Violence as a disease / by kevin murray

There are all sorts of common diseases, recognized as detrimental to the health of a person, such as cancer, diabetes, tuberculosis, and a host of other well known diseases.  So too, alcoholism is considered to be a disease by esteemed authorities, which perhaps because of this designation as a disease, makes it easier to address.  This would seem to then imply, in an era in which America suffers from a great deal of violence, and of a much higher violent incident rate than other similar countries, in which punishment and incarceration seem to have not made any significant inroads in the reduction of that violence; that violence in order to be successfully addressed, should be looked upon as a disease, for the sake of, at a minimum, to come up with solutions, not currently considered.


That is to say, rather than placing all the blame on a given person that is violent and then punishing that person, perhaps it would make a lot more sense to look at the symptoms of what creates the basis of those people that have a preponderance in being violent.  After all, the simple crime and punishment model that the United States presently uses does not work, because the systemic amount of violence in this country is not going away, so that, those that believe somehow, more punishment will  resolve what has not been resolved, are stubbornly stuck in a mindset that will not ameliorate this issue.


The very first thing, that America needs to recognize, is that with the exception of those that suffer from some sort of sociopathic condition, is that there must be a cause or a series of causes, that creates the conditions that leads to violence.  In other words, violence typically does not precipitate itself, but rather is typically a reaction to something that has triggered that response in the person that is violent. Further, that trigger usually isn't going to be something that just has spontaneously occurred, but rather has causes, often of a long standing background, that are salient to that violent action occurring; such as, but not limited to: social embarrassment, disrespect, dysfunctional family background, low self-esteem, loss of hope, immaturity, selfishness, ill education, peer pressure, substance abuse, lack of opportunity, prejudice, injustice, and a dead-end life.


So that, it is fair to say that those that are frustrated with their lives and with their living conditions, especially in consideration that others have so much more as propagated through mass and social media, will feel not only envious of others and of their success, but when this is combined with their feeling of hopelessness and despair, will thereby create a cauldron of a potentially violent reaction.  This signifies that the disease of violence has relevant roots in the fact that those that are denied fair opportunity and fair success, will more readily demonstrate that frustration by being violent, especially when their perception is that their situation is well-nigh hopeless.


It would appear then that violence is often a disease of poverty combined with frustration, compounded by the fact that America prides itself on being egalitarian, just, and fair; whereas for a significant amount of Americans, America more realistically really represents discrimination, injustice, and inequality.  So then, until such time as America becomes a fairer and more of an equal opportunity country, the disease of violence will continue to be intractable.