One may easily communicate that those who are part of criminal environments, terror groups or Neo-Nazi groups attend because of an ideology. However, only the fewest are part because of the ideology. They do because they want to belong to a group.
Last Wednesday I had lunch and spent most of the day with Ragnhild Bjørnebekk. She’s a researcher at the Norwegian Police Academy and an expert on violence, crime and gangs – worldwide.
I really enjoyed listening to Ragnhild when she talked about the importance of focusing on the causes of the causes.
She told that the characteristics of many of those we are talking about have or have been exposed to an ‘overdose’ of external risk factors. Many have grown up with an inner vulnerability and easily do like others do to be liked and to have a connection. . . Many have no positive views on themselves and they’ve had an ‘overdose’ of negative response at young age. They are or have been in environments with negativity and excluding group mechanisms.
She told that important buffers against drug and alcohol abuse, crime and violence are:
• To develop the individual’s ability of ethical reflection, to make good and conscious choices and to set goals.
• To train young people in positive thinking rather than hostile.
• Good environments and cultures where those at high risk are connected to positive group mechanisms.
I asked Ragnhild what she thinks is the most important that can be done by the school in order to prevent crime and violence. She said: The staff should have a uniform philosophy – and not being too liberal. Ragnhild is also passionate about the big importance of sports. Practising sports with a good spirit and with positive norms has major preventative impact.
After this day with Ragnhild I was even more proud of working with MOT. MOT is a protective factor that reduces external risk factors and the chances of activating the ‘society destructor’.
MOT works with the causes of the causes. It’s about strengthening the youth’s robustness. The youth’s robustness is the key to a safer world with less destruction of lives and societies.