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Violence is a reality I try to avoid

POSTED: June 6, 2012 4:00 a.m.

Obviously, if one is aware of the popularity of "The Avengers" and similar movies, I am a minority when I decry violence in movies, television, video games, etc. But I usually just don't watch it.

Sweat and tears I can abide, but scratch the blood.

So I surprised myself by spending three evenings watching the Hatfields and McCoys kill each other on the History channel.

Like most of you, I had grown up with those words being synonymous with feuds.

Strange thing, though: I didn't understand before and really still don't understand exactly why it started. Truthfully, I haven't spent time or energy trying to find out.

Not only did I watch the two hours of each scheduled episode, I watched the repeats, straining to recognize faces behind the beards and under the hats and struggling to remember exactly how that character fit into the story line. I think I really did understand the final 30 minutes of the series.

As I responded to the hype of preview advertising to immerse myself in those backwoods cabins, I kept asking how human beings could be so cruel to each other.

Then, of course, I realize that much of our current news, local and international, reveals that same nonsensical cruelty.

We have just observed Memorial Day, honoring mostly the veterans who lost their lives in war, but remembering with gratitude also those who served and are serving in any branch of our military.

As the widow, mother, sister and aunt of veterans, I am knowledgeable about such service.

But along with the honor, I must wonder why the world has always been embroiled in wars - somewhere around the world, people are killing people.

Why? Is violence an inherent part of human nature?

Generally, I have believed that the basic cause of most wars, even many individual feuds, is greed - the desire for more - more wealth or territory or power.

That desire seemingly overcomes any reticence about hurting, maiming or killing. Even if my theory is true, it doesn't explain why people apparently enjoy watching the violence.

But it is everywhere.

Ridiculous as it sounds, I sometimes switch TV stations to look for commercials.

I'm not planning to go on a cruise or buy a new car or re-carpet a room, but those ads remind me that something else is happening other than dictators and terrorists murdering people or aliens threatening us or politicians symbolically cutting throats.

Normalcy resides in doing everyday chores, in fulfilling church, civic and family responsibilities, and in enjoying each other's company.

I can't stop the actual violence that occurs, but I am resuming my habit of avoiding it as entertainment.

Guess I'll be retreating from reality and watching old movies or reading innocuous books.

Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.

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