Ending Violence: The US Needs a New Social Contract Based on Equality

12/07/2016 10:03 | Updated 12 July 2016

What's behind people getting killed in the U.S. by those who by definition are employed by the state to enforce the law, to serve and protect the country's citizens? With the shootings in Dallas, Minnesota and Baton Rouge violence seems to be escalating both ways, citizens and officers being shot dead.

Is it really a race thing? Is it because violence is as American as apple pie? Or, is it the socio-economics?

Some have argued, somewhat drastically, that the police only become necessary in human society at the junction where it is split between the haves and the have nots. So, does police violence occur on a bigger scale where inequality is rampant and systemic?

If there's a lesson to be learnt from what's happening in the U.S. on a daily basis, it's that society's ills cannot be cured by cracking down on the symptoms. On the contrary, this malaise is getting worse by trying to cure the symptoms with the wrong medicine, administered by the wrong doctors.


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The institutions which so far have been asked to try and pacify society cannot succeed because they were never designed to do so in the first place, at least not on this scale. Neither the police departments, nor the courts of justice, nor the department of corrections can put society back on track.

It is no use handing out more and bigger guns to police, in effect militarising law enforcement. SWAT teams that look like they were originally trained and equipped to storm Falluja can't be part of the solution, if peace is to be achieved. That way, the police turn from an impartial guardian of the law to a warring faction itself.

In the long run, it's counterproductive to ask judges to hand down tougher sentences, when the prison system is known to be producing hardened criminals by the minute, turning one-off offenders into full-time gangsters. The U.S. has one of the highest incarceration rates worldwide.

It's a toxic concoction. More of the same simply isn't working!

Rarely do people starve to death in the U.S., but poverty kills through the back door. Innocent citizens and those entrusted with upholding the law are dying in this undeclared war that cannot be won by either side.

To put it bluntly, people will keep dying in great numbers in a society beset with high levels of inequality. This situation is being exacerbated by citizens and police being armed to the teeth and ready to kill.

If anybody had worked out an easy solutions for these issues, he or she would have probably already have been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. However, there are no quick scientific fixes for problems like these.


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I would argue, the U.S. needs a new social contract. This contract should not be based on the winner takes it all. In other words, the American Dream must be rekindled in a way that profits all, not just the fittest. With more socio-economic equality comes cohesion and pacification.

Unfortunately, the way things seem to be going in the U.S. currently, in the political arena and society at large, the American public is drifting further apart. Ending the violence will depend on disarmament, involving a necessary decommissioning of deadly weapons and harsh rhetoric.