Archive for October 15th, 2015


violence prevention

You need to do your own research on this. There’s a new website out there, and it’s called Check it out for yourself.

The site was recently started by James Kimmel, Jr., lawyer, author, and academic researcher. Kimmel focuses his work on the intersection of law, psychology, and spirituality. He is a lecturer at the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Program on Recovery and Community Health, and has been researching and writing about violence prevention for nearly two decades. Yet his most important credential for creating this website is that he came very close to committing murder himself.

Kimmel005-2-214x300When Kimmel was a teenager, some local bullies killed his dog and attacked his home. In a blind rage he  chased after them in his car with his father’s loaded .32 caliber pistol and cornered them against a barn. But at the very last second, in startling moment of unexpected clarity, he thought of everything he would be giving up if he pulled the trigger—and everything I would be taking from them too. It could have gone either way. But somehow, miraculously, despite all of the pain he had endured, Kimmel took his hand off the gun and drove home.

The desire to punish, says Kimmel, may be as powerful as the desire for heroin among drug addicts. As Kimmel points out, the desire for “justice” may be less morally reprehensible than many prosecutors would have us believe. There was a time not long ago, says Kimmel, when alcohol and drug addiction were viewed primarily as moral failings. “The reexamination of these behaviors through a scientific and medical/psychological lens has opened powerful new avenues of substance abuse recovery, prevention, and hope,” he writes.

Brain science is now opening windows into the motive to kill. Kimmel does not believe that a person who considers murder is “evil.” Most people who consider killing others are motivated by the powerful human desire to achieve justice for wrongs and trauma inflicted upon them in the past. Ironically, it is the desire for justice that is the motive for and root cause of most murders.

At a time that everybody is talking about gun control, which is highly unlikely to happen in this country, Kimmel says we should also be talking about motive control—which is, after all, about emotional maturity and not outlawed by the Constitution. He says that if we want to prevent violence, we must provide resources and support to help young people control their intense biological cravings to seek justice through killing when wronged.

I don’t know what kind of a difference Kimmel’s website will make, but at least it offers a fresh perspective, can begin new conversations, and lead to a better understanding of violence in America.


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