Sabrina Reyes-Peters

On Systems of Violence & Fear

Or, This is When my Inner Anabaptist Comes Out

Some well-meaning people point at the role of guns in the most recent shootings, and say something like, "it's not a gun problem, it's a heart problem. If you take guns away, something else will be used to commit [insert grievous & violent act]. And even if legislations on guns became more restrictive, criminals still find ways around those laws. We need to be able to protect ourselves against criminals! Second Amendment!"

Okay, then, but...what do you mean by "heart"? Individual "heart"? Or group heart? This not simply about an individual's "heart problem." It is a consequence of a diseased system of thought(s), having become implanted in the gut of the US.

Sure, violence has been the first inclination of humanity since the Fall, which may indicate a "heart problem".

I also think about the fact that the US was born in part thanks to rebels and their guns. Guns represent a mark of liberty that USAmericans hold very dear. That's why the thought of restricting access to guns produces a great anxiety in many USAmerican citizens.

(Never mind the strong culture of violence that is central in this country. Violent acts are seen as an answer to a multitude of problems, and are even portrayed in many recreational activities. I can think of a few off the top of my head: paintball, hockey, video games, boxing, films.)

We could spend hours discussing the specific reasons behind the most recent violent acts. Misogyny, mental illness, patriarchy, racism, and the list goes. There are dozens of evil systems at play.

When it comes down to it, though, I think the problem is really an epidemic of fear. We worship the wrong rulers.

Think about it.

Most people are afraid of mental illness. They are afraid and ashamed, and the people suffering from it suffer even more at the hands of those who would care for them, but are instead too consumed by cultural shame. Mental illness is not simply a "heart problem", and it is more often ignored than treated.

Racism stems from a fear of different people, right?

And misogyny/patriarchy stem from a fear of power-loss. I daresay that Mr. Rodger was extremely afraid of being alone, too.

Still, there are those afraid of losing liberty. What are you most afraid of? Losing your American citizenship/identity, or your Kingdom citizenship? They're not the same. In fact, they are completely separate.

So, yes, the problem of violence we have in this country stems from a heart problem, and when I say "heart", I mean gut, or intuition. The tendency to fall back on violence is strong & quick because of fear, and so this is a gut reaction. It is a systematic gut reaction, and it is not healthy. Until fear goes away, violence will remain.