Violence to redress injustice?

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

LET’S be wary of what appears to be a trend in the Internet these days: video clips that glorify violence as a way of redressing injustice. These videos are particularly appealing to the young ones who still are more in their idealistic outlook, not yet knowing how to discern other considerations that should make their reactions more realistic, humane and Christian.

These videos usually depict extreme cases of injustice, like bullying, racism, etc., that cry to high heavens for justice. While it’s true that these cases can be real, it is actually improbable that they happen. Some demonic forces should be involved there, but I imagine that is not common.

What’s even more improbable is to see that many others appear to be in agreement with those who inflict these extreme forms of injustice. It makes me think whether these videos are realistic. We all know that there is always a tendency in those involved in media and entertainment to fall into sensationalism. But we should be clear about where to draw the line.

This is a dangerous trend because the young ones usually are still impressionable. Their reactions to what they see are guided more by their feelings and passions which are whetted by these extreme cases of injustice. They tend to act at the impulse of their base instincts rather than their reason enlightened by faith and charity. And so they tend to blindly follow and imitate what they just see.

Let’s remember that when these base instincts are activated and revved up to the level of a stable attitude of a person, they can be very difficult to overcome. The condition is akin to that of an addiction or an obsession.

The sense of justice and injustice of many of the young ones is still in the purely black-and-white model, shaped more by emotions and external factors rather than by what is truly proper to man as a person and as a child of God. The need for patience and the attitude of drowning evil with an abundance of good, following the example of Christ, are hardly inputted.

We need to find effective ways to curb, if not eliminate this disturbing trend. If the producers of these videos feel free to take advantage of our modern technologies that would enable their products to get to us quite easily, we too should we take advantage of the same technologies to express our reactions to them.

Parents, teachers and Church and civil authorities should take the initiative to express their reactions to these videos. Of course, everything has to be done in charity, without falling into bitter zeal that would just defeat the purpose.

This will be an ongoing affair for us now. I suppose this should part of the new normal these days. We cannot be complacent in this regard. We have to be actively vigilant, and more than just being defensive, we should be aggressive in putting forward good, edifying materials in the Internet to help others, especially the young ones, to become better persons and children of God.

We know that aside from peddling violence, the Internet is also rife with pornography nowadays. It’s time that we openly acknowledge the reality of this very perverse trend. We just cannot keep quiet and passive in the face of this development. While we have to be most tactful, discreet and prudent in handling this very delicate issue, we also need to be active, with the activeness of charity and mercy, of truth and justice in resolving this matter.

Obviously, in doing this, we cannot expect to keep ourselves completely clean. We have to expect some bruises and cuts, some falls and failures ourselves, but we just have to learn to get up, fight and move on toward what is ideal for us.

But let’s start with these violent videos because they usually offer the opening for other perversions, like pornography, to come and thrive.