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Hosted by: Scott LaMar



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Radio Smart Talk: Alternatives to violence

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Dec 20, 2012 9:07 AM

Radio Smart Talk for Thursday, December 20:

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Last week's school shooting in Connecticut is one more reminder that we live in a violent society -- one that often settles a disagreement with weapons or fists.

Of course, the U.S. isn't the only place in the world where violence is pervasive.  War and bloodshed seem to be an on-going part of life in many parts of the Middle East and other international hotspots.

On Thursday's Radio Smart Talk, we'll focus on a program that seeks to end the violence.

The Alternative to Violence project conducts workshops in the U.S. and around the world that teach skills such as:

  • managing strong feelings like anger and fear
  • dealing more effectively with risk and danger
  • building good relationships with other people
  • communicating well in difficult situations
  • recognizing the skills you already have and learn new ones
  • being true to yourself while respecting other people
  • understanding why conflict happens

The workshops have been conducted in this country as well as places like Gaza and the West Bank of Palestine.

Appearing on the program will be two ficilitators from Lancaster Friends Meeting-- Joseph Moore and Joseph DiGarbo.

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Joe DiGarbo talks about his time helping to curb violence overseas.

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Joseph Moore discusses ways to solve conflicts without using violence.

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Students from Gaza write thank-you notes to DiGarbo and Moore.

Listen to the program:

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Comments: 5

  • Cindy Weidman img 2012-12-20 09:39

    The guest mentioned anxiety in our culture about potential violence. I think that there are lifestyle factors that lead to worsening of mental health conditions and hopelessness in both the perpetrator and the victims. My health ed clients see a dramatic reduction in anxiety, irritability, confusion, and other symptoms of not feeling well. In someone who has a tendency toward mental illness, the mental illness is worsened by the lifestyle choices that increase cultural stress overall. In someone who isn't prone to mental illness, the same lifestyle stressors increase anxiety and feeling poorly in other ways.

    In other words perpetrators worsening of aggression and people's general anxiety about potential violence come from the same sources, changes in how our culture eats and lives that are considered normal now, but weren't normal 100 years ago.

  • Sandy Grotberg img 2012-12-20 09:40

    I have also worked as an AVP facilitator and its companion program for teenagers "HIPP" - Help Increase the Peace Project. I worked in Kenya with AVP, and those participants took the lead after election violence in 2008 to help neighbors de-escalate and reconcile. They are now working to have early warning systems to address potential violence for the upcoming election in March. I led HIPP programs for 10 years with high school and junior high students within the schools, and unfortunately they became victims of budget cuts. I always found teenagers HUNGRY to find ways to make a positive difference for themselves, their friends, and their families, and they responded amazingly to the program - even helped lead a workshop for faculty. Finding ways to TEACH this and to expect constructive behavior do make a difference.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-12-20 10:05

    E-mail from Cecilia:

    "What can we do when we see violent situations? We see men bullying women, parents bullying children, our hearts bleed and we don't know what to do. I unfortunately do very little- maybe distract the child...

    Advice?"

  • Cindy Iberg img 2012-12-20 13:00

    I hope mental health issues will not become a "red herring", in the recent shooting and used by pro-gun advocates to avoid the real problem.

    This weapon, a gun designed to kill a lot of people very quickly, was purchased legally by a woman who had no mental health issues. As to her son, many parents, because of the stigma of mental illness, will protect their children's mental status from schools, neighbors, law officers, and health professionals. We need laws to protect all from these weapons.

  • Joe img 2012-12-22 09:29

    Dear Cecilia, We facilitate exercises in the AVP workshop that address your question. Let us know if you might be interested in taking the two day workshop sometime in the future. To answer your question directly, following are some of the ideas that workshop participants have offered: Every situation is different of course but the first thing to consider is whether or not you want to intervene. If you are witnessing physical violence it can be appropriate to contact the police or security if it is in a store. It is important to remain calm if you choose to speak to the person(s). The idea is to distract the person. Making eye contact, asking if you can help (when a parent is yelling at a child or nearing physical violence). Telling the parent you will contact security if they don't stop (if a gentler intervention doesn't work). Asking for a nonviolent solution: "I see what you are doing, please stop." It is important however to make sure that you don't become part of the violence. It's a delicate situation to take attention away from the person doing the violence and not have them take it out on you. So don't scold, speak angrily or get between the people physically. Before doing anything, take a few seconds and think before reacting. Make a conscious choice of what to do. For me, taking a slow couple of breaths helps me to slow down. I try to practice Ghandi's philosophy: "Be the change you are trying to create in the world." So when witnessing or being faced with potentially violent situations I try to behave in a way that I hope to invite how the person will respond and behave as well. I have not always been successful. I can be too quick to judge others and become angry myself. Thanks for asking this question.

    Joe Moore

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