Jamil Abdullah al-Amin’s statement that “Violence is as American as cherry pie” is difficult to dispute. Since “the shot heard ‘round the World” at Lexington & Concord on 4/19/1775, our history has been one of warfare, battles and violence.
Some of the warfare (e.g., WWII) and battles (e.g., by Union forces in the Civil War) were for values, freedom and justice, for which our nation long has expressed pride. Other warfare and many battles were wrong. Violence undergirded it all.
Much of the violence has been mundane. The fear that some citizens of this country experience, because their skin is dark, is played out graphically. This fear is not a new development and goes back a couple of centuries, even before traffic stops.
Indigenous peoples were victims of genocide before the term was coined. Women are victims of domestic violence. LGBTQ people have been victimized on a daily basis. (If you have to look over your shoulder before you tell a joke, you perpetuate violence.)
Our kids are acculturated to violence through games that appeal to aggression. In football a “long bomb” is thrown to the “end zone” as players hit each other and multiple concussions are a matter of life. Football is only one example.
Movies, shows streamed online and other works of art glorify violence. We have to address a lot of factors if we want to reduce violence in this country. A foundation of that violence is how we immerse everyone in violence. After all, people don’t want to be called wussies.
We have been in constant war since 2001. Aside from constant bombardment via commercials to enlist, kids face a cruel reality that higher education can be obtained only if one is rich, a great athlete, willing to be placed in great debt, or to go to “war.”
Violence in America has huge momentum. We have to focus on those elements we can address. As individuals we can do certain things. If you oppose gun violence, don’t own a gun, thus you reduce the probability that someone will be hurt or killed by a stolen gun.