“Violence is never the answer.” How many times have you heard or seen this? Well it happens to be true, but not for the reasons you might suspect.
Dictionaries governed by sane people will tell you the definition of “violence” involves some form of physical force intended to cause injury or damage. I think most people would agree with that. Those who don’t are the sort of people who think words are violence. Such a person can be dismissed out of hand as we continue being sane and reasonable.
The “intention” of violence matters, even if it doesn’t change the definition. If I am defending myself with physical force, my intention certainly is to injure or damage my attacker – but it is not my primary goal. As a citizen defender, I do not wish to cause harm to anyone, and I will use any other reasonable and safe option available to defend myself and others before resorting to physical force.
Harming others, for the citizen defender, is not a goal. So violence becomes merely an acceptable, last-resort option within a broader strategy designed to keep ourselves from harm.
For the violent criminal, however, harming others may very well be the primary intention and goal. If not, it is at least a primary tool (along with threats of violence) whereby he accomplishes his goal.
When the violent criminal makes a demand or initiates an attack, he is not asking a question. Therefore violence cannot be “the answer.” What is happening is not Q & A. It is a trap. Violence is not the answer, it is the assertion. It is happening, and you are a part of it. There is no way out; violence is now your truth and reality. You can pray or wish it away. You can have a philosophical debate on the toxicity of violence. You can shame the dude blasting you in the face with cries of “toxic masculinity.” You can even try to call your nearest social worker.
But these losing tactics are only various kinds of denial. You either resort to harming another to protect yourself or someone else, or in your denial you become complicit in the harm already being inflicted. Where is your intent, now?
If here you feel the beginnings of outrage that I am “victim blaming,” cool your jets. I don’t blame people for being victimized by violence criminals. But if you’re someone who thinks “violence is never the answer,” and then you’re attacked and injured, well…I won’t blame you for being attacked, but I’ll have something to say about how you equipped yourself for protection.
Violence is not “the answer” because there is no question: as long as there are people willing to use violence on others, violence will be an acceptable – and vital – self-defense strategy.
Light the forge.