As I have attempted to surface some current research and strategies to deal with anger, I do hope the past few weeks of posts have been helpful. But what happens when anger turns uglier? Today’s post begins looking at violence, specifically, how to prevent it.
Why is violence happening in our cities and our world?
Escalated anger can be expressed in violent acts. We seem to be witnessing an increase in violence around the world.
In the City of Philadelphia, we recently witnessed more than 2,000 teenagers take over a 10-block strip of bars, clothing stores, pizzerias and popular iconic cheesesteak restaurants. These teens filled the streets, blocked traffic, jumped on cars and roughed-up innocent bystanders.
This kind of gathering is called a “flash mob.” Whether violence is a flash mob’s intent, it was a consequence in Philadelphia, and this is a trend that is a growing in the urban streets of America. What is frightening is that this group was comprised of teenagers. What is going on that we are so violent at such a young age?
Rampant violence in our world affects more than our safety
We have also witnessed unparalleled violence across our world. The threat of terrorism has bred universal fear and horror.
Our own country’s experience on 9/11 has left a permanent and tragic imprint on all of us who lived through the horror. Certainly, it has changed our whole system of security for the rest of our lives.
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimates that in 2002, of the 906,000 children that were reported to be maltreated in the United States, over 250,000 were either physically or sexually abused, and 300 children died from physical abuse. Further, we know that children who have been victims of violence have a greater propensity to be violent later in life than children who have not been victims.
Media saturated with violence
Much has been written and reported about violence on the Internet; in video games, TV and movies; and in certain forms of music. There remains the issue of bullying as well as the various forms of violence occurring in our schools.
It just seems that the issue of violence in our country is an overwhelmingly significant reality: there are so many kinds of violence expressed in many ways. It is difficult to figure out how it has happened.
How to prevent violence
I would like to take some time to look at violence from a prevention point of view. Substantial and diverse issues have contributed to an environmental climate of violence in our homes and society, and, consequently, we have become very aware of some of the causes of such extensive violence.
If we are to address the problem of violence in an effective way, we will need to look at it as preventable. Even though violent acts are prevalent, I believe we can begin to take some steps to diminish them by dealing more effectively with some of the root causes that can be found in our homes, our schools and our neighborhoods.
I recognize that prevention of violence or any destructive behavior entails a long and tedious process. However, I do believe we have significant opportunities to make changes in our relationships and systems that can greatly deter acts of violence in our society. Therefore, I look forward to discussing preventing violence with you in future blogs.
Thank you for reading my blog. This is an important topic for us all to consider seriously.
Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network