One of my brothers once said that our culture is undersensitive to violence. He was both wrong and right. The relevant problem with our culture is that most of us don’t see violence as wrong unless it’s accompanied by anger, and if it is accompanied by anger, they see it as wrong even if it’s justified. To give some examples:

  • In one of the Ninja Turtles shows, there is an episode where two of the turtles, Raph and Mikey, are sparring. Mikey is making a fool out of Raph and laughing sadistically about it. Then he declares the duel over without Raph yielding. Raph gets very angry and attacks Mikey, finally managing to land a few good hits. Astoundingly, this is portrayed as Raph losing control and having a violent outburst. Mikey could clearly tell during the duel that Raph was very embarrassed about how it was going and Mikey derived pleasure from that. Even if the duel had been properly ended, he deserved to be hit. But for some reason it’s automatically wrong to hurt someone if you were angry when you did it, no matter how much they deserve it.
  • In Episode I of Star Wars, remember the scene where they are eating at the Skywalkers’ house and Jar Jar grabs a fruit with his tongue, and then Qui Gon grabs Jar Jar’s tongue? That was portrayed as okay, but how would you feel if someone just grabbed your tongue in real life?

This attitude is completely wrong. A righteous person sees violence as wrong if the target is innocent, and right if the target is not innocent, whether or not the attacker feels anger. We need to be more sensitive to casual violence like the second example, and less sensitive to anger-driven violence like the first example.