After a 1996 Mass Shooting, Australia Enacted Strict Gun Laws. It Hasn’t Had a Similar Massacre Since.

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Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the Sandy Hook school shooting. On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in a seaside resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania. By the time he was finished, he had killed 35 people and wounded 23 more.

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Read the rest of Slate’s coverage of the Sandy Hook school shooting. On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in a seaside resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania. By the time he was finished, he had killed 35 people and wounded 23 more.

 Connecticut school shooting stuns the world.

 However only days after twenty seven people including 20 elementary school children are murdered and a teary eyed response from the president the White House is waffling and side stepping a political solution.  White House spokesman Jay Carney stated, “it’s a complex problem that requires a complex solution.” Apparently these complexities eluded the small island of Australia where strict gun laws were enacted following a 1996 mass shooting.  Australia reports it hasn’t had a similar incident since.

I watched a city wide writing competition for middle schools recently. Prior to the awards announcements there was a talent show.  One young kid sang Luther Vandross’ Dance With My Father, there were a variety of other things and an audience participation on stage lip sync and dance of Gangnam Style.  There was so much joy watching these children cheering, singing along acting silly and as I say, fulfilling part of their kids’ job description being carefree.

 So as Luther’s lyrics waxed sentimental and nostalgic wishing for one more dance with father many of us teared up thinking about 20 sets of parents who will never dance with their children again.

A question, I heard in an interview about Sandy Hooks “what do we tell the children,” forced its way into my mind.  We can tell them don’t worry pray and it will never happen to you, we live in a safe and predictable world, but these things are not true.  I looked at my daughter, and her group on stage bumbling through a dance routine then her screaming “woohooo thank you… “  yada yada at the microphone and I thought; honey I hope that was fun. I hope everyday you rise you fend off the evil and negativity of this world living side by side with goodness and mercy and find something joyful in your day, because tomorrow is a gift not promised.

Bill Maher says…

Sorry but prayers and giving your kids hugs fix nothing; only having the balls to stand up to our insane selfish gun culture will. I couldn’t agree more with Bill Maher. In other words faith without works is missing the mark.  Conviction without action is not conviction it is an idea and hot air. If these are real they produce… something.

 Many of us say we believe this, but many of us have few convictions just ideas and hot air.

Is It Gun Culture or a Culture of Violence Flamed by Incivility, Insensitivity, and Intolerance?

Does gratuitous violence beget violence? A lot of us feed our appetite for many forms of violence constantly.  Each individual has to judge the harm things like this do or don’t do, I guess.

One can read all over the I-net that the subconscious mind does not know the difference between fantasy and reality so to the subconscious mind a movie killing is not perceived as fantasy.  I do not know if that is true; however there is research to suggest that in the conscious mind the line between fantasy and reality can be very blurry. According to the work of Donald D. Hoffman, Ph. D., in computational psychology, Department of Cognitive Science University of California, Irvine, reality affirms fantasy and vice versa.

So it could be that the reality is that violence is violent and it only matters in degrees whether one see’s it across the street or on CSI or whether one is a victim of violence.  It doesn’t matter if it is a racist, misogynistic or homophobic degrading joke, snide comment meant to damage someone’s ego, or the last straw body image comment or commercial that drives a young girl into anorexia.

Do you think a violent diet of living vicariously through media good and bad guys alike, enduring slights uncivil and intolerant behavior and language on a regular basis have a cumulative effect?  I think I channeled Rush Limbaugh once.  How much psychic damage does it take to push one over the edge?  How much psychic damage does it take to push one community over the edge or a country over the edge?

Maybe this is what Jesus the sage was eluding to when he said if you create an act in your mind you have committed an act in your heart (he chose adultery to speak about).  The one liberating thing about this maxim is that it must work both ways in the negative and the positive mustn’t it?

 An idea making the rounds on the I-net attributed to Marianne Williamson, says,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I used to roll my eyes at this but suppose most of us are willfully hot potato tossing the power and corresponding responsibility we have off on God by praying or by blaming the closest idiot?  How many of us say that pray, “God send me,” and then get up and go?

Suppose it is true if we have faith the size of a grain of mustard seed we can move mountains?  Gandhi did, Dr. King did. Dr. Paul Farmer did in Haiti.  As great as these people were and are none of them did great things single handedly.

Amit Goswami a renowned theoretical nuclear physicist Professor Emeritus Oregon University and featured in the movie “What the Bleep do We Know?” theorizes that consciousness creates mind and matter, subject and object, which dovetail quite nicely with “mustard seed” faith.

It could be exactly what would happen when “the woman with an issue of blood” healed herself without permission or even asking a god or anyone.  Her faith was not born in religion, she had no faith in doctors, she had already tested them as all faith should be tested, she had faith born out of desperation: a faith that caused her to focus on a solution that had no doctrine behind it, no orthodoxy just an idea and focused commitment to change her circumstance. How many of us have a focused commitment to change ourselves to change our world to change our circumstance?

So Bryan Fischer and Mike Huckabee proclaim the Connecticut Sandy Hook massacre, Columbine and other school and college related massacres happened because Gentleman Good God has been kicked out of the schools and doesn’t go where he isn’t wanted.  I find myself not wanting to dignify their ideas held by many with any kind of comment or acknowledge that it was even said.

The “Kingdom of Potential” is with in us, not in the act of public prayer but  into the single-minded action we embark upon when we hear ourselves pray and that is why everything that does not proceed from faith that does not proceed from conviction is missing the mark.

One definition of prayer is, a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.  Let us worship life and life more abundantly and let the life be the light of all people.  Let us walk in the life and the way that promotes abundant living and the truth that affirms a God whose definition is goodness and a universe that is sufficient.

I’m sorry Fischer and Huckabee choose to believe something so uninformed about the God they claim to know they are trying to make sense of the world too, just saying.  I guess as the poor shall always be with us so shall the ignorant.  In fact there are areas in which we are all ignorant and blind to what real is so let us mitigate damage as much as we can forgive and continue to press toward the mark not kick against the pricks.

We have such potential to change our world but we abdicate our responsibility though we know if everyone is not comfortable then we are thieves and leeches living at the expense of the poor. We hide our lack of action in words of outrage, and also in prayers and psalms as if in so speaking we’ve done our part. We point our fingers as if responsibility starts just beyond our reach.

 When I hear an atheist quip, “thank you God for sparing the lives of 20 children in Connecticut… oh wait a minute, you didn’t, f*ck God,” I can understand the anger, though I was not angry I was deeply saddened by what happened in Connecticut; I can understand the question, if there is a just God then why?  However I can’t understand the misdirected rage in the midst of such a tragedy.

I must ask that person and all of us of that spirit of complaint and condescension, where is your faith? Was that misdirect the best you can do that’s it?!   Certainly your faith does not rest in your non-god but you must certainly believe in goodness fighting the good fight or you must be silent.  You must have hope in light of a non-existent god that especially together with others you have power to change things or you should have no part in this public showing of pain, dismay, an healing.

 You must certainly acknowledge that without God it is of the utmost importance to have faith in yourself and humanity that your positive mindset and doings must endure if darkness is ever to be conquered if darkness is not to overtake all.

 Darkness will not just go away it is apart of our world with which we must deal.  We must give our lives to fight it, if goodness is to triumph. If your dark side is to remain contained or better yet transformed, reborn.

 I think if you are giving in to your dark side and self -righteousness, if you are putting some burden on others that you don’t accept you brother are a Pharisee; believe me you don’t need a god to be one. There is little difference between you and the religious person you hate and demean for being misguided, bigoted and myopic.

 As misguided as you think religious people are, some of them lost their children Friday.  You may as well grab a picket sign and join Washington Baptist church you are both on the same side, crucifying folks for believing what you feel is clearly wrong.

Coming up: Where do we go from here?

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Qatar poet gets life in prison after ‘insulting’ emir

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A poet will face life in prison in Qatar after penning verses that state officials deemed insulting to the nation’s emir and an incitement to topple the government, his attorney told news agencies Thursday. …

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5 Common Misconceptions About The Bible

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When it comes to the Bible, modern Americans are at a distinct disadvantage. They know both too much and too little.

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Rescuing wasted food to fight hunger

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Even in a down economy, Americans find food cheap and plentiful enough to waste $165B worth each year…

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“Rescuing Wasted Food to Fight Hunger” covers civic responsibility and what used to be called dumpster diving.

Over the past months I have been talking and blogging about the new empowerment zone (NEZ), the NEZ of personal choice and thinking outside of the box.

I don’t like talking about this because it is CRITICAL that we wake up and engage and we are not waking and engaging quickly enough. One reason is that we have been lulled into a stupor by the new media age wielded by some very sophisticated adversaries. Another reason is that there are so many issues that need attention it can be overwhelming.

In the area of food we can certainly boycott and protest Monsanto corp., and it is a power struggle in which many should be involved. However, personal empowerment causes us to boycott our own habits that don’t lead to empowerment and to protest our own thought patterns that pressure us to conform to what is not healthy, not empowering, for us our neighbors, our community, our city and so on.

Just recently proposition 37 in California, a call to mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods failed. One may ask how could voters vote against their right to know what they are eating?

According to EarthTalk at,

“Proponents of the bill raised some $9 million and garnered some 46.9 percent of the vote, indicating that upwards of four million Californians fear the potential effects of GM foods and are in favor of greater transparency on the part of the food industry. But such efforts weren’t enough to overcome aggressive marketing by so-called Big Food companies including Monsanto, Coca-Cola, ConAgra, Nestle and Kraft, who poured some $45 million into the “No on 37” campaign.”

This is disconcerting and a battle lost but people could have decided prior to hearing the fate of proposition to be more educated and more conscientious when buying food. All kinds of issues leap to the for front. For instance, of all the food that is labeled of all the organic food to be had, who can buy it? Can poor people buy organic; if not what can be done about it? If this isn’t something for Liberation Theologians and civil rights activists to take on, if indeed this isn’t a premier civil rights movement in the making I don’t know what is.

Big business colluding with government is vying to totally control what food we buy and where we buy it from and it is becoming illegal to grow your own food. One step in this (beside denying you the right to know what you are eating) is the bid to make it illegal to have heirloom seeds. That is seeds that one can harvest from what one has eaten and seeds that are not genetically modified.

Individuals can not pursue every cause and most of us need to focus where we are lead to lead. Also though we need to connect with those kindred movements open up lines of communication, share resources as much as possible, and always share audiences. That is to say strongly encourage our followers to see what else there is to follow and bring in kindred spirits to impact them with the goal of putting folks in leader mode.

Systemically speaking, where is the preschool, elementary school and middle school that is teaching the 3 r’s through dissidence, through the science of meteorology by doing a K-12 global warming dynamics case study, the science of gardening through practical application and textbooks in the classroom?

People in the healthy eating movement need to connect with the community gardening people who need to connect with the local market folks and all need to connect to the arts community and the community of influencers and cheerleaders.

Influencers can reveal issues and precepts, they say for instances that this food movement is a civil rights and human rights issue and connect the resources of the spiritual community and the public sector lawmakers, and the business community to one area, how we obtain our food, from where do we obtain food, and our relationship to food.

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Families Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Young Life – Spiritual and personal growth for young adults… Meet my grandson Joey pictured in the photo above to the right of me with …

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Families Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Young Life – Spiritual and personal growth for you…

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The War Over Healthy Food

One thing I don’t see a lot of conversation about is the need for us the people to starting collecting heirloom seeds. These genetically modified foods on top of being dangerous have patents ergo owners who can choose what to do with them like charge more by lowering the supply through a monopoly or holding communities, states, countries ransom. It is harder and harder (or so it seems to me) to find watermelon seeds and other kinds so you can grow your own. I’m all for watchdogging and protesting Mansanto but the real revolution will come in our own empowerment, our own taking control. First step buy local; another step might be grow your your own on your own property; another step might be gorilla seeding, that is mad dumping seeds, on razed lots, in parks and woods; hydroponics and permaculture; less reliance on meat->no reliance on meat. This is a lot of power a lot of control. This would affect the drug industry and the MEDICAL military complex because we’d be healthy. ref: Forks Over Knives. This link says the film is at the Cedar Lee but it’s an old article I’m using because of its Cleveland 216 slant :

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No Thanks for Thanksgiving

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Many indigenous people and others commemorate the fourth Thursday of November as a Day of Mourning since the 1970s remembering what we all know as Thanksgiving. As much as I am aware of the atrocities inflicted upon Native Americans among whose number I count myself as part Cherokee and perhaps Iroquois Thanksgiving is ingrained in me.

Like many of us I grew up having been taught the Thanksgiving version of the founding of these here United States. It might have been my high school years or further along when I took in the entire story.

I wonder how many think about the 1st thanksgiving or what transpired afterward during this holiday; for more than a few it is just a time of family, friends, fellowship, food oh yes and often football and giving thanks.

Is Thanksgiving a white supremacist holiday? Should Native Americans replace it with a Day of Atonement, should non-Indigenous folk join in and opt out of Thanksgiving from a sense of solidarity (especially folks of color) or guilt or from accepting responsibility for perpetuating a myth?

Perhaps it is seldom black or white in this crucible of American diversity and it is that nuance, motive and point of view hang on authorship. I wonder if there is an apolitical voice to be brought to bear on this “celebration verses atonement” conversation, a voice not speaking as an enraged guilt ridden white man or indignant wronged dark skinned person but someone who may belong to either or neither of these groups that feels the wrongness of it and thus grieves.

Who is mindful, grieves and still looks forward to Thanksgiving? Is celebrating this telling of Thanksgiving and skipping “the morning after,” at the heart of U.S. myth building?

Isn’t myth-building what countries do? Building myth used to be the unchallenged prerogative of the group in charge, the part of the spoils of the victor we call history. However, this has long since not been the case but what is a healthy way to handle the dichotomy between voices of view?

Every stone of truth turned over uncovers more dissent spread like wildfire these days through the egalitarian Internet and by plain ole travailing these uncovered issues into discourse, or maybe it is spreading like a controlled burn in preparation of a spring planting.

Lincoln didn’t really want to free the slaves, nor did Washington nor Jefferson, J. Edgar Hoover wore dresses , Columbus was a murderer and Jesus was really from Newark and such is history and myth.

My issue is revisionist history I don’t like it. Aside from the unethical intentional logistics, I believe exist in the willful miss telling of the tale how many heroes have been covered up in shrouds of non-recognition and their progeny in stereotypic shame their graves the very footstools of other’s glory who deserves to go down in infamy instead?

Buried are Africans, African Americans, Gays, Jews and others whose tombstones read obviously “just chattel”, “stupid and lazy”, “abominable” “untouchable”, having added nothing to the history of this country. I’m inclined to say forgive and forget, let’s move forward, can’t we all get along, except it seems that certain mythic stories must be silenced. However, they must not only be silenced but also breathed into anew somehow. Maybe the stories need many new storytellers and obviously that is happening but not yet in the main stream, only upstream where the salmon of dissent swim to continue their story.

In Robert Jensen’s No Thanks For Thanksgiving Mr. Jensen asserts, speaking of Thanksgiving,

Some aspects of the conventional story are true enough. But it’s also true that by 1637 Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop was proclaiming a thanksgiving for the successful massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indian men, women and children, part of the long and bloody process of opening up additional land to the English invaders. The pattern would repeat itself across the continent until between 95 and 99 percent of American Indians had been exterminated and the rest were left to assimilate into white society or die off on reservations, out of the view of polite society.

Is there a celebration of thanksgiving in this somewhere, silly question? One thing to celebrate might be the telling of the entire story by different voices. Sounds weird, stupid, ignorant and … but what about celebrating a day of atonement. For many of us Thanksgiving is far removed from pilgrims the fairytale and indigenous folks massacre, it is about family, abundance, sharing, and really, really about thanksgiving. For the record Thanksgiving is far from monolithic in ceremony. Most of the folks I hang out with are vegetarian, many vegan and don’t do the entire gorge thing. However, I would ask why judge anyone who does once a year? That is their journey.

So I’m looking for ideas that merge with the Day of Atonement that takes place every fourth Thursday in November and acknowledges that we also have lots for which to be thankful, even if perhaps Plymouth Rock is part of a darker more complete story. I’d start my day out in atonement and end in thanksgiving or vice versa, I’d do a pot luck with Native American brothers and sisters, atone and more but as much as I get the big bad myth making machine idea I need to posit that Thanksgiving to me is a day to be thankful, to slow my role, and be one with family and friends and strangers, to live in the moment and appreciate being alive.  To me that essential part of the myth cannot be plucked from the American zeitgeist and not be replaced without causing further psychic damage to our country. Who know that perhaps by atoning and acknowledging so many wrongful deaths I would be more thankful? Maybe it should be traditional Thanksgiving and then “they” have “their” day, Native American Heritage Day which is the Friday after Thanksgiving. Or maybe I want to have my drumstick and eat it too.

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