Often, when I speak of nonviolence, I am given what is taken to be a knock-down argument in favor of violent self-defense: What would you do if someone broke into your home, and pointed a gun at your wife and your son? Would you be nonviolent then?!?
The presumption is that, in a safe world, nonviolence is all well and good, but in this violently dangerous world, the best security is to be packing heat.
Well, I don't know what I would do if an armed robber broke into my home and threatened my family. But I do know that if I met that violent threat with violence of my own, the result would be, to say the least, tragic. As Walter Wink points out, violent criminals expect for their aggression to be met with either fear or aggression, either of which play on their own innate violence. What they don't expect is to be met with creative compassion. And that's exactly what happened here, when a would- be-armed-robber got a good glass of wine and a group hug.
(A tip 'o the hat to Frank Lockwood of the Bible Belt Blogger, for linking to this fine story.)
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