Drilling down to the root cause of institutional violence


We have had institutional violence involving assault weapons, rifles, pistols, knives, hatchets and arson. One approach to dealing with these issues would require the banning of assault weapons, rifles, pistols, knives, hatches and matches.

Let us not forget the collegiate hazing death caused by the forced ingestion of alcohol. By the above analogy, the remedy would entail elimination of all alcohol and/or the elimination of hazing as well.

We live in a grossly materialistic society that can only address symptoms with little ability to determine causes. Consequently, solutions to problems focus on addressing the effects whether in societal issues, international relations or medical matters. Other solutions exist, and they will receive discussion later.

First, let’s look at an America devoid of institutional violence, the America of my childhood.

During the Great Depression, people were materially poor and had many incentives to be violent. In addition to the pervasive poverty, the mafia was in its heyday, the names of their chieftains were household words, and assault weapons proliferated society. How did “Machine Gun Kelly” get his nickname?

Yet, school and institutional violence were unheard of. Security as a major business or vocation did not exist. Schools and businesses were accessible to all.

As a third-grader living in Queens, I had come home with a straight-A report card, and my mother gave me a nickel to take to the subway to go to my father’s restaurant in Manhattan to show it to him. How often do you see an 8-year-old traveling the subways alone today?

People felt safe and secure, and institutional violence did not exist. What did we do differently then?

To answer that question, let’s take a look at the characteristics of natural societies. Historically, natural and stable societies require spiritual awareness, gender understanding and family focus.

All indigenous societies including Africa, the Americas and the Pacific islanders had such values and practices.

The Americas of my childhood was such a society. People went to their houses of worship regularly, whether on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. There was recognition that men provided the environment and means (including the ethics necessary for the development of moral behavior) for women to bring forth life and nurture it. 

All life centered around the family.

Children were taught to address all adults as “mister” and “ma’am.” There was a respect for all members of society. 

People were poor, but we didn’t feel poor because we had the security of the family, and the values that it inculcated in us. 

Our primary entertainment consisted of visiting family and close friends. Marriages and baptisms were major events. The propagation and preservation of the species was the major activity of society.

Today we live a grossly materialistic lifestyle. Spiritual awareness has disappeared, even among the clergy. Gender understanding does not exist. The family structure has all but passed.

The mayor of New York is lauded for having a school system that takes in 3-year-olds — children that age need to be with their mothers from whom they will receive nurturing love, instead of the “care” given by the state. 

We care for livestock, and they are not doing well.

Getting back to institutional violence, have you heard any studies of the perpetrators of this violence? What kind of home life did they have? Were they nurtured? Were they guided?

We live in a self-indulgent society with material objectives and morally bereft values. The natural consequence is violence.

Increasingly restrictive and punitive laws will not improve society, they will only add to its enslavement. Ethical values and the moral structure that they create will improve society, and these values are taught in the home.

George Silos,