Why Talk About Violence

I was talking with a friend yesterday when they asked, “Dude, what is up with this preoccupation with violence?  I thought you were running a blog on being manly and stuff, not some ‘warrior’ blog.”

Photo by John McStravick
Photo by John McStravick

It’s a fair question.

After all, I do spend a fair bit of time talking about violence as well as sharing information I find on how to administer it to the deserving.  I’ve spent a lot more time on that than probably any other subject thus far.

The reason for that is simple: It’s the aspect of masculinity that’s being the most repressed by society.

Today, our culture tries to spend a great deal of time convincing people that violence is inherently wrong, that it’s an evil best left to barbarians.  The thing is, at the same time, our culture is also shifting towards one where people not only insult those they disagree with the most vile names imaginable but will straight up try to get you fired if they disagree with you.

I’ve mentioned before that I believe a society where a certain level of violence is expected in return for such insults is a better world to live in.  I maintain that position.

This site spends a great deal of time on violence because it’s probably the one thing most men really don’t understand.  Even if they’ve been in a few fights in school, they left that behind at graduation and now view violence as an icky thing done by other people.

Even those who you would think would understand violence only know part of the picture.  The MMA community knows how to throw a punch, but what do they do if someone pulls a gun?  Conversely, far too many in the gun culture don’t understand how to perform a rear naked choke.

The reality is that violence doesn’t come at is in the form we most prefer.  In the gun community, people are fond of saying, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”  This is an admonition to learn how to defend yourself without a firearm or else you’ll look at every potential conflict as a reason to shoot someone.  It’s not.

I spend a lot of time talking about violence because, frankly, it’s needed.

The most popular post on this blog is about honor.  Thousands upon thousands of people read that post and began discussing it.  They could because they had some basic understanding of what honor was.  They could critique my comments on the subject because they weren’t clueless as to what honor was.

Violence, however, is different.

Philosophically, most guys can discuss it just fine.  Is it right?  Is it ever necessary?  If so, when?

But when you get down to the nuts and bolts, they’re lost.  They think they can throw a punch, but how many times have you seen a supposedly tough guy get into a fight and he looks more like he’s having some kind of seizure?  The really sad thing is that he might still win the fight!

I’ve seen video of gun fights were supposedly hard-assed gangbangers are flopping and hopping around like a video game character on meth.  The thing is, once the adrenaline gets pumping, most guys would be the same way.

Most guys do not really get into the minutia of violence.  They don’t understand the physiological effects it has on you (see recommended reading page for a great book on the subject).  They don’t understand how they can intellectually throw a punch but in a fight they look more line a rejected SNL skit than Connor MacGregor.

I talk a lot about violence because it needs to be talked about.  It needs to be understood as a necessary part of being a man, and it needs to be understood so it can be used correctly.

No, it’s not all there is to being a man.  Hell, I wrote an entire book on the subject and violence is a rather small part of it.  There’s an awful lot more to being a man than being able to punch someone in the face.

It is, however, an important part.  When I talk about the roles men fill, the protector is the one that more men fall down on than any other.  Providing for their family is easy for them.  Teaching their kids is easy too.  Both of those are societal norms, but protecting them?  That means calling 9-1-1, right?

So yes, I talk a good bit about both violence and strength, which is often necessary to be effectively violent toward bad people, but it’s not a preoccupation.  It’s the foundation.

Once the basics are here, I can simply refer to them later rather than writing entire posts about how to throw a punch over and over and over again.  I can simply link to it and go one discussing something else, something more philosophical.

As for whether this is a blog on masculinity or a blog on being a warrior, I reject the idea that the two would necessarily be all that dissimilar.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.