Protective use of force


“The assumption behind the protective use of force is that people behave in ways injurious to themselves and others due to some form of ignorance. The corrective process is therefore one of education, not punishment. Ignorance includes (a) a lack of awareness of the consequences of our actions, (b) an inability to see how our needs may be met without injury to others, (c) the belief that we have the ‘right’ to punish or hurt others, because they ‘deserve’ it, and (d) delusional thinking that involves, for example, hearing a ‘voice’ that instructs us to kill someone.

Punitive action, on the other hand, is based on the assumption that people commit offenses because they are bad or evil, and to correct the situation, they need to be made to repent. Their ‘correction’ is undertaken through punitive action designed to make them (1) suffer enough to see the error of their ways, (2) repent, and (3) change. In practice, however, is just as likely to generate resentment and hostility and to reinforce resistance to the very behaviour we are seeking.”

– Chapter 11, ‘Nonviolent communication’.

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