Peace or Violence; What’s Your Choice?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
11 Oct 2009

5 Responses to “Peace or Violence; What’s Your Choice?”

  1. Bob Patterson Says:

    I majored in criminal justice and worked for a total of fours years in two different Nebraska prisons. This was 10 years ago. Bear in mind that these were not the notorious prisons you hear about on TV and they were still messed up!

    There’s a theme one of my old CJ professors would talk about: “Not in my backyard syndrome.” Basically, that people (even good people!) do not want to think about prisons, crime, or poverty. The problem is that poor inner city neighborhoods generate crime. It’s really one of they few options they have. Education is just not high on their list of things to do because it’s not part of their culture. Near the end of my four years I started to see families cycle through prison. It’s really just sad.

    Part of “not in my backyard” is not wanting to pay for rehabilitation. Again a lot of problems here: 1) Historically prisons swing from punishment to rehab. 2) If you release the same (or worse!) criminal back to his neighborhood with no money, no training, and no job prospects how long do you think it will be before they turn to crime again? Yet nobody want’s to pay to fix the problem so the cycle continues.

    I’m glad I don’t work in a prison any more.
    .-= Bob Patterson´s last blog ..Review of Martin’s “Street Smart” =-.

  2. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Bob, I was one of them on the punishment bandwagon. The issues seemed simple in California, on the 3rd strike you are out! But now years later (with full to the brim prisons) and a lot of mismanagement, California is going broke, partially because of overly simplistic thinking like this.

    I think it is good to get crooks off of the street but I don’t see the point in training them to be better crooks in our jails and prisons. I think for lifer’s, punishment makes sense but rehab ought to be the way to go for everyone else because they are going to get out someday and hopefully try and contribute to society.

    As you say the mood of the people go between rehab and punishment… because of the (short-sighted) concerns of the legislators, governor, and people (especially in California where we have the initiative process to put stuff on the ballot).

    I really wish there was a solution to this because as a martial artist – most of the reason I’ve been training is to help people (and myself) be safe from criminals.

    It was kind of funny in the video where Canada prison population was said to be 20,000 something… in America we probably have millions in prison. It is really sad we have lost generations of potentially good people… the less violent ones I think we should be doing a lot more.

    Thanks for your insightful comment Bob

  3. TheMartialArtsReporter Says:

    Wow! This is heavy stuff and there unfortunately
    no easy and quick solutions.
    I guess the cycle has be broken somehow.
    Kids have to get education they can us in real life,
    taught how to build their self-esteem, discipline and a feeling of belonging to someone or something among other things…
    That’s where I believe gangs fill a void (unfortunately!)
    I am no expert, but I think I read somewhere about the
    U.S. prison population being at around 1 percent of
    the total population which would about 3 million!
    And I am happy for Bob not working in a prison anymore.
    Interesting article should definitely hit a nerve, John.

  4. Matt "Ikigai" Says:

    Yea this one is extremely complex. Violence is such an integrated part of culture, especially gang culture. Crime will never stop, that’s just a reality, but if the focus of gang energies could be redirected toward something other than killing one another we might be able to see a bit of change.

    Sadly, gang warfare fulfills a lot of those base instincts we have as humans – territory, dominance, social acceptance, heirarchy, challenge, and reward.
    .-= Matt “Ikigai”´s last blog ..Interview: Forrest Morgan, Author “Living the Martial Way” (Part 2) =-.

  5. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi TheMartialArtsReporter.com, thanks for the information – yeah three million sounds about right and sad.

    Hi Matt, You are right about the basic instincts, how we react to it is what I’d like to see change. For instance, a kid that did not grow up around gratuitous violence might verbally rebuke someone infringing on his turf where as the gang member would favor looking good for his gang. Sad to see this but I think you are on to something with redirection.