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VIOLENCE IS NOT OKAY

Not against women, children, the poor, the disadvantaged, the drunk, the vagrant, the refugee, the inmate, the political regime, the ‘different’ kid on the school bus, the woman enjoying her early morning jog, the celebrity, the gay guy at the train station, or the political leader attending a rally.

Violence is not okay.

Violence is not okay in the daily news, or in the shopping centre car-park. It’s not okay in the house next door, in your own home, or in your fantasies.

To present terror as a bed-time story is not okay.

To portray atrocities of war, as news or adult entertainment in games, in TV series or movies: it’s not okay.

To present footage of the aftermath of a car bombing, or mass shooting, is not okay. To call a shooting rampage or an act of murder ‘entertainment’, is not okay, even if we call it a drama series; even if we rate it for mature audiences.

Maybe, as a society, we all have a little shell-shock.

When you witness a violent act, or remember one perpetrated against you, you may not only contemplate, or even enjoy, the experience in your conscious mind. There is something far more sinister happening in your subconscious.

In response to your conscious thoughts about violence, stimulated by witnessing violence on TV, in participating in a violent act in a game, watching scenes of the aftermath of a tsunami, a jet flying into a building, or even reading a story about violence: this very act of witnessing, and imagining, causes your brain to release a cocktail of chemicals that correspond to your conscious thoughts.

These chemicals flood through your body, stimulating your heart, lungs, and adrenal gland. They suppress digestion, cause you to sweat, to feel aroused, to feel frightened, to feel involved. You actually chemically and physically experience the violence you witness in your environment.

Some people find this experience stimulating. Some are even addicted to it. Many find the daily shot of violence provides a quick shot of excitement and escapism they need after their daily work.

We should ask ourselves why we feel we need this. How do we explain this contradiction, this human fascination/ abhorrence with violence?

Perhaps we have gone too far in our desire to experience morbidity. Maybe this desire for excitement, the headiness and sense of empowerment we experience is part of the reason why there are so many acts of violence perpetrated in our world about which we do nothing ….but watch.

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