Juvenile Arbiter

Scrolling through a newsfeed overflowing with Gaza I remembered two boys getting in a fight at my high school. One had a baseball bat. A teacher was the first victim as she jumped between the two, trying to put an end to the inevitable blood-letting, and promptly got whacked upside her head.

That incident triggered the end of my time as a ‘Peer Counselor.’’ Peer Counselors like me were part of a school program in which students were to help resolve student conflicts since we (theoretically) were more sensitized to our peer’s motivations.

Shortly after the fight, our mentor asked what we would have done. My (apparently) unsatisfactory response was something along the lines of ‘not jump in the middle of two raging hormonal douche bags.’ Which led to an argument about the moral imperative to intervene vs self defense.

I lost the argument to the teacher who considered my stance incompatible with the deeply-seated and well considered morality of her program. I was kicked out. And I was upset. I had thoroughly enjoyed the designation of ‘Peer Counselor’ and how it legitimized my already holier-than-thou juvenile sense of self. Expressing indignation to my Quaker-thus-pacifist father, he offered the following:

Once upon a time and way back in the day, a Quaker farmer woke up to the sound of a thief downstairs. As the thief began climbing the stairs towards the farmer’s sleeping family he looked up and into the barrel of the farmers hunting rifle. The farmer calmly informed the thief ‘Friend, you are standing where I am about to shoot.’

Good story, dad.

Back to the thoughts of today… self defense. The use of force. Imbalance and military might. ‘Just’ interventions… I wish the ’72-hour ceasefire’ had made it more than 3.


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