Here is an amazing clip of a doctor who is working to reduce violence, successfully, in Chicago by treating it as we have treated previous epidemics. The person who sent this to me (thanks Ravele) noted that the documentary and the work of The Interrupters, was based on this man’s work.
The Interrupters is a film about three Violence Interrupters who try to “protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed.
Last week the Center for Disease Control released data showing that “child maltreatment is a serious and prevalent public health problem in the United States”. Anyone who is familiar with the ACE Studies knows this already. What struck me cold were the statistics associated to this epidemic.
In my interview with Robert Scaer, he commented that we are a dissociated nation, devoid of presence and deeply stressed. I thought that was a little bit of a generalization but on my return to New York I started noticing the gaunt, expressionless and somewhat dissociated stares of passersby on the streets of Manhattan. If people are not buried in their iphones, desperately trying to somehow stay busy or connected or relavent, then they are walking with downcast expressions on their faces.
When we are in the stress response, our bodies produce a number of chemicals that are designed to help us either fight or flee from the present danger. However, if that danger is ongoing, ie. unemployment, abusive marriage, prolonged firefight etc. those “helpful” chemicals can become highly destructive.
We know from the ACE Studies that childhood abuse and neglect cause lifelong physical, social and mental illnesses so it is no surprise that scientists have discovered the same thing in monkeys. This stuff isn’t new. Rob Anda and Vincent Fellitti who created the ACE study have published over 40 papers in the last 10 years pointing out the longterm affects of childhood abuse…
BBC 18th August, 2011
Baby monkeys grew up anxious and anti-social after the stress of separation from their mothers, a study says.
It suggests changes to the brains of infant monkeys may be irreversible, and the study could be a model for humans.
As a culture we love to watch violence. We are addicted to violence and as a consequence addicted to trauma. Media outlets have long understood that “if it bleeds it leads”. The Classification and Rating Administration is more tolerant of Rambo massacring scores of Vietnamese than it is of a nice naked body on the screen. Most US presidents have waged some form of aggression on another country (except Jimmy Carter and look what happened to him).
Violence feeds our need, as traumatized people, to maintain a higher level of adrenaline. Like a professional athlete we need to maintain this high chemical level. And through the fear and anxiety that these violent programs and news feeds and government actions gives us, our bodies get the fix. Our state of fear is elevated, cortisol and adrenaline is released and our heart rate quickens.
On the 11th day after conception, the SRY gene in the male can be switched on in the brain and testis. According to Robert Scaer (who is drawing on Matt Ridley’s 2003 research) this gene found on the tip of the male Y chromosome, is responsible for aggressive behavior. In adolescence, a time when male aggression can really assert itself, testosterone is released from the testis along with the SRY gene. This genetic marker “contributes to a predisposing template that provides the potential for the male member of the human species to be prone to violent behavior” (R. Scaer, The Trauma Spectrum pp. 134-1235, 2005).