DURHAM, N.H. – Bruce Mallory, professor of education at the University of New Hampshire and director of New Hampshire Listens, is available to discuss violence and civility following the shootings in Arizona Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011.
According to Mallory, the violent rampage that took place in Arizona on Saturday is yet one more reminder that our claim to be a civil society, in which we solve our differences through informed debate rather than random acts of violence, is an ideal that we have not fully achieved.
“When a deranged individual hears calls to use ‘bullets rather than ballots, or to ‘take out’ or ‘target’ the opposition, or to put those with whom we disagree ‘in the crosshairs,’ then he or she, having already lost touch with reality, takes such advice too literally,” Mallory says.
The way we use words, the language we use to talk about our differences, are real, and we must hold ourselves responsible for our choice of metaphors, he says.
“It will be words, not walls or weapons, that will help us restore a sense of civility and a belief in our capacity to solve our problems in this troubled world. The horror of the shootings in Arizona should strengthen our resolve to come together, face to face and heart to heart, to listen to each other, to honor our differences and affirm our commonalities, to speak the truth and to hold sacred the meaning of our constitutional democracy,” Mallory says.
About New Hampshire Listens
NH Listens is part of the UNH Carsey Institute's commitment to civic engagement. The mission of NH Listens is to help local communities and the state develop the capacity for civil, informed citizen deliberation of complex policy issues. NH Listens emphasizes deliberative democratic practices and strengthening the role of direct citizen engagement in the political process.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.