called violence.
There’s no difference. Use of Force is violent action. Sanctioned violence, maybe – but still violence.
Is it better to categorize violence with language to create the behavioral leashes that allow for this colonized living (and all its benefits)?
Or is it better to acknowledge – violence is violence – and set different parameters? I’m going to be super biased because this second option is my paradigm so obviously, I like it.
Being unleashed removes any socially programmed rules for when violent action is acceptable. Unleashed, I can hit you over the head with a shovel because you took my chair. When my kids were toddlers they hit each other over the head with tiny plastic beach shovels because someone had their bucket. Humans in their natural state do this.
So, I have parameters. A protocol in place that guides my choices based on how I want to live in this colony of humans. I have a failsafe if I lose my shit and slip the leash. I have friends who have similar protocols. Hence the bias.
I can’t help but wonder if the “let’s use words to say certain kinds of violence aren’t actually violence” is a risky way of establishing protocols. In psychology, there is a school of thought that identifies the more dangerous human is the one who refuses to acknowledge what s/he is capable of…
You know, the person who says – and adamantly believes – s/he could NEVER do THAT – EVER.
This is a dangerous human. If she ever slips the proverbial leash it will be so completely alien an action she’ll have no capacity for self-regulation. And this makes me wonder if the increase in episodes of mass shootings, etc. is tied to our over-domestication and refusal to acknowledge…yup – I could totally do that.
We can’t explore and regulate those behaviors of which we refuse to become self-aware (sorry for the psychobabble).
I know what I’m capable of. I know where I glitch and I know why. I know there are blindspots still in which this awareness is completely absent.
Can you answer these same things for yourself? Are there things you think you absolutely can NOT do? Are you sure?
Violence isn’t binary. Shooting you is violent. It doesn’t matter if I do it because I don’t like your face, or I do it because I have sworn duty to protect and you have a gun shoved in the mouth of a baby. Either way, if I pull the trigger I am – in that moment – violent.
The more domesticated our colonization becomes, the more we eschew words reflecting our primal nature. I don’t think this is something we should be particularly proud of -