On Violence

“However, we humans “belong to a club of species that kill adults at an exceptionally high rate—a small club that includes a few social and territorial carnivores such as wolves, lions and spotted hyenas. That’s worth stressing in order to avoid readers leaping to the conclusion that there is nothing surprising about human violence. Humans really are exceptional.” Humans: Unusually Murderous Mammals, Typically Murderous Primates

The article also, based on a body of scientific research, shows that humans become more violent when organized into larger and larger groups. The history of violence shows that humans were typical, average, and did not kill each other with great frequency during Paleolithic times. One in fifty is the estimate for how many people died at the had of another human. As the groupings grew in size, the level of violence increased. In the medieval era the highest rate, one in eleven deaths by human hand, was then tempered over time by increases in government and the rule of law. Today, we have reduced the rate back down considerably, but it still happens more than any of us realize.

Humans are violent, and have a violent history wherein as people begin to encounter other groups, they organized and fought over territory and resources. Eventually, things sorted out to many virtual stalemate’s between groups or nations, a rule of law and order, that keeps violence down in some places on Earth. Not all places are equal. The three nations just below Mexico have some of the highest rates of human on human violence for complex reasons. Essentially civil war wracked all three countries, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, such that all three governments are weak, and commit violence at a high rates as well. The governments allow 95% of crimes to go unpunished or unreported, creating a Wild West of drug cartels moving all the Cocaine from South America to the United States. Thus all three countries have criminal governments, and power criminal gangs and international crime syndicate relations that all three nations will not change without some serious outside help, and I’m not talking about just giving them more money. The US has been providing aid to all three countries to help with law enforcement, but the violence continues.

The USA has violence frequently because there are so many guns laying around to use. There is a heavy price to pay for bearing arms, and their is an even heavier price to pay if you own firearms and don’t handle them with the utmost caution and care. If there are children in the home, all firearms should be locked up in a safe where no child can gain access. The rash of school shootings, terrorist attacks, and the usual rate of murder, have all added to my frustration with the amount of violence that bombards us in the news. I’m a gun owner. I think we need them for when law and order, the government, fails or stops functioning for society, such as in a natural disaster. In moments like that, one’s ability to protect family and defend your property become extremely important, and nobody is going to do it for you. I’m tired of reading about idiot gun owners that let the kids get them, or accidentally kill someone while cleaning or just leaving them out.  People kill people with guns by being careless and dumb, or violent and psychopathic. Levels of violence, the rate of deaths, increase with the level of human organization. Bigger groups equal a larger chance of greater mortality by human rates.


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