Opinion: We have been shirking our duty to end violence

Nov 15, 2021, 3:40 PM | Updated: Aug 30, 2022, 3:19 pm
duty to end violence...
FILE: Justice Department to take flight crimes more seriously. Credit - Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

(This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.)

SALT LAKE CITY — Today I find myself noticing a pattern of increased anger and violence – in school, on planes, in school board meetings, online. I believe they are connected, and I believe the cure is the same in each instance – remembering our duty to end violence.

This weekend, a woman verbally and physically assaulted a flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines plane at the Dallas airport. On her way off the plane, the female passenger hit another attendant on her head with a closed fist. The flight attendant was taken to the hospital.

This event would be scary enough if it was an isolated event, but it was only one of 5,114 unruly passenger reports on airplanes so far this year. 

Violence in school

In Dorchester, Massachusetts, a high school principal was beaten by one of her students until she was unconscious. As with airline passenger misconduct, this incidence of youth violence is less and less unusual. Juvenile homicide cases jumped 35% between 2014 and 2018. In Chicago, nearly half of the 1,400 carjackings last year involved juveniles. This violence is in addition to the toxic bullying, sometimes severe enough to lead to a tragedy as we saw in the death of a precious 10-year-old, Isabella “Izzy” Faith Tichenor, here in Utah. 

Family of 10-year-old who died by suicide seeks solutions

Where do these kids learn to act this way? To bully with words and deeds? Sometimes at home, it would seem. In recent months, we’ve seen parents acting out at school board meetings across the country. Parents have been arrested for making death threats against school board members, aggravated battery, disorderly conduct, and those are just the examples when parents were charged.

There are hundreds of instances of just plain old shouting, with and without obscenities, reported in California, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Bossing Siri around

In the times we live in, the age of Siri and Alexa, kids are learning to boss computers around, and it’s rubbing off on the way they talk to human beings. The command “Mommy, get me orange juice” comes after “Siri, tell me what I want to know.” Kids hear their parents bossing Siri around, sometimes getting mad at Siri, yelling at Alexa, and they mimic. Why would you need to be nice or polite to a robot?

If only those patterns of conversation didn’t become habits. 

As I was thinking about all this and what I, one person, can do to make a difference, I noticed a tweet from Congressman Jim Jordan. 

Where are our higher angels?

I wondered about the effect that a tweet like this has on those who read it. Does it cause people to think less of Dr. Fauci, to think less of Joe Biden, to blame them more for their personal financial or family troubles? I’m not so naive as to believe that politicians don’t try to score points by putting the other side down, but I think we’re in a unique time in our nation’s history. And it’s a time that calls for the reemergence of our higher angels. So I replied to Representative Jordan. 

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but here is some of what came as a result of my reply. 


Our duty to end violence

You get the drift. This leads me to the song that popped into my head when I got off the air this morning.

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” You can sing along. “Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.” A little bit louder now. “With God as our father, brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother, in perfect harmony.” 

I cannot read any more stories of violence on airplanes, in schools, in school board meetings, on social media without remembering my duty, my personal obligation, which by the way is your duty also. It’s time, I feel, that I must commit myself, my words and deeds, to promoting peace.

I believe I have perhaps an even greater duty because I work in the media and my words reach more people than some. My words must be without snark or derision, without personal agenda, and especially never at the expense of someone else. My words must be shared to build people up whenever possible. 

Our words and deeds, especially in front of children, must be respectful, honorable, and from a place of love. My fellow human beings are worthy of love. My heart tells me to eliminate the word idiot from my vocabulary altogether, and while I’m at it, let’s ban stupid, traitor, and unpatriotic. There is no use for them.

I will not look upon those whom I may disagree with as the enemy. They are my brothers, and we can walk together in perfect harmony. 

(Amanda Dickson co-hosts Utah’s Morning News and is the host of KSL’s A Woman’s Place podcast.)


Other opinion pieces from Amanda Dickson:



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Opinion: We have been shirking our duty to end violence