That quote used in the context of the child’s slaying struck me. And now with the carnage in Paris, the Maya Angelou quote is even more poignant. It seems to me that violence is only possible when we place less value on the life of another than we hold for ourselves.
Murder, violence and atrocity whether in our back yard or across the world must give us pause and ask the question: how do I contribute to the violence? How do I de-value the life of another?
- When a driver cuts you off on the highway and you call that person a jerk in front of your children – does that contribute to an atmosphere of violence?
- When a trouble-making child acts up again in class and you send her to the office rather than look more deeply to see how she herself may be wounded – does that contribute to a sense of violence?
- When I gossip about my boss, or a competitor or a co-worker and belittle them in fun, does that contribute to violence?
- When a community is confronted – repeatedly – about the vast racial, economic and social inequality in its midst and does little to rectify it – does that contribute to violence?
- When we deny housing, health care and a living wage to those in need – are we contributing to violence?
- When we blame poverty on the victims of poverty and refuse to acknowledge the structural nature of poverty – does that contribute to violence?