A scene of violence in the US
On a normal city street, any town on any day, there is an accident. A dog is hit by a car. The dog, dog owner and the car driver are present. Also present are a pedestrian across the street and a peace officer following the driver's car in a patrol car.
The Driver might be the force of violence
The Dog might be the victim of the violence
The Owner might be attached to the victim
The Pedestrian might be detached from the victim
The Peace Officer might be responsible to stop violence
The Driver might be a white female
The Dog might be a small female cairn terrier
The Owner might be an african-american male
The Pedestrian might be a female professional/laywer
The Peace Officer might be an asian-american female
Generally, one might do violence, have violence done to themselves, have violence done to someone/something they care about, witness violence happening to another, miss the act of violence completely or be held responsible for the violence of others. There's possible viewpoints are a launching point for ways each character might have viewed this specific instance of violence, but there's a universe of variations based on prejudice, privilege, connectedness, expectations, etc ...
Each viewpoint should be placed on a 3x5 card and a “spread” of one card from each character's deck can be dealt randomly. The spread of each character's viewpoints will comprise one example of how each character in the scene might have viewed the action. Shuffle and repeat. Shuffle and repeat. Shuffle and repeat. Shuffle and repeat. Shuffle and repeat. Shuffle and repeat. Shuffle and repeat. Shuffle and repeat. And so on ...
One could do this same exercise with characters based on the events at Columbine. Each character could legitimately view themselves from any of these viewpoints also. For example, all the characters could end up viewing themselves as the victims, or as witnesses to violence by others, or ...
I am a driver filled with anger. I hit something with my car. If only I had realized the pain I'd cause. I could have been driving more responsibly, and not abused my power. But I'm in pain too and no one helps me.
I am the driver. Why is that cop following me? I didn't do anything wrong. Why don't the police go stop criminals instead of harassing people like me, just trying to go about our lives? How am I supposed to concentrate with this cop behind me making me so nervous?
Hey, there's that guy with his damned dog that shits in my yard. I'm going to drive really close to the sidewalk and see if I can scare them, spread the misery a little bit!
I am the driver confused why the owner would be so irresponsible as to let the dog run in the street. Did he hate the dog so much that he wanted it to die? How can people be so careless and cruel?
It wasn't my fault the Dog ran out in front of me. (The violence happened to me)
Oh my God, I hit the Dog. (I did the violence)
There's no way I hit that Dog. (What violence)
The owner let go of the Dog and it ran out in front of me. (I saw the violence)
I didn’t stop. Today, I hit a dog while I was driving and I didn’t stop, in fact I sped up. I don’t know what came over me. I have never hit anything before, I guess I panicked and wanted to be as far away from there as possible. But I didn’t turn around when the panic subsided. And I didn’t turn around when the grief set it. And now, I sit in the parking lot trying to will myself to get in the car, but my shaky hands cannot connect lock and key, and I fear I will never drive again. And even if I can, I will have to drive down the street where I committed murder and didn’t do anything about it, everyday.
That fucking dog! That stupid dog runs down my street every morning as I leave for work. Like I don’t have enough to worry about to get there on time I have to slow and swerve on my own street to avoid hitting that mangy mutt everyday. Well, I’ll tell you what, today, I didn’t slow and I didn’t swerve, and I hit it. I put that mutt out of its misery. Don’t get me wrong, its not like I go around running down everyone who annoys me, but it was just a dog. If anyone loved it it wouldn’t spend its time running up and down my street. So, now I have a few extra minutes to get to work everyday. Life goes on.
Oh my god! I am so sorry! What did I do? What am I going to do? Okay, shit, that was a dog I just hit. Stop the car. Wait, back up, no wait, just get out and run back there, please let it be ok. Maybe I just broke its leg. What have I done? What do I do? A vet! I can take it to a vet. It will get help and be ok, it will live to once again curl up at the feet of its owner, press a cold nose into warm hands, lick sweet tears from faces. He’s still breathing, slow, labored, in much pain. I am responsible for that pain. I made that pain. Okay little dog, easy now, we’re going to get help for you, trust me, be calm, in the car you go. Please, please let this dog be ok.
I am a dog not sensing. I am hit by a car, out of my control. If only I had sensed that I was in danger. I could have been more aware, and not been caught up in my own world. But I'm vulnerable and that means I won't always see danger.
I was the dog. I'm sure glad that's over. Now I only have 5 billion reincarnations left before Nirvana!
I can hear my human yelling. What is going on and why is he so angry and afraid?
I'm going to rip the tires off that car this time!
ERRRRRR! God is dead and so am I.
It was my fault I didn't stay with my owner. (I did the violence)
It wasn't my fault I'm just a dog. (The violence happened to me)
I've never felt so at rest. (What violence)
Which way did it go? Last thing I knew I was chasing a rabbit, and now, I can not chase. I would like to. My legs aren’t working though. And, oh, the pain! What is going on here? Where is my human? Why isn’t he helping me? Oooh, what’s that sound? Is someone coming? Maybe if I cry a little louder….
The Dog Owner
I am a dog owner not watching. I watched something I love be hurt. If only I had been more responsible. I could have been in more control, and not let this happen. But I'm never going to control everything and that means I can't stop the pain.
The white bitch ran over my dog! Why does this keep happening to me? She's going to get away with it, too. If I ran over her dog there'd be hell to pay.
Fucking dog! I can't believe I got stuck with taking care of it. I'm going to let it walk in the street and hope the little fucker gets hit. That'd make my Ex feel something!
Damn it! I'm in pain and my dog just got hit and I'm the one that's at fault? These women are ganging up on me! One woman hits my dog and there's this policewoman taking her side. What about me? What about my dog? Why should I calm down? I wouldn't be human if I weren't hurt. I should be angry!
I should have never let the Dog go. (I did the violence)
Oh my God, my Dog's been hit. (I saw the violence)
The Dog just jerked away from me. (The violence happened to me)
The driver hit my Dog. (Blame of violence)
I am a pedestrian not caring. I continue walking. Why should I care? I could have stopped to help, and not ignored another's pain. But I'm only able to do so much before it's too much.
Oh my god, that woman just hit that guy's dog and now he's going to yell and scream at her as if she did it on purpose. That's so typical. He's going to yell and she's going to cry and everyone is going to play their role in the patriarchy and no one's going to realize they're abusing me too by perpetuating the system.
I'm a pedestrian thanking god there's a cop there to take charge. This kind of thing happens all the time when I'm in a rush to get somewhere. Now I've got to struggle to get through the crowd as they all stand gawking like cattle.
I saw the Dog run out in front of the car. (I saw the violence)
I should have stop the Dog as it ran by. (I did the violence)
I'm so heart broken I don't know how I'll ever get over it. (The violence happened to me)
Oh, well it's only a Dog. (What violence)1. What an asshole, I can’t believe someone could hit a dog like that and just keep on driving. What the hell is the matter with people? Well, I can stand here all day bemoaning the fact that they’ll give any idiot a driver’s license, or I can do something to help that poor creature. I don’t know though, that was a pretty bad hit, I’m not sure if even a cockroach would have survived that blast, that guy was barreling down the road, how could he not see the dog? If people weren’t so infatuated with their cell phones maybe they would pay a bit more attention to their driving, still, I’m pretty sure he saw me waving him down, why wouldn’t he stop to see if he could help?
Alright! I’ve been walking up and down this road for 6 months now and everyday that flea bag has chased after me. Well, he won’t be doing much chasing anymore, I don’t know if that driver came straight from my deepest desires, but sometimes you do get what you asked for. All I wanted was for someone to put that damn dog out of my misery, this is my street, why should I have to share it with an ill-cared for mangy mutt? If you ask me today was a good day for that blasted dog to die.
The Peace Officer
I am a peace officer struggling for order. I have to maintain authority or things will get out of control. But people are so out of control and make my life difficult. Why are people like that?
Oh shit, that woman just hit that guy's dog and I'm going to have to try to make them calm down. He's going to be angry and refuse to recognize that I have the authority and responsibility to keep the peace and she's going to be shaken and scared. I'm going to be caught in the middle of the conflict.
I am on an important case. I can't be bothered with this distraction now. No crime, no foul. It's only a dog anyhow.
Who's fault is the violence? (Blame of violence)
There should be charges for hitting an animal. (I see the violence)
The law is not responsible for hitting the dog. (What violence)
I should have stopped traffic. (I did the violence)
It's my fault I let the cars go. (The violence happened to me)
What are you doing? Stop the car! You just hit a dog! Why aren’t you stopping? Seriously, we have to go back. Turn around…I mean it, stop the fucking car! How can you be such a loser? What do you mean what do I want you to do? I want you to go back and see if we can help that dog. Right now! If you don’t turn this car around…
Calm down. Stop the car. Take a deep breathe. Stay here for a minute, I’m going to go see what’s happening… Okay, so he’s still alive. He’s definitely hurt but will most likely be okay if we can get some help. Keep breathing, we’re just going to put it in the car and drive to a vets office, we’ll figure the rest of it out when we get there. It’s okay, I’ll drive, use my phone to find the nearest vet’s office.
What do you mean what am I doing, I am calling animal control to tell them we just hit a dog. No, I seriously doubt that they will come after you, and even if they do, I can’t just let that dog die on the side of the road when I can do something about it even if you won’t. I’m sorry you don’t want me to make that call but I have to do it, I hope someday you will forgive me.