Tag Archives: gun violence

Intent of the Day: We are the Peace-Makers

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To keep up with the news these days is to be heartbroken. Families grieve the loss of fathers that should’ve come home that day. Politicians speak words of hate about ethnicities who live and thrive in this country and will vote in November. Women suffer assault and the perpetrators of those crimes will have their athletic accolades included in backstory of their act. It can make you wonder if anyone is fighting for peace, kindness, gentleness.

Today our intent is to be those people.  You can be one of those people.
You can make your intent to be a person who furthers love and patience instead anger and hatred. You can choose to grow and change into a human who accepts and pursues good instead of a person who is self-seeking and narrow-minded.

How? There are lots of ways to dig in. Here are a few things that might help with today’s climate:

  1. This video from ACLU deputy legal director Jeff Robinson calling for policing reform.
    In the wake of two more police shootings, we revisit this video shared after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Robinson calls us to find a better way.

  2. This Easy Guide to Contacting Your Elected Representatives About Gun Control.
    Shared originally on Huffington Post, this guide helps you identify your senators and representatives, shares form letters and has information for effectively calling and tweeting at elected officials. As easy as it easy to do, you have no reason not to take a minute to share your support or opposition when it comes to causes that matter most to you.
  3. These wise words from Deepak Chopra.
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    In choosing to be a peace-maker, it also means dealing with the resentment and anger in your heart. There is much to be upset about. There is much change that awaits us. This does not mean a root of bitterness should be fostered in the process. Choose to pursue change because you desire a better future, not because you wish to remain trapped in the past. Forgiveness does not mean you have to forget where you’ve come from. It can mean accepting the freedom to take a different path.

How are you pursuing peace?

Deepak Chopra: What Can We Do About Gun Violence?

image1.adapt.924.high.1379353105931Our hearts go out to the many affected by this morning’s tragic shooting at the US Navy Yard in Washington DC. Twelve people are reported dead – 11 victims and one shooter – with many others injured and in critical condition. Two other suspected shooters are still on the run.

Hundreds, even thousands, of other people – friends, spouses, siblings, colleagues, and peers of those killed and wounded – are also affected by the tragedy, as well as all of us around the country left wondering once again: Why the violence? Why the killing?

It is essential now that we treat the wounded, soothe the traumatized, and help the healing process of those who lost a loved one. We mourn together in times like these.

This is also a moment, though, in which some might revive conversations about gun violence and gun control, topics we are all too familiar with and yet which continue popping up after every incident of violence. Deepak Chopra weighs in on the debate in this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well. We invite you to watch the video and add your thoughts in the comments section below.

The days to come will hold grief, mourning, and the beginning of a healing process to which we add all our love and support. Please add your thoughts and messages of support in the comments section below.

Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Should Schools Arm Staff with Guns to Protect Kids?

012schoolsecurity1358542932Although gun violence has apparently decreased on the whole in the United States the last two decades, many schools are reporting increased violence and bullying in recent years. School and mass shootings in particular have grown more frequent and more deadly, causing many to question the accessibility of deadly weapons.

Soon after the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last year, President Obama released a plan to reduce gun violence, which included closing background check loopholes, banning military-type assault weapons, and increasing access to mental health services. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association released a different kind of plan, one that involved increasing gun ownership and instituting armed guards in every school in America. It seems there was a bit of a disconnect.

But apparently several schools have opted to run with the NRA’s suggestion. One such school, the Arkansas Christian Academy, has decided to train and arm their staff, with at least 1-7 armed staff members present on any given day.

Pastor Perry Black, an administrator at the school, told KARK:

I just felt like with what’s going on in many of the public sectors where there seems to be a lot of shootings we need to take the same stance that we do in church on Sunday for our kids Monday through Friday.

Here is the sign the school recently posted on their campus:

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One argument for this kind of action might be that the guns themselves are just a precautionary measure, but the sign should hopefully do enough to discourage any would-be shooters. Do you think this is realistic? And are guns ever acceptable in a school setting?

Bonus – Watch Deepak Chopra address gun violence in this episode of “Ask Deepak” on the Chopra Well:

Photo credit: Jahi Chikwendiu / The Washington Post

NYC Marches for Trayvon Martin – 10 Powerful Photos

On the rainy night of February 26, 2012 an altercation took place between 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and 28-year-old George Zimmerman that left the former dead and the latter bleeding from several wounds. There were no witnesses and no apparent cause for the dispute, and Zimmerman was shortly thereafter released on the basis of “self defense.”

But the story, and the pain and anger and debates, did not end there. Almost overnight there arose a pubic outcry over the event, calling for justice on what was largely seen as a racially-motivated event. Had Trayvon not been black would Zimmerman have perceived him as a threat? Would Zimmerman have been initially let go? And now, after this weekend’s verdict, would he have been acquitted of all charges? It’s a troubling line of reasoning to go down, but one that many can’t help consider.

Reactions to the verdict have been heart-wrenching, as many feel not only the tragedy of the teenager’s lost life but also anger toward a system that seems to value some lives more than others. New York City held one of the largest rallies on Sunday, with thousands convened in Times Square to protest the jury’s decision.

Here are 10 powerful photos from NYC’s protest, reminding the country that Trayvon Martin lives on in the hearts of many:

What are your thoughts on the Zimmerman verdict? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Dear Republicans, What Makes Life Worth Living?

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When several Republican leaders accused President Obama of aiming to destroy the Republican Party, a bright light went on. The reactionary right may have tossed itself into the dustbin of history already.  Let’s indulge in the hope that this is true. Progressives were dragged kicking and screaming in the wake of the Reagan revolution. Realists cringed as ideology ruled. Bad economics created ruinous policies that half-sunk the middle class.

What if all of that is over?  It’s not foolish to greet the day at the first moment of dawn – quite the opposite. Anyone who catches the early signs of historical change is in a position to lead that change. I believe that President Obama did just that. His vote against the Iraq war was prescient. It was a bellwether for all the positions outlined in his splendid “liberal agenda” inauguration.

But holding on to liberal values isn’t what made Obama president – he caught a trend. Instead of fighting against the dominant reactionary winds, he sensed a new wind. It was embodied in two words – hope and change – which aren’t exactly novel words in politics. Only this time, they were attached to a massive turn-around in society.

It’s time to accept that the turn-around is real and here to stay. What should we do next?

I’d like to suggest that we should do the opposite of what the reactionary right did. Instead of becoming victorious ideologues who want to crush their opponents, we should show the right that they are welcome to join the trend of history. The reason that John Boehner and others talk about Obama trying to crush them is that it’s exactly what they would do if the tables were reversed – indeed, they tried it for the first four years.

The reason that we have to do the opposite is that it will take an unprecedented coalition to save the planet, cure worldwide epidemics, block terrorism, feed an exploding population, and repair the damage created by calamitous weather patterns. We are all being forced to change our values. The things that made life worth living won’t be the same fifty years from now.

As the right wakes up from its rigid, stupid, selfish, xenophobic ideology, we must take those adjectives and throw them away. They are going to suffer with us in the future or rise with us. Partisanship is ridiculously narrow-minded in the face of unprecedented global change. Abortion, gay rights, marijuana, the flag, and even equal rights will look like the fight over tariffs in the nineteenth century – quaint and beside the point – if there are no polar ice caps anymore and air so toxic that taking a breath is the same as getting sick.

So what is life worth living for?  To gerrymander a district, buy another gun, and believe in a six-day creation of the universe? In 1860 what made life worth living was ending slavery. All the nice things didn’t matter when such an overwhelming injustice as slavery still prospered. At this moment we are awash in consumerism, and nice things flow in all directions. None of that matters if we get Hurricane Sandy every year, or many times a year. None of that matters if more tsunamis regularly kill a quarter of a million people, or if hundreds of millions have no potable drinking water.

Everyone knows that the human race has the ability to face these challenges, even if we cannot predict the outcome. But it’s time to actually listen to Obama’s repeated theme that we are all in this together. The right has been asleep on these issues for a long time. They don’t think they need the progressives; we know that everyone is needed. This should guide our vision, starting now. We all have to ask what makes life worth living, and then move forward to make our highest values come true for everyone.

 

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