All too often in our society today, violence is used as an easy out. Many people turn to violence to get what they want as quickly and stress-free as possible. This idea is a very dangerous one and seldom achieves any positive long term results. It can be seen throughout history that violence begets more violence in almost every instance. Take gang violence for example: when a member of a gang is killed, it is the automatic reaction of the dead gang member’s gang to seek revenge for their member’s death. And when revenge is taken, the tables flip and the actions repeat, thus the perpetual cycle of violence begins and becomes increasingly more difficult to end with each violent act. This example of the cycle of violence can be translated to almost any circumstance where violence has been implemented to solving a problem.
The most current and widespread example of violence’s effects can be seen with the September 11 terrorist attacks. These attacks immediately sparked strong emotions in the American public. Some felt fear, others sadness, and still others pain, but eventually all of these emotions turned to anger and the instinctive desire for revenge. The country was whipped into frenzy with almost the entire population wanting revenge for what had been done to their country. No one cared who or where, everyone just wanted a focal point to channel their anger towards. Unfortunately, the Middle Eastern country of Iraq was the sacrificial lamb chosen by U.S. officials. The government of the United States convinced almost every American that by invading Iraq they would be getting their well-deserved revenge against the terrorists. In addition, they convinced many they were doing the world a favor by eliminating Saddam Hussein and his reign of terror. Little did everyone know on March 20, 2003 as the U.S. army marched into Iraq, what a long and bloody road to ‘victory’ it would be.
As we sit here almost 6 years later, few would refute the idea that this ‘War on Terror’ was a mistake. The war has not stopped violence; it as merely escalated it, especially in the country of Iraq. The country of Iraq will need decades to recover from the atrocities the U.S. has brought down upon them, and once they finally do, I can’t imagine they will have a very good opinion of the United States or its people. Thus the cycle continues with no end in sight.
Today it is critical that the American people realize that violence is never the quick and easy solution. In our society of instant gratification, it is so difficult for many to look down the road and see possible consequences, but everyone needs to see that the only sure result of violence is more violence. People must recognize that it is not cowardly to refuse to respond to violence with violence. It may be difficult, but responding without the use of violence is the only way to ensure lasting peace in our world.