The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

March 23, 2013

Flexing your muscles for the wrong reasons

Friday, March 22, 2013 — U.S. Defense Secre-tary Chuck Hagel announced on Friday that the U.S. would be beefing up security on our western borders in response to increasing threats of nuclear violence from North Korea.

I don’t know what to say about that... No, really I don’t know what to say.

I’d like to talk about how this seems like a piece of news from the Cold War, but having been born in ‘87, I don’t really have any experiences from which to speak.

So, I can only imagine this is but a snippet of what those people were feeling back then.

Obama was quoted as saying “They [North Korea] probably can’t, but we don’t like margin of error.”

That’s actually reassuring.

I doubt people felt that secure after hearing a speach by Raegan during the Cold War, but then again, technology has advanced a lot since that time.

Still, the toys are new and so are the talking heads, but there is nothing new about this response.

For years, nations and people have responded to threats and violence with yet more threats and violence: An eye for an eye, fight fire with fire.

Except we’re not talking about small bands of people fighting one another; we’re talking about millions of people and tools capable of destroying this rock we call home.

Obviously, we can’t ignore the threat, but is this the correct response?

Jesus of Nazareth would have suggested that we turn the other cheek to this threat, if not ignore it out right.

Siddhartha Gautama would have suggested a middle path, a way that leads away from violence.

We’ve gone with the Teddy Roosevelt approach and we’re looking for bigger, better sticks.

Dr. King combatted hate with love and non-violence, but how do we fight for survival without the threat of violence?

We rely on a form of violence to enforce rules on every level, from a child to the average U.S. citizen. Children are punished for wrongful actions just as adults are for breaking the law. What’s more is we live in a world where just the threat of violence is enough to keep us toeing the line.

So with the systemic threat of violence perpetually inundating every aspect our lives, how do we rise above this and figure out another way?

How do we combat this when we live with it every day?

When will we learn that violence convinces no one of a right path? It can only lead to subjugation through superior force of arms.

We live in cycles, repeating realities that are never solved because of the refusal to transcend the norms governing society as a whole.

But I, like Dr. King, have hope that one day we will figure out how to deal with the threat of violence appropriately.

It’s an age-old problem with an age-old need for a solution.

We can be the start.

To submit story ideas, contact Ian Faulkner at

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