Speaking of epidemics and the need for cures

Grandmothers Against Gun Violence March to City Hall, August 8, 2015. This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Author: Seattle City Council.

by Kathie MM

Racialopathy and ethnicopathy are intimately related to another form of social pathology—addiction to guns—a topic regularly addressed on engaging peace—e.g., in 2011, in 2012, in 2013,  in 2014, in 2015, in 2016, and in 2017.

A must-read article by David S. Bernstein in the Atlantic argues that despite media furor over mass shootings, “Americans Don’t Really Understand Gun Violence.”

Why? Because they focus only on fatal gun violence—the tip of an enormous bloody iceberg of untold pain and suffering in victims of nonfatal violence and their families.

Although  estimates suggest over  a million survivors of gun violence in the US today, “nobody really knows how often people are shot by their intimate partners, how many victims are intended targets or bystanders, how many shootings are in self-defense, how such incidents affect community investment and property values, or how much it costs taxpayers to care for victims.”

Ignorance includes assumptions that nonfatal shootings are generally confined to Black neighborhoods; however, data show that from 2001-2013, “nonfatal-assault victimization rates declined among African Americans and increased significantly for whites.”

The reasons we know so little about nonfatal gun violence are largely politically-based. For example, in 1996, Congress passed the Dickey Amendment “which, along with accompanying budget cuts to the CDC, effectively took the federal government out of the business of funding gun research. Though it was ostensibly designed to prevent federal backing of biased anti-gun propaganda, the National Rifle Association-backed law has had a huge chilling effect…”

If we want to reduce the epidemic of gun violence, we need more information about it. Speak out against suppression of information and in favor of research.

To help motivate yourselves, see this video.


Posted in Armed conflict, Democracy, family violence, gun violence, Media, politics, Poverty, racism, Understanding violence, Weaponry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pledging Allegiance

George Washington presiding the Philadelphia Convention for the signing of the Constitution of the United States. Artist: Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952). In the public domain.

by Kathie MM

The Pledge of Allegiance is not sacrosanct. Within my lifetime, the words “Under God” were added to the Pledge because Congress and the President wanted to differentiate the US from the godless Communists.

Here is my recommendation for an updated Pledge:

I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it’s the guide, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, justice, and equal rights for all.

Pledging allegiance to a flag is not a good idea. Flags are symbols that are too easily manipulated, used to whip up armies and compel people towards violence.

What Americans should pledge allegiance to is the Constitution—an imperfect but perfectible document created by dedicated freedom fighters desiring a more perfect union and wise enough to provide mechanisms for reforming and ripening the fruit of their labors.

Let’s replace “for which it stands” with “for which it’s the guide”; we should not stand still, mired in dirty politics, but instead move toward the more perfect union envisioned, at least vaguely, by  founders of our government; there is much in our evolving Constitution to provide guidance.

“Under God”—a controversial term. Organized religion, like other self-promoting hierarchies, has fed divisiveness and violence over the centuries; however, if there is a God, and only one God, then all believers  have faith in the same God, by whatever name they use and however much they want to assume God plays favorites. Plus, reverence for a Higher Power that makes all living things sacred is more life-enhancing than idolizing money and power.

“Liberty and justice for all” have too often been denied, but they, along with equal rights, must still be the goals towards which we pledge our allegiance. A more perfect union will be an indivisible multi-hued union of all living things, interdependent,valued, and mutually sustaining.


Posted in Armed conflict, Democracy, environmental issues, Human rights, Nonviolence, politics, racism, Reconciliation and healing, social justice | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fossil fuel or life? Polar bears today. The world’s children tomorrow?

A video of an emaciated polar bear on Baffin Island was shared on social media this week. Warmer temperatures have led to longer ice-free periods throughout the year in the Arctic, increasing the risk of starvation for the animals. (Photo: @mitrasites2016/Twitter)

Today’s post features excerpts from a Common Dreams staff writer, Julia Conley, who describes an award-winning video  of a polar bear starving to death because global warming means less ice means less availability of polar bears’ food.

Conley’s story and the video deserve attention because, frankly, the powerful oil industry magnates and the politicians in their pockets don’t give a damn about polar bears. They care only about profits and the power that money brings.

And face it, they also don’t give a damn about you or your children or your grandchildren, and certainly not the environment that sustains—or cannot sustain—life.

Julia Conley tells us,

“A video of a starving polar bear led to calls for climate change denialists to confront the real-world effects of global warming this week. Taken by a Canadian conservationist and photographer and posted to social media, the video offered a stark visual of the drastic impacts of climate change that have already begun taking root.

‘When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like. Bears are going to starve to death. This is what a starving bear looks like.’—Paul Nicklen photographer….

On social media, viewers of Nicklen’s video called for political leaders like President Donald Trump, who has refused to take part in global efforts to minimize the warming of the Earth by reducing carbon emissions, to reconsider their climate-wrecking actions.

We can all take part in those efforts before the earth becomes unable to sustain life at all. Remember, the oil magnates and the banking system and the whole military industrial complex may have tons of money and power, but you have a voice and a vote and there are millions and millions more people like you, like us, than like them.

Conley’s article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Posted in capitalism, Democracy, Donald Trump, environmental issues, Human rights, Media, Military-industrial complex, Poetry and the arts, politics, Protest, resistance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Beware Resurgence of Deadly Diseases, Part 3

by Kathie MM

Out, out damn deadly disease!

We recently began a series on racialopathy and ethnicopathy , deadly social diseases, all too contagious in these virulent times.

How can we stop them?

Many diseases—think of cancer—are very complex, taking different forms, attacking different parts and processes in different ways in different people.

To combat those diseases, it is vital to understand them in all their complexity.

A useful place to begin is by uploading (free!) The Official Study Guide by Mary Pugh Clark.  Written to accompany Deep Denial, The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life by David Billings, it has considerable merit on its own.

Billings, an anti-racist trainer and organizer with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (www.pisab.org), is an ordained United Methodist minister and historian. According to civil rights activist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, “No one speaks to racism and its cure better than David Billings, a white Southerner who has seen it all. His is a voice that needs to be heard.”

Clark’s chapter-by-chapter exposition of Deep Denial, like the book itself, is rich in history,  ideas, and  reasons why all of us should challenge the specter of White Supremacy in all its noxious cloaks.

Among the valuable features of the study guide are questions encouraging analysis, reflection, and action related to the material in each chapter.

Here are some examples:

“• What can white people who benefit from gentrification do to mitigate the effects of displacement on families and businesses?

  • What are ways you can engage people who have opinions based on racial stereotyping?
  • If you are involved in non-profit or religious organizations, what are effective ways you can do anti-racist work?

Reading Clark’s Study Guide and Billings’ Deep Denial may get us one step closer to curing one lng-deadly disease.


Posted in colonialism, politics, racism, Reconciliation and healing, resistance, slavery, social justice, Stories of engagement, Understanding violence | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment