“I do not see why man should not be just as cruel as nature.” -Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)

violence n: exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse. -Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary

Hitler was wrong. Nature is neither cruel nor kind. Nature is neutral — indifferent one might say.

Yet, cruelty and violence are common bedfellows. Then again, so are living and violence.

“‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:31

Many speak against violence while indulging in it religiously. Love your neighbor? A lofty precept, indeed. The fact, however, is that most murders involve persons who know each other, including neighbors. Thirty percent involve familial members. Thirty percent of the victims are children.

The following is based upon actual events:
Mary lived alone. Another workday had arrived, so off she went. Closing the door to her apartment, she turned the lock then headed one flight down the stairwell towards the garage of the apartment-complex.

Clear and sunny. Warm. Just another workday for the 24-year-old, banking teller — or was it?

Upon entering the garage, she recognized a neighbor — an affable-appearing, late-adolescent. Had she ever known it, she could not recall his name. She also recognized the object fiercely gripped in his trembling, left hand — an axe.

He advanced. She retreated. He raised the axe. She screamed.

Mary had no defense against her assailant. Truly, she owned a firearm with which she was minimally proficient, but the law in her State prohibited her from carrying such a weapon.

Being defenseless against a homicidal maniac generates one of three behavioral responses — fighting, fleeing, or freezing. Automatically without thinking, she fled.

Her 17-year-old assailant, Roger, was an only child residing with his parents in the complex. He was an honor-student in the local high school with no criminal record. In fact, no history of violent behavior, whatsoever. Tending to be something of a loner, he, nevertheless, was reasonably well liked by peers and teachers.

Now in the garage, Roger entered into a not-so-merry chase with his intended victim as she screamed, “Help! Help me! Help me, someone!”

Bolting from the semi-enclosure into the driveway, Mary became an easy target. Panic-stricken, she stumbled, falling to the pavement.

Trapped. Eyes shut. Breath held. Mary awaited a violent death.

It was not to be. As Roger was about to release his lethal strike, a voice boomed, “Drop the axe, sonny, or I’ll blow your head off.”

A short, slender man of middle-age stood before Roger, pointing a .38-caliber revolver at the teen’s head. It contained deadly, high-speed hollow-points. Clearly, the man meant business — violent business in defense of the proverbial damsel in distress.

“Put down that axe, I said — now! Now!”

Slowly, Roger set his weapon onto the concrete. The axe was no match for a pistol.

The three actors in this scene of attempted murder remained stationary. Roger and Mary’s savior with a gun remained silent. She sobbed.

From the distance, sirens. The police.

Upon seeing the their cars approaching, Mary’s savior slid his weapon into the side-pocket of his trousers. He wanted neither to be shot by some overly-anxious policeman nor to be arrested himself.

Squeezing out of his cruiser, a middle-aged, pot-bellied sergeant took charge. Then, having heard the details, he arrested Roger, later charging the youth with attempted murder; a crime that potentially carried a sentence of life in prison. The next morning, a judge released him for admission to the locked unit of a psychiatric hospital, pending trial.


“Thou shalt not murder.” -Exodus 20:13

Murder. The ultimate form of violence.

It can occur on an individual scale, usually between acquaintances, friends, neighbors, or spouses. It can occur on a societal scale as perfected by Hitler and his Nazis, who encountered little difficulty finding willing and enthusiastic accomplices and unwilling but compliant victims.

Factors predisposing towards violence are both biological and environmental. Biological factors can be genetic or acquired.

The neuroanatomy of violence may involve the frontal lobe; the anterior, cingulate gyrus; the temporal lobe, and the limbic system. Violence as a function of a lesion in the brainstem usually is the consequence of a tumor.

The neurochemistry of violence may involve low level of serotonin, low or high level of norepinepherine; high level of dopamine; or high activity of GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid), the last a consequence of an excessive number of related receptors.

Environmental factors predisposing towards violence are a bit more complex but still not difficult to understand. For purposes herein, basically they can be characterized as a function of context and consequences ( They include over-crowding, poor parenting, maltreatment, modeling, generalization, and social reinforcement.

Science and the Daily Racing Form say, “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”

Violent behavior is no exception to this rule. Those with a history of violence in the past are more likely to acquire a history of violence in the future.

Temperament offers powerful indicators.  They include aggressiveness, impulsiveness, intolerance of criticism, intolerance of frustration, projection of blame wrongfully onto others, and sel-centeredness.

Mental illness — a predictor of violence? Yes with certain provisions. Not all mental illnesses are associated with violence. Mental conditions associated with violence include anti-social personality disorder, depression especially with psychotic features, homosexual panic, mental retardation, mania in a context of limits being set, and schizophrenia especially with paranoid features such as delusions and hallucinations.

See “Schizophrenia & Government” at .

Who tends to be violent? Adolescents and young adults. Males. Drug-abusers. Negroes. The mentally ill. Contrary to the never-ending bleating of those who best might be termed “Radical Maternalists” and their ilk, it has been documented for two generations that poverty itself is not a controlling factor in criminal behavior, which frequently includes violence.

See “Truth & Consequences” at .

“You get a lot further with a smile and a gun than with a smile alone.” -Al Capone (1899-1947)

Protection against violence comes at two levels — individual and societal. Such protection is highly context-specific, varying from nation to nation and from locality to locality.

In closing, let us note that the agents most prone to violence are governments. During World War Two, it is estimated that more people were killed by their own governments than by enemies.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke (1729-1787)

Accordingly, as was well known to the Founding Fathers of these United States of America, the greatest threat of violence to us as citizens comes from government — our own government that now, in a context of no declared wars, has assumed the prerogative of murdering American citizens who have not been convicted of any crime, even have not been charged with any crime, and have not been arrested for any crime. Forewarned is forearmed.


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