In the last few years, we have visibly seen a considerable
spike in violence not only in the United States but all over the world.  One of the main reasons why this is made
possible comes down to the use of social media and the ease of having something
recorded.  While there are many negatives
to being able to have such a power, such as seeing the nature of man as they
truly are and the death and destruction they can cause, it also has positive
effects such as showing the most accurate events of an incident or the third
side of man.  This paper looks to define
violence, understand why it happens and show that there are clear forms of
illegal and justified violence.

 

         Violence is
characterized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the deliberate utilization
of physical power or control, whether it be threatened or actual, against another
person, group, or community which results in the likely event of psychological harm,
injury, and/or death.  WHO also defines
violence with the intentionality of committing the act itself without the
regard of the outcome produced. 
Generally speaking, even something that was never intentionally supposed
to be conceived as violent can be considered as such if it damages in any way.  Violence comes in many forms and as a whole
can be preventable.  Violence has become a
global circumstance resulting in the deaths of an excess of 1.6 million people
each year, constituting it to being one of the leading most cause of death in
the world.1

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         This violence
can either be directed at oneself, such as the acts of self-abuse and suicide;
interpersonal violence, which can include violence by a close family member or
friend and has the examples of domestic violence, elder and child abuse,
assault and property crimes; and lastly, violence can be collective, which is
found within groups and include hate crimes and are usually socially,
politically or economically based.  These
crimes are also committed by strangers and are usually the rarest kind out of
the three types. 

 

         The act of violence
itself, is as old as time as the oldest recorded conflict was the Battle of
Zhoulo in the area of China, approximately 2500 BC.  Like the greater part of primates, we battle
and sometimes also kill individuals from our own species, and this conduct is
normal and almost widespread across the board that it shows up all through our
history. Be that as it may, while deadly viciousness is a piece of our
individual hereditary predisposition, it is for the most part administered by
the development of our social structures and the communities inside them. 

 

         Violence is
universal. We see it in network shows, films, computer games, and commercials;
we read about it in news articles, magazines, and books; we talk about it—both
t when we describe what’s occurring in today’s society, and more regularly
metaphorically with a variety of fierce expressions that infest our ordinary
every day speech; we fear it while having our security systems, firearms, and
police and military presence; and we encounter it, straightforwardly or in a
roundabout way, in our homes, schools, groups, work environments, playing
fields, and war zones.2

 

         From a
sociological point of view, it should not shock anyone that the manner by which
we comprehend and assess viciousness is uneven, possibly unpredictable.
Violence, similar to all types of conduct, is very logical and somewhat
contextual.  It is difficult to imagine
that there could be an all inclusive “violence gauge” that could
impartially figure out what is or isn’t vicious without representing certain
factors. To completely see any demonstration of violence, we should consider
the normal line of inquiries that we ought to ask of all actions: when and
where did it happen, who were the actors, what was the motive behind it, what
really happened, and how did people respond to the act. There might be extra
things that need to be asked however those will at any rate get us on track for
a clearer total perception.  In the event
that we agree that violence is very contextual, then the following logic can be
argued that violence is socially built as a construct. Be that as it may, for
some individuals, this sociological interpretation of violence is missing the
main point. For the regular person (non sociologist), viciousness has little to
do with the idea of nurturing and nearly everything to do with the nature.  On the off chance that violence is in fact in
our genetic makeup, at that point we would not be required to look at the
social institutions we have built that empower and excuse this same
viciousness.  In the event that violence
is supposed to be common, and if some individuals merit what they get as a
result of violence, I would argue that at that point every single one of us
should just be worried about our own particular conduct; the societal impacts
are auxiliary to our individual and natural inclinations.3

 

         Specialists in
the field of criminology, psychology, education, and sociology have all been
endeavoring to comprehend the pathways to violence in which a couple of basic
perceptions develop. The initial, and most alarming, is that people, similar to
couple of different species, are unavoidably brutally violent to each other.
The real predator of the human race has always been other humans.4
The second observation is that all brutality isn’t the same. Some violence is
because of impairment due to drugs and alcohol, mental illness, revenge and
retribution and finally in the heat of the moment. How any individual comes to
the idea of committing violence is a mind boggling blend of conditions, and it
is relatively difficult to know precisely “why” for any given
demonstration of violence.  We do however
understand that not all people are violent by nature and that some societies in
the world are more violent than others. It is because of this, that we are able
to objectively view violence as a whole and its impact in the world.5

 

         This brings me
to my main argument if violence is justifiable. 
One of the main things one would need to look at is philosopher Hannah
Arendt in her work On Violence, where
she takes a separate stance on the notions of power, force, and authority by
placing them in their own categories and defining them as individual
entities.  She would label power in
violence the ability to take a certain action, a violent force of the energy
being exerted by the group and the violence itself as the opposition of said
power.6  As I said before about the contextually of
violence, it still is far too vague for us to perceive.  At whatever point an individual or a group is
the unfortunate victim of an act of violence, they are surely being abused in a
certain type of way. Particularly there are inalienable rights we as people
take to be basic human rights which are disregarded; those rights are that over
one’s own body (i.e. the privilege to have one’s own body) and that of
autonomous independence.  In this way
when somebody is the gambit of violence, they are either having their body or
their self-governance damaged, or in some cases, both.

 

         As I have
previously argued, violence can materialize in various distinctive ways. It
could, without much of a stretch, be demonstrated that violence can be
characterized into four various types dependent of two criteria. Violence can
be personal or it can be institutional, and can be either obvious or secretive.
Individual or personal violence alludes to those actions which are directed at
specific people. These can be actions spurred by anger, passion, jealousy or
greed and can come with an entire host of different expectations. Interpersonal
violence is somewhat exponentially different in relation to institutionalized
violence in which it is an act that is directed at specific communities of
individuals.

 

         Some could
argue that violence is never justifiable. 
The main idea could be seen by some taking a philosophical approach to
the idea that all violence is justified if the person claims that it is. An
example of this could be the use of the 1940’s and the rise of Nazism.  Everyone can agree that overt violence is and
always will be justifiable otherwise, we’d all be speaking Deutsch and it would
probably be like an episode of The Man in
the High Castle.  It would be said
that it places civilization on a slippery slope on determining what makes it
constitutes justification.  The logic
stems from quite possibly Immanuel Kant’s universality theory in that, if it is
good for all than it is good.  In some
examples, violence is not justified and therefore under the universalization
law, no violence is ever justified. 

 

         It is my
theory that you cannot have a universal law as the standard to determine that
if violence is justified, it is always justified and if there is one way it is
not, then no violence is justified.  For
me, it seems that when looking at the question about justifying violence, we
need to look deeper into the ethics and the circumstances.  I am well aware that this also comes down to
too many different variables as everyone perceives things differently.  As there are also so many different moral
theories such as Kantian, utilitarianism, etc. it is hard to say which is right.  Universally, does having this moral backing
make us morally less violent in society? 
Life in itself is not merely black and white but is constantly in a
state of gray.  But, we must also remember
that gray is the byproduct of black and white together.  To create the gray area, you need both to
white and black to exist; therefore, it can also be said that as both white and
black are two distinct colors in themselves that when combined make the shade
of gray, the justification or lack thereof of violence are also likewise the
two distinct actions/behaviors which result from a myriad of situations.

 

         I’d like to
give an example of when I feel an act of violence is justified.  The scenario will be loosely based on my
training and experience of being a law enforcement officer.  While patrolling my assigned area, I am
dispatched to a possible domestic violence incident call (one that happens
fairly regularly).  For the sake of the
example, let’s say that this is the first time I am responding to the residence
and the info that I was provided was that an argument is pursuing.  When I arrive, I find a man physically
beating his spouse and promptly use the proper use of force continuum as
dictated by the FBI.  Unfortunately, the
situation escalates and I am forced to discharge my primary weapon killing
him.  There will be those that feel what
I should’ve done in my situation would be to try to subdue him by less lethal
means or worse yet, try shooting him in an extremity. My response to that is
fairly simple. While yes, we are trained to shoot and to do so well, the
probability of hitting that target is much harder especially in a stressful
environment with adrenaline pumping. It is much easier to hit a larger, center
mass target than one that is smaller and moving. Also, an officer is personally
responsible for every single round that is fired from his weapon. None of us as
officers want to bear the thought that while attempting to neutralize a
dangerous threat, we miss and either wound or kill someone in our line of fire. 

 

         The example I
have given, while fairly simple, shows how violence can be justified.  The violence that I had employed to defend
not only innocents around me, but also to keep myself safe from harm, I had
used the proper use of escalation that the circumstances permitted me, and the
violence that I used was proportional to the force needed to stop the threat.7  It is that criteria, that I firmly believe
that you could find my gray area in which violence can be justified.  For the ones that say nay, that situation
could possibly have resulted in the injury or death of someone and it was
because of my own action of violence, that helped prevent a tragedy.

 

         I would also
like to show a secondary example but this time as political violence.  Sinn Féin is the political party of the
Republic of Ireland and strives to have a united Ireland free of British rule.  It was well documented that before the Easter
Rising of 1916, protestants had widely oppressed Irish Catholics.  Feeling that only violence was needed to stop
this, a few men took up arms against Parliamentary rule to claim Ireland as
free.  While this could be widely
debated, the fact remains that if it wasn’t for the the act of war for independence,
Ireland would not be a free state today.8

 

         As a whole
society, one could only hope that violence starts to fade away (and some
statistics suggest as such9).  However, we need to be realistic in the idea
that we still possess violent traits and tendencies.  Violence is simply just man recreating
himself and there is a general inclination for all men to desire some type of
power in life.  However, when violence is
warranted, it must be considered merciful and appropriate.  Philosophers, possibly including myself,
rarely claim that there is an intrinsic value to human life.  Kant would suggest that we should all treat
others “as ends and not as mere means” which suggests that we value others as
they are.10  By revaluating the ethics behind actions and
looking at the morality of society, we can determine what needs to be changed
to lead to less violence.  The fact that violence
is a never ending spiral, also makes it it’s very weakness.  Until then, great men will be forged in fire
as it is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.