Why They Resort to Violence
A BABY, a 27-week-old premature infant, was born in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. The boy survived, and after three months in the hospital, he was returned home to his parents. Three weeks later, the boy was back in the hospital. Why? He had suffered massive brain injury from a violent shaking by his father. The father could not stand the baby’s crying. The little boy was left blind and disabled. Modern medicine had saved him from the trauma of his birth but could not save him from his father’s violence.
Innumerable children are abused, battered, or killed in one of the most violent places on earth—the home! Some estimate that as many as 5,000 children a year die at the hands of their parents in the United States alone! And children are not the only victims. According to World Health magazine, “wife abuse is the leading cause of injury among women of reproductive age” in the United States. What of other lands? “One-third to over half of women surveyed [in developing countries] report being beaten by their partner.” Yes, violence is taking its toll, especially in the home.
Many husbands and wives try to settle their disagreements with violence. In some countries, parents and teachers use violence to take their anger out on children. For sheer amusement, bullies pick on weaker ones, subjecting them to violence. Why do humans get so violent?
Why People Become Violent
Some claim that humans are violent by nature. While violent crime in general has decreased in the United States, it has increased among youths. And interest in violence has increased. The three major television networks doubled the number of crime stories and tripled their coverage of murders. Yes, crime sells! “We not only tolerate violence,” said psychiatrist Karl Menninger, “we put it on the front pages of our newspapers. One-third or one-fourth of our television programs use it for the amusement of our children. Condone! My dear friends, we love it.”
Recent scientific studies suggest that both brain biology and the environment have much to do with human aggression. “What we are all beginning to conclude is that the bad environments that more and more children are being exposed to are, indeed, creating an epidemic of violence,” says Dr. Markus J. Kruesi of the University of Illinois Institute for Juvenile Research. “Environmental events are really causing molecular changes in the brain that make people more impulsive.” Such factors as “the collapse of the family structure, the surge in single parenting, persistent poverty, and chronic drug abuse can actually tip brain chemistry into an aggressive mode—an effect that was once thought impossible,” says the book Inside the Brain.
The changes in the brain, it is claimed, include the lowering of the level of serotonin, a brain chemical that is thought to keep aggression at bay. Studies reveal that alcohol can lower the level of serotonin in the brain, thereby giving some scientific basis for the long-known link between violence and the abuse of alcohol.
Still another factor is involved in the surge in violence today. “Remember,” alerts a trusted book of prophecy, the Bible, that “there will be difficult times in the last days. People will be selfish, greedy, boastful, and conceited; . . . they will be unkind, merciless, slanderers, violent, and fierce; they will hate the good; they will be treacherous, reckless, and swollen with pride . . . Keep away from such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, Today’s English Version) Yes, the violence we see today is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy about “the last days.”
Something else makes this an especially violent time. “Woe for the earth and for the sea,” says the Bible, “because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” (Revelation 12:12) The Devil and his demon hordes have been cast out of heaven and are now concentrating their malevolence upon mankind. As “the ruler of the authority of the air,” the Devil manipulates “the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience,” making the earth an increasingly violent place.—Ephesians 2:2.
How, then, can we cope with the violent “air” of the world today? And how can we resolve differences without violence?
[Blurb on page 3]
Innumerable children are abused, battered, or killed in one of the most violent places on earth—the home!