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Violence is nonsense. While people often deploy violence for rational purposes, violence itself is the opposite of sense. Every abused child and battered woman knows this. You're arguing with your parent or partner, pressing your point, trying to make yourself understood, working to reach agreement. Then -- slam! -- comes the slap or the kick or the punch and everything stops making sense. Might makes right -- -- wins again. It's the same in disputes between gangs or the gangs who call themselves governments: The shooting resumes when negotiations break down. The nonsensical nature of violence is one reason why we often feel so disoriented when we experience, witness, or even hear about violence. Here's another reason: Violence is violation. What does that mean, exactly? Let's ask the thesaurus: Breach, break, rupture. . . those are just some of the words we use to describe the ways that punches split more than lips. Violence breaches the peace, breaks the rules. . . and leaves us feeling cracked open and cut off. Hence the sense of stunned incomprehension that has overtaken many animal rights activists in the wake of , Nathan Runkle. The fact that the assault was perpetrated not as a consequence of his activism but simply in response to his sexual orientation makes it feel all the more nonsensical, especially to those who have not encountered gay-bashing or other expressions of homophobia in their own lives. [caption id="attachment_462" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="Nathan Runkle before and after attack"][/caption] What can we do -- what must we do -- with our feelings about this? First, we must make sense of it. We must resist the non-sense that is violence, restoring the connections (logical and otherwise) that violence seeks to sever. We do need to between the kinds of violence from which Nathan has sought to protect animals for so many years and the kind of violence he encountered as a gay man walking down the street last weekend. I don't want to share too many of my own thoughts about that because I think that the exercise of trying to figure it out may be useful. I will suggest that you have a look at the links running down the sidebar of the for some ideas. Remember that and that control of reproduction is central to both sexism and speciesism. Next, we must do something about it. As with making sense, taking action helps you feel better while actually doing something about the problem. As I wrote yesterday, it's especially important to respect the wishes of survivors when taking action in the wake of hate crimes and Nathan has expressed the wish that sexual orientation be included in Ohio's hate crimes legislation. Those who what is viagra made of aren't from Ohio might be wondering how they might help with that, since state legislators tend not to care what voters in other states think. Of course, one way would be to lend support to Ohio organizations working on that issue but another way would be to join the struggle to include sexual orientation in federal hate crimes legislation. Next, given Mercy for Animals' long history of marching in gay pride parades and picketing gay rodeos, I think it's safe to assume Nathan would want any LGBTQ community responses to his assault to be informed by his animal activism. When LGBTQ folks ask, "what can I do?" about this assault, I'm guessing one thing Nathan might say is "go vegan. " So, folks in Ohio ought to join MFA in making sure that any local response to the crime reflects Nathan's identity as a vegan animal rights advocate as well as a gay man. Those of use elsewhere can do the same in relation to any national response. What is viagra made of finally, this attack ought to provoke the animal rights/liberation/advocacy community to take homophobia more seriously. Yes, the movement is generally queer-friendly but, no, it is not entirely free of homophobia. There are gay men in the movement who have hesitated to come out for fear of losing credibility or facing harassment. There are lesbian women in the movement whose opinions about the linkages between sexism and speciesism have been dismissed as the irrational ravings of man-haters. There have been (rare but real) incidents of both insensitivity and outright homophobia at movement events. Confronting this directly will make the movement stronger and better able to build bridges with other movements. It comes down to a willingness to acknowledge and then divest oneself of unjust power and privilege. Just as it's very easy for progressive activists in other movements to assume that, because they feel themselves to be good and progressive people, there couldn't possibly be any need for them to look deeply at their power relationships with animals, it's very easy for vegan animal rights activists to assume that, because they feel themselves to be good and progressive people, there couldn't possibly be any need to challenge themselves about issues like race or sexual orientation. But, of course, what's true is that we all need to be challenging ourselves about everything all the time if we're to have any hope of salvaging the world from [what is viagra made of] the wreckage wrought by the tangle of intersecting injustices in which we all are ensnared. You might have noticed that I didn't provide any links to Ohio or national organizations working on the hate crimes issue. I'll leave it to straight Superweed readers to show solidarity by doing that research and leaving the links in the comments. Remembering that the Nazis put gay men and lesbians in concentration camps too, I'll let Isaac Bashevis Singer have the (next to) last word:

As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behavior toward creatures what is viagra made of, all man were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.
By making connections and taking action, we can counter might and make things right.


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