Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Revenge as a Disease

Hello, here is something a little out of the ordinary - even for The Journey of Hope usual items...but since Bill Pelke has generally given us permission to use our own creativity here, I found the quotes I heard on this radio show to be unusually relevant to our vision inviting love and compassion for all of humanity.

Of course this topic relates to whether or not to support executions and the need for prevention as well. See what you think of some of these discoveries, theories and statements and please dialogue with us and other readers by offering your own comments. Soon I hope to take the time to share some personal anecdotes, stories and concerns since among a few startling reflections & experiences. Among other items, I want to share how I've discovered I've also been a Murder Victim family member for quite awhile and didn't realize this...

I hope to keep adding more quotes and items related to this subject on this very same post...but for now, following is simply a taste of this wide and potentially healing topic. I trust this may be useful for your own discussions with family, students, groups of all kinds as well as any talks you do and your own journaling and personal reflections.

For now, I need to make an omelet for a wonderful kid all grown up who has been a murder victim family member since 2000...

Connie, blogger here...


Revenge as a Disease - Do try to hear the whole (you will hear several references to the death penalty therein)

To Listen Go Here

Also see what this award winning radio program has been blogging this past week:blogged about in the past week:» A Poet of Love & Hate & Forgiveness & Revenge - Poet Marie Howe gets to "the war within us between light and shadow" ; Singing about Revenge and Forgiveness (Our intern draws upon music suggestions as she reflects on global reaction to U.S. politics.): The Movie Montage That Didn't Make the Cut - Cinematic moments of revenge that failed to make the final edit; "'A Change Came Over Me'" The story of a woman whose son was murdered, and her struggle to end the cycle of violence in north Minneapolis (also find this one a few days ago on this weblog)

From the program...

In the May 4, 2008 edition of The New York Times Magazine, Alex Kotlowitz wrote about Cease Fire, an organization that treats inner-city violence like a disease. They employ former gang members as "violence interrupters," people who intervene in potentially violent disputes.

Cease Fire's founder, Gary Slutkin, is an epidemiologist and a physician who for 10 years battled infectious diseases in Africa:

"For violence, we're trying to interrupt the next event, the next transmission, the next violent activity," Slutkin told me recently. "And the violent activity predicts the next violent activity like H.I.V. predicts the next H.I.V. and TB predicts the next TB." Slutkin wants to shift how we think about violence from a moral issue (good and bad people) to a public health one (healthful and unhealthful behavior).

Michael McCullough wrote a letter to the editor about the article, explaining why he disagreed with the analogy between violence and infectious disease:

Before laws, police, and courts protected individual interests, we had revenge. When social disadvantage and social pressure conspire to alienate people from those institutions today, people return to revenge for self-protection. And neuroscience shows that vengeful feelings arise from normal brain processes: Feeling vengeful after victimization shows that your mind works the way it should, not that you're in the throes of an illness.

In one study, led by Filippo Aureli of the University of Rome, researchers observed a group of 37 Japanese macaques at the Rome Zoo. They wanted to figure out why macaques who lose fights sometimes attack the blood relatives of their aggressors. New Scientist magazine reported that the "majority of cases (74 percent) occurred brazenly, within sight of the former aggressor. Aureli thinks this boldness reveals the function of such 'kin-directed revenge'. If an aggressor is forced to witness a group attack on one of its more vulnerable relatives, it may in the future think twice before attacking its former victim."

Well there's a lot more to post here about this but I've got to go make that Omelet...give the program a listen & let's talk soon...

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