The latter years of the Sixties brought a wave of political violence to this country that paled the face of America in startled fear and utter disbelief. Unrest on college campuses, racial conflict spiraling crime rates, and civil disobedience related to the Viet Nam War caused many Americans to identify this period as one of the most violent in U.S. History. Such a sense of public paranoia swept the country that on July 29, 1967 President Johnson issued Executive Order 11365 establishing a National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. The nation remained tense and June 1968 saw the creation of the National Commission on Causes and Prevention of Violence.

Though the 1970's have seen less urban upheaval, political violence is still prevalent in the United States as witnessed by the latest rash of political kidnappings. Violent deaths and damage resulted from last year's independent truckers strike. The beginning of another school year introduced further racial violence in such cities as Boston as attempts were made to integrate their school systems. Farmers in the Midwest recently carried out threats of premature slaughter of young livestock hoping that such actions would force governmental response.

These acts of violence lead one to believe that political violence has been, is, and probably will continue to be common in America. Given the assumption of the prevalence of political violence, each American must ask what are the causes of political violence and what can be done about it? More particularly the profession of social work must examine what options it can exercise in response to political violence.

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