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"If a crime is committed in my presence…"

It is unusual that one of us would already know in advance how to defeat evil with good. Therefore, in the critical moment, instinct is more readily accessible than knowledge.

But even when you don’t succeed in refraining from violence, it’s important to distinguish between an instinctive violent response and deliberate preparation for violence. These situations are not the same:

  • A spontaneous forceful reaction to the crime, without any advance intention or preparation to kill or wound the perpetrator (for example, not keeping weapons in the home)
  • The threat of mutilating and killing people as a constant practice — the same practice that comprises the daily tasks of the security forces.

If you do not wish to reciprocate with evil and violence under any circumstances, you can find methods here: Nonviolence in Action: Methods and Approaches.


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The Leo Tolstoy Center for Nonviolence, including its knowledge base and advice service, is provided on 'as is' basis and under the terms of agreement with its current implementation. The center is not affiliated with any organization, governmental or public. Opinions expressed on the website may differ from the views or opinions of experts, our own or others. Content sharing is allowed, but a link must be provided to the original source. The project’s core document is Nonviolence in Action: Methods and Approaches: eesti english français italiano lietuvių srpski български русский српски