The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Curbing Violent Speech to Promote Peace

What we say about each other matters. What we say to each other makes a difference. Who we choose to listen to, watch, and respond to can have a huge impact on how we behave. If we live off a diet of anger, hatred, violent language, vicious stories that all end with problems solved with a bullet, stereotyping, and anger, our perspective will in time become warped so badly that in a moment of crisis we will say or act in ways that are wrong, dangerous, and even deadly. Live on a diet of terror and war rumors, we end up militarizing our police forces ... really "a war on drugs" was supposed to be a metaphor guys.

As far as "free speech" goes, that freedom is tempered with responsibility. I have been seeing far too much free speech with far too little responsibility for the consequences being aired on conservative news and opinion shows in relation to the terrible events unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri. I am deeply ashamed of all the white faces that have been smearing people with all sorts of negative stereotypes and false accusations, all the while looking smug, self righteous, and furious. In reality, they prove themselves to be clueless and dangerously deluded. I have no idea if they believe the bile they spill or if it is just a paycheck to them. However, when things continue to go wrong and the violence escalates, none of them better come back sniveling that "it was only entertainment and no one should have taken me seriously." That doesn't fly. There are far too many damaged minds out there who do take that steady diet of hatred seriously. They eventually arm themselves and commit atrocities based on what they heard. Check out the recent declaration of the KKK, who feel comfortable in this climate of hate to head for Ferguson to "protect the police." 

Further, when people hear this constant drumbeat of hatred, they begin to think of themselves as victims or soon-to-be victims. Then they become timid. This leads to situations where a Philadelphia park ranger asks three kids skateboarding on the stairs in Love Park (illegal) to stop. One knocks down and beats the ranger, kicking him several times in the head, while onlookers watch timidly and do nothing. Nothing except film the event that is. This has to stop. The assailant was unarmed and outnumbered ... yet nothing was done to restrain him.

We have a responsibility to each other. We must stop spreading violence, hatred, and fear with what we say. We must do better to spread peace. We must speak out against hate speech as well. We must civilly let people know we will not tolerate such poison being spread around us. We need to speak responsibly and encourage others to do so. Otherwise, in an effort to promote our first amendment rights without forethought, we will continue to poison each other, view the world with increasing suspicion, and become so frightened we lash out with excessive force at every perceived threat.

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