When Is Violence Not Violence?

UNH Anti-Violence Rally Announcement

When you're at an Institution of Higher Education, of course.

At the University Near Here, we're against violence! That goes without saying. Or so you might think, if you're unaware of today's campus atmosphere. This month, being "anti-violence" is April's excuse to demonstrate that we are "more enlightened, noble, tolerant, wise, sensitive, conscious, and smart than most other people." As if we needed an excuse.

And so we have the "'Stepping Out to Speak Out Against Violence at UNH' WALK&RALLY!" this coming Thursday, sponsored by the U's Sexual Harassment & Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP).

It is a triumph of sloppy feelings and attitudes over careful thought and measured expression. Example: when you're caught up in strident earnestness, you find yourself autotyping silly demands as in this blog post:

blog blooper

(I'm not a total cad, so I've written the poster to point out the blooper. It might be fixed by the time you click there.)

As another amusement, the event's announcement page proudly points out:

This event is sponsored by SHARPP with support from the following organizations and department [sic] at UNH and in the local community.

… and there are exactly zero organizations and department[s] listed following this sentence.

But more interesting (albeit unsurprising) is the infusion of tendentious ideology into what you might think would be a near-universal distaste for campus violence. Here's a remarkable paragraph from the announcement page, with my snarky comments interspersed:

This localized social movement aims at gathering students, faculty, staff and Durham community members together to take a collective and powerful stance against all forms of violence on our campus, […]

"Localized social movement" is apparently an up-and-coming term of art in the community organizer game. Do you think they hit that collective bell hard enough?

including violence against women.

In a more logical world, since you've already said the "movement" is against all forms of violence, it would be unnecessary to point out that that stance includes violence against women. The University is not part of that more logical world.

Violence against victims/survivors results from […]

Lord forbid that they simply say "Violence is…"

the use of force or threat to achieve and maintain control over others in relationships, […]

In relationships? You notice how quickly we're driving off into the weeds here?

What about your garden variety felony assault, like this one, in which a non-UNH dimwit attacked a UNH employee with a broken bottle? Were they in a "relationship"?

Is the word "relationship" really appropriate to how the sordid murder of UNH student Lizzi Marriott played out in October 2012?

Apparently UNH faculty member Eric Paul Engel did have a "former family friend" relationship with Aleksander “Lenny” Wysocki. That is, before Engel shot Wysocki dead last Valentine's Day in Cary, NC. Before turning the gun on himself in Florida the next day. But was Engel's violence an effort to "achieve and maintain control" over Wysocki? I can't imagine why it would matter if it was.

By the way, one of Engel's students was quick to point out that Engel "always talked about how he was very anti-violence and against wars". (UNH: the kind of place they say that sort of thing about you even after you've murdered someone.) Perhaps Engel attended a previous year's anti-violence rally.

But it gets worse:

and from societal abuse of power and domination in the forms of sexism, racism, heterosexism, classism, able-bodyism, ageism and other oppressions.

Yes, let's drag in all the current -isms, and add in "other oppressions" just to be safe. Despite the fact that their causal relationship to actual violence is close to nil. The message is clear: to be "against violence" at UNH, you need to buy into the entire current left-wing litany of victimology, privilege, and oppression. Otherwise, sorry, but you're pro-violent scum.

Fearless prediction: despite all the speechifying on Thursday, there will be little or nothing said that might prevent the next homicide, assault, or rape perpetrated by or against someone at UNH. All that is beside the point when your purpose is self-congratulation, moral preening, and indoctrination.

Last Modified 2014-04-08 5:10 AM EDT