Today there’s been only one thing on my mind: last night, Ashley’s brother was stabbed four times while he was trying to break up a fight. He’s okay, although one of the wounds punctured his spleen, which was subsequently removed.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about violence today. Ashley’s brother is a good guy, but he’s also prone to using his fists to solve disputes. And while last night he was trying to break up a fight, part of me can only think that it was merely a matter of time before something like this happened.
You live by the gun…right?
But that’s not fair. He was trying to do the right thing, meeting violence the way that violence sometimes must be met, and someone else upped the ante. And so her brother isn’t to blame, having no reason to assume the other guy would pull a knife. And use it.
But then of course I worry that, now that the ante has been upped, her brother and the guys he chooses to clique up with will start carrying knives. Or guns. We don’t have too much of a gun problem here in our little corner of the world, but we do have a violence problem. Every weekend there are drunken brawls. Most of them end with some black eyes and bloodied lips and maybe someone in custody.
But that line…that line between the steps of escalation can disappear so fast. As Ashley’s brother found out. As the citizens of Newtown found out. As Matthew Shepard found out.
What’s to be done? I don’t know. Congress won’t fix it. The media won’t fix it. Education won’t fix it. The truth I think most Americans don’t want to deal with is this:
There is no way to fix our culture’s obsession with violence without adjusting the culture itself.
This means we can’t hope that the police or the justice system will do anything about the violence that disrupted many lives last night. It means we have to do it ourselves. We can’t fix the problem on a large scale, but can help Ashley’s brother look at violence differently than he has to this point. That’s how we can contribute to the solution.
Because he lost a spleen, which means he very nearly missed losing a heart, a lung, a stomach. And it means we very nearly missed losing him. He’s simply too good of a person to lose in such a foolish way. I only hope we can help.