Violence, nonviolence

A hundred days ago, Hamas unleashed their attack on Israel. In response, Israel has been carrying out reprisals on the Gaza Strip. And the war is spreading throughout the region, so that the U.S. and other countries have sent warships to protect shipping in the Red Sea. An initial act of violence led to an ongoing violent reaction, which in turn is leading to violence spreading even further….

Many years ago, the science fiction author Isaac Asimov had a character in one of his novels say, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” This pronouncement by a fictional character is a gross generalization subject to all kinds of exceptions (think about Ukraine). But there is a truth underlying this fictional pronouncement, and that is that violence does tend to beget more violence, so any use of violence can suck you into a vicious circle of more and more violence.

This was part of the genius of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his principle of nonviolence. It’s something worth remembering as we celebrate his birthday tomorrow.