Friday, October 19, 2007

Violence, Perversion and Politics

For his anger endureth but a moment… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
–Psalms 30:5

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month as declared by the President of the United States. When I was a police officer I remember writing a newspaper article about ways couples could get along better. I have taught several classes on Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention to women and teen girls, as well as classes on creating healthy relationships at work and at home. As evidenced by my last blog, everyone has spats of anger. (Although the last time I remember being that upset was when I was 13-years-old.) At any rate, there is simply too much violence in the world.

I might be in a well publicized war zone, but the private agony victims of domestic violence face is a grief and sorrow that is too often unheralded. We must expose that trend and change it. Families, children and societies suffer. I would gage—without a scientific study, mind you—that more money and vexing social problems occur from the long term havoc and widespread acts of domestic abuse than in many military low-intensity conflicts around the globe.

In his book “The Gift of Fear”, Gavin de Becker wrote that women visit emergency rooms for injuries caused by their husbands or boyfriends more often than for injuries from car accidents, robberies, and rapes combined.

While men are occasionally the victims, women are often the target. It’s not just physical abuse, though, there’s emotional and psychological abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. All of these are deviant and terrible atrocities. Unfortunately, 1 in 3 women worldwide will fall victim to violence at some point during her lifetime.

Just the other day my wife told me that someone she knows pleaded with her for help recently. Her friend was beaten and abused. This victim showed my wife the bruises her husband had given her. No one deserves such treatment. Nothing can justify such cowardly behavior. Unfortunately, abuse is a vicious cycle. An abused woman will usually leave her spouse or ‘significant other’ about seven times before she leaves him for good or is killed by him.

Years ago I found the following poem written by an anonymous soul. I treasure it as one of my favorites.

Woman was created from man
Not from his head to be ruled over
Not from his feet to be trodden under
But from his rib to be equal,
Under his arm to be protected,
Near his heart to be loved.

The increased level of vicious and violent acts in society has stemmed, at least in part, from the media’s powerful influence. It costs approximately $5 million for literally seconds of commercial air time during the Superbowl. Media moguls can say all they want about how media does not have the power to influence its audience, but those figures give a sobering example to what advertisers estimate the power of media influence really is.

Violence in the media (television, movies and video games) has been linked to violence in society by at least all of the following professional health organizations: the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General. (See Jay Stuller, The American Legion Magazine, “Not Child’s Play: Today’s youth are in the crosshairs of a violent film and video-game marketing war”, June 2004, p 35.)

Studies have proven that individuals become more aggressive when fed violence in the media. This is not healthy for us as individuals or societies. The American Psychological Association Commission on Violence and Youth stated this poignant fact:

There is absolutely no doubt that higher levels of viewing violence on television are correlated with increased acceptance of aggressive attitudes and increased aggressive behavior.

Moreover, consider this:

Repeated viewing of X-rated films (even if non-violent) makes one’s own partner seem less attractive, makes women’s friendliness seem more sexual, and make sexual aggression seem less serious. (Harris, 1994)

It is disturbing and totally false to say that pornography injures no one and is a victimless activity.

I believe we must strengthen marriages and strengthen families, the fundamental unit of society. To do so we must strengthen the moral fiber within each of us.

One of my best friends here is a young, charismatic black officer from Tennessee. The other day before he got onto a helicopter a thought came to me that I hoped he would be okay in his travels; I’d hate to lose my dear friend in a helicopter accident. Wouldn’t you know it: within minutes after the take off, the helicopter started on fire. Fortunately all the crew and passengers returned safely to the ground. Now my friend and I get to continue our interesting, stimulating conversations.

Lately he and I have been discussing the presidential candidates. He shares different views than I do about religion and politics, but we do have a lot in common nonetheless, and our conversations are amiable and engaging. One point I’ve brought up to my good friend is that we need an honorable, wise and good man in the Whitehouse. His vote is for Hillary, he says, because he likes Bill. Bill was impeached. He lied. He committed perjury and adultery. My friend wasn’t overly impressed with Obama, although they share one obvious commonality. I met Senator Obama when I was an air marshal, by the way. He definitely has a genuinely powerful air about him. I’ll give him that.

Despite the party behind the man (or subsequently, the woman), having a standard of candidates and government officials that are lewd, immoral and dishonorable does not make this voter feel good one bit. (Ughum…an Idaho Senator and an airport bathroom scene comes to mind. I wish I could poke my mind’s eye out from ever learning of that incident.) No, the office of the President of the United States of America as well as all other government leaders ought to be had by someone with the moral fiber and decency that America was built upon.

John Adams, the second President of our United States, said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” In his farewell speech on September 19, 1796, George Washington said, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Values and morals should not shift on a whim or change from year to year or from decade to decade. Goodness is time-honored. If the shift in America has changed so much that integrity, virtue and ethics do not matter when considering a candidate—that ‘fashionable forgiveness’ is the norm—then the morality of the people has depleted to a new low level. The word plebeian comes to mind…an uncultured, vulgar, lower social class.

If the characteristics of the elected leaders so closely match the popular, albeit nihilist constituents, then I suppose the society gets what it deserves: corruption, impiety and depravity among its represented officials.

Now, let me end with this.

A couple days ago the 12-year-old sister of a suspected terrorist named Mohamed Ibrahim Shnewer was assaulted by a group of peers at her middle school in America. She was choked and punched in the face.

Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson broke the ‘John Doe’ story which spoke of the six jihadist-motivated males that had planned to attack soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Shnewer is one of the suspects to be tried in January. His little sister was beaten, apparently, because of her brother, despite the fact that she may carry the opposite views entirely.

I’m appalled at the foolishness and depravity of this situation. It reminds me of an incident in my southeast Dallas police beat a few days after 9-11. A man from India, a kind corner store worker, was shot in the head and killed while at work. What was the motive behind his death? He was mistaken for a ‘Middle Eastern’ terrorist by a nefarious criminal wanting revenge for the 9-11 atrocities.

Lastly, to change the subject slightly, I believe what one good man said many years ago. “If we could look into each others hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us face, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance and care.” There are thousands in our midst who stand in need of a smile, a hug, a complement, a friend. I took it upon myself to swallow some of my own medicine. I told the co-worker I erupted on, “I’m sorry.” Sorry is the beginning of a better solution. But, to all the wife-abusers and revenge-seekers who will ever read this blog (and I wish it were every one of them), I echo what my high school English teacher used to say. When a student would say I'm sorry, she would quip: “Don’t describe yourself, change your behavior.”

Be good America.

1 comment:

vmrh said...

Good job, Jeff! Hang in there, we are all praying that you come home safe to your family!
Sincerely, VAL