Butigan's article begins by noting the violent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and our responses to it. But he describes how that event could be the tipping point for fostering larger changes in U.S. attitudes and behavior toward violence of any kind.
The resounding horror of what took place touches a nerve about guns, but it also may prompt a concerted exploration of the larger culture of violence in the United States. We are called by the anguish of that hushed Connecticut classroom — and by our long, baleful history of violent action—to question our belief in violence and to embark even more steadily on the path of nonviolent change in our lives and in our world.Butigan writes that such a change won't be easy. But he emphasizes that changes like he suggests have happened. He writes:
When Gandhi said nonviolence is as old as the hills, he meant this, not as a rhetorical flourish, but as a matter of the human record. Without nonviolent options violence, by its escalatory logic, would have spun irretrievably out of control. We likely would have disappeared long ago. Instead, peacemaking, peacebuilding and peacekeeping in many guises and using many tactics have neutralized that logic and spawned a saner alternative.He then gets into actions we can take to bring about this change:
So, in the aftermath of Newtown, we are nudged to smoke out our beliefs in violence and live by something else — a way of being that wagers that we can grapple with the deep frustrations of this life without resorting to inflicting harm; which peers into the fog of the chaos of human life and see that we are all irrefutably connected; and which finally recognizes that our survival depends on one another. This takes nothing more — and nothing less — than personal, communal and social moves bent on transforming fear, anger and powerlessness.Butigan's article is featured today, Dec. 21, in my online daily paper, Beyond Child's Play: Peace Now--available at the Peace Now tab above and by free email subscription.
Today's edition also features other related articles:
- It's Time for a National Conversation on Preventing Violence
- After Newtown: Shifting the Structure and Culture of Violence towards Peace.