Martial Secrets: Violence

Martin Scorsese, the director of, “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” and, “Good Fellas,” to name a few told Miguel Arteta the director of, “Youth in Revolt” that when you want to show the audience that violence is about to happen things get very still, don’t move the camera.

Life is like that when somebody is about to get violent they will get very still and then explode into the violence. Violence can happen in a reverse of still to violent. The perpetrator can go from still to explosive, but the behavior we want to talk about is the calm to violent.

Scorsese is a master of his craft, his movies and accolades clearly show that he knows how to touch us with his film making. The way he does it is he uses common experience, a common environment is not necessary, experience is necessary. Using fear, hatred, love, and betrayal, Scorsese has to reach out and meet us with these experiences to be good at what he does. This meeting of commonality allows him to bring us emotionally into a foreign environment, like that of a boxer or mobster.

So when you watch for violence, watch for what real life says, and listen to what one of the greatest film directors of all time pointed out…when violence is about to happen things get very still.

Now go and ponder some of the greatest violent scenes you have seen in film and you will see Scorsese is right. Oh and do not forget to review the violence you have seen or experienced in real life. You’ll Scorsese is correct there as well.

Last year I blogged about the killing of James Paroline by Brian Keith Brown. Now the court case is all over, sentencing done, and everybody has gone home. I asked Lawrence, my co-author of The Little Black Book of Violence: What Every Young Man Needs to Know About Fighting, to do a guest blog – kind of a wrap-up commentary.


The traffic circle murder that Kris blogged about late last year is a prime example of what can happen whenever you engauge in violence (Read it here). In short, 60-year-old James Paroline was watering some flowers and three young ladies took umbrage. Name-calling reportedly escalated and the irate girls called their friend Brian Keith Brown, a 28-year-old at the time, who sucker-punched the older man. That single blow broke Paroline’s nose and knocked him to the pavement where he died at the scene from blunt force trauma to the head.

Now that one flash of anger has resulted in an 11-year sentence for James Paroline’s killer, yeah a strong word – killer.

Brown, the killer, filed a letter with King County Superior Court, stating that he felt sickened by what he had done, “I had no intention of causing the death of James Paroline but that I know that but for my actions he would be alive.” (Read more here).

In the heat of the moment it’s easy to throw a punch without considering the consequences. Brown’s case isn’t the only tragedy out there. Sadly, stuff like that happens all the time. It’s important to think, therefore, before you act.

What really is worth fighting for?

Is it worth spending the best years of your life behind bars? Getting crippled, maimed, or possibly even killed as a result of preventable violence? What about declaring bankruptcy after losing a civil lawsuit. Losing the respect of one’s friends and family (oddly however in some families a conviction could be distorted into a mark of valor), being fired from your job, or having to declare that you’re a convicted felon next time you apply for a place to live or try to find work?

The tougher you truly are the less you should feel a need to prove it. Sure, some social codes are inverted, like gang culture, however for most of us the question needs to be, “Is this really worth fighting for,” More often than not it ain’t – walk away.