On Friday, soon after reading Nate’s post on Questions about Pacifism I heard a story on NPR called Killing Bank Robberies with Kindness. Give the story a listen. Its a very practical application of nonviolent principles in the face of expected violence.
For many years bank tellers have been told to do nothing when faced with a prospective robbery. The main goal was to make sure no one gets hurt. The new “Safe Catch” technique described in the radio story above empowers bank tellers by allowing them to step out of the expected victim role. They enthusiastically greet the suspicious person and thereby invite them to step out of their role as aggressor. It sounds a lot like the nonviolent deescalation tactics we learned as part of Christian Peacemaker Training.
The impressive thing about this nonviolent technique is the results. The FBI agent interviewed testifies that they have had half the number of expected robberies (based on averages) in the first quarter of 2007 in the area where tellers have been taught this technique.
Sharing stories like this are an important way of countering the dominant myth of passive pacifism ignorantly perpetuated by articles like the “Pacifism: The Ultimate Immorality (This is SENSATIONAL!!!)” that Nate linked to. The third way between fight and flight is very real and very exciting. Let’s keep on reminding people of the possibility for transformation that the way of Jesus offers us.
If you found this post interesting, you might like to read these posts as well:
Note: Please take the time to edit your comments for spelling, punctuation, succinct communication and paragraph breaks.