Saturday, October 3, 2009

International World Peace Day (Oct. 2)

Yesterday was International World Peace Day. So as a pacifist I thought that I should talk a little bit about what being a pacifist means to me. Most people think of being a pacifist means that you are against war, which is true, but for me being a pacifist is a lot harder than being against war. You have to be non-violent in all aspects of your life. You have to believe that all armed conflicts are wrong and that conflicts must be settled through non-violent and diplomatic means. I have several relatives who were/are in the armed forces. It poses a problem when your a pacifist so generally I don't bring up the topic. I think serving your country to protect it especially when the national guard was called during disasters such as Hurricane Katrina is a noble cause. And I think that the police force, who for the most part, does not have to resort to violent means is also noble. I don't, however, believe in the Iraq war or the Afghan war. I think that 9/11 was horrible (because well I'm a pacifist), but I think in order to bring those to justice and to prevent the problem of terrorism why are we using violent means? Whatever happened to using the justice system and putting these people in jail or rehabilitating them? Why go in with tanks to poor areas of Afghanistan and harm the civilians?

Not only do I abhor war, I feel that guns are awful. Now I understand that people use guns for hunting, which is fine. But why would a person need a fully automatic weapon, a semi-automatic weapon, or a hand gun to shoot a deer? I, personally, don't want any weapons in my house, but if my husband decided to take up the hobby of hunting, I feel obliged. Just as long as he doesn't try to push me into taking some self-defense class using guns or wants the weapons strictly as weapons.

Now this is the most controversial part. I have several friends who believe strongly in self-defense. They believe in using pepper spray, guns, knives, martial arts, ect. for self-defense. I don't. I think if someone is going to kill me adding another weapon would prove to be more deadly. There have been several studies showing that people who have had training still don't use guns properly during an attack. It's not a good way to defend yourself. I would hope that I could find a non-violent means to defend myself (like running away). They say that you should fight back, but that to me is a last resort. And I have no intention of killing anyone.

I believe that all life is sacred, which is why I don't endorse abortion, the death penalty, and euthanasia. I once pissed off a teacher in high school (I've actually pissed off a lot of teachers) because I told her that I couldn't kill anyone in defense of my child. She had said that if anyone so much as touched her child that she would kill them. I thought that it was a bit extreme and said that I could never do that. She said, "Well you don't have children." Well now I have one (or rather one about to be born), and again I say I wouldn't be able to kill someone. I would have them sent to jail and be punished, but I wouldn't kill them or seek out the death penalty. So take that Chemistry teacher. Don't think for one instant that a person who has convictions over life and death will suddenly change their mind when they have children.

Speaking of children, did I mention that I'm having a boy? That has it own problems when your a pacifist. Seeing as how it's Halloween coming up, I see the signs everywhere. Army men, play guns, play knives, play swords are included in a lot of children's costumes. And little boys especially enjoy violent fantasies (pretending them). Many of their super heroes use violent means. I won't allow violent figures/play weapons in my house (even though my husband has deemed this nuts, he's talked about giving him a b.b. gun). And I hope that I can talk to my son about the problems with the Power Rangers. I know that it is perfectly normal for boys to rough house and enjoy drawing pictures of killing "bad guys," but I want to use those times as a means to talk about resolving conflicts in non-violent ways. I know that it would be wrong to equate his violent fantasies with real-life conflicts, so I think the best way to handle the situation is to give him latitude as long as he understands that this isn't real. And if this were real, how could we handle this situation without having to harm someone? It's my worry. But to be honest I would probably worry about girl stuff like body image just as much. I've decided not to fret too much, and worry about how to handle the fantasy violence as it comes up. But I will stay away from allowing him to watch shows that have too much violence like the Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles. He can stick with Thomas the Train and Bob the Builder.

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!