Considering the level of violence in our world today, it’s easy to succumb to feelings of anxiety, apathy, depression, or hopelessness.
This is especially so because the military-industrial complex, war profiteers, hate-mongers, fear-promoters, bigots, NRA bosses, and various extremists have become increasingly successful in promoting those reactions.
When people are bombarded with messages instilling fear and anger, and promoting moral disengagement, they may choose violence and other extreme solutions in the effort to regain a sense of security.
The knee-jerk approach to a sense of threat is to retaliate, terrorize, scapegoat, and stereotype. These are not the only choices, however. It is simply not true that the only way to deal with “some people” is to get them before they get you.
Even people who have been deeply caught up in violence against others can convert from war to peace, hate to love, cruelty to compassion.
Visit, for example, the site for Life After Hate, an online magazine founded by “reformed white power skinheads” and their friends.
Read about the books available through the site—e.g., FourBears: The Myth of Forgiveness, described as “not a simple memoir,” but rather “a graphically illustrated guide from tortured child, to remorseless beast, to healing and change.”
Visit also the site for Against Violent Extremism (AVE). This group of former violent extremists and survivors of violent extremism work together to resist extremism, prevent the recruitment of “at risk” youths, and spread their anti-violence message.
To meet members of AVE and learn more about them and their goals, please watch the video above.
If former violent extremists can devote their lives to building peace, what can you do to help achieve this end?
Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology