This article is not going to be for everyone. It is my opinion and has nothing to do with my professional designation or work. I just think it’s important. In general my comments are true, in specific cases they may not be.
A couple hundred people laid to rest a great man. A guy who really had it all. Health, marriage, family, friends and business success.
Then one night a person(s) was paid by someone to kill someone. They went in the wrong house.
How does that happen? Why does that happen? What can I do about that?
Preamble: I have spent some time with people that have killed people. Mostly military, police and a few civilians. I have had access to psychology books, report and courses on what happens to people that kill people and people that are involved in extreme violence, either doing or receiving.
I unfortunately have seen some bad things and it lead me to wonder how people got there. How does that beautiful little baby grow up to think the best thing they can do in a moment is kill someone?
How does it happen?
One angle on this conversation is. California Senator Kamala Harris (then District Attorney for San Francisco) did a study on homicide victims under the age of 25. 94% were high-school dropouts.
Another is “cultural norms“, “cultural change“, “lack of cultural continuum“. A persons culture or lack of it can determine how much violence they accept in that culture. How they respond to crisis, what responses are allowed and normal. What does the rest of the community do in response to their response?
Another is the role of diet in violence, and youth behavior. I had the pleasure of talking with the head of the RCMP in Alberta about his initiative to curb violence in First Nation communities and I asked about his understanding of nutrition and violence. I think I opened another way of helping the problem, for him to look at.
Why does it happen?
I think people do what they do, because it is the best idea they can think of at that moment. How their brains get to that place, to cause their body’s to act in a way to harm or kill is a vast area of study.
I saw the Dali Lama speak once and he was asked was there ever a time killing and war makes sense?
He said, YES.
You could hear the crowd gasp in astonishment.
But then he said. Yes in the past, but not anymore. Back in the old times (likely 200+ years ago) your village could be in a valley next to another and you would never meet them. As travel was too difficult in those times. If your village went over and took all their stuff, your village would be more successful and be better off.
That he said could justify a raiding war party. But in today’s society the whole word is really one village. You can get anywhere in a few days now. By hurting, stealing, killing others, now you are really doing that to your own village and that is not making you better off.
It was an interesting perspective, that can be argued but the fact remains. There are very few, if any, isolated people in the world anymore and we can look at an example of climate change affecting the whole world and we need to act like one team.
What can I do about that?
I know from my own life. When I was exposed to violence it was easier to be violent. It solved problems much “quicker” to hit someone than to understand what was going on and find an actual solution.
It is super hard to be calm in the face of violence, it is super hard to act reasonable when others are not. All of us have stories of what happened when both sides got violent, it’s not a great outcome. Especially when looked back on later in life.
I think culture is critical. “Culture is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities and habits of the individuals in these groups.” Wikipedia
Humans acquire culture through education. One form of that is school. I have a child in school and my best friend has taught school for 30 years. I am no expert but my observation is most parents could spend a lot more time helping and being involved in their child’s schooling.
Many parts of the world punish parents if their child does not do well in school. My brother lives in Belgium and if the kids don’t do well in school or “skip” school, police arrive to your door very quickly to have a chat.
Many think that’s too extreme. It would not be necessary if our culture made success in school important. But I think that is the problem. We really do not have a solid “culture” here.
I believe something I can do is eliminate violent media from my life. I think it does not help at all. I know that long before TV, video games and movies people killed people. It is only part of a solution.
My nutrition diploma from 1987, and my experience since, here’s the one paragraph eating guide. Well first lets just say, NO ONE EVER WROTE A DIET BOOK WITH YOU IN MIND.
Eat 3x’s a day, warm cooked food. When you eat, ONLY eat, visit, listen to gentle music. Sit down, relax and CHEW your food a bit more. That’s it.
What about Paleo, Vegan, Raw, Protein, South Beach. etc. Chewing does that for you, eating in a relaxed manner does that for you. You see when you eat properly your body gives you signals and you’ll just migrate to better food choices for you. That is how it worked for the last 25,000 people I taught it too. But as always consult your medical professional before embarking on health changes.
I wrote this article on Thanksgiving because I needed a reason to be thankful. The death of a friend is never a happy time, under the circumstances it is easy to get angry.
But anger is how it all started. Someone did something and some other person figured the best way to solve it was to kill someone, they just got the wrong guy.
Instead, I am remembering the good times and in his memory I work to make myself never get to a place where I think killing someone is the right thing to do. I hope my example directs my child’s actions to think the same way. I hope the actions can spread out until we see a culture that works together and does not find killing others the answer.
I hope you are making, establishing and living a positive cultural experience this holiday weekend. Maybe your heritage does not support Thanksgiving. Maybe your culture see’s the “celebration” differently
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