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Quotations about Violence

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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

All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished. ~Marshall Rosenberg

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

There is a great streak of violence in every human being. If it is not channeled and understood, it will break out in war or in madness. ~Sam Peckinpah

We challenge the culture of violence when we ourselves act in the certainty that violence is no longer acceptable, that it's tired and outdated no matter how many cling to it in the stubborn belief that it still works and that it's still valid. ~Gerard Vanderhaar

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

What broke in a man when he could bring himself to kill another?  ~Alan Paton

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

There have been periods of history in which episodes of terrible violence occurred but for which the word violence was never used.... Violence is shrouded in justifying myths that lend it moral legitimacy, and these myths for the most part kept people from recognizing the violence for what it was.  The people who burned witches at the stake never for one moment thought of their act as violence; rather they thought of it as an act of divinely mandated righteousness.  The same can be said of most of the violence we humans have ever committed.  ~Gil Bailie

Violence in the voice is often only the death rattle of reason in the throat.  ~John Frederick Boyes

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

In violence we forget who we are.  ~Mary McCarthy

It is clear that the way to heal society of its violence... and lack of love is to replace the pyramid of domination with the circle of equality and respect.  ~Manitonquat

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

It's not the bullet with my name on it that worries me.  It's the one that says "To whom it may concern."  ~Anonymous Belfast resident, quoted in London Guardian, 1991

I believe everybody in the world should have guns.  Citizens should have bazookas and rocket launchers too.  I believe that all citizens should have their weapons of choice.  However, I also believe that only I should have the ammunition.  Because frankly, I wouldn't trust the rest of the goobers with anything more dangerous than string.  ~Scott Adams

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!  ~Hawkeye, M*A*S*H, "Officer of the Day"

Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived.  ~Abraham Lincoln

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

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

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.  ~George Bernard Shaw, "Caesar and Cleopatra"

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.  ~George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists

The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual crime.  ~Max Stirner

Play allows us to develop alternatives to violence and despair.... ~Stuart Brown

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

He who loves the bristle of bayonets only sees in the 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

The moment a man claims a right to control the will of a fellow being by physical force, he is at heart a slaveholder.  ~Henry C. Wright, The Liberator, 7 April 1837

Man's destructive hand spares nothing that lives; he kills to feed himself, he kills to clothe himself, he kills to adorn himself, he kills to attack, he kills to defend himself, he kills to instruct himself, he kills to amuse himself, he kills for the sake of killing.  ~Josef de Maistre

How many does it take to metamorphose wickedness into righteousness?  One man must not kill.  If he does, it is murder.... But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is not murder.  It is just, necessary, commendable, and right.  Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent.  But how many does it take?  ~Adin Ballou, The Non-Resistant, 5 February 1845

It is better to be violent, if there is violenee in our breasts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence. Violence is any day preferable to impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become nonviolent. There is no such hope for the impotent. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

Nonviolence doesn't always work — but violence never does. ~Madge Micheels-Cyrus

In some cases nonviolence requires more militancy than violence.  ~Cesar Chavez

If you suck on a tit the movie gets an R rating. If you hack the tit off with an axe it will be PG. ~Jack Nicholson

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.  ~Gandhi

He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

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