PO Box 239, Pratt, KS 67124

Happy People are Seldom Violent

NOTE TO MY READERS; Last week I wrote about Dr. Perline’s work and where you can find his book. This week we are honored to hear from him directly.

Thank you for your kind invitation to write a follow-up to my December presentation on “The psychology of violence.”  It seems that there is never enough time to talk fully on the issues surrounding this increasingly important topic to the safety and security of our citizens, our country, and our way of life.  There are several important “take-away” concepts, pertinent to violence, but per your request I would like to focus on a few of those that may be particularly pertinent to houses of worship and faith-based organizations.

1) Intentional violence is perpetrated by angry people–happy, contented people are seldom violent; I know of none!

2) Violence has been and is created by mentally ill, miscreants, and otherwise good law-abiding people who are in circumstances beyond their ability to cope with many the of life’s stressors.

3) Violence can be expressed toward self, toward others, and/or toward the environment.

4) Anger is the result of frustration AND perceived injustice (note that the injustice need not be “real”, only “perceived”).

5) The object of the violence and the manner in which violence is expressed, is dependent upon the way in which the perpetrator focuses anger.

Fortunately, most people focus their anger in a more healthy way that does not result in homicide.  However, some do not, and these are the ones about which, we must be particularly concerned.  The reason for concern is obvious, however the solution to the problem perhaps is not.

In this regard, my suggestions for consideration are:

1) That those in decision making capacity responsible for the well-being of others should not be in denial in regard to the potential danger looming, often times imperceptibly, to a violent incident within their organization.  I should think that if a violent incident were to occur under their watch, those individuals would take at least some comfort and solace in knowing that they took every reasonable effort to prevent such an incident.

2) There is no one-size-fits-all in terms of preventing a violent incident when an organization is operating in good faith and trying to maintain an open, welcoming atmosphere to any and all who wish to partake.

3) Organizations should have a security expert and/or task force designated to deal with the variety of security issues that can befall an organization.

4) Everyone within an organization should feel safe participating in that organization.

5) Given that houses of worship have been bombed, burned, shot-up, and otherwise desecrated with intentional design; and given that risk factors producing this kind of violence will likely increase; and given because of their very nature houses of worship are “easy targets” for both opportunistic and intentional wrongdoers, I particularly like Nehemiah 4:9 “We prayed, and posted a guard”.

Irvin Perline, Ph.D.

Think About it

Dr. Perline is spot on. I’ve nothing to add but gratitude for a man who has invested so much of his life to this study.

Thank you, Dr. Perline.

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