We’ve all heard of senseless violence. The term is nearly as common as “stay in the car.” Everyone knows no one stays in the car and “senseless violence” implies there’s another kind. The sensible kind.

sensible violence

Reasonable, well thought-out violence.

1. “He needed killing” (really, I kid you not) is still accepted in some American courtrooms as a defense against a charge of murder. If he needed killing and you kill him, you have committed an act of sensible violence.

2. “No one was supposed to get hurt.” You held up the bank using automatic weapons. You just wanted some money. To improve your life. You had a perfect plan which went unaccountably wrong. “But your Honor, no one was supposed to get hurt!”

3. “I had no choice.” You could have gotten a divorce, but you were put off by all the paperwork, lawyers, and courts. In the spirit of cleanliness and reduction of paperwork, you killed your husband and shoved his body in the washing machine in the basement laundry room. Sensible and tidy.  “Your Honor, he really pissed me off. And it wasn’t easy getting him down the stairs and into the machine.”

4. “Anyone in my position would have done the same thing.” Really, no kidding. Anyone. Because it was the only reasonable response. “Your Honor, she burned the roast. I had to dismember her and hang her body parts on stakes in the yard. Anyone would have done the same thing.” Sensible violence was the only answer.

5. “I lost my temper.” You said I wouldn’t like you when you are angry. You were completely right.

So you see? Not all violence is senseless. If you didn’t mean it, you had no choice, your plan went awry … it’s all good. Absolutely sensible.



  1. The rape of the girl in Delhi was indeed heinous, but not isolated to India. Rape goes unpunished across the globe. In the U.S. the criminal has all the rights, while the victim has to defend themselves against their personal history. I can clearly see how someone could loose themselves in rage over the fact that there is no recourse for victims of certain crimes. Rapists, for example, almost never do jail time.


    • Thanks. As an aficianado of westerns, I can’t count the number of times Our Hero has shuffled up to the judge and said, “Yer honor, he needed killin’!” The judge and jury nod their agreement and declare him not guilty. It’s the American way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I will be keeping this in mind as I get to know my psychopathic (fictional) friend Lisa better. 🙂 I have a feeling some of her violence she’d consider to be sensible, or at least not senseLESS.


    • I’m betting most killers feel justified by some standard of their own private world. What makes socio/psychopaths different is that they don’t need to justify their actions to themselves or anyone else. They feel no remorse, no empathy, no sympathy. Which is what makes them so scary.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The ‘Damini” rape case where a girl was being raped in a moving bus in Delhi by four men was so heinous in nature that it gives shivers to me even now. They brutally inserted a rod into her vagina to damage it so badly that the doctors could not even think of collecting semen in order to get some clue about the criminals. A sensible post put excellently.


    • We watch a lot of crime and cop shows, AND Garry was a reporter for more than 40 years. He saw this stuff — all of it and worse — up close and personal. “Your honor, everybody loved him (the victim).” Everybody loves a violent feloneous drug dealer, don’t they? “He was turning his life around. He’s a GOOD boy.” With a rap sheet that reads like a bad Bruce Willis movie. What exactly is good about him?

      They really SAY this stuff as if no one has ever said it before. Senseless violence versus sensible violence. I think Garry mutters under his breath every time someone says it on a TV show 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think carriages, no “mis”. The case of the lady who burned the roast, so her husband cut her up into pieces and hung the body parts on stakes in the yard, is true. Garry saw it. He has not been able to forget it. That particular hideous guy fit into any number of categories, but his defense was basically “She burned the dinner. What else could I do?” Maybe the problem was he lacked creativity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And, so many of the perps I covered in those senseless violence stories were turning their lives around. Sure! Even the guys and gals doing long stretches behind bars smirked at the notion of senseless violence. The Pros who always take “pride” in their work emphasize they have standards, there is nothing senseless in what they do.


        • All our conversations on this subject finally caught up with me. I just had to write something. It was long overdue.

          And remember the victim. EVERYBODY LOVED HIM. He had no enemies. Not a single one.


      • How do we deal with someone invading ones home and threatening the lives of ones person and family.., are we allowed to use violence, sensible or otherwise?

        Needless to say all of this represents a huge issue.., one which I don’t like to think about. The situations you mention above are, unfortunately, legal dancing.., and as such deplorable attempts at escaping responsibility for deliberate acts.


        • Self defence or defence of loved ones isn’t the same thing and no one has ever suggested otherwise. On the other hand, knocking over a bank and killing the guard becaues “the gun just went off” doesn’t not fit into anyone’s definition of “self defence.” Even if the guard was shooting at you, why were you there with a gun? Most of that stuff is jsut bullshit. Every victim had no enemies and every criminal is a good kid who was turning his/her life around. Every last one of them.


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