Reducing violence through violence

This is one of those “I was going to leave this as a comment…” posts.

Bearing Arms has a post up this morning about the “Thumpyard” movement.

What things like the Thumpyard do is not so much trying to change the culture, but channel that cultural need for satisfying one’s honor into a direction that’s less likely to result in death.

Now, some will argue that changing the culture so as to eliminate the desire for violent retribution is the superior solution, and maybe it is.

I firmly believe that the utopians who think they can change human nature through good wishes and pipe dreams have directly contributed to the situation we’re in today.

Trying to change the basic human (primarily male) instinct to fight when challenged has led to entire generations of boys with suppressed aggression and nowhere to direct it. In the inner cities, this is combined with the lack of formal family structure and the kids not only have aggression to get out, but a need to feel a sense of belonging and “family”. That’s how you end up with gangs of feral kids roaming the streets shooting at each other because they were “dissed”.

When I was a kid, fighting was discouraged, but expected. It wasn’t treated as the end of the world and violence wasn’t a dirty word, it was just understood to have a time and a place. If two kids had a beef, but really didn’t want to fight, they’d start something on school property. That way they could make a show of being willing to duke it out without much risk because in short order a teacher or two would show up to break it up. The combatants would often get a paddling, or a few hours of detention, their parents would be notified and that would be it.

It was the “parents notified” part that was the worst because back in that age, if you got in trouble in school, the consequences would be twice as bad at home. That wasn’t the day of “how dare you discipline my child”, it was the age of corporal punishment both in school and out.

At any rate, if you really had a beef to settle and wanted to get it settled, you didn’t do it in school, you set up a time and place off school grounds where no adults would be there to give each of you a graceful exit. Those were the fights that were memorable. Broken noses. Lost teeth. Broken fingers.

But at the end of those fights, the issue was generally settled, the combatants generally respected each other and often became friends (if they hadn’t been before).

In other words, we had a way of working our aggression and disputes out amongst ourselves. The adults knew this and as long as we kept it to appropriate times and places, they left us to our own devices. It was part of growing up. You know what never happened when I was growing up? You never heard of a kid getting knifed or shot as a result of a petty dispute. Kids didn’t bring guns and bombs to school and try to kill everyone (and at that time and place virtually all of us had guns at home).

Kids would be bullied until they learned to stand up for themselves. It was a right of passage and it was a lesson one never forgot.

My point is that schools run by liberals and women have been actively trying to suppress male human nature for generations and the results speak for themselves. Suppressed aggression is not eliminated aggression, it just becomes expressed in different ways. Isn’t it much better to acknowledge that nature and allow it to be expressed in controlled ways than to ruthlessly suppress it until it boils over out of control?

One anecdote related to this: My bus driver was a farmer in the summer and drove a bus in the winter to while away some time and make a little extra money. He was a true man (like most men in the rural area where I grew up), was no-nonsense, direct and practical. So on the bus one day two of the boys were having a disturbance…not sure exactly what started it, but it quickly became shouting, and then shoving, at which point the bus driver had had enough. He stopped the bus, opened the doors and said “take it outside”. The boys piled off the bus and had at it right there on the side of the road. It was your typical pre-teen fight, mostly flailing ineffectually at each other and rolling around on the ground until they were both too worn out to continue. When they finally ran out of steam and it looked to be about over, the bus driver opened the doors again and asked “You done?” They acknowledged that they’d had enough and he said “all right then, back on the bus”. They got back on the bus, sat down and we continued on our bus route like nothing had ever happened.

I don’t recall there ever being another disturbance between those two boys. The bus driver let them get it out of their system and work it out, and it stayed worked out.

I’m not saying that just letting kids start duking it out would solve all the problems, it’s deeper than that. It’s taken us a long time to get from there to here and the problems won’t be solved overnight (if we ever even started trying to solve them). What I’m saying is that suppressing human nature doesn’t fix anything and from all the evidence I’ve seen makes it worse. What people knew (especially rural people) back when I was a kid is that it is much more productive to give that aggression a release valve and channel it into learning experiences than it is to bottle it up until it explodes.


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