Over the last few years of writing about prepping, survival, and current events it has come to my attention that a lot of people immediately think violence is the answer. This is across the board too. Men and women are increasingly commenting on my current events posts suggesting that violence and even killing are the ultimate solutions to a great deal of the problems that are going on today.
This has led me to ask why so many people feel this way? It is not just a bunch of fringe types that are typing these comments. I see similar sentiment on a ton of social media groups and other prepping related sites as well. This is a rush towards violence that seems to encompass all walks of life.
So what makes even housewives suggest shooting people that act out?
Some of you might be familiar with the article I wrote on lawlessness in the cities. The tendency towards violence as a solution is related.
What if the reason people from all walks are suggesting extreme actions and violence in response to crimes is that there is largely no respect or enforcement of law and justice in America today and as a result, people feel that extreme action is the only chance at reclaiming some justice in the lives of the masses? The answer is complicated. I first want to clarify the difference between forced and voluntary violence. There is a difference between choosing to commit violence and being forced. The people that are forced or have seen violence are not the ones in society that are quick to suggest violence. It is all too often those that have just seen it on TV or similar that call for it.
Forced Vs Voluntary Violence
Some may get mad at me for saying this but I am going to anyway.
I think those that were drafted into military service were forced to commit violence. Sure they could have run or they could have tried to find a way out but I ask you to stop for a second and put yourself in the shoes of an 18-year-old. Now consider yourself an 18-year-old in the 30s, 40s, 60s, and early 70s. Times were different and people that age felt a lot of pressure to go and “fight for their country/freedom”. Some honestly thought they would be disowned by their immediate family or shunned by their entire community if they did anything but go and plenty would have been.
Those people were essentially forced to commit violence and in the case of some, it totally ruined them. There are some that handled it better than others but one must understand that some were more fortunate than others as far as where they were positioned.
My Dad had to fight through the TET offensive during the Vietnam War. This changed him and it changed me. I grew up in a household where I knew what violence could do. I knew the possibility was there and what it could do to a person. How the violence of the past could make them suffer every day.
When I was older and angry about something my Dad said something that stuck “you never want to have to kill someone. Never.”
I am not going to go into the nitty-gritty of Vietnam in 67-68 here but I will say this. My Dad is a kind-hearted person but as a soldier in Vietnam, they made him watch areas, sometimes with villages with children playing and working in them.
Then he was expected to call in the airstrike on those people he had watched going about their daily lives. He as told to do these things and followed orders. He had no choice and what he was forced to do as a soldier is something he suffers with to this day.
These things have set the course for his life and my own because of how this level of violence changes someone permanently.
This is why I take violence so seriously. It is also the reason why I stop and think a bit when I am too angry. I have an instinct to be on guard all the times and I don’t want to lash out at people when I shouldn’t.
I also have always known that the kindest person in the world is capable of extreme violence if they are forced.
Just because you feel someone is wrong, doesn’t mean that violence is the answer.
Using violence may get others to do what you want but they will always hold you in contempt. While some people will put up with violence at times due to love, fear, and circumstances, using violence against someone that doesn’t have an emotional attachment to you whatsoever is going to mean they will always see you as that contemptible person unless they go down the path of Stockholm syndrome where they start idolizing or loving their abuser.
When part of society or an individual thinks they are morally justified to commit violence because they have a different opinion, we are in a very delicate and volatile state as a nation, group, etc.
I don’t care what political opinion you have, it is wrong to say that someone should be harmed merely because they feel differently than you. If they act in a way that is harmful or try to commit a violent act, then that is different and needs to be considered on a case by case basis.
It is important to look at both sides of an issue, especially before you call for extreme acts. Consider that there will be people out there that will manipulate information and emotions to suit their agenda. You need to research and come to conclusions yourself not just on what they say.
No matter if something occurs within a family, prepper group, or on a regional or national level, it is critical to look at the whole issue. It is very easy to make the wrong assumptions and create a worse problem or harm innocent people. The national news media does this all the time. Once false information is out there or statements are made that cater to the person making the call, it can be hard to rein in the words or negate the damage.
One must watch out for harm that comes from confusion and fear. Do not assume that you will not be used in some way by either side if you find yourself in the crossfire of violence.
While I believe that law enforcement means well in most cases, there are plenty of incidents where innocent people have been killed or harmed by law enforcement because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Drawing fire to your position
Being next to the wrong person or close to the action can mean that you are used for cover or as a distraction. People do not always react emotionally to a situation but fall back to the training and instruction they have been given.
You can be mistaken for the perpetrator
I heard a lot of people make comments asking why people with concealed weapons didn’t take down active shooters. For starters, it is easy to say these things if you are not in a violent situation and especially easy if you have never been in a position where you were front and center during a violent act.
Consider what would happen if a lot of people got out their guns and then law enforcement, SWAT, etc arrived. Now consider what might happen if one or more well-meaning citizens start shooting.
Sure there is the possibility that someone may take out the perpetrator but there is also a chance that someone may draw fire to themselves and everyone nearby them or even draw fire from law enforcement.
Decisions have to be made fast during violent situations and there is so much going on that it is impossible to know the whole scope of the situation.
Frustration and desperation can lead to peaceful people committing violent acts
Sometimes people think violence is the answer because they cannot see any other way to get what they need. Desperate times can lead to desperate measures. During an SHTF situation, people that might have been the most peaceful human beings in a neighborhood may be the first to choose violence as a means to an end.
Food, medicine, water, and drugs are common goods and vices that will lead to violence in a long emergency.
When it comes down to your family going without or someone else, what would you do? The truth is that very few people are able to admit or come to terms with the fact that they are capable of violence if the conditions are right.
People will use others to commit violence for them for a fee or favor
Gangs do this regularly. If you read the news, this is a common occurrence. What some do not realize is that this is a tactic that a lot of individuals use regularly and people fall for it. Do you know someone that seems to stir up a lot of trouble and discontent but always has others fight their battles for them regardless if they are words or of a physical nature? I sure do and I have made it a priority to not allow them to be part of my life regardless of the occasional good memories or type of relationship.
People like that are annoying and trouble causing enough during good times. Imagine what these people will be like if times are tough and they have to reduce their standard of living?
Violence is already more normalized for some people than others.
People are often products of their environment. If someone is raised in a household where violence is encouraged as a solution then they are statistically more likely to continue this behavior as long as they can in their adult life. It is a bit harder to get away with some types of violence than it used to be thanks to everything being recorded in some way.
I know families where the parent’s attitude when a fight occurs is that “a person can only take so much”. What they mean is that if someone bothers you enough then it is justified to pick a fight with them. The other party was clearly asking for it after all. I feel sorry for the kids that feel that they have to act that way to make their parent’s proud or take notice of them.
Expressing your views can make you a target, even if you are just a member of a society or organization and word gets out that you are.
I had a reader write to me and ask what a person could do that was getting harassed for their views while selling at a farmer’s market. After I asked the exact circumstances I found out that the lady in question was a member of an organization that had been accused by left-leaning groups of being racist. My response was that if you voluntarily become a dues-paying member of a group then people are going to judge you based on that. Once you put it out to the world that you feel a certain way there is no going back.
Regardless if the group truly feels a certain way, by putting your name on a membership roster you are putting yourself in the position to be categorized with anything that group is ever accused of or does. Even if your views change, years down the road that may still get used against you. By feeling the need to be too outspoken, this person put their husband and kids in a position to be targeted and harassed. Is it right, no, but it does show that you need to think about how expressing yourself and getting yourself on lists will affect those that are closest to you. I have to do this myself quite often considering the type of writer that I am.
Another question I get asked is “how people can defend themselves against harassment and potential violence?”
In some areas, there is more tolerance for one group harassing the other so to speak. The law is even told to look the other way.
Some of the issues I get asked about don’t really happen as much in a lot of areas of my home state. One of the main reasons I believe it is this way is that where I live there are no rules and laws that prevent one from defending themselves with force or firearms.
In my neck of the woods, if you harass a woman and get physical, she can shoot you. Home invasions happen but they are rare and usually done by people that are not thinking at all clearly. The threat of getting shot when you first enter a home is very real and the law will be on your side if you have to use lethal force to defend your family.
There is also the potential of starting grudges and feuds that can go on for generations. In cities where there are a lot of people coming and going, the dynamic can be different.
When people know that others are not as capable or even allowed to defend themselves, it creates ripe conditions for increased levels of bullying and violence.
Recent attempts to ban some self-defense classes in states such as Virginia are nothing more than an attempt to make people more helpless and easier to control and victimize. Some people do not want others to be able to defend themselves. Why else would you try to ban classes that teach people how to defend?
Defending Yourself and Your Family
There is a lot to think about when it comes to defense. I am going to link to some previous posts that can help you decide what defenses are best for you.
I also have an article on my personal website that gives an overview of home defense options. I do not post as often there as at Backdoor Survival but I plan on weekly posts in the future.