Countering violence is huge. The very fact that governments around the world see it as their task is new. Because of the novelty, Progress has been slow and generally ignored. The statistics on everything from homicides to wars to domestic abuse are almost primitive. The word nonviolence gets a bare four million queries on Google, the word violence gets 445,000,000.

That revealing ratio suggests that we are at the beginning of a long, hard push.

But progress is the winner

We are on firm ground when we link nonviolence to progress. When all is said and done progress will be seen as the effective reduction of harm and hurt.

This reduction will not be segmented as it is now. We see that a reformed smoker is breathing easier and celebrate. We stay at arms’ length from the suicides of veterans who may have been traumatized by falsely-characterized wars.

Progress will more and more reflect the reduction of violence in terms of its actual quantities.

The extent of harm

We need better and more public measurements of the extent of harm in the world. We need to include in this the totality of the sources of injury, hurt and death. Today there may be rigorous attention paid to the number of casualties in a gun-related story but we do not give attention to the casualties of automotive violence. These numbers exceed shooting injuries and deaths.

When I search for “car-related injuries and deaths globally,” Google will not even yield up a single result.

Stoicism or avoidance?

A stoic attitude toward the unavoidable is well-advised. But car-related injuries are avoidable. Cars themselves are a choice we have made. We can avoid death by car by avoiding cars. Statistics are impossible to gather with any accuracy, as noted already.

But it is most probable that the current concern about opioid deaths is an example of letting headlines obscure reality.

Globally the damage done by automotive mishaps vastly exceeds that done by drugs. We make a profitable business conducting ill-conceived “wars” on drugs. We assume that casualties and deaths due to cars are inevitable.

Is corporate greed the culprit?

My own analysis is that greed is baked in, but not the only factor in the blind eye, toward the full extent of harm in the world. In addition to greed, corporations are reluctant to think outside the box. We have known for years that density is preferable to sprawl, but the profitability of little boxes and gas guzzlers is too seductive to warrant serious reflection on alternatives.

The unwillingness to see is just that – unwillingness, a failure of will. Progress lies in reducing all forms of harm. Our hypocritical world does not heed the words spoken by prophets of yore lest they see and turn and be redeemed.