Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WAS STEPHEN A. SMITH RIGHT THAT PROVOCATION BE CONSIDERED IN A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?




This discussion ensued because Ray Rice beat his then fiancee (who is now his wife): Janay Palmer and then wedded her before any court action. He was subsequently suspended for two games by the NBA.  People began falling fits about a man laying his hands on a woman and how the suspension was inadequate.  That is where Stephen A. Smith in an attempt to ditch out some wise counsel became the victim of American hypocrisy. He advised that women should refrain from provoking situations that could cause them to be beaten. A lot of women did not like it, so he apologized. To placate the vocal majority, he was suspended from his job. Stephen Smith should not have apologized because by apologizing for a good stand, he emboldens the unrealistic majority. When a vocal majority who slept on the wrong side of their beds are going astray, the silent minority who slept on the right side of their beds should bring them back. He failed to stand for what is right so that he will look nice. All the elucidations he made were unwarranted.




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Sometimes it is difficult to understand what is wrong with people in this country. The United States government recently issued out a warning to Americans to beware when going to the Middle East. This month, the government again issued another warning about visiting Ebola regions. Another illustration is the man with the wild dog. As I was growing up, there were many homes with “Beware Wild Dog” hung on their fences. In each of these examples, there is a strong desire to avoid provocation. What Stephen Smith wanted was for people to consider the element of provocation. The society is hypocritical in that, that same element is accepted in the court of law, it is accepted in science, and it is accepted in religion acquiescently. All Stephen Smith is asking the country to do is be realistic. This situation is one of those conflicts between realism and idealism. The ideal is that domestic violence is unacceptable; no man should put his hand on a woman. The realistic part about it is that there are men and women who abuse their spouses. We have now moved from idealism into realism. The next thing we want to consider is cause and effect.
Is every abused spouse without a fault? Does a man just get up and start beating his wife? Does a woman just gets up and starts to insult her husband for just no reason? If there is a reason, then Stephen Smith is right that perhaps the society should look into those reasons (provocation) that caused the beating.  
Newton’s Third Law of Motion states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” If you declare a war, it does not mean that you will end it at your timing, neither does it even mean that you will decide the weapons of warfare. Your enemy could use anything they have. That means, there are some situations that those who are beaten provoked them. Let me give you a clear example. I visited a home one time and the man was trying to explain to me why he has not been complying with his own share of the responsibilities when the woman from nowhere said, “See how he is speaking like a fool.” The man retorted, “Get out of my face, mad woman.” The woman jumped and slapped the man. She added, “Who are you calling mad woman?” Before I knew it, the man was on her like a bee. Shouldn't the woman consider that element of provocation if she does not want to be beaten? She is not as strong as the man, so she should not have slapped the man first.
Recently, Jon Jones and Daniel Comier had a catfight while trying to promote their fight. Daniel Comier claims that Jon Jones provoked him by placing his chin on his head, so he (Comier) pushed him by the throat. That caused the melee. One thing is clear; the element of provocation.  That is our most recent experience. To solve the issue, Joe Rogan advocated for no contact policy during stare-downs. That is an attempt to eliminate the possibility of provocation. The ideal is that they are professionals who know that by fighting out of the cage they bring disrepute to their sport, but the reality is that they still did it. Would it then be wrong for anyone to consider the element of provocation during stare-downs?
Let us look at it in the realm of the law. There are instances where provocation has been used as a defense in a criminal case. Why would it be even remotely considered if it was not necessary? In   2004, James Ramage was acquitted of murder charges after killing his wife of 23 years. His defense argued that he was provoked, so the jury found him not guilty.[1] How can a jury acquit a man of murder for killing his wife, yet we say that provocation should have no place in a domestic violence situation?  In January of this year, “It took a Buffalo County jury seven hours to acquit Jonathan Schmidt of felony first-degree assault of a Kearney man.”[2] What was his defense? He was provoked! Now, take a look at what the last woman in this video said. 

Finally, I will go to the book that has all the answers. In proverbs 18:6 it reads, “A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.” (Prov 18:6). It simply means that, a fool’s mouth gets them into constant trouble that brings them a beating.  We are seeing that the bible acknowledges someone could provoke their own beating, both male and female. Could some domestic violence victims be the cause of their own beatings? If they can, then Stephen Smith is right and should not have been punished. At the same time though, the Bible cautions us not to be easily provoked (Ecc 7:9). However, could an individual be under sustained provocation that causes them to snap? Paul told the Ephesian fathers not to provoke their children to anger (Eph 6:4). Is it then possible that someone could be provoked to anger? Could a spouse provoke their wife or husband to anger? Could Ray Rice’s girlfriend had provoked him to anger?
Therefore, to be able to solve domestic violence or reduce it, we must take the element of provocation seriously. Let us not muzzle opinions like those of Stephen Smith, for they are the voices of reason in a hypocritical world that struggles between idealism and realism.
Until then, domestic violence is barbaric and should not exist, so we should avoid provoking it.
St Arrey of Ntenako



[1] "Case Study: Provocation." Law Government Politics. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2014.

[2] "Updated: Jury Says Schmidt Not Guilty." Kearney Hub. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Aug. 2014.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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