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Violent Language That Kills The Human Spirit

By Mary Hamer

10 July, 2011

Dedicated to the Victims of Defamation and Slander.


*Humans with their Superior brains, Upright posture, Linguistic ability & Opposable thumbs – are the only species on Earth: that uses Violent Language such as: Hate speech, bullying, fighting words, name calling, threats, slanderous statements, cruel metaphors & swear words -- aimed at target Enemies. This violent speech can kill the human spirit – just as guns kill the physical body. (1)

*Fact: People who kill humans are convicted of homicide & they spend their lives in prisons; Question: Why is it that people who kill the human spirit with violent language are not convicted of spiritual homicide, but rather walk the streets freely, committing silent crimes? (1)

*“Language is frequently used to stir up & manipulate emotions; That’s what master propagandists like Hitler … & others do, sometimes for good, sometimes for evil.” (2)

*Using Verbal violence to put: “Crosshairs on (human) targets … is not a good thing”. (3)

*MISSION STATEMENT: In this essay, I will show that the violent speech of the sender of a violent message causes aggression & violence committed by the receiver or victim of a violent message. Verbal violence is the silent crime being committed every day by offenders who walk the streets freely, but whose victims often end up in prisons or mental institutions. The crime of verbal violence is especially tragic when an adult offender targets a child. In the words of many authors cited in this paper, verbal violence: Annihilates, alienates, destroys, demonizes, disintegrates, mutilates, obliterates, oppresses & murders the soul of the targeted victim. I will reveal the truth about the dangers of violent rhetoric – that not only lacks sincerity & meaning, but that may cross over into the realm of hate & malice with the intent to harm. To anyone who has been a victim of verbal violence: I am sorry for your pain & suffering; May this essay help you heal.

*SPECIFIC PURPOSE: The purpose of this essay is: #1. To investigate Violent language, including the Hatred that underlies violent speech & #2. To explore the dangerous consequences of Verbal violence.

*SOFT –vs- HARD VIOLENCE: There are two types of violence: #1. Physical, hard violence is executed by things like Fists & guns. & #2. Softer forms of violence such as verbal violence are executed by: the Brain’s speech center, the vocal cords & the lips & tongue -- in the form of violent words. Gun shots are forms of Hard violence that harm & kill the Body; You can see, hear, taste, touch & smell guns, gunshots, gun smoke & gunshot wounds. The Soft violence of violent language such as: Hate speech, Fighting words (4), Swear words (5) & Gun metaphors (6) harm & kill the Spirit of the targeted victim. Society identifies & enacts legislation & demands accountability for the Hard more visible & louder forms of violence such as gun shot wounds. Soft violence usually happens with No consequences, no responsibility & no accountability for the perpetrator. But this soft violence of: Hate speech, bullying, name calling, threats, slander, cruel metaphors & swear words can kill the spirit & cause violence, suicides, homicides & wars. & Yet the human race engages in linguistic warfare & homicidal language (7) in daily life relationships, in the media & in the international community.


*I will use 3 main categories of words to communicate with you regarding violent language & the time sequence of events: I will refer to:

#1. the Sender of the violent speech: (i.e. the perpetrator, offender, attacker, Person A)

#2. the Message or the utterance: (i.e. the violent language, violent speech, verbal violence, violent rhetoric, auditory violence, linguistic warfare, homicidal language, etc..)

& #3. the Receiver of the message: (the targeted victim, Person B). (8)

*EXAMPLE of Violent Speech:

*e.g. Person A says to person B: “I hope your life is a living hell.”

In this example, Person A is sending a cruel metaphor message to the target: Person B.

This message carries a feeling of strong dislike in it; This is not a message of love. This message does not convey sincerity or much meaning or truth in it – other than hatred. Person A is sending a malicious message of verbal violence – with an intent to harm Person B. This negative message separates these two people & harms their relationship. The receiver, Person B most likely will be hurt by this message. Person B may respond to this auditory violence in one of many negative ways including: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, humiliation, shame, suicide & violence.

*METAPHYSICAL QUESTION: If person A criticizes person B with the above cruel metaphor & If person B then in his/her state of mental duress commits an act of violence against person C – Then does person A bear contributory negligence in Person B’s act of violence against person C? I argue: Yes, Person A bears responsibility for victim B’s mental duress & partial responsibility for person B’s violence against person C. I present the reasons for my claim of the sender’s contributory negligence in this essay.

*The KEY SECTIONS of this paper are:

I. Definition of Violence, Hate & Other Features of Verbal Violence.

II. General Categories of Violent Speech including a discussion of: Defamation, Hate Speech, Bullies & the Bullied, Zerzetzen Psycho-Terror, Harassment & Death Threats.

III. Causes of Violent Language: Unhealed Wounds, Revenge & the Bible, Evil, etc..

IV. Examples of Violent Speech.

V. The Humiliation & Harm Caused by Violent Language including a discussion of Child Abuse & it’s Consequences.

VI. Are the Perpetrators of Violent Language Responsible for their Violent Speech?

VII. Right Speech & NonViolent Communication, including Cognitive Guidelines.

VIII. International Perspective on Human Rights

IX. Conclusion: There is a Cause & effect relationship between the Verbal violence of an Offender, the Mental duress of a targeted victim & a victim’s violent behavior.


*HIMSA the Sanskrit word for Violence or Harm. (9) (10) Sri Swami Sivananda defines Himsa/Violence & includes in his definition -- The violence of language: “All harsh & rude speech is Himsa … Wounding the feelings of others by gesture, expression, tone of voice & unkind words is also Himsa … The vow of Ahimsa (or NonViolence) is broken even by showing contempt towards another (person), by entertaining unreasonable dislike for or prejudice towards anybody, by frowning at …, by hating …, by speaking ill of others”. (11)

*EMOTIONS: Why discuss Hatred in an essay about Violent language? A variety of emotions can motivate violent speech: e.g. Hate, anger, fear, shame, etc.. I have chosen the emotion of hate as a sample emotion to investigate regarding it’s role in verbal violence.

*HATRED: “Hatred is an intense feeling of dislike. … Hatred is often associated with feelings of anger”. “Hatred can result in extreme behavior: Violence, murder, war.” (12) “Freud defined Hate as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source if it’s unhappiness”. (13) Dozier makes the key connection between the emotion of hate & human language; He states that Hate is spread through our words. (14) The best example of hate expressed through language includes Hate Speech (Section II.: Categories of Violent Speech). Furthermore, Waltman & Haas state: “If hatred lives in language, the seeds of hatred exist in human cognition”. (15) I will discuss cognitive factors in speech & guidelines for more rational language in Section VII.

*HATRED, The DESTROY The ENEMY MENTALITY & ERRORS in REASONING: “Various errors in reasoning can overcome compassion & give us permission to destroy the enemy. (We often see) ourselves as the victims of an evil other. This gives us permission to do good by killing off the evil enemy.” “Egocentrism” & the … belief that ‘I am correct’ & “Others are wrong”, is another error in reasoning which contributes to hatred. It is also important to acknowledge the precursors & consequences of hate: i.e. that “Disrespect is a precursor to hate” & that “Hate fuels the tragedies of genocide.” What is the cure for hatred? “An unbiased consideration of the evidence, correct (the errors in reasoning), thoughtful dialogue & empathy can overcome the primitive urges of hatred & the cognitive errors that sustain it”. (16)

*ENEMY: Hatred is targeted at an enemy. Enemy: “One who feels hatred toward, intends injury to or opposes the interests of another”. (17) Once an offender has hatred & an enemy, then violent language becomes the means by which the offender can express strong emotions towards this now defined enemy.

*MALICE: Malice is a legal term that asserts a negative intent or motive of a person – including offenders engaged in violent language. A simple definition of malice is the: “Desire to inflict injury, harm or suffering on another”. (18) But, must an offender have ill will when communicating a negative statement to an enemy -- to constitute malice? “Garner observes ‘The malice requirement does not involve spite or ill will, only knowing falsity or a reckless disregard for the truth’”. (19)

*Other SOCIAL terms that describe the negative intent or motive of a person, including offenders engaged in violent language, are:

*CRUELTY: The “Deliberate infliction of pain & suffering”. (20)

*SCHADENFREUDE: Schadenfreude is a German word which means: “Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others”. (21) For example, The sender of a cruel message -- although deliberate -- may not necessarily derive pleasure from this act; However, the sender of a schadenfreude message derives pleasure not only from the act itself, but also may derive pleasure in the suffering of the victim.

*HATE CENTERS in the BRAIN: Hate has been investigated with MRI imaging. “In this experiment people had their brains scanned while viewing pictures of people they hated. The results showed increased activity in the medial frontal gyrus, right putamen, in the bilateral pre-motor cortex, in the frontal pole & bilaterally in the medial insular cortex of the human brain. The researchers concluded that there is a distinct pattern of brain activity that occurs when people are experiencing hatred”. (22)


*DEFAMATION: Defamation is: “A false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions”. (23) Defamatory communication tends to “Harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community, or to deter 3rd persons from associating or dealing with him”. Defamation is “False, (malicious) & injurious statements about the reputation of another” & it includes libel (written) & slander (spoken) forms. (24)

*SLANDER: Slander is “Words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another”. (25)

*CHARACTER ASSASSINATION: “Character assassination is an attempt to tarnish a person’s reputation. It may involve exaggeration, misleading half-truths, or manipulation of facts to present an untrue picture of the targeted person. It is a form of defamation & can be a form of ad hominem argument. For … individuals targeted by character assassination attempts, this may result in being rejected by his community, family, or members of his or her living or work environment. Such acts are often difficult to reverse or rectify, and the process is likened to a literal assassination of a human life. The damage sustained can last a lifetime …Character assassination may involve doublespeak, spreading of rumors, innuendo or deliberate misinformation on topics relating to the subject’s morals, integrity & reputation. It may involve spinning information that is technically true, but that is presented in a misleading manner or is presented without the necessary context.” (26)

*MALICIOUS FALSEHOOD: “Malicious falsehood or injurious falsehood is a tort. It is a lie that was uttered with malice, that is, the utterer knew it was false or would cause damage or harm.” “Malicious falsehood is a similar type of claim to defamation”. “In Scots law the equivalent … is verbal injury.” (27)

*NAME CALLING: Name Calling is an example of negative, life-alienating communication that implies wrongness or badness. (28) Name calling creates an Enemy image, it dehumanizes & makes the target inferior. Name calling participates in the irrational thinking of stereotyping. Examples of name calling include: Terrorist, Psychopath, the devil, thug, evil, etc.. Name calling judges a person’s being as bad, worthless, meaningless. Name calling is a means/a tool used to gain power over & dominate others. When we Name call, all human relationships stop & we go to war.

*ANTILOCUTION: Antilocution is defined as: “Verbal remarks against a person, group or community, which are not addressed directly to the target. Generally referred to as ‘Talking behind someone’s back’”. (29)

*DYSPHEMISM: Dysphemism is the use of an: “Intentionally harsh word or expression instead of a polite one; They are rough opposites of euphemism.”(30) For example, the dysphemism of the neutral term rebel is: a terrorist; The euphemism of a rebel is: a freedom fighter. (31)

*HATE SPEECH: “Hate speech is … any communication that disparages a person or a group on the basis of some characteristic such as race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or other characteristic”. (32)

*Hate Speech is defined by 4 features: “False facts, flawed argumentation, divisive language & dehumanizing metaphors”. (33)

*Hate Speech is also characterized by other important features: It seeks to politicize social differences (e.g. race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation) & It attempts to construct the out-group in negative & dehumanized terms. (34)

*FIGHTING WORDS: “Fighting words are written or spoken words, generally expressed to incite hatred or violence (in) their target”. “The fighting words doctrine, in the United States constitutional law, is a limitation to freedom of speech as protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. *In … Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942), the U.S. Supreme Court established the doctrine & held that ‘Insulting or Fighting words’ (among others), those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace’ are among the ‘well-defined & narrowly limited classes of speech” (that are unlawful). “It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas & are of such slight social value as a step in truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order & morality”. (35)

*RHETORIC: Rhetoric is defined as Language that has “A persuasive or impressive effect on it’s audience, but is often regarded as lacking insincerity or meaningful content”. (36)


e.g. Bullying, Mobbing, Zerzetzen, Harassment, Death Threats Cyberstalking, etc..

*BULLYING: Bullies verbally abuse target victims called: the Bullied.

Verbal abuse (also known as … bullying) includes: defaming, trivializing, harassing, interrogating, accusing, blaming, insulting, lying, berating, taunting, putting down, discounting, threatening, name-calling, yelling & raging. (37)

*DEFINITION: Bullying is a form of abuse, performed by a bully aimed at the victim or target of bullying. It involves relationships that have an “Imbalance of power”. (38) “Bullying consists of 3 basic types of abuse: emotional, verbal & physical.” (39) “Bullying is an act of repeated aggressive behavior in order to intentionally hurt another person, physically or mentally. Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.” (40)

*MARKERS of BULLYING: #1. Imbalance of Power: The bully can be older, bigger, stronger, more verbally adept, higher up on the social ladder, … of the opposite sex. #2. Intent to Harm: The bully means to inflict emotional &/or physical pain, expects the action to hurt & takes pleasure in witnessing the hurt. #3. Threat of further Aggression: including the statement: “I am not going away”. #4. Terror: Bullying is systematic violence used to intimidate & maintain dominance. Bullies have the following traits in common: They like to dominate other people; They are concerned only with their own wants & pleasures & not those of others; They use blame, criticism & false allegations to project their own inadequacies onto their target; They refuse to accept responsibility for their actions. (41)

*VERBAL ABUSE: “Bullying behavior may include: Name calling, verbal or written abuse”. (42)

*SOCIAL AGGRESSION: One form of bullying called “Social aggression … is characterized by threatening the victim into social isolation. This isolation is achieved through a wide variety of techniques, including spreading gossip, … criticizing the victims … markers (including the victim’s race, religion, disability, etc.). Ross outlines other forms of this indirect bullying which are … more likely to be verbal, such as name calling, … arguing others into submission, manipulation, gossip … lies, laughing at the victim, saying certain words that trigger a reaction from a past event & mocking”. (43) *EFFECTS of BULLYING on the TARGETED VICTIM: “The effects of bullying can be serious & even fatal”. “The link between bullying & school violence has attracted increasing attention since the 1999 rampage at Colorado’s Columbine High School. That year, 2 shotgun-wielding students, both of whom had been identified as gifted & who had been bullied for years, killed 13 people, wounded 24 & then committed suicide. A year later an analysis by officials at the U.S. Secret Service of 27 premeditated school shootings found that bullying, which some of the shooters described ‘In terms that approached torment’ played a major role in more than 2/3’s of the attacks”. Nearly one-third of academically talented 8th graders say that they have “Harbored violent thoughts as a result (of bullying). (44)

*VIOLENCE BEGETS VIOLENCE: “Bullying … form(s) a chain reaction & the bullied often become the bully”. (45)

*SUICIDE: “There is a strong link between bullying & suicide”. (46)

*CHARACTERISTICS of BULLIES & BULLY ACCOMPLICES include: “Research indicates that adults who bully have personalities that are authoritarian, combined with a strong need to control or dominate”(47) “Further studies have shown that envy & resentment may be motives for bullying”. (48) “Some bullies are arrogant & narcissistic” (49) & “Others can use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or to boost self esteem; by demeaning others, the abuser him/herself feels empowered”. (50) “Researchers have identified other risk factors such as depression” (51) & “”Personality disorders” (52) “As well as quickness to anger” & “Addiction to aggressive behaviors”. (53)

*PUBLIC STATEMENT: “The bully attempts to make a public statement to the effect of: ‘See me & fear me, I am so powerful that I have the ability to inflict pain upon the … target at the time & manner of my choice without having to pay any consequences’”. (54) *The BRAIN of BULLIES: Research suggests that “The brains natural impulse for empathy may be disrupted in the brain of a bully, leading to increased aggression”. The aggressive subjects showed “A strong activation of the amygdala & ventral striatum”. “The finding ‘suggested that they enjoyed watching pain’”. “The control group … who weren’t prone to aggressive behavior showed a response in the medial prefrontal cortex & the temporo-parietal junction, areas of the brain involved in self regulation.” (55) *BULLYING & WWI & WWII: “Historically … international ‘Bullying’ between nations is seen as having resulted in at least 2 … major & costly international wars”: World Wars I & II. (56)

*BYSTANDERS: We are all guilty bystanders when we witness bullying & do nothing.

*MOBBING or GROUP BULLYING: Mobbing is “Violence committed directly or indirectly by a loosely affiliated & organized group of individuals to punish or even execute a person for some alleged offense without a lawful trial. The ‘offense’ can range from a serious crime like murder” to other behaviors. “The issue of the victim’s actual guilt or innocence is often irrelevant to the mob, since the mob usually relies on contentions that are unverifiable, unsubstantiated or completely fabricated.” (57) Some regard “Mobbing as a form of group bullying”. Victims of mobbing may suffer from Post-traumatic stress disorder. (58) “Mobbing can be described as being ‘Ganged up on’. Mobbing is executed by a leader … The leader then rallies others into a systematic & frequent ‘mob-like’ behavior toward the victim”. (59) Sociologist Kenneth Westhues devised the following list of mobbing indicators, including the most important feature being: “The target is seen as personally abhorrent, with no redeeming qualities: Stigmatizing, exclusionary labels are applied”. Other indicators include: “Shared conviction that the target needs some kind of formal punishment, ‘To be taught a lesson’” & “Disregard of established procedures (such as the rule of law), as mobbers take matters into their own hands”. (60)

DEFINITION: Zerzetzen is a form of psychological torture & terror inflicted upon a person in order to break & destroy that person. “ Zerzetzen (was) developed by the former East German secret police ‘The Stasi’ to persecute dissidents“. This Stasi “No touch” torture method is currently used by State Intelligence agencies to break people & destroy families. Zerzetzen uses techniques such as: Character assassination, death threats, lies, defamation (slander & libel), harassment, false charges, surveillance, wire tapping, etc. -- It’s purpose is to poison every aspect of a person’s life”. Victims retreat into a paranoid, isolated reality; The victims may be committed to a psychiatric prison or they may commit suicide. “The aim of (Zerzetzen) ‘psycho-terror’ was to evoke in the prisoners a feeling of complete helplessness, of losing control over their lives & being at the mercy of an almighty authority”. (61) (62) (63) (64) Although Zerzetzen is usually carried out by a government, I believe that any elite group or private citizen is capable of inflicting zerzetzen psycho-terror on a target victim.

*HARASSMENT: “Criminal harassment is defined as: ‘Engaging in intentional conduct in which the actor/harasser knows … would cause the victim … to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted or intimidated”. (65) Harassment is “Behavior intended to disturb or upset”. There are many different types of Harassment including: Bullying, Stalking, Mobbing, Cyberstalking, etc..

*CRIMINAL THREATS: “In California, Terrorist or criminal threats are Illegal. A terrorist or criminal threat is a threat of violence, threat to hurt injure or kill others with the intent of intimidating or frightening them or causing … panic. Examples of … criminal threats include: Sending a threatening e-mail … The threat may be made in writing, electronically, by phone or in person”. (66) Michael Kresser reviews Criminal threats in People v. Toledo to include: “The threat actually cause(s) the person threatened ‘To be in sustained fear for his or her own safety;”. (67)

*DEATH THREATS: “A Death threat is a threat, often made anonymously, by (a) person or a group of people to kill another person” … These threats are usually designed to intimidate victims in order to manipulate their behavior, in which case a death threat is a form of coercion” (68) “A threat (is) ‘An expression of intention to inflict evil, injury or damage’ … Threats fall under the definition of Assault”. (69)

*CYBERSTALKING: “Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual … It may include false accusations … making threats, (etc.) (70) “Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly … & disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim”. Cyberstalking includes the following features: Malice, premeditation … vendetta, etc.. (71)

*CYBERBULLYING: “Cyber-bullying is ‘The use of information & communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated & hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others”. (72)

*EMOTIONAL ABUSE: Emotional abuse is the “Willful or reckless infliction of emotional or mental anguish”. (73) Emotional or Psychological abuse includes: a Power imbalance, bullying, child abuse & Rejecting, degrading, terrorizing, isolating, etc. behavior directed towards a victim. (74) Emotional abuse is “Designed to control & subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation, etc. .. It can include anything from verbal abuse (such as name calling) & constant criticism to more subtle tactics.” Emotional abuse “Systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth trust in their own perceptions & self-concept. … Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper & more lasting than physical ones. … The insults, insinuations, criticism & accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until (he)/she is incapable of judging the situation realistically.” (75)

*PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE: Psychological abuse includes 8 types of behaviors including: Rejecting (made to feel unworthy), Degrading/devaluing (e.g. criticized, deprived of dignity, humiliated, made to feel inferior), Terrorizing (e.g. verbally assaulted, frightened, threatened), Isolating, etc.. (76)

*MANIPULATION: Manipulation is “Exerting shrewd or devious influence especially for one’s own advantage”. (77) An example of Emotional abuse using Manipulation is saying:

*“I hate you” on one occasion, then at another time saying: “No, I don’t hate you”.

*DISHONEST & DECEITFUL LANGUAGE: In addition to outwardly angry or hateful language – is language that is more subtly violent such as dishonest or deceitful language. *Deception includes bad faith, propaganda & subterfuge which are “Acts to propagate beliefs that are not true. … Deception … can employ distraction, camouflage or concealment”. “Deception includes several types of communications or omissions that serve to distort or omit the complete truth. Deception itself is intentionally managing verbal &/or nonverbal messages so that the message receiver will believe (something) that the message sender knows is false.” Intention is the key ingredient that differentiates between deception & an honest mistake in communication. A subcategory of deception is disguise (such as political spin or propaganda) which may be used “To hide an unpopular motivation”

* Example: Depicting an act of war as a ‘Peace’ mission”. (78)

*JUDGING a PERSON GUILTY of a CRIME before a TRIAL: In Attorney Zeese’s article, he discusses how President Obama, “The commander-in-chief has announced (Bradley Manning’s) guilt before trial making a fair trial impossible”. “President Obama’s pronouncement about Manning, ‘He broke the law’, amounts to unlawful command influence”. (79) Question: Is judging a person as guilty of a crime before a trial – an example of violent speech?


*A. UNHEALED WOUNDS: The Compassionate Listening philosophy states that : “Every party to a conflict is suffering” & that “Every act of violence comes from an unhealed wound”. Gene Knudsen Hoffman calls on us all to listen &: “To understand people on all sides of conflicts” including the torturers as well as the tortured – In an effort to understand these unhealed wounds. (80) (81) Each sender of a violent message has an unhealed wound, but that grief does not justify verbal violence.

*B. REVENGE: One motivating factor for using Violent language is revenge.

“Revenge is a primitive destructive & violent response to anger, injury or humiliation”. (82)

*The BIBLE & VENGEANCE: The “Old Testament rhetoric … has a vibe & speech that features vengeance & retribution; It … has traditionally supported an agenda that holds violence as inherent & inevitable.” (83)

*NO REVENGE & ENLIGHTENMENT: Eve Ensler states: “Real power is about being bigger than revenge…& it requires every part of our being to say: I'm not going to hit you back. I'm going to take a breath & find what within me is larger & has the power to enlighten”. (84)

*ALTERNATIVES to REVENGE: Alternatives to revenge include: Forgiveness, Legal recourse, Constructive revenge (bettering oneself), Constructive dialogue with the aggressor. (85)

*ZEN TRANSFORMATION: Will the next victim of injustice pause in a zen moment of transformation: Rise above revenge, initiate dialogue & offer the enemy a gesture of peace?


*EVIL: Another reason people hate another person is the perception of: Evil. As Cole states in his book The Myth of Evil: “The discourse of evil is so dangerous that we must try to do without it.” Cole discusses the “Condemnation of those described as evil”. Cole explains: “Freud provided an important insight that we construct monsters … They represent our fears … or they represent our own monstrosity, our capacity for destructive evil intent.” Evil obstructs our understanding, it blocks our way, it is a failure to understand. “In the face of events like the Holocaust, we have to remember that one major factor in bringing it about was (the) discourse of evil”. Rather than call someone “Evil”, it is important as Cole states: “To understand their history, their motivation, (&) their psychology”. (86)

*D. DEHUMANIZATION Legitimizes VIOLENCE: Dehumanization is to deprive a person of human qualities, personality or spirit. (87) “Dehumanization is the psychological process of demonizing the enemy, making (him/her) seem less than human & hence not worthy of humane treatment.” This can lead to moral exclusion, human rights violations, war crimes & genocide. “Those excluded are … viewed as inferior, evil or criminal.” “To categorize one’s enemy as sub-human” legitimizes violence & the violation of basic human rights in the enemy. (88)



*e.g. “The President of Pakistan claimed … that the Bush Administration threatened to bomb his country ‘Into the Stone Age’ If it did not co-operate with the U.S. after 9/11”. (89)

*e.g. “Wiped off the map” & Translation Issues:

The translation presented by the official Islamic Republic News Agency that “Israel must be wiped off the map” (90) has been challenged by Arash Norouzi, who says the statement ‘Wiped off the map’ was never made & that Ahmadinejad did not refer to .. Israel”. Norouzi translated Ahmadinejad’s statement as “The Imam said the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”. (91)

*DEATH THREATS: The classic death threat is the claim:

*“I am going to kill you”. This threat can be made by many forms of communication including: Verbal, in written form, in phone messages & emails.

The psychosocial impact of death threats upon the victim are significant including intense fears & anxieties. (92)

*DEFAMATION: Slander (Oral) or Libel (Written): False accusations that injure a person’s reputation & which expose the person to public hatred, contempt, ridicule or degradation. The classic examples of defamation per se are: (93)

#1. Allegations of serious sexual misconduct

e.g. An allegation of rape or gang rape.

#2. Allegations of serious criminal misbehavior

e.g. An allegation that a man likes to harm little girls.

#3. Allegations that a person is afflicted with a loathsome disease.

e.g. An allegation that a person has leprosy or a venereal disease.


*GUN METAPHOR: e.g. Sharron Angle, a Tea party candidate turned Republican primary winner in Nevada said in an interview:

*“I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep & bear arms for our citizenry. …I’m hoping that we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems”. (94)

*GUN METAPHOR: During Gabrielle Giffords 2010 campaign a slogan used against her said: “Help remove … Giffords from office” & it invited people to “Shoot a fully automatic M16”. (95)

*GUN METAPHOR: Does the gun metaphor: Reload incite violence? CNN in a segment titled “Dangerous Rhetoric: When Heated Words incite Threats & violence” asked: Is it responsible for someone to say things like: “It’s not a time to Retreat, It’s a time to ReLoad”? The discussion centered around cross hairs on a map, gun language, militaristic language, etc.. (96)

*PRISON METAPHOR: To tell a person:

“I wish you were in a Midnight Express prison” would be a cruel metaphor.


*Speech that advocates or encourages violent acts or crimes of hate.

*Speech that creates a climate of hate or prejudice, which may in turn foster the commission of hate crimes.

*HATE SPEECH on COMMERCIAL RADIO: 4 Characteristics: (98)

*False facts, Flawed argumentation, Divisive language, Dehumanizing metaphors.

*FIGHTING WORDS & Other Words Limited by the U.S. 1st Amendment to the Constitution:

*The lewd, obscene, the profane, the libelous & the insulting or fighting words.

* NAME CALLING: Examples of Name Calling are:

*Terrorist, Psychopath, Satan, thug, evil, etc..

*In my essay Apology for the “F” Word I discuss the violence of swear words. (99)



*POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD): Violent Speech can cause psychological trauma & PTSD in the target victim. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined as: “A severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma”. PTSD symptoms include: Flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma & increased arousal (e.g. difficulty falling asleep, anger & hyper-vigilance. The traumatic event that causes PTSD can “Overwhelm the individual’s ability to cope”. (100)

*The BREAKING POINT & VIOLENCE: Regush warns us all of our: “Breaking Point”& our “Human Potential for Violence” including: “The potential of people everywhere on this planet to break down under severe stress”. Regush states: “Everyone is capable of causing harm or murder”. (101) The senders of violent messages cause great psychological stress in the receivers of such cruel messages; This mental stress puts the victims at risk for reaching their breaking point & hence at risk for violence.

*DISINTEGRATION ANXIETY: Verbal violence, when repeated & targeted at a victim, can cause: Disintegration anxiety. Kohut describes Disintegration anxiety as: When a person experiences continual self-invalidating events. Similarly Laing describes Ontological insecurity as “An intense & pervasive anxiety … manifested in a variety of symptoms, including ‘Severe fragmentation, serious loss of initiative, profound drop in self-esteem (& a) sense of (an) utter meaningless (existence)’. Unchecked, this disintegration anxiety poses ‘The danger of regression to psychosis’”. (101)*

*LIFE-ALIENATING COMMUNICATION & VIOLENCE: Rosenberg identifies: “Specific forms of language & communication” that “Contribute to our behaving violently toward each other”; He uses the term “Life-alienating communication” to refer to this concept. Rosenberg discusses the types of “Life alienating Communication” including: Moralistic Judgments that imply Wrongness or badness such as blaming, insults, put-downs, criticisms, etc.. Rosenberg references O.J Harvey’s work which shows that: There is a “High correlation between the frequent use of (words that classify & judge people) & incidences of violence”. (102)

“LIGUISTIC WARFARE” & VIOLENCE: Brennan says regarding “Linguistic warfare”, Name calling & the maxim: “Sticks & stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”: “This maxim contains two flaws: It negates the impact of name-calling and it minimizes the relationship between words and deeds”. “Disparaging designations (such as name calling) may inflict greater damage than physical blows & foster a climate of antagonism leading to the actual breaking of bones & other forms of violence”. “Name calling … (is) an essential component of any large-scale oppression: discrimination, segregation, enslavement or annihilation”. Brennan speaks of the “Linguistic reduction of victims to an insignificant, despicable or dangerous level” – as a result of demeaning labels. Brennan lists a universal set of dehumanizing designations including: Deficient humans (e.g. inferior), less than human, animal, parasitic, infectious, inanimate (e.g. thing), waste product (e.g. garbage) & non-person (nonexistence). (103)

*MURDERED SOULS, PRISONS & MENTAL INSTITUTIONS: ”At the extremes of human deprivation & degradation, it may well be true that the human psyche can be so terribly mutilated that the soul departs, leaving behind something else to fill the void – or perhaps just leaving an unfilled void”. In the Section titled: Can a Soul be Murdered? Garbarino states: “When forced to live in hell, the soul withdraws” … & these individuals seem to end up in “Prisons or mental institutions”. (104)


*Violent Language causes Humiliation & Disrespect in the target victim.

*DEFINITION: Lindner defines Humiliation as: “The enforced lowering of a person or group, a process of subjugation that damages or strips away their pride, honor or dignity”. “Humiliation means to be placed against one’s will in a situation where one is made to feel inferior”. (105)

*Lindner states: To be humiliated is to be placed against your will & often in a deeply hurtful way … It often involves acts of force. At it’s heart is the idea of pinning down, putting down or holding to the ground … Made helpless”. (106) Humiliation “Can be brought about through bullying, intimidation, physical or mental mistreatment or trickery, or by embarrassment”. (107)

*DEFINITION #2: The Emotional Competency website includes the following definitions & forms of humiliation: To “Fail to recognize the dignity of another”, “Loss of honor & induce(d) shame”, “Assault, attack or injury”, “Denigration of a person’s values, beliefs, heritage, race”, “Being forced to submit” to a dominant force, “Violating … human rights”, “Diminished competency” resulting from being disabled” etc., “Diminished resources” resulting from being defrauded” etc., “Having safety or security reduced”, “Dismissing, discounting or silencing your story”, etc.. (108)

*DEFINITION #3: ”Humiliation is the emotional response of people to their perception that they have been unfairly lowered, debased, degraded, ‘dised’ or reduced to inferior positions in situations in which they feel powerless”. (109) *DISRESPECT: “Humiliations are always communicative acts; They communicate the radical disrespect of an actor towards the addressee” (110)

*HUMILIATION, DOMINATION & OPPRESSION: “Humiliation of one person (over) another is often used as a way of asserting power over them & (it) is a common form of oppression, bullying or abuse used in a police, military or prison context during legal interrogations or illegal torture sessions”. (111) *”Humiliation involves … unequal power in a relationship” where a person is treated inferiorly. “People in power use humiliation as a form of social control; It is a common tool of oppression.” (112)


“HUMILIATION & VIOLENCE: An increasing number of scholars see humiliation as the number one cause of violence & suffering around the world. According to humiliation scholar Lindner, the power of humiliation to destroy everyone & everything in it’s path makes it ‘The nuclear bomb of the emotions’”. (113)

*AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR & DEPRESSION: Hartling states “It appears that the social pain induced by humiliation makes individuals more likely to engage in aggressive behavior or (it makes them) more vulnerable to depression”. (114) *DELINQUINCY, etc.: The personal consequences of humiliation include: “Academic failure, low self-esteem, social isolation, underachievement, delinquency, abuse, depression, etc.. (115)

*HUMILIATED FURY: “Feelings of humiliation can produce ‘Humiliated Fury’ (116) which, when turned inward can result in apathy & depression & when turned outward can give rise to paranoia, sadistic behavior & fantasies of revenge. “Klein explains, ‘When it is outwardly directed, humiliated fury … creates additional victims, often including innocent bystanders.” (117)

*RESPECT –vs- DISRESPECT & HUMILIATION: “The opposite of humiliation is respect”. “Treating people with respect is key to conflict transformation. When they are denied respect, people tend to react negatively, creating conflicts or escalating existing ones.” (118)

*DEFINITION of DISRESPECT: The definition of Disrespect includes: A rude expression intended to offend or hurt, language or behavior intended to mock or humiliate, communication that belittles, to hold in contempt (the attitude or feeling of a person towards a person or thing that he considers worthless or despicable, the state of being despised or dishonored), to violate (to treat irreverently), to offend (to cause displeasure, anger, resentment or wounded feelings in). (119)

*SHAME: Shame is “A painful emotion cause by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness or disgrace”. (120) Regarding the causes of shame: #1. “Bullying results in (many symptoms including) shame. … Bullies … use (these symptoms) to disempower their victim.” (121) #2. “Contemptuous or disdainful behavior & disrespect for others promote … shame”. (122)


*Adults can verbally & emotionally abuse children & hence cause a form of child abuse. The consequences of Child abuse include: Disturbed Relationships, Avoidance Behavior including: Substance Abuse & Suicide, & Borderline Personality Disorder (including: Impulsiveness, Inappropriate & Intense Anger) (123)

*BRAIN MATURITY & ADOLESCENCE: Dr. Jay Giedd, a NIH research scientist, who studies brain development at NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health, explained that scientists have … showed that the frontal cortex area—which governs judgment, decision-making and impulse control—doesn’t fully mature until around age 25. (124) Also, BJ Casey has shown that “Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by suboptimal decisions & actions that are associated with an increased incidence of unintentional injuries, violence, substance abuse” etc. (125) Therefore, If an adult with a more mature brain uses verbal violence against a child with a less mature brain, then such an adult is exploiting a child’s suboptimal decision making, impulsive behavior & increased risk for violent behavior. *Question: Should adults who willfully exploit children’s suboptimal decision making, impulsive behavior & increased risk for violence – Be charged with a crime

*SUBSTANCE ABUSE: “Alcohol & psychoactive drugs are immediate ‘Painkillers’ for many individuals who suffer from anxiety, depression or upsetting memories”. (126)

*BULLIES BRUISE BRAINS that Lead to SOCIAL ANXIETY: In the article titled: Bullies Bruise Brains: “Bullying & other types of chronic social stress affect gene activity in the brain” & “The changes may lead to persistent social anxiety”. (127)

*HATE CRIMES: “Hate crimes … occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group e.g. Racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, age, etc.. “Hate crime generally refers to criminal acts that are seen to have been motivated by bias against (a certain social group). Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail).” (128)


*QUESTION: Are the perpetrators of violent language responsible for the mental duress & violence committed by the victims of such violent speech? Yes. The perpetrators of violent language are responsible for the mental duress & the violence committed by the victims of violent speech.

*THE EVIDENCE: ”Language … can … be used to short circuit the brain & speak right to the gut, evoking such strong emotions as hate (&) fear … Listeners or readers are swept along, sometimes acting on the message without reasoning out what’s really being said to them or recognizing the wisdom or folly of that message. Words can evoke emotions & encourage taking action on impulses, which is … why everyone needs to weigh the implications & consequences of anything they say or write.” (129)

*Overall, there are many references in this essay that show the cause & effect relationship between a sender’s violent message, the receiver’s mental state of duress & the receiver’s violent behavior including the sections on: Bullying, Mobbing, Zerzetzen, Hate speech, Fighting words, Adult abusers of children, people who humiliate others & cause Humiliated fury, Emotional abusers, people who make Death threats, etc..


*ENLIGHTMENT & RIGHT SPEECH: If the human race was enlightened, then it would participate in Right Speech & help people rather than hurt them. Right speech is one of the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Paths, in the division of Ethical conduct & a way that leads to the “Cessation of suffering & the achievement of self-awakening”. (130)

The key features of Right Speech include:

#1. Abstain from false speech; Do not tell lies or deceive.

#2. Do not slander others or speak maliciously in a way that causes disharmony or ill-will.

#3. Abstain from rude, impolite or abusive language – that offends or hurts others. #4. Do not indulge in idle talk or gossip. (131) (132)

“Right Speech goes beyond … “’Thou shalt nots’; It means speaking truthfully & honestly, speaking to promote harmony & good will; Right Speech reduce(s) anger & eases(s) tensions”. “If your speech is not useful & beneficial … it is better to keep silent”. O’Brien warns us that “Sometimes people justify harsh speech because they are speaking on behalf of a worthy cause” (133) But quote worthy causes do not justify violent language & worthy causes inflict harm on the target victims. Worthy causes are better helped by Right Speech.

*EXAMPLE of RIGHT SPEECH: Greta Van Susteren asked Mr. Ricardo Flores:

*“Do you hate him? (Referring to the suspect of an alleged crime). Mr. Flores answered: No. … We don’t hate him because … We don’t feel like we have to have revenge”.

Mr. Flores provides a good example of NonViolent speech; Mr. Flores is suffering & yet he does not use violent speech to hate or get revenge on another person. (134)

*NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATION: “NonViolent communication (NVC) … is a communication process developed by Marshall Rosenberg. NVC often functions as a conflict resolution process. It focuses on two aspects of communication: Honest self-expression … & empathy (defined as listening with deep compassion). (135)

*TAKING The WAR Out of Our WORDS: Ellison explains: “Our way of speaking has … been based on a ‘War model’ that dictates that we use the same rules when we talk to each other as we do in physical combat”. “A power struggle is … a fight in which we use our words, tone of voice & body language as weapons of war in order to gain control over someone else. … We are fighting … to gain control of a relationship”. “Once we win a power struggle & gain psychic dominance, we may control other people’s decisions & actions”. Ellison’s Non-defensive communication suggestions include: Disarming [Asking sincere, open question(s)” that “enables the recipients to answer freely, without fear”. As a result, the other party “’Disarm(s)’, laying down their … defensiveness because they no longer need it within a safe environment”.], Ask for Clarifications including about Assumptions [“Do you mean …?”, “Are you saying …?” & Who, what, when, where, how & why questions.], Holding Others & Oneself Accountable for statements [with Respectful questions.] & Asking Direct Questions [Being willing to expose our truth rather than having a hidden agenda & attack method of communicating.] (136)


*BUDDHISM: Suggestions for improving the Non-Violent nature of speech includes the use of the Buddhist Four Immeasurables in daily life including: Loving Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy & Equanimity. (137) Loving Kindness includes a heart “free from (hostility) & free from distress”, with “Benevolence toward all beings, without discrimination or selfish attachment.” Loving Kindness is the “Same love a mother would feel for her child. This love does not discriminate between benevolent people & malicious people. It is a love in which ‘I’ & ‘you’ disappear”. (138)

*RABBI SHAPIRO: Rabbi Rami Shapiro, in his Introduction to LovingKindness, asks: “Will you engage this moment with Kindness or with cruelty, with love or with fear, with generosity or scarcity, with a joyous heart or an embittered one?” Regarding: “Being nice” Shapiro says: “I don’t think lovingkindness is about being nice. I believe it is about being fearless.” “The greatest kindness one can offer another is compassionate honesty”.

“The greatest (obstacle) to lovingkindness is Anger.”; As antidotes to anger, Shapiro suggests we “Discover the interconnectedness of all things” & that we “Speak gently & cultivate humility”. (139)

*FORGIVENESS: Forgiveness means: “To give up any desire for revenge or retaliation”. (140)

*May we speak to each other honestly, with benevolence toward each other & with a non-discriminating love for each other – even when talking to our enemies.


*DE-ESCALATION: Since violent language often involves opposing parties/enemies involved a conflict, it is important to understand methods of de-escalating these conflicts.

*Disarming Behavior: Disarming behaviors include: “Public expressions acknowledging past errors or signaling a readiness to make concessions” or “Modifying conduct that might have been viewed as threatening or hostile by the other side”. (141)


Kohlberg’s highest level of morality is: To do the right thing & to follow universal principles of ethics. (142) May we do the right thing in our daily use of language, follow universal principles of ethics regarding speech & chose words that rise to a higher level of morality.

*HUMAN BRAIN: The executive frontal lobes of the human brain have an impulse control function (143) that we can recruit to restrain violent language. May we use of brain’s executive center to restrain violent speech; Furthermore, may we understand the root causes of our violent language & correct the errors in reasoning that lead to violent speech.

*NEUTRAL SPEECH: One method for lessening the emotional violence of speech is to apply neutral speech guidelines that increase the factual content of language. For example, rebel is the neutral term for the euphemism: Freedom fighter & the dysphemism: Terrorist. (144)


*RATIONAL & IRRATIONAL THINKING: Albert Ellis’ philosophy & Robert Abelson’s concept of Cold –vs- Hot Cognitions (145) are described below:

The following discussion shows the different types of cognitive thinking progressing from the more rational Cold cognitions to the more irrational Hot cognitions:

1. Cold Cognitions: Deal with the Facts only & No emotions. e.g. You are a stranger.

2. Warm Cognitions: Show Preferences & Mild emotions. e.g. I don’t like strangers.

Warm cognitions have healthy emotions such as: Frustration, disappointment, etc..

3. Hot Cognitions: Make irrational Demands & show strong unhealthy emotions:

e.g. I hate strangers. Hot cognitions show unhealthy emotions such as Anger & hate.

*CONCLUSION: May we favor the more rational, less emotional & healthier Cold & warm cognitions in our daily dialogue with others & avoid the Hot cognitions which show great disrespect to people.


*Every person has the right Not to be psychologically tortured or terrorized by verbal violence. Violent speech attacks the honor & dignity of the targeted person. Here is an international perspective on attacks on one’s reputation:

*UNITED NATIONS Anti-Defamation Law:

*“Article 17 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights states:

#1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor & reputation.

#2. Everyone has the right of the protection of this law against such interference or attacks.” (146)


*The United Nations Convention against Torture defines torture as: “Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him … information or a confession, punishing him for an act he … is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him”. “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked to justify torture, including war, … public emergency, terrorist acts, violent crime.”.(147)


*The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court states that Crimes against Humanity “Are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of (a) human being”. (148)


*The Inter-American Convention to Prevent & Punish Torture defines torture: “To be any act intentionally performed whereby physical or mental pain or suffering is inflicted on a person (as) … a means of intimidation … to obliterate the personality of the victim or to diminish his physical or mental capacities”. (149)


*The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights states in Article 5: “Every person has the right to the protection of the law against abusive attacks upon his honor, his reputation & his private & family life”. (150)


Article 5: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” (151)


*VIOLENT SPEECH SYLLOGISM: My research on Violent Speech concludes the following syllogism: that

#1. Violent Speech by an Offender, inflicted on a target victim causes:

#2. Brain/Neurologic & Emotional consequences in the target victim such as: PTSD, depression, Disintegration anxiety, anger, humiliation, shame which predispose to:

#3. Regush’s Breaking Point Violence: e.g PTSD Anniversary Reaction violence.

Humiliating Fury.


*CONCLUSION: The evidence shows that the violent language of offenders causes mental duress in targeted victims & that the mental duress in the victims then results in violent behavior to 3rd parties. Hence primary offenders are responsible for the violence to 3rd parties via the targeted victims. As Emerson, so powerfully stated: Thoughts are the ancestors of actions (152); Verbal violence poisons the brain, it’s thoughts & hence it’s actions. Verbal violence is the silent crime being committed every day by offenders who walk the streets freely, but whose victims often end up in prisons or mental institutions. The crime of verbal violence is especially tragic when an adult offender targets a child.

*VERBAL VIOLENCE MURDERS the SOUL of it’s VICTIMS: In the words of many of the above referenced authors, Verbal violence: Annihilates, alienates, destroys, demonizes, disintegrates, mutilates, obliterates, oppresses & murders the soul of the targeted victim.

*VIOLENT RHETORIC: I have shown the truth about the dangers of violent rhetoric – that not only lacks sincerity & meaning, but that may cross over into the realm of hate & malice with the intent to harm.

*The RESPONSIBILITY of the INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY: If we as a society are blind, fail to connect the dots & If we just sit back & watch violent language occur, then we are both ignorant & complicit in the tragic consequences of violent speech. There IS a cause & effect relationship between the verbal violence of an offender, the mental duress of the targeted victim & the subsequent violence committed by the targeted victim. & There are no innocent bystanders. (153) So we the international community are all guilty of the violence inflicted upon & committed by a targeted victim. It is important that the senders of violent language apologize to the world community for their silent crimes & the path of misery that they silently leave behind themselves.


*There is no way of socially measuring the Hatred that fuels violent language; There are no Geiger counters, no police speed guns that measure hate & hate speech; But, common sense tells the observer that verbal violence is occurring. May we all become more aware of violent speech in our daily lives. May we have the courage to tell the sender of violent messages to please Stop the verbal violence. May we hold the senders of verbal violence accountable for their actions. May we seek Right speech in our personal relationships, at work, with strangers in public, in the media & in the international community.

*Words are powerful. May we use them wisely.

*DEDICATION: To anyone who has been a victim of verbal violence: I am sorry for your pain & suffering; May this essay help you heal.

*Namaste. Thank you. Respectfully, Mary Hamer, M.D.

Mary Hamer, M.D. is a Medical doctor who writes Earth, peace, human rights & animal rights essays.


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