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The Violence Initiative was a discontinued proposal for reducing violence in American inner cities.

It was alleged that its supporters argued there exists significant variations among individuals in their genetic predisposition to violence, one which could be combated effectively if detected early on in a person's life. The Violence Initiative was extremely controversial, being labelled racist and compared to the eugenics programs of the Nazis.[1][2]

Frederick K. Goodwin, proponent of the Violence Initiative, compared "certain areas of certain cities" to the "jungle":

If you look, for example, at male monkeys, especially in the wild, roughly half of them survive to adulthood. The other half die by violence. That is the natural way it is for males, to knock each other off and in fact, there are some interesting evolutionary implications of that because the same hyperaggressive monkeys who kill each other are also hypersexual, so they copulate more to offset the fact that more of them are dying.

Now, one could say that if some of the loss of social structure in this society, and particularly within the high impact inner-city areas, has removed some of the civilizing evolutionary things that we have built up and that may be it isn't just the careless use of the word when people call certain areas of certain cities jungles, that we may have gone back to what might be more natural, without all the social controls that we have imposed upon ourselves as a civilization over thousands of years in our evolution.[2]

This use of the word "jungle" greatly offended. Writer Tom Wolfe, though sympathetic to Goodwin's argument, stated in his 1996 essay Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died, that this "may have been the stupidest single word uttered by an American public official in the year 1992".[3] After the address during which Goodwin made these statements and the ensuing criticism, Goodwin resigned from his position as head of the ADAMHA.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lauritzen, Paul (2004). "Taller, smarter, prettier". Commonweal. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Randall, Vernellia R.. "Violence as a Public Health Issue". Retrieved 2008-05-31.
  3. Wolfe, Tom. "Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died". Retrieved 2008-05-31.
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