Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Some thoughts on violence

I get nervous when I see a gun. I get nervous because of what it represents in our and of our society, and the power it gives to the one that owns it, and the fear it instills in the ones that don't. I see a gun as a manifestation of our deep insecurities, and a manifestation of an understanding that what we do is not in the best interest of people and nature. A gun is a symbol of a life being forced upon us rather than a life lived in peace with what is environmentally, and consequently socially, acceptable. I don't want to get into a debate over what is acceptable; indeed, all of this blog has been dedicated to drawing these boundaries and extending our imaginations. Yet, as Jay Griffiths has written about beautifully and sadly in the current issue of Orion, guns and violence have been used against people and nature in West Papua for decades now. These unarmed people have fought to preserve their way of living and their mountains from the onslaught of the violence of mining. This is just one example of countless examples.

These past few days have been interesting. They have been days in which masculinity and dominance has been celebrated, ones in which introspection and asking "Why?" have been superseded by the thoughts of retaliation and revenge. Regardless of your stance on the issues,what I can say is that the events of the past few days have changed absolutely nothing, but rather they have further entrenched us in a continued violence that will to wreak havoc on lives, human, non-human and non-sentient. The environment, the ground and air and water that sustains us, will of course be impacted on negatively, despite the "just war theory," which I have written about previously. I can see that in the flag-waving of recent days, many lives and minds and hearts have fully accepted the manner in which we choose to end the fear that pervades our daily lives.

The world I want to live in is one without guns and violence, toward nature and people. It is of course something that has been written on and acted upon by countless, yet violence still surrounds us and pervades our minds. When we look at and make objects themselves with capacity to harm, we are compelled to pull a trigger or push a button that will blow someone or some place up.

I hope to have conveyed over the past months that there is actually no difference between environmental issues and social issues. They are one and the same. Committing violence against people is the same as committing violence against the land, air and water. Violence towards land, air and water is the same as violence towards people; it does not take a logical leap to make the connections. The world I want to live in is one without the fear of consuming toxins in my drinking water.

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