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Quotations about Violence

Cupid in these latter times has probably laid aside his bow and arrows, and uses fire-arms, — a pistol, — perhaps a revolver. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I object to violence because, when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. ~Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948), in Young India, 1925

How do you teach a child the word genocide and still give him reason to love beyond his front door? ~Cherríe L. Moraga, "A XicanaDyke Codex of Changing Consciousness," 2000

The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out. ~Chinese proverb

Ernst Toller was not very great. But he was wholly poet. He was not great enough for the awful violence of the times in which he lived. Who is? ~Dorothy Thompson, Let the Record Speak, 1939

...who overcomes
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
~John Milton, Paradise Lost, 1667

Violence in the voice is often only the death-rattle of reason in the throat... ~J. F. Boyes (1811–1879)

Let us thank God that we live in an age, when something has influence besides the bayonet... ~Daniel Webster, 1825

In violence we forget who we are, just as we forget who we are when engaged in sheer perception. ~Mary McCarthy

Thus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the nine-millimeter bullet. ~Dave Barry, "What Has Four Legs and Flies," Dave Barry Talks Back, 1991

With rope, knife, gun, brass knucks, and bloody laws
Earth everywhere is noisy... This is the age of anger...
This is the age of gluttony and spite.
With lash and bomb, blue fire and bayonet
Earth everywhere is littered. Earth is wet
With blood not drained for drinking, earth is loud
With sounds not made for hearing, earth is plowed
By steel that will not reap it. Earth is least
Like what earth was when beast was simple beast.
~Mark Van Doren, "Simple Beast," A Winter Diary And Other Poems, 1935

We can view five hundred ways men can wreak havoc on men. Killing adults on TV is acceptable. Violence is not considered dirty but love is. ~Rod Serling, 1974

Why are sex and violence always linked? I'm afraid they'll blur together in people's minds — sexandviolence — until we can't tell them apart. I expect to hear a newscaster say, "The mob became unruly and the police were forced to resort to sex." ~Dick Cavett, 1978

It used to take me all vacation to grow a new hide in place of the one they flogged off me during the school term. ~Mark Twain, 1867

I see the World Trade Center falling before the eyes of my parents, my father a veteran of the Second World War, my mother born during the period of the Mexican Revolution. They are U.S. citizens and in the latest hours of their lives, they watch symbols of U.S. power crumble like castles of sand. Would that those buildings had been sand castles, structures built in full creative knowledge of our ephemeral life spans, our vulnerability to the righteous forces of nature.... For the first time I fear for my children and the world they will inhabit after my death. For the first time, it occurs to me that as residents of the United States we are finally subject to the global violence we have perpetrated against the non-Western world. ~Cherríe L. Moraga, "From Inside the First World: On 9/11 and Women-of-Color Feminism," 2001

I will not carry a gun... I'll carry your books, I'll carry a torch, I'll carry a tune, I'll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, carry me back to old Virginia, I'll even hari-kari if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun! ~M*A*S*H, "Officer of the Day," 1974, written by Laurence Marks  [S3, E3, Hawkeye]

And so, to the end of history, murder shall breed murder, always in the name of right and honor and peace, until the gods are tired of blood and create a race that can understand. ~Bernard Shaw, Cæsar and Cleopatra: A Page of History, 1900

It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their kind. ~Bernard Shaw, "Maxims for Revolutionists"

So long as governments set the example of killing their enemies, private individuals will occasionally kill theirs. ~Elbert Hubbard, 1899

He who loves the bristle of bayonets only sees in their glitter what beforehand he feels in his heart. It is avarice and hatred; it is that quivering lip, that cold, hating eye, which built magazines and powder-houses. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "War"

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