DC Program Seeks To Stop Violence With...Violence?

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I’ve been told that violence never solves anything. I’m sure the survivors of the Holocaust might disagree, as would any former slave in the United States, but I understand the sentiment. The idea is that trying to solve your problems with violence isn’t really going to solve those problems.

The problem is, violent crime is exploding everywhere, and from what I can gather, a lot of it is gang-related.

Gangs generally don’t declare war for the same reasons nations do. Instead, they generally start shooting at each other because someone “dissed” someone else.

See, what people don’t get is that gangs and gang-like subcultures are basically an honor culture. While I doubt any gang member would describe it like that, it’s still an accurate truth. In an honor culture, insults are either met with violent retribution or the insulted person loses face among his peers. He’s diminished.

That leads to people getting shot.

But a man in Washington, DC, is trying to propose an alternative to homicide.

Jerell Brown and is the founder of “Guns Down Gloves Up.” Brown owns a landscaping business and when two of his employees were arguing he overheard one of them threaten the other with a gun.

So brown, who ironically has no boxing background, convinced the two to box it out instead of using guns to solve the problem.

And that turned into “Guns Down Gloves up”. The event includes boxing bouts but it’s more than that. It also includes financial literacy, credit building, and new this year, mental health counseling, which Brown says is the most important thing with our black teens.

In other words, he’s reaching out to people most in need of help and providing them with all kinds of tools with which to get their lives back on track.

Sounds like a plan to me.

While it’s easy to say that violence never solves anything, the truth of the matter is that unless everyone ascribes to that, you’ve got a problem. Some people won’t believe anything but violence is the answer to some problems. When people think grabbing a gun is the only way to address a disagreement, that’s when you have problems.

Imagine, for example, that instead of a wave of shootings plaguing our nation, it was a plague of boxing matches?

Yes, I know it’s better if people learn not to solve all their interpersonal issues with violence, but guess what? That takes time. If we can take it from shootings to boxing, that’s a huge win for everyone.

Boxing isn’t a long-term solution – getting hit in the head too many times causes problems of its own – it’s a move in the right direction.

The downside, though, is that those most in need of it are likely the ones who won’t take advantage of it. That’s a problem I don’t have a clue how to solve, either.

Yet, they can’t take advantage of a program like this if it doesn’t exist in the first place, so I applaud Brown and his efforts. I wish him the best of luck.

Dec 08, 2021 12:30 PM ET