Thursday, January 26, 2006

All Violence is Bad

We've heard such comments from a variety of folks, often peaceniks and weenies. Maybe they even say the same about aggressive behavior.

What do you think? What about war? ("Everybody love war" says Jackie Chan, but he's talking about the song.) The Guardian Angels? Shooting at intruders in your home? We can come up with scores of cases where violence is justified and even welcome. It is easy if you're sensible.

Look at my post on Zero Tolerance over at my little neck of the woods... but feel free to post comments here. (It might be a bad idea for me to yo-yo this topic back and forth between to blogs, but if it is I'll learn the hard way.)

This came up from a little family matter that got me thinking... my sister she said she supported the idea of a zero tolerance policy for violence at her son's school while I said they basically are nonsense. These are the reasons:
  • Increasing Incidents of Violence: Let's say the zero tolerance policy does not serve as a deterrent. (The types of folks who seem to support such policies say similar things about gun ownership and the death penalty... let's run with that assumption.) Now you've turned pushing matches, scenes where kids wave clenched fists in the air, and little kids scuffling on the ground into the same category as beating a kid up, kids ganging up on one little guy, kicking a kid in the face, etc. “Violence is violence.” If you don't measure a little shoving between kids who like Pokemon cards differently than a kid who goes after someone with a baseball bat you are not only nuts you are blowing the shoving out of proportion.
  • Punish the Good Kids: Some fighting in school is good. "How's that?" I hear you (and my sister) ask. One of the sevies (as they were called when I was in seventh grade) is cornered by a group of ninth grade kids. Maybe they don't plan on hurting the kid really bad, but they definitely want to scare him, shake him up, and get a couple of shots in on him. Another kid sees this and stands up to these bullies... maybe he's another sevy, maybe he's in ninth grade, maybe he's a high school kid walking through the neighborhood. This little hero pulls one of the bullies back and tells them all to knock it off. Maybe the little hero even gets in a punch to show he's serious. (Perhaps he's actually bluffing, but that's not the point.) Zero tolerance policies would give our Little Hero a punishment... although he stopped or even prevented trouble.
  • Encourage Cowardice: Let's roll with the example I just used with our Little Hero and say he got suspended from school for at least one day. He's got a friend who walks through the same school grounds or goes to the same school as The Sevy. He spots the bullies pulling the same stunt on a different kid... but our Little Hero's friend decides he's not willing to risk getting suspended. This Different Kid gets intimidated and possibly ruffed up... thanks to the zero tolerance policy intimidating the friend of our Little Hero.
I realize I've climbed way out on a mega-limb with such outrageous statements (wink-wink)... I'm just wondering if I need to add anything, adjust some of my thoughts, or throw the whole idea in the garbage.



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