I do not condone violence and I do my best to avoid it whenever possible; however, I have been in many fights and I can think of only one that I believe was not justified.

I was raised with two younger sisters and my father has always told me that it was my job to protect them and to stop anyone who might threaten them. My parents said this of not just my sisters but of my family and as I grew and this became one of my characteristics I placed my protection on my friends as well. This was very common in my family among my relatives and my cousins and I always defended each other. This does not mean we are like a gang going around beating people up but rather the opposite. We feel safe around each other and that gives us a greater sense of freedom because we never fear violence.

When an older bully at my school would not stop harassing me and school authorities did little to stop the abuse my father taught me how to fight properly so that I can be more effective at stopping some one quickly and efficiently.

I have never gone into violence easily. In over 34 years I can still count with the fingers on my hands how many times I have been in a fight that was not for sport. I can almost always win a fight with my brains and I have learned to use it effectively in that way. But there are those who would resort to violence because they lack the intelligence to defend themselves without it. I refuse to be a punching bag for those people and I will fight back and hit them hard and effectively. 

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I would say yes, under two conditions:

1) There is no other option

2) It would have to prevent even greater violence

It's a difficult questions to answer. I have always been a very non-violent person, have taught and studied conflict resolution. I am one of those "violence begets violence" types. However, these are scary times. Also since I've had children, I've realized there's pretty much nothing I would not do to protect them.

I would agree with Erik in terms of, if there were no other options, especially if it were to defend someone. Yet I still feel it may do nothing to solve the problem. I would venture to guess, that those who have experience with violence, be it war or fights or abuse, would say it solves nothing and only leads to loss and regret.

Here's a couple quotes from Hitch to add to the discussion.

".....No state or party has the moral right to condemn the use of violence...." - which is ironic considering his support of the Iraq war.

"Those who oppose violence on principle are called pacifists. Those who oppose it until its use is too little and too late, or too much, and too late, should be called casuits."

You would be surprised how much it can solve. Every fight that I have ever been in ended in a hand shake and resolved differences.(eventually... I met up with some one I beat up who apologized and shook my hand 5 years after the fight)

Do you think those problems could've been solved an alternative way? Non-violent conflict resolution is much more difficult than violent conflict resolution.

Definitely but some people need a bop in the head to think strait. They act with violence before they really think about what is being said to them. Or they think what they are doing is ok and they have to be met with force so that they can see that they are hurting someone. I have been in many more conflicts that were resolved with a discussion but some people don't seem to be programmed that way.

but some people need a bop in the head to think strait.

I have not met those people. If they truly need that to get the point, then I have no need to communicate with them at all.

You probably did not grow up in the same type of neighborhood I did. I grew up surrounded by these types. Although witnessing a fight was something that regularly happened I still don't mean to stereotype, like I said the majority of conflicts were resolved without violence. Many of my friends had very abusive parents and were raised with violence. One of my best friends was also a bully who I beat up. He was welcomed into my home and became like a brother to me. I am very sure that without the influence of my family he would have grown up to be a very violent adult and gone on to hurt people. As far as I know the only time he ever tried to hurt someone again was when he helped me come to the defense of my cousin who was being abused by her boyfriend.

Sorry, Robert, I have to jump in here.  If you haven't met such people or were in a position to always avoid them when you did, then you have lived in a sheltered environment. 

I grew up in an environment much like the one Danny grew up in.  When I went to college in a different part of the country, I met people like you for the first time.  At first, I couldn't fathom why they said the type of things you are saying here.  It was as if they were totally delusional.  Eventually, experience in that environment taught me that they had simply led sheltered lives.  After a few more years of experience in that environment, I realized that sometimes they were delusional because they would interpret situations in a way that was simply incorrect.  Their sheltered upbringing gave them no context regarding bullies and criminals.  They didn't even recognize the right of self-defense in life threatening situations.

After even more experience in that environment, I realized that the "violence" and the fights that occur in some circles are all psychological and political.  This type of violence is often far more harmful than physical violence--leading to damaged lives and careers--and it never ends.  The conflicts go on and on for years until the combatants cease all contact or one of them dies.

I have had the same experience as Danny, where actually fighting someone caused us to become friends afterward.  At the same time, the enemies I made in the world of psychological "violence" are all still my enemies and would do anything they could get away with to harm me.

Here's a couple quotes from Hitch to add to the discussion.

".....No state or party has the moral right to condemn the use of violence...." - which is ironic considering his support of the Iraq war.

How is that ironic?  To me, that quote seems to be exactly inline with his support of the war in Iraq.

Agree Erik. That quote was from 1985 so he might have changed.

I try to do whatever I possibly can to avoid violence. Being a black belt in Taekwon-do, I'm capable of sufficiently stopping someone without causing too much harm to the attacker. However, I'd still only use it in defense, and even then, only if running wasn't an option. I know many "manly" people encourage punching an agressor in the face before running away "like a coward," but there is a fine line between bravery and idiotic unnecessary recklessness.

I remember a political scientist confronted with a pacifist who argued the idea that all violence was evil and unjustifiable. Not just interpersonal violence but political violence as well. The political scientist thought for a minute and said something like "Then it's okay for the oppressed to stay oppressed, possibly forever, rather than use violence to throw off their chains? Dictators should remain in power without fearing those they oppress? Unfairly set international borders should never change (a process almost impossible to do without a violent conflict)?"

A world without violence is pie in the sky and like many seemingly good ideas is something mostly idealistic kids and very impractical and naive adults believe is possible. They haven't thought it through.

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