Is Violence Against Violence Ever Justified?
Is violence against violence ever justified? Violence is justified in certain cases. In the case of self defense, humanity is biologically hardwired to use violence when it is necessary to defend their lives. In the Oxford Scholarship textbook, Are We Hardwired?: The Role of Genes in Human Behavior, the summary states the book is looking into the “role of genes in governing behavior.” This textbook summary also states that “guided by differing genetic makeups, we respond to our environment in different ways.”
When people are being attacked or threatened, there are two natural reactions in human nature. Fight or flight. To resist nonviolently will not be a natural instinct in a life or death situation. In a short article from the New York Times, 38 Who Saw Murder, Kitty Genovese was repeatedly stabbed by Winston Moseley. Genovese lacked the necessary tools to fight back against him and was not in an ideal position should she have had the tools. All she could do was scream, “Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me! Please help me!” Miss Genovese proceeded to attempt to flee from her attacker after he was acknowledged by a near-by resident and drove away, only to have him come back twice more to finish what he started. Had she made any attempt to fight back, no one would have criticized her actions and called them unjustified as she was trying to save her life.
Some people may argue that violence against violence, even in the case of self-defense, is still violence. As Martin Luther King Jr. claimed, “with nonviolent resistance, no individual or group need submit to any wrong, nor need anyone resort to violence in order to right a wrong.” Though this is true, there are attackers who are so far from a rational state of mind that reasoning with them is pointless. Should the attacker be this mentally altered and intent on causing someone possibly fatal harm, trying to reason nonviolently with them could cost that someone their life.
Human nature also tells us to either run or defend ourselves when faced with a threat. To ignore these natural instincts and attempt to reason with an attacker is the last thing on someone’s mind when adrenaline is pumping and fear is rising. There is no reason why violence, in the case of self defense is unjustified, especially when it is hardwired into each humans own genetic code.