Friday, November 06, 2009

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow: the Work for Justice & Peace Continues


To me, the Blogblast for Peace on November 5th was a magnificent success. There were Peace Globes and posts on both Nick's Bytes and Alex's Alexicon blogs. I do not know how many blogs participated: I personally visited almost 40 blogs that celebrated the event by displaying Peace Globes and very creative posting related to peace and, often, justice in our hurting and bloodied world. (You may want to visit Mimi and thank her for creating and managing the Blogblast for Peace and perhaps express condolences regarding the very recent death of her father).

Yesterday I filled with peace...until I received a Breaking News Alert from CNN in my email: Mass Shooting at Fort Hood. I am certain that I need not report the details, the media is doing that overly well. With 13 dead and 31 wounded, the news shocked and horrified me.

I left my computer and turned on the TV for more information. What I found was very little more information, but (as usual) as gaggle of talking-heads commenting on what they knew very little about. The media coverage disturbed me almost must as much as the shootings horrified me. I felt like telephoning CNN and shouting, Keep your bloody mouths shut until you have some facts to report.

Of course, CNN continued the speculative broadcasting as did ABC, CBS, NBC, and , of course, the worst of the yellow journalists, FOX. The "reporting" sickened me.


Nina made a comment on Face Book today that summed up my greatest fears regarding yesterday's yellow journalism:

Driving home last night I received a call from a friend who is Muslims. She said you know they are going to blame Muslims. I arrived home and John said you know they are going to blame Psychiatrists. On the news last night someone said the military needs to take responsibility for this. This morning I have to ask, whatever happened to personal responsibility?

Nina's words turned my thoughts to the days when one of my roles was as a teacher of ethics. In using simulations to teach ethics, I have found that personal responsibility--he did it and he is responsible for his act--usually takes second place to placing the blame on a group. I have always wondered why we do that -- unless, of course, we prefer to deny our own responsibly for our actions.

I shall write a blog post in the near future presenting an ethical game that plays out this strange phenomenon: The Troll on the Bridge. In the meantime, I have been praying for the victims of this terrible violence and their families.

Earlier today as I was engaged in reflecting on yesterday's events, I received another Breaking News Alert: Multiple people shot at Orlando office building; suspect at large. My first response was incredibility; my second was that could it be a copycat acting out the Fort Hood shootings in Orlando?

I don't know the answer and, unlike the media reporting on this second horror in two days, I'll await the facts before I write anything else. I am praying for the victims of today's violence as I have been for the victims of yesterday's atrocity.

A 40-year-old former engineer who was fired two years ago apparently returned to his former firm and shot six people, killing one, Friday morning in an Orlando high-rise, according to police and his former employer. ~ The Washington Post


I have received several emails informing me that tomorrow the House of Representatives of the United States has the opportunity to right a very long-standing injustice. Tomorrow the House votes on a Health Care Reform bill that will make medical care as available to the poor as it has been for the wealthy. Each email asked me to either telephone my Congressional Representative, Congressman John Yarmuth, and urge that he vote yes on the legislation. Of course I did, even though I already knew that he is going to cast an affirmative vote.

As I am sure you know, I take a personal interest in this legislation. Almost four years of being without health insurance, four years of being without the life-long medications I have been prescribed to counter the genetic clinical depression from which I and others in my family suffer, four years of sinking lower and lower into depression and the real potential of suicide have made me very aware of how expensive and out-of-reach medical care is in the United States for those without money or health insurance.

My very brief experience as a licensed agent selling life and health insurance has made me aware of the greed, lies, and manipulations of at least one insurance company. I do not believe that that insurance company is all that unique.

This injustice in health care has needed change for almost 100 years. As long ago as 1912, President Theodore Roosevelt (you know that he was a Republican, don't you?) sought national health care legislation. The basic issue for Roosevelt, affordable health care for all Americans, has not changed. Tomorrow I pray that the poor and infirm of the United States will finally receive justice.

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  1. Excellent, sir. I have learned much about real justice from you. Thank you.

  2. Yes, there is too much blood shed in this world. I hope that you finally achieve medical services for all of your people. Peace with justice, my friend.

  3. great posting.I think I visite at least 40 blogs as well.Peace unto you my friend.

  4. I think Blogblast for Peace was an even bigger success this year Nick!

    The person responsible for the killings is the one who pulled the trigger - no-one else. :(

  5. Thank you for your words, Nick.

    The blogblast for peace is HUGE. Mimi has created a beautiful thing.

    I choose to focus on the kindness of most people, instead of the ignorance and hate of a minority.

  6. We agree and hope the health care does well.

  7. A great post, Nick. I think Blog Blast was a great success. I am so sorry about this violence in your country and my thoughts, too, are with the victims and their families. I didn't know you were fighting clinical depression and my heart goes out to you. I hope the healthcare bill gets through. Nina's comment is indeed thought-provoking.

  8. The person who committed the crime is responsible. There may be extenuating circumstances and things we can all do better to spot troubled individuals and help them before this kind of thing happens.

    But we are not responsible for the act committed by this person. He is.

  9. Thank you for your words. It seems that there is always more work to do for peace and justice, doesn't it.

  10. Gunny: Thank you. I appreciate your kind words.

  11. The Viscount: I agree. Thank you: we are half way there in gaining health care for all Americans. Now comes the vote of the Senate.

  12. Mike Golch: Thank you. May peace also be with you, my friend.

  13. Akelamalu: Yes, the Blogblast for Peace seems to have been a wonderful success! I agree about the personal responsibility; unfortunately, I am also seeing an increase blaming Muslims as well as absurd conspiracy theories

  14. Carol: Thank you, Carol. I really enjoyed this years' Blogblast!

    I, too, prefer to focus on the kindness of people, even as I am aware that some people are capable of abomniable evil. That's sad.

  15. Kanga n Roo: Thank you, my friends. Health care is half way home!

  16. Welshcakes Limoncello: Thank you. This was another of my on-the-spur-of-the-moment posts.

    Thanks for your concern for the victims and families of the Fort Hood shootings. Such events come without warning and then lead to copy-cat violence. I believe we have had two incidents of such thus far.

    Yes, I have been dealing with clinical depression at least since I was in my late teens. Of course, I didn't know what it was until I was in my mid-twenties.

    Already I have heard the pundits on conservative talk-radio attempting to blame all Muslims for the shootings. I can turn off the radio, but I fear that too many folks do not and absorb and pass on the hate and prejudice

  17. I am for peace not violence! Great post, I really enjoyed it.

    Love and Blessings,

  18. I like the goat and I'm suddenly thankful I'm not anyone's humor group email list!

  19. AngelBaby: Thank you. I agree: peace is much preferable to violence.

  20. secret agent woman: I, too, appreciate the goat. BTW, the jokes don't come from a humor group email list; they come from individual friends, some of whom I have known for over 40 years. Of course, we haven't been emailing that long!