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Discussion – Societal Violence

Discussion – Societal Violence

Some cultures tend to be more violent when compared to others. The hunter-gatherers were intrinsically more violent than the agrarian communities and were also less forgiving. This is because their resources were scarce and protection of the same was important for survival. Where interactions between hostile external groups did not seem to be resolved, they were forced to reconcile for the purpose of survival. If they failed to reconcile, the divided group had minimal chances of defending itself, while a member who was ostracized was likely to be murdered by enemies. Violence can be categorized as intrastate violence, mass killings, or genocides.

Societal violence does not end because families are in some form of conflict every 16 minutes, on average. When parents do not resolve the conflict but instead choose to use force or coercion, children learn through observation and grow up to be violent-prone individuals in society. Military and political leaders lead violent conflict while the soldiers do the actual killing. The party that initiates violence is likely to win the war. Training soldiers using fear can trigger violence, revenge, and retribution.

Track one diplomacy involves the efforts made by officials to create peace on agreements and on paper between appointed leaders and governments, negotiated peace, and cease-fires. It rarely brings peace and often only restores the lack of hostility. Track two diplomacy involves opinion leaders who come together to hear each other out on the offense, hurt, and pain each experience and forge a will to reconcile. It is based on rationality and not the ability to reconcile. Track three diplomacy follows track two diplomacy, where opinion leaders attempt to influence opinions on their home ground. Opinion leaders work together with their constituency members to bring change in attitudes that maintain and foster reconciliation and peace.

Sydney Aiello, a nineteen-year-old former student at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a survivor of the shooting that took place at the school on 14th February 2018, committed suicide. Her parents said that she suffered from PTSD and survivor’s guilt. She shot herself in the head and died instantly. In applying the three principles, Aiello should have sought spiritual counsel from a spiritual leader specifically from a Christian church. Spiritual counsel would have helped her realize that it was God’s mercy and purpose for her life to survive the mass shooting rather than feel guilty about surviving. The school should have taken responsibility for reducing the internal tension that was experienced by the mass shooting survivors by employing specially trained counselors who have experience in dealing with victims’ families and survivors of mass shootings. To pursue peace, the school and the families, as well as the community, could have petitioned for the illegalization of ownership of firearms.  When persons are allowed to own firearms and yet are irresponsible in their use, it spells a recipe for danger and mass shootings, as witnessed in the MSD high school.


Worthington Jr, E. L. (2013). A just forgiveness: Responsible healing without excusing injustice. InterVarsity Press.


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Discussion - Societal Violence

Discussion – Societal Violence

Read Chapters 9 and 10.
1. Explain the origins and types of societal violence
2. Explain the reasons why societal violence does not end, base yourself mainly on arguments from the book.
3. Explain the key elements of Track One, Track Two, and Track Three diplomacy.
4. Chapter 10 of Worthington’s book applies the following three principles to live a just forgiveness: 1) Seek God, 2) Take
responsibility for reducing tension 3) Pursue pathways to peace. He applies this to all relationships: with the Divine, with the World, the Community, the interpersonal, and the individual.
Find a situation in the news and apply these three principles.

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