The United States prides itself on having the most powerful military the world has ever seen. In negotiations with unfriendly countries, the military option is always “on the table.” If a country seems to be aggressive, the U.S. demonstrates its military power by having “exercises” nearby or builds military bases nearby.

The enormous power of the military, the threats it fosters, and the ubiquity of its presence set in motion a pattern that reverberates around the country and around the world. When police departments can get tanks and ordinary citizens can buy military style rapid-firing weapons, violence is in the air. The glorification of force creates a context for violence.

Domestic violence, road rage, violence at sporting events and, of course, tragedies similar to what happened recently in Orlando become more likely in a context of violent power. It is difficult to pass restrictive gun legislation during violent times. While a forest fire rages, firefighters are national treasures.

Easing the national fascination with war and weapons of war would help to reduce violence throughout society.

Hubert Kauffman, Oxford

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