• Charles A. Smith

Can caring be violent?


Putting the words “caring” and “violent” together may seem contradictory. My son is in law enforcement. At one time he was in charge of a state SWAT team. He is a deeply caring person trained to use violence if necessary to protect others. In a hostage situation he wouldn't show up with a bouquet of flowers.

After the horror of Columbine, we talked about the response of law enforcement who had operated with rules of engagement that dictated caution and closing down the school perimeter before taking action. This reticence had a tragic outcome.

One of the teachers who was shot had barricaded himself and students in their classroom. He was in continuous outside contact with the police over the phone. Even knowing that he was shot, police failed to enter the building, letting fear and caution control their action (thinking inaccurately that the shooters had wired explosives throughout the school). They followed their rules. The result: the teacher bled to death in the arms of his students.

My son told me that this event contributed to a national change in SWAT rules of engagement. Now rules of engagement advise moving immediately to the shooter.

I think any discussion of violence has to be done with its context in mind. Although some people want us to live peacefully in a Garden of Eden, I think we need to protect ourselves (and be protected) from evil people who are indifferent to the suffering they want to inflict. Obviously, using a violent response to achieve a goal is a last resort, one that carries immense responsibility.

If someone tried to highjack my car at a red light and pull me out with my granddaughters in the back seat, I would fight with all the ferocity I could muster. No pleas to reason or begging for mercy. My cane would always be in reach. There are some things worth fighting for if we care enough.

#violence #helping #community

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© 2019 by Charles A. Smith. Proudly created with Wix.com

My email:

casmith@ksu.edu

My location: 

Olathe, Kansas

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