That’s the theory, anyway

“The control of violence is a fundamental responsibility of government. Governments control violence by monopolizing it. They authorize military and police forces to use violence but deem criminal any other individual or institutional use. From this basic division, which evolved across five centuries in the West as governments enlarged and centralized, the common belief has emerged that governmental violence is rational (or at least deliberate and intentional), while private violence is irrational, aberrant, the product of psychopathology rather than deliberate intention. In fact, violence is violence, whether public or private, official or unofficial, good or bad. Violence is an instrumentality, not a psychopathology or a character disorder. Violence is a means to an end—domination and control—one of many possible means. Since its essence is injury, its efficacy in the long term is marginal, but its short-term advantages are obvious.” – Richard Rhodes, Masters of Death

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