for the purpose of augmenting their ownrnflocks with a few of somebody else’srnsheep or goats, yet even they were notrnkilling machines like the Apache andrnComanche (who invented practices likerndrilling holes in the tops of the heads ofrntheir enemies and cooking them slowlyrnupside-down over open fires until theirrnbrains bubbled out as an effective meansrnof dealing with their aboriginal cousinsrnand, only later, with the white men).rnWhile there are exceptions to the rule—rnnotably the Papago and other Pimanrntribes, who were peaceable agriculturalistsrn—a major cause of the degradationrnand despair endemic to most Indianrnreservations in the West today is the deprivationrnof these immediate descendantsrnof warrior cultures of a principalrntraditional activity—namely killing—rnfor which they have failed to discover arnprofitable and pleasurable substitute.rnForcibly advanced from primiti’ism torndecadence in a few generations by thernconquering civilization, they have beenrntempted to redirect violence againstrnoutsiders inward, against themselves, byrnalcoholism, drug addiction, murder,rnand—increasingly—by suicide. Fivernyears ago, while skulking among thernNavajo, I met a 16-vear-old bov who wasrneager to show me Avon Lady, an ancientrncrone who spent the hottest part of thernJune day at the Tuba City dump,rnwrapped in heavy blankets while she satrnin a folding chair sniffing discarded nailpolishrnbottles. The boy had recently returnedrnfrom a week in the desert wherernhe tended his grandmother’s sheep; asrnwe stood on the rim of White Mesarnwatching a pillar of dust rise from therndesert floor a mile or more into the hotrnblue sky, he asked me what I thought ofrn”the res.” When I told him I thought itrnwas very beautiful, he shook his head. “Irnthink it’s boring.” He expected to spendrnthe rest of the summer branding cows,rnbut what he wanted to do was go tornPhoenix. “I’m the only man in my familyrnnot to be an alcoholic, yet,” he remarkedrnwith pride.rnPerhaps, after all, there is somethingrnto be said for the claim made by thernMexicans and the Indians that thernSouthwest remains spiritually theirrncountry. Certainly the bland and busyrnAnglo culture that the Americans havernimposed upon the region is a skin-deeprnartificiality, vulnerable not only to thernever-present (and ever-deepening) waterrncrisis but to historical processes and tornthe nature of the land itself. No morernthan a glance at the burnt-out cones andrncrags of southern Arizona is needed forrnthe sympathetic viewer to understandrnthat bull rings, not golf courses, are appropriaternhere. Yet when, a year ago, anrnarticle of mine in praise of the bullfightrnappeared in the Arizona Republic, thernresponse from readers was outraged andrnprolonged: only, it seemed, the Mexicanrnconsul in Phoenix, who had recentlyrnbeen incensed by my remarks in anotherrncontext regarding constitutionalrnrights in Mexico, failed to protest.rnThe traditional Spanish corrida is richrnA’- ^ ‘ ^ • -vrn”^^””•^^”‘-‘iki.^S^^^^rnin meaning, of which the most significantrnis this: that death is not the worstrnthing we find in life. And since this profoundlyrnmoving ritual is substantially thernhistorical product of a great Catholicrnculture, it should not be surprising thatrnthe bullfight and traditional Catholicrnpiety have a shared understanding of thernnature of violence and of its place in arnfallen world. That understanding, ofrncourse, is the polar opposite of the modernrnAmerican public’s loathing, basedrnalmost entirely upon sentiment, ofrnviolence in all its manifestations, fromrnbullfighting and duck hunting to capitalrnpunishment and the use of hrearms evenrnin self-defense. If it is true, as it probablyrnis, that the West has been perceived asrnthe national epicenter of violent behaviorrnthroughout the history of the AmericanrnRepublic, then the meaning ofrnviolence is just one more lesson thatrnWestern civilization has to teach the effete,rndenatured subjects in other parts ofrnthe country: an object for contemplationrnof far greater importance than therngeysers of the Yellowstone. All the nationalrnkeening and handwringing to therncontrary, what the United States needsrntoday is more violence, not less of it, andrna commensurate willingness to examinernviolence unshrinkingly in order to learnrnits place in the life of man and its role inrnthe history of mankind (as, for example,rnof the ancient Greeks and the earlyrnChurch). Two days ago as I write, a 10-rnyear-old boy in Butte, Montana, angeredrnby an argument with another studentrnthe day before, aimed a .22-caliber semiautomaticrnpistol on the playground andrnfired, killing the child standing next tornthe intended target. Naturally the responsernto the shooting involved the usualrnhysteria—”Butte has joined thernworld”—and batteries of psychologistsrnhave been dispatched to assist and comfortrnthe walking emotionally wounded.rnBut terrible as the incident was, there isrnsurely nothing untoward in a child’s beingrnconfronted by the reality of violentrndeath, a routine-enough occurrence beforernthe arrival of the sheltering and sentimentalistrnmodern era. Today, in additionrnto death, children must face thernordeal of fortress-footed female psychiatristsrnbearing down in the aftermath ofrnterror, armed with notebooks stuffedrnwith government documents, to tormentrnthem in their grief and in the pain ofrntheir budding knowledge of the wodd.rnEven if American adults cannot growrnup, that is no reason why their childrenrnshouldn’t.rnThe grandeur of the bullfight is thernexpression of its central task of submittingrnviolence and death to the forces ofrncontrol, which is also the meaning of socalledrnsport hunting and of premodernrnwarfare. Compare these activities withrnsuch postmodern forms of violence asrngang war and the urban mugging, whichrnare by contrast uncontrolled, vicious, andrnwithout recourse to elementary humanrnawareness. Is it possible that a society inrnwhich children are exposed from birth tornthe killing of wild animals, the butcheringrnof domestic ones, and occasionalrnarmed skirmishes between tribal enemiesrnis incapable of the violent anarchyrnthat recently reached its apparent climaxrnat the Robert Taylor public housingrndevelopment in Chicago? History hasrnno record of the Pueblo Indians in theirrncliffside apartments behaving like that.rnFor reasons ranging from the metaphysicalrnto the political, Americans todayrnhave an interest in contemplating, cultivating,rnand practicing the reality ofrnviolence—the right sort of violence; notrnin shutting their eyes and turning theirrnbacks on it, or deploring its continuedrnexistence as an anachronism that a “civilized”rnpeople ought to have outgrown.rnThe prophets of old are hardly paid attentionrnanymore, yet of their propheciesrnthe one that may well rise up soonest tornconfound contemporary Americans inrntheir staggering ignorance and naivete isrnthis from St. Matthew (11:12): “Fromrnthe days of John the Baptist untilrnnow, the Kingdom of Heaven sufferethrnviolence, and the violent bear it av’ay.”rn50/CHRONICLESrnrnrn