Peace or Violence: which is right?

By: Elizabeth Nguyen

Notice: This is a revised version of my original blog post on violence. I decided to revise the post because there was little development and explanation on the counterclaim and evidence provided. In addition, the information provided needed to be expanded more and explained thoroughly, so there would not be an implied meaning in the text. Also, stronger elaboration was needed in order to fully develop arguments that were understandable to readers. Lastly, I needed more supporting evidence to support claims made.

As Martin Luther King Jr. states in his essay, Three Ways of Meeting Oppression, violence never has a lasting, positive impact and complicates matters. “Violence often brings about momentary results… It solves no social problem; it merely creates new and more complicated ones… It destroys community… ” This quote supports that two violent, “wrong” actions don’t correct a conflict. In addition, others support that violence leads to the loss of lives and the destruction of families, societies, and environments. Since violence rarely solves problems, fighting against one another does not create a solution.


Here’s what I think: violence is not necessarily wrong when justified.


A serial killer who murdered several innocent people is being prosecuted. After testimony, the judge sentences the murderer to execution for the crimes. Is declaring the serial killer to be executed the incorrect response, even though he killed innocent people? If he had killed one person instead of several, would the execution still be justified? Does the act of killing him make the serial killer’s killer a murderer too? The act of killing the murderer is justified because by ridding him from society, the general well-being is being protected. With the general public being protected, the society becomes safer.


In addition, when life is threatened, people, more often than not, want to protect what they love.


Sometimes, in order to protect, people need to use physical violence. In response to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States joined World War II to protect American lives, families, and the country. America was justified to fight against Japan because Japan attacked the United States and killed innocent people. Thus, when provoked, an individual has to right to respond with violence.


Using physical force against physical violence is justified because no one has the right to violate another.


During WW II, Japan bullied the United States, and because America was provoked, it had to right to protect itself from Japan’s violation. Because defensive violence is justified, fighting the bully back is the best option. Although fighting back may cause a problem for an individual, fighting back can show the bully that the victim is stronger than one thought. By fighting the oppressor back, the victim can prove to the tormentor that he or she is not someone that can be messed with. Although some suggest that contacting a trusted adult is necessary to stop bullying, others need to stand up for themselves and fight the bully back.


As Olympic Judo champion Kayla Harrison states, “you’re only a victim if you allow yourself to be.”