Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When Violence Is Uncalled For

Violence is always uncalled for. No matter what someone says, or does, violence is always uncalled for.

I have been picked on in school when I was younger. I was always beaten, and always abused, both verbally and physically. Everyone has dealt with bullies once or twice in their life, but they seemed to attract around me like flies to a light.

My stepdad, Piry used to tell me to man up. He used to tell me to work out, and fight back. This animalistic ritual of fighting is never the answer. Yes, it might get one bully off your back, but losing your civilized mind, to become like an animal, and giving into those animalistic feelings, are not worth it.

So if someone were to tell me Puerto Ricans were statistically lazy, or statistically more violent than white people, I'd agree. First of all the statistics are true. Puerto Ricans are more likely to join gangs, and less likely to have good jobs for long periods of time. It is all true, there is nothing to argue. I am Puerto Rican, and I am not like that, but that doesn't mean there isn't a trend, so I do not get upset. When they shout those statistics, I am confident in saying I am an outlier, and it makes me happy.

However some people are not so happy when they hear the facts. They start screaming racism, and resorting to violence, and thus, they perpetuate the things that are said about them. Instead of saying "Oh, I will show them", and going out and getting a college degree, and a good job, they get upset and act like animals, and become violent, or threaten violence. WHY??? WHY??? WHY???

In life I have fought to defend myself physically. That is the only time it is okay to be violent. When your life is in danger. It is not okay to be violent when someone calls me a spic, and not okay to be violent when someone says I am no good, or lazy, even if these things are not true. I do not feel the need to beat people up who shout out stupidities.

But I do think there is a problem when other people feel the need to get violent, or to threaten violence. Words should never lead to violence. Sticks and stones, remember?

If I am saying something, and we are having a discussion, no one should ever tell me to shut up or they will slap me. This urge to violence, this compulsion, this pent up emotion expressing itself in physical form is juvenile, and anyone who gives into it is setting their people back thousands of years.

A few days ago, I was mugged. They took some food I brought at a grocery store, and I didn't fight back. The people who resorted to violence against me, set themselves back. They became a statistic to add into a long line of statistics. But most of all, they showed the difference between them and me. I have gotten into heated discussions in high school and in college, but I never felt the need to harm another person.

Biophilia is the love of living things. I have biophilia, and so I became a biologist. I grow orchids, and geckos in my house, and I feel strange in NYC, where I am not constantly surrounded by trees, or birds. I am comfortable in my life, and my love of life. And just because I am an easy target for people with less than good intentions, does not mean there is anything wrong with me, or that I need to "Man Up". My stepfather was wrong, and now he is in jail, another statistic, paying for the consequences of his actions.

I wonder if people who have the "Man Up" mentality aren't setting themselves up for failure. Instead of getting strong physically to intimidate people into giving you what you want, how about being different than what the statistics say you should be? How about going to college, and then getting a job, and not losing that job? How about, instead of "Manning Up", you grow up, and live in a civilized world, where survival of the fittest doesn't apply because everyone is well fed and thus surviving? (at least this is the case throughout most of America).

Most homeless people are starving, and not even they have the survival of the fittest mentality. They walk through the train stations asking for food, and donations so they can get something to eat. And yes, many of them have mental problems or vices, but they do not resort to intimidation or violence to survive. Meanwhile, other people feel the need to resort to these tactics to obtain something less than survival, like a new pair of shoes or a coat. Why is this so? What is going on in these peoples heads? And why is such behavior more prevalent in some races than in others?

It may be cultural or socio-economic, but the truth is, no matter what the reason is, it is wrong. Violence, unless it is an attempt to defend yourself is always wrong. It is wrong to be violent against your family, against the people you disagree with, and even against the people who are out to get you. This is 2010, and we have cell phones, and the internet, and have put a man on the moon, and have found out how to get energy from the sun. Either join society, or go to the jungle and act like an animal. But don't terrorize society because you can't control your emotions and have a grudge. And certainly don't blame society for your obvious shortcomings. For your inability to control your anger, or your emotions. For your overreactions to mere words. Society doesn't need to Man Up. YOU need to Grow Up.

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