Bolade Ogunfuye: Sometimes violence is the answer [NEW VOICES]

by Bolade Ogunfuye

They say: “Violence is never the answer”; I think this is untrue unless you have a very wonky moral perspective, and have not truly seen or felt the levels of inhumanity that befalls victims.

It’s a silly cliché used within a given context and beholden to certain assumptions. We should ditch the need to extend it as a blanket answer to every moral conundrum and accept it as the gospel truth. We don’t need to keep lying to ourselves.

It’s too easy to create scenarios where violence is a satisfying answer to certain questions. I must admit, sometimes, violence will give you some degree of gratification, a satisfying feeling of ‘closure’ to certain situations. Condemn me all you want, but we all need to wake up to the truth. If you’re in a situation that involves a rapist, a serial killer, or a remorseless thief, would that make it okay?

If someone threatened to take away the innocence of your ten-year-old daughter, do you just not do anything and let them keep at it, or do you shoot the fucker if you have to, in order to stop what they’re doing?

I know what I would do. Violence can be the answer.

Major caveat; I know there are many excellent non-violent solutions in a lot of cases; thus; it should not be the preferred option, it must never be your first recourse, and must not be used unless necessary, but to say that it is never a plausible solution is reductive and simply untrue.

Mankind likes conflict; mankind likes the opportunity to suppress, violently oppress and flex muscles; real or imaginary to make themselves look good, advance their own agendas, exploit perceived enemies, or just for the heck of it; but as much as I’m against war and conflict, I’m also all for living in the realm of reality.

I think if you can resolve a conflict amicably, always do; if you can appeal to reason in any way, please always do; if you know of any way to avoid, placate or negotiate in a conflict, please do all you can in that regard; but, in a case of extreme aggression, in cases of life-threatening scenarios, in situations with fatal import to your person and your loved ones where all else has failed, then do what you must and feel no fucking remorse about it.

I don’t have kids yet, but I plan to someday; and I sometimes worry that I may not be able to properly teach him the morality of violence and the importance of proper conflict resolution. How does one get the message of the appropriate application of violence across to a child? How does one find the middle ground to avoid raising a child that’s neither a brute/monster/sociopath/psychopath nor the other extreme of him/her being a weakling/pushover/sissy/constant victim?

My opinion? You can’t, not really. You can try, but they won’t really be capable of understanding it until they’re older. Maybe you can successfully teach them not to hurt other people, and maybe you can instil the Golden Rule into them; or teach them that violence is never the answer and just ignore the other implications until they’re older. The decision is entirely up to each parent.

However, I believe that some concepts are complicated and multi-faceted, and will not fit into conversations with the backdrop of religion and “turning the other cheek” because that simply will not do.

Faced with scenarios including but not limited to the ones above, what would you do? Go ahead, I’ll wait…


Bolade is a writer and multi-media development professional. He began as a writer, and has since expanded his repertoire to include media content design and development, brand strategy, new media, advertising and PR with a career spanning the last decade. He is addicted to caffeine, sartorial excellence, sarcasm, true crime and media content of the highest quality; and is very fluent in double-speak.

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