Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Violence and Voice

I am looking at the Boston Marathon Bombing and the role that social media has played in the events and I find thoughts and questions swimming around in my mind.
Why would anybody do something like this? I of course have been trained at least to a certain extent to analyze these kinds of things without emotion overwhelming my thoughts and to look in particular directions for answers. Is it because an individual felt powerless to be heard? Was it just a random act to demonstrate how powerful they are? Was it even an individual at all maybe it was an organization with an organized agenda?
I doubt I would make a very good investigator. I am more interested in the rational theory rather than in gathering the evidence although I find the process interesting.
Was there a purpose to this? Did they think that they could force people to change to do whatever it was that they wanted?
Social media gives us the opportunity to voice an opinion that may not otherwise get heard. Why couldn’t the bomber or bombers have just spoken out in a rational and nonviolent way? Was this type (Social Media) of opportunity to create change not sufficient? Social Media is developing to an incredibly powerful platform for change.
What drives a person to the tools of violence instead of other tools? Our society will never be free of violence I imagine but are we making a dent in the number of violent acts?
To help answer this question I went to Google a search engine and arguably a form of social media. I asked it for trends in violence per capita. It in turn sent me to Wikipedia which directed me to an article from Steven Pinker of Harvard University (an institution dedicated to educating individuals in a social environment). His work, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Viking, 2011) postulates that violence is indeed on the decline and gives supporting evidence.
One idea that feeds this is that we are in a social society with strong government with a monopoly on violence being the norm. In other words it is more beneficial in society for those with a less violent nature, the nurture debate. Conversely we can also see that there is conceptually an argument there that would support the idea of the nature debate as well and perhaps even the evolution debate.
To bring my ramblings back around to the issue of social media, it may be that we are evolving to a higher level of  need for social connections and an ability to reach deeper into our organizations with an ability to effect change. Social media allows us to reach farther and more broadly than ever before. I can’t see it myself but maybe someday we will be able to end violence as we become more and more connected to each other.
I don’t know why or what exactly was the motivation was but I can say that the opportunity is there to be heard if you are willing to connect.

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