Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Friday, March 29, 2013

Why the violence?

I made the cart so grand daughter Edith can carry her toys. 
Edith enjoyed a swing at the park.
Our family picnic spot. Good Friday in Dunedin was warm and sunny.
There are big old trees all around the Botanical Gardens in Dunedin. 
Today is Good Friday and we recall how systemic violence killed a good and loving man. Yet we hear of violence continually in the news. We in NZ seem to be getting more and more like America or other more violent societies. There is domestic violence, abuse of children and violence on the playgrounds of our schools. Jesse Ryder a well known cricketer is in intensive care because of a brutal attack by a few guys outside a pub. In our drop-in centre there are often threats of violence. A man came up to me when a certain simple guy came in. He said, "I'm just warning you, if that guy does anything near me I'm going to flatten him." I just stared back at him and said, "No you won't because then you'll be in trouble."  We have a man who thankfully is changing his ways, but he used to threaten violence around the pool table. He once threatened me with a pool cue. My height, steady stare and the fact that I was holding my cell phone threatening to call the police made him back off. But why is our default reaction so often violence? Our immediate way of dealing with things that annoy us is some form of violence, if not physical then in our language. Why?
I got trapped playing pool at the drop-in centre a few weeks ago. The pool table is near the TV. Coronation Street was on. I never watch it, but I could not help but hear it. There was an hour of people bitching, screaming, threatening and abusing one another! I always thought Coronation Street boring but harmless for those who want to watch that stuff. But there were several of various ages glued to the drama. No doubt unconsciously they are taking on board the sense that this dysfunctional behaviour is "normal" and acceptable for people in our society. It was diabolical! That program finished and an action movie started. People were getting shot, stabbed, throats cut, necks broken and blown up! Apart from anything else the noise was shocking. I expressed my annoyance and said, "No wonder we live in a twisted world!"  If we feed our minds this sort of crap day in and day out no wonder our society has the taste of violence running through it!  The apostle Paul advised...

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

 If we fill our minds with violent garbage, violent garbage is what we'll produce. I wonder too if our glorification of war and military does not contribute to this malaise?  It is extremely sad, lives are being ruined by our tendency toward violent solutions. Jesus said, "Those that live by the sword shall die by the sword" He also encouraged non-violence, forgiveness and generosity of spirit. 

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