Geoffrey Canada acknowledges opposing arguments to his own in a number of places including the Preface and chapter One. A significant reason for his illustrative stories and personal anecdotes is to underline the need and logic for the opposing arguments he presents. These are arguments such as:
- even discussion of nonviolence is grounded in "might makes right."
- complacency about social violence belies the reality of our historic times, which are "one of the most dangerous periods in our history since the Civil War."
- inner-city violence offers "not even the hope of getting out" resulting in lifelong violence and trauma: he suggests "continuing traumatic stress syndrome."
- violence in cities is not new but has changed to guns from "the fist, stick, and knife."
- guns undermine the "code of conduct" of courage that is part of learning to live "by the law of the jungle."
- parents teach their children, as he did, that fighting and hitting is wrong, until the violence is brought home--like it was to his brothers and his daughter and millions of other children--which is when parents teach their children to fight back and not to be victims, not to be fawns "amongst lion cubs."
To enlarge on his presentation of opposing arguments with one example, in laying the premise of his discussion of social violence, Canada discusses the idea that "some think violence is new." His apologetic assertion, "I'm sorry America," is that while the social rhetoric may be anti-violence, American history has been founded on violence. He uses the life's work of Martin Luther King, Jr. to show that even when we talk about nonviolence, the conversation is about violence: King was violently shot to death in the heart of an American city for protesting against anti-black violence.
I'm sorry America, but once you get past the rhetoric what we really learn is that might does make right. Poor people have just never had any might. But they want it. Oh, how they want it.