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WHY VIOLENCE IN USA -NO BASIC FLAW

By N.S.Venkataraman
While the sad incident happened, the media in USA played what seem to be a negative role by prominently showing the photograph of the crying George Floyd being attacked by the white police officer, which has whipped up passion and disgust all over USA causing widespread unrest. It is not the case that media should remain silent without revealing such bad news but the case is that media should be aware of the consequence of highlighting such negative photographs that could lead to greater violence and unrest.
(Police vehicles burn in Los Angeles after being set on fire by demonstrators as they protest the death of George Floyd. Photo: AFP-Mark RALSTON)

Any incident in USA, particularly adverse incident, whether big or small, gets world wide publicity almost instantaneously. This is mainly due to the fact that USA is recognized as a rich country with super power status and known for significant advancement in variety of fields. Such news is followed by debates and discussions in the world media, with some pledged critics stating with glee that such adverse incidents clearly show that USA is a troubled society. Is that really so ?

Why shoot out incidents?

In the recent years, many shoot outs have taken place in USA in universities, malls and other public places, when number of innocent lives have been lost. Shoot outs have been carried out by individuals for one reason or other and even due to psychic problems of individuals . These individuals hail from all background including young and old persons, white or black persons and there is no uniformity in the background, that point to any particular cause or reason. The detailed investigation that follow such shoot outs do not seem to explain the reasons adequately well with clarity .

It is generally said that the liberal gun policy and the prevailing gun culture in USA is the primary reason for such shoot outs and violence.

Most of the Americans possess guns and rarely anyone amongst them indulge in such practices. If the violent prone person would not have a gun, he can use a knife or any other weapon.

Are the causes for the violence as simple as gun culture?

No evidence of widespread black white conflict :

Now, the case of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white officer pressed his knee into his neck has caused widespread anger across the country. Obviously, the white police officer is a cruel person and should be punished severely.

Even while President Trump has condemned the incident, protesters burned businesses in Minneapollis. They smashed police cars and windows in Atlanta, broke into police headquarters in Portland and chanted curses at Donald Trump outside the White House.

This sad incident should not be misinterpreted as result of conflict of interest between the white and black citizens in USA.

While some protesters turned violent, there have been number of other protesters who conducted themselves peacefully and with dignity , holding placards and demanding justice for George Floyd. Of these protesters, many of them are white , brown or black Americans.

Certainly, there is no racial conflict issue involved in the George Floyd murder but only the stupidity of a violent prone police officer was seen.

Is media playing responsible role?

While the sad incident happened, the media in USA played what seem to be a negative role by prominently showing the photograph of the crying George Floyd being attacked by the white police officer, which has whipped up passion and disgust all over USA causing widespread unrest. It is not the case that media should remain silent without revealing such bad news but the case is that media should be aware of the consequence of highlighting such negative photographs that could lead to greater violence and unrest. In USA, media claims that it has the liberty and right to show , speak or criticize any event as per the prejudices and priorities of the editors and journalists.

Can one say that the freedom of media is being abused and freedom without responsibility can only lead to violence, just as the George Floyd incident show.

Many seem to think that the media sensationalize such violence issue, without counselling peace and harmony and discuss the causes in dispassionate and constructive manner. Such positive approach of media could have prevented the violence that followed George Floyd murder.

A tolerant country :

George Floyd incident has created an impression all over the world that USA is a country under the boil. This certainly is not so.

There are many civilized and sane voices in USA who rarely get adequate coverage in the media and their civilized thoughts are not adequately publicized for the benefit of the country.

Today, one cannot but deny the fact that U S A is the most tolerant country in the world. People from countries with various background seek migration to USA and think that they would be privileged to get US citizenship. This is mainly due to their confidence that they would get fair deal in USA and the law would protect t their interests.

Today, USA is essentially described as a migrant country with people visiting USA as students , job seekers or immigrants and most of them seeking to stay in USA life long by getting citizenship.

Any attempt to describe USA as a country under boil after the George Floyd issue is a mischievous and motivated attempt to discredit USA. This is very unfair.

Violence everywhere in the world :

Animals try to over power other creatures for self protection and for their feed. Therefore, violence is an essential part of animal’s life.

In the case of human beings (who are supposed to have sixth sense, which animals do not have) ,violence and anger seem to be there in the mindset , which are revealed due to reasons such as prejudices , hatred etc. This is a common trend all over the world including USA.

It calls for enormous efforts amongst individuals living anywhere in the world to silence the feelings of anger and violence in the mindset and this is what religions are supposed to aid individuals in achieving such state of mind.

Like any other country, in USA too, it requires leaders and scholars advocating peace and harmony as way of life and they should get prominent place to mould the society.

It is the duty of the media to identify persons of such ethical and moral stature and publicize their thoughts and preachings for overall betterment of the society.

The recent violence in USA due to the death of George Floyd do not indicate any basic flaw in the American society.

(N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.)

Published Date: Sunday, May 31st, 2020 | 08:48 AM

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