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Violent Confrontation

, Posted: Thu, October 25 2012 at 5:39 PM, Updated: Thu, October 25 2012 at 6:23 PM

The violence at Planned Parenthood in Grants Pass brings to light a question: is aggression and confrontation becoming a norm in our society?

Mediators say society is evolving, for good and for bad. They say they're seeing more education on conflict resolution... but life stresses seem to be pushing people past their limits.

You can find it almost anywhere. Check the internet and you'll see clips of angry people caught on cell phone and camera, losing control in public places.
"People are so stressed, financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually... They're already scraping the bottom of the barrel, it seems that one more thing can push them over the edge," says Sugar Mejia from Mediation Works.

Just Tuesday a confrontation at Planned Parenthood quickly escalated into a violent fight, ending with one man beaten. The other sent to the hospital with seven stab wounds.

Brian Graunke and Sugar Mejia work at Mediation Works in Medford. They say we're in an evolving culture, which puts more strain on people's ability to resolve conflict. "We are in a culture where we're very divided, it's either this or that," states Graunke.

They also say, often these kinds of incidents can be predicted early. "Second graders who didn't handle their conflict in appropriate ways were by the time they were 24 were 6 times more likely to end up in jail."

In the case of Tuesday's fight, Graunke tells us the time for  mediation had passed.
"One thing you don't mediate is when a crime has occurred."
 
However, both agree, it's important, as a society to keep talking about effective confrontation. "Culturally it's learning how to have conversations and recognizing our shared humanity. We have more in common than different as a culture and how we work through these difficult issues, because they are difficult issues," Graunke says.

Learning that conflict, in and of itself isn't bad, it's just how we handle it.

Mediation Works is holding a workshop in Mediation Fundamentals. It will take place on January 16th through 18th and 24th through 25th. For more information you can visit their website www.mediation-works.org

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