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Societal or Personal Change to Curb Violence
by michael swenson
04/19/07
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Societal or Individual Change to Curb Violence?

In our neck of the woods, in Idaho, we had a security type of alert when a parent wore a T shirt saying Columbine, Virginia Tech and than the name of a school in Emmet Idaho. I know its against the law to threaten someone by words or by gestures but T shirts. Do T shirts have first amendment rights? Caps in the schools can be a controversy because of gang association and have been outlawed many places. There are pros and cons here but I am afraid we are missing the point as a society and a culture.

If you look back at another tragic episode of violence, Timothy McVey, the bomber of the Oklahoma City Federal building was wearing a provocative T shirt the day of the crime. It had an expression that went “The tree of Liberty is watered by blood.” In case you aren’t familiar, it was said by another American radical, Thomas Jefferson—the writer of Declaration of Independence. What did he mean by that? I don’t know if anybody knows for sure but there is a difference between this T shirt and the one in Emmet Idaho.

People knew Thomas Jefferson. Creative people were just a little bit that way and he was not a threat to prosecute mayhem on the population at large. Over and over again, you will find these killers like at Virginia Tech and Timothy McVey described as someone that no one knew. What would have happened if someone really cared to find out about these people? Would they have been able to ask the question, is what I am doing the right thing? Even a statement, I am afraid of your ideas and where you are going. Can we get help, together.

We would like to absolve ourselves of any kind of guilt in situations like this. Regardless of who we are, we all know hurt people and when you get right down to it, HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE, and there is only way to help them. That is forgiveness. The one that holds on to unforgiveness is always hurt and that hurt can deepen into disaster on a community level, in our families and just around the water cooler. Where are we going as a society? It will depend if we really and truly care for others.


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