By Justin Filla, Intern
On Thursday, February 7th the Peace and Justice Action League held an event titled Pulling at the Threads: Examining our Culture of Violence. The event consisted of a panel of five individuals who spoke on the many threads of cultural, physical, and structural violence in our society. The panelists included Dr. Jakob Camp, Bill Morlin, Sandra Williams, Victoria Redstarr, and Tim Connor.
I was really interested in hearing Dr. Jakob Camp speak since his area of specialty is mental health. You always hear in the media the topic of mental health being brought up into the conversation after there is a tragic event that is around gun violence. There is just a stigma that those with a mental health issue are more likely to act out violently and be the reason for these events. This is very harmful to individuals because they will carry that stigma with them. There are also those who have committed crimes and who are instantly thought to have a mental health issue and it is the cause. In some cases it may be the reason but this ideology is harmful for everyone else with a mental health issue.
I also found it compelling when Bill Morlin who was a longtime reporter for The Spokesman-Review and who is currently a writer for the Southern Poverty Law Center referenced a few cases to see if anyone in the audience had heard of them. There were a few cases that people raised their hand for but most of them had not been heard of by most of the audience members. Bill stated that this is because we need to broaden where we get our news information so that we can be more informed. He stated that if we typically read more liberal and progressive publications then we should also try reading some conservative publications as well so that we are more informed. Some of the events that he stated were only in the media for one or two days and then the media coverage would just end and move onto the next story that they want to report on. There are these high profile cases that we hear a lot about like the recent shootings from the ex-LAPD officer but then there are other cases that get no coverage.
Overall, I think that this was a great group of panelists that covered an array of areas in relation to the threads to violence. I believe there should be more events like this where the general public is able to attend so they can get more informed on the issue.