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March 15, 2018


Oh, my comment could be so long, which is testimony to the complexity and scope of your post. I am always surprised at how easily my family in the US enter the realm of what Walter Wink called "the holding of enemy images".

We need to look at this on every level; the underlying moral issues are important, but when, in Florida, you can buy an assault rifle way faster than you can get a marriage license, that means it is time to mobilize. That's why the shoes on the lawn are so important, the walkout, the calls, letters, demonstrations.

Duchesse, thank you for this comment. I couldn't agree more, and felt that the shoes on the lawn were a poignant and awful reminder of the true statistics. They represent more than 7,000 killed in school shootings since 2012, or an average of nearly 1,000 per year) -- far more than those who died on 9/11 (2,983). What on earth is wrong with a country that refuses to act when thousands of its children are being killed, right at home, and yet conducts drone wars, maintains Guantanamo, builds a huge homeland security apparatus at massive cost, and deports large numbers of people on "terrorist" pretexts, when, since 9/11, only six Americans per year have been killed by foreign-born terrorists?

Thank you for this, Beth. I have no wisdom this morning, but I am grateful that you are there.

That young people in the U.S. including children, are speaking up loud and clear and articulately about gun violence (I shared a video on FB of one example) and the shoes on the White House lawn, are hugely positive signs of something changing. How much effect it will have on the NRA and their backers depends on how strong and persistent and active this movement can become.

But the big issue of human rage/anger and its innumerable violent consequences goes right back in history. I don't think it can be summarised as 'anger=fear=fear of loss", or that race or gender can be isolated from so many other factors which cause human beings, whether individually or as a group, a tribe, a nation, to commit appalling acts of violence. I don't know if there's any difference between the rage of a driver who runs down a cyclist, or the the rage of a parent who shakes a baby to death, or the rage of a gang of teenagers who beat up a stranger etc. All these crimes are committed daily by people of all genders and races and nationalities, some we read about in the news and some we'll never know of. The fact that despite all our achievements in terms of culture, education, medicine, science, philosophy, psychology, and so on and so forth we are, as a species, individually and collectively capable of the most unimaginably terrible acts of violence and cruelty. Why? And what can be done about it? Maybe the answer is out there but I don't know what it is.

Thank you, Natalie, for what you wrote here about the persistence of human anger -- I agree, it seems to be hard-wired into us, and while it may be mostly men who act upon it violently and publicly, it's awful to think of all the angry women who take their frustrations and rage out on innocent children, harming them for life with their words at the very least. I don't have any answers either, except to try to be the most loving person I can, and to see these emotions in myself before they become harmful words or actions turned on others or myself.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.