15
Oct
15

violence prevention

You need to do your own research on this. There’s a new website out there, and it’s called SavingCain.org. Check it out for yourself.

The site was recently started by James Kimmel, Jr., lawyer, author, and academic researcher. Kimmel focuses his work on the intersection of law, psychology, and spirituality. He is a lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Program on Recovery and Community Health, and has been researching and writing about violence prevention for nearly two decades. Yet his most important credential for creating this website is that he came very close to committing murder himself.

Kimmel005-2-214x300When Kimmel was a teenager, some local bullies killed his dog and attacked his home. In a blind rage he  chased after them in his car with his father’s loaded .32 caliber pistol and cornered them against a barn. But at the very last second, in startling moment of unexpected clarity, he thought of everything he would be giving up if he pulled the trigger—and everything I would be taking from them too. It could have gone either way. But somehow, miraculously, despite all of the pain he had endured, Kimmel took his hand off the gun and drove home.

The desire to punish, says Kimmel, may be as powerful as the desire for heroin among drug addicts. As Kimmel points out, the desire for “justice” may be less morally reprehensible than many prosecutors would have us believe. There was a time not long ago, says Kimmel, when alcohol and drug addiction were viewed primarily as moral failings. “The reexamination of these behaviors through a scientific and medical/psychological lens has opened powerful new avenues of substance abuse recovery, prevention, and hope,” he writes.

Brain science is now opening windows into the motive to kill. Kimmel does not believe that a person who considers murder is “evil.” Most people who consider killing others are motivated by the powerful human desire to achieve justice for wrongs and trauma inflicted upon them in the past. Ironically, it is the desire for justice that is the motive for and root cause of most murders.

At a time that everybody is talking about gun control, which is highly unlikely to happen in this country, Kimmel says we should also be talking about motive control—which is, after all, about emotional maturity and not outlawed by the Constitution. He says that if we want to prevent violence, we must provide resources and support to help young people control their intense biological cravings to seek justice through killing when wronged.

I don’t know what kind of a difference Kimmel’s website will make, but at least it offers a fresh perspective, can begin new conversations, and lead to a better understanding of violence in America.

۞

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1 Response to “violence prevention”


  1. 1 Jamie Wolf
    October 15, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Years ago I read a report (I’m sorry I can’t remember enough about it to give a citation) that said after decades of research aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy, the data finally clearly showed that sex education and more would continue to be useless because little girls (ages 8-18) WANTED to be pregnant. They weren’t thinking about the implications for the new human being. They were seeking unconditional love and they felt that by producing their own baby they would have someone loving them daily. The reality of constant care, and financial demands, and the actual responsibilities of child rearing were never on their radar so approaching the subject of avoidance from that aspect didn’t produce results because the kids couldn’t or wouldn’t conceptualize it. Until the approach to avoid teenage pregnancy started focusing on teaching these girls to love themselves unconditionally, to see and appreciate their own value without having to seek that validation externally, and to perceive that they had a future that would improve and provide happiness as they grew into expectations of success, reducing teenage pregnancy wasn’t going to happen. It feels similar to the points made above – that we have approached this topic from a skill perspective (take away the tool for shooting, aka the gun) rather than a needs/behavior approach. I really like the new conversation this has opened – it seems as if there might be a chance at a solution here.


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