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Violence as Commerce in the Urban Core

Based Violence for Profiton our conversation yesterday in the comments thread for my Red in Tooth and Claw: The Language of Killing article, I am curious to know your thoughts on the following matter.

Do you believe violence — as framed in the context of yesterday’s article — creates or serves as commerce in the urban core?

Is the infliction of physical suffering a necessary city commodity from which secular humanism rises?

Or does violence only eat itself by gnawing and clawing away at its inborn behavior until red is all that’s left?

Violence for Profit

Los Angeles Violence

A disturbing new Los Angeles survey of 73 middle schools and their 28,000 students suggests up to 90% of the children in those schools have been exposed to community violence.
The March 3, 2005 meeting of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) revealed the results during their annual meeting in Alexandria, Virginia.
The report goes on to explain that children who have been exposed to city violence before they reach the 6th grade have much higher rates of suspensions, absenteeism and expulsions. When those children are actually in class they do not perform well academically.
Here is more information from the report:

One-in-four American children have a significant traumatic experience by age 16. Many children suffer multiple and repeated traumas. A child exposed to a traumatic event is at risk of developing traumatic stress. Traumatic stress can seriously delay development of their brains and bodies. It can lead to depression, substance abuse, other mental health problems, acting out, educational impairment, as well as future health and employment problems.

Children who are not safe in their forming environments become adults who wound the world in the way they were wounded: If you control the child’s mind you own the adult body.
We must work to find safe passage for these children and we must discover ways to protect them from violent episodes that mark them, and us, forever to the grave.

Structural Violence and the Autonomy of Morals

by Andreas Saugstad

The world is not always as we think it is. I do believe that human beings can have a true and veridical access to external reality, but many of our opinions are shaped by our culture and social context.

I think George Bush is such a person, who lacks the ability to go beyond conventionalism, and see how the world really is. I have paid attention to Bush in the media for a while now, and he always talks tabloid, never penetrating into the deep structure of phenomena.

Structural Violence
One of those who radically differs from Bush, and always penetrates into the deep structure of political phenomena, is Johan Galtung (1930-). Norwegian scholar Johan Galtung is the founder of peace research as an academic discipline, professor at seven universities, and author of more than 50 books and 1,000 articles.

One of Galtung’s key concepts is structural violence. Often when we use the term “violence,” we think of direct or physical violence. But Galtung has seen how violence can have many faces, and that evil can exist in many subtle and evil ways. Structural violence is violence that does not hurt or kill through fists or guns or nuclear bombs, but through social structures that produce poverty, death and enormous suffering. Structural violence may be political, repressive, economic and exploitative, it occurs when the social order directly or indirectly causes human suffering and death.

Continue reading → Structural Violence and the Autonomy of Morals