A History of Violence: a reflection on our society


 
I have been paying little attention to the news, or the journalists underline the bad in the world and forget about all the good, but the impression I have nowadays is that our world is full of violence, and we have no more place to repress it.
 

Two of the most beautiful cities in Italy, if not in the whole world, have been the set of two tragedies in very little days earlier this month.
 
The first one happened in Rome, and is the death of a teenager by the hand of his own best friend. The kid, tired of always offering cigarettes to his friend, pointed out he was unceasingly begging for something to smoke. He may have told it as a joke, but the push was fatal anyway. As far as I know his friend has not committed suicide, thing that has been done, on the contrary, by the protagonist of the second event.
 
This time we are in Florence, and we find a supporter of an extremist right-wing political party. He shot at a market, killed two Senegalese men and seriously wounded other three.Then took away his life. I wish I could say they are the only episodes of this kind in the world, but they are not.
 
People don’t always die, but the number of violent episodes is overall high enough to require that we all stop and face the problem. There is plenty of material to almost make even a sceptical like me believe the prophecies about the advent of the Evil.
 
A History of Violence” is the title of a famous graphic novel and film adaptation. Reported words in a review about the film (published on the Chicago Sun-Times) confirmed my intuition about it. It is the history of violence of the protagonist, the history of violence of the human history and the history of violence of the Earth itself, because evolution is the law of the strongest one, of the fittest, of the one who wins over the others.
 
“Homo homini lupus est” is a very famous Latin expression that seems truer everyday, even if I am surrounded by incredibly positive personalities. One of my friends is an advocate against bullying; another one leads a ministry promoting the message of love of Christianity, which has been often neglected through centuries. Those are two of many examples, more illustrious than them. Why am I expressing this much negativity, then?
 
Because the overall impression is that our society encourages separation and individualism.
 
We stand together because only as a group we can preserve advantages for each one, and nobody wants to renounce to theirs. Even the best among us will surely have something they want to save, material or spiritual or of whichever possible nature. Maybe it is something noble that is universal, such as equal opportunities and freedom, but in the moment it is universal, it is for yourself too.
 
Milton’s words as a political preacher are as moving and poetic as his literary ones. He was a man of his time and, as such, his emphasis in his writing was about the good choices of rational men. I keep the collection of the English Republicans between 1649 and 1722 as one of my main references. Even in times like this, where I face the reign of the irrational and wonder if the human rationality is not just an illusion created by those who are not strong enough to survive otherwise.
 
I wonder what a woman who has lost her child in such an unjust way, for a cigarette worth a few cents, would think of the high ideals of those promoting the rationality of mankind. What the family of those men killed out of racism would think. What those who loved someone and lost them to the more absurd acts of violence in history, recent or remote, would think.
 
Milton in “The readie and easie way,” wrote that going back to monarchy would have debased the blood spread by those who died to install the Republic. Aren’t we debasing the life of who died to give us our liberty whenever we leave violence overcome us? Whenever we leave fear insinuate in our thoughts? Whenever someone has control over someone else’s life because it threatens their power to realize their wishes?
 
I am not saying that self-defense is wrong, of course, but there shouldn’t be a need for that.