Violence begets violence

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2001

The attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania have shaken our roots. Our hearts are filled with grief and with sympathy for the victims and their families. We share our country's shock and determination to keep such acts from ever occurring again.

The events of Sept. 11 were crimes against humanity. We believe that acts of violence must not be allowed to occur, here or abroad, and that our nation and all nations must commit to preventing acts of terror and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

But Americans must insist that in pursuing justice, our government does not create more violence and more victims. Our response to terror must not be itself and act of violence against the innocent. By bringing those responsible to a fair and open trial, we will affirm that acts of terror and shedding of innocent blood are never acceptable, in the sight of God or of humanity.

Violence begets violence. A response by the United States or its allies that causes more suffering will only provoke an endless cycle of hatred and reciprocal acts of vengeance. We believe violence, retribution and war are not the answer.

Our nation must reaffirm its dedication to the rule of law. We must reject all forms of hatred and violence. Our country, and every country, has a duty to apprehend those behind these crimes and to bring them to a fair and open trial. We must not scapegoat any nation, faith, or ethnic group. We must not become what we condemn in others. We must not substitute vengeance for justice.

Let us dedicate ourselves to removing the causes of war, of violence and of terrorism. Let us affirm that there is no place for acts of hatred, by other or by ourselves. Let us teach our children that no matter how deeply we are hurt by others, we must not respond with violence. In the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., violence is "a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy ... adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Juneau Friends Meeting (Quakers)

Douglas K. Mertz,

Recording clerk

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