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Guide to Peace

Updated on July 11, 2014

Guide to Peace

This introduction is written in what literature professors call stream of consciousness. I wrote it long before the latest mass shooting but decided to leave it as is for the benefit of my regular readers who are discerning enough to know that I am trying to figure out what makes violent people tick to better figure out how to make them non-violent.

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You have seen peaceful pacifists practicing the principle of nonviolence and exercising their Constitutional right to assembly and free speech. Perhaps they were holding signs outside some place, perhaps they were engaging in street theater (not necessarily the finest actors the entertainment world has ever seen but earnestly trying), perhaps they chained themselves to the gate of a military base or lay down in front of a tank that was part of a military convoy (hoping to stop the convoy but willing to be crushed to death to make a point) or perhaps they were shouting the hackneyed: "What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!" And repeated the refrain. And despite being peaceful and nonviolent and having a parade permit or being in a "free speech zone" (despite the fact that theoretically all of the nation is a free speech zone as guaranteed by the Constitution), the usual happens. A protester is pummeled by the police. Occasionally, a demonstrator is shot to death. Ahhh land of peace and freedom of thee we sing.

You say that they are pinko commies and deserve to die. America right or wrong. Usually wrong (we invaded Iraq instead of Iran because George W. Bush can't spell). But who cares? We have nukes [a stupid remark that encourages nuclear proliferation] and we have other weapons and ships and so we can bully them. Unless they are Russia or China or France or the UK (who also have nukes and the ability to deliver them). These pacifists don't want us to fight wars in the Muslim world but they need to shut up. After all, that oil is ours [after we pay through the nose for it, and put our young people in harm's way to secure it, and damage the environment when it spills and when we use it and we choke on the fumes and it slimes our beaches but who care?] Okay so war is expensive and that national debt that people are whining about was mostly (almost entirely) caused by wars past and present but who cares? War is manly. Unless you get your gun and blow someone's head off, you are not a real man. War is the whole point of America. Our economy is built on it (or at least my investment portfolio is mostly defense stocks). We have to kill and kill again. Real men are like Cavemen. We beat to death other men and we hit women over the head and drag them off by their hair. Kill kill kill. And in between wars, we can watch sports that emulate war and play video games that simulate war. Life is great because the state of the art is cyberwarfare where a couch potato serviceman can fly a joystick and thousands of miles away, a Predator drone or Reaper drone is killing collateral damage (otherwise known as human beings). Life is great when war is convenient for us and inconvenient for the enemy (and our allies and civilians). Death is even better. Death from above. H.A.L.O. High altitude low opening parachuting. Step on them like ants. Never mind that they are fellow human beings. They look different from us. Well, maybe less and less [American GI's are of every ethnic group and the US military even recruits illegal aliens and people of other nationalities as a path to citizenship]. Too many mixed messages in my head. Must. Kill. Conscience.

Commies and terrorists. Kill'em all. Let God sort'em out.

Pacifism, wanting peace, must be bad because that is what I learned from other guys. True, a lot of those guys are dead, in jail, on drugs or have other problems. But a lot of them are rich and send suckers like me off to war. Never mind all that. War is all I know. There is no alternative to war. Peace is for sissies and now they are letting them into the military. I don't want to be in a foxhole with them. Even a female soldier would be better to watch your back. Oh moan. What has happened to war? They are replacing men with machines. Not sure if being a fat lumpy nerd flying a video screen is my idea of a fighting man. I only know that I must kill my conscience.

1. Miss America wishes for world peace.

2. That guy stood in front of a column of tanks in China. And they stopped !!!

3. Jesus was called The Prince of Peace. Oh God! Even God has turned His back on us violent types.

What is all this peace stuff?

There is only one thing to do. Where do I sign to sell my soul to the devil?

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Rainbow peace flag. Drawn by Fibonacci. GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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"Peace on Earth" (1904) - by Sascha Schneider

photographed by: Jdsteakley

Angel of Peace monument

Matosinhos, Bogenhausen

John Lennon - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Charlie Brown Christmas

One Tin Soldier - The Legend of Billy Jack

The Songwriters:

"One Tin Soldier" is a 60s era anti-war song written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter.

The Story:

"One Tin Soldier" tells the abstract story of a hidden treasure and two neighboring peoples, the Mountain People and the Valley People. The Valley People are aware of a treasure on the mountain, buried under a stone; they send a message to the Mountain People demanding those riches. When told they can share the treasure, the Valley People instead decided to take it all by force. After killing all the Mountain People, the victors move the stone and find nothing more than a simple message: "Peace on Earth." Ironically, the valley people destroyed the treasure in pursuit of it.

The Soundtrack:

Jinx Dawson of the band Coven sang the song at a 1971 session with the film's orchestra as part of the soundtrack for the Warner Brothers movie Billy Jack. Jinx asked that her band, Coven, be listed on the recording and film, not her name as a solo artist.

The Comment:

Yes, as a Christian, I am well aware that members of the band Coven are Satanists. Amazingly, for a group that was formed in the 1960's, they have not all died mysterious deaths or died of drug overdoses. But then His Satanic Majesty Mick Jagger and most of the Rolling Stones are still with the living also. While I consider these people to be spiritually-challenged, I do not begrudge them the right to exist as long as they do not kill anyone. What does all this have to do with peace? Certainly not rest in peace. It is more a matter of that peaceful co-existence bumper sticker. The case against this song is weak because many others recorded and covered this song besides Coven. But people who consciously think that good is evil and evil is good contribute to war and violence. Whether it is Michael Jackson doing it for style or urban rappers saying bad when they mean good or whether it is the antagonists in George Orwell's 1984 chanting "War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength." -- it is doublespeak. Dangerous duckspeak (to speak without thinking). Grammar teachers have done doctoral dissertations on how language abuse can actually cripple your ability to think. This means that you can be led right into groupthink and war by the propaganda, logical fallacies, and disinformation of public relations liars and politicians. In one of the Billy Jack movies, Billy Jack's grandfather and spiritual guide actually illustrates how people at a low level of thinking are easily manipulated.

But back to the song. I simply like the song's lyrics and music. I can't help that the most successful version of it was covered by some devil worshipers. God bless them. (they won't like that)

Peace Tower

Ottawa, Canada

Peace Lily

unknown man stopping column of tanks

Tiananmen Square, China

The military, of course, predictably later crushed the people because the leaders are cold and heartless and the military forgets who pays their wages -- the people.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times

Peace Parade

Peace Delegates on NOORDAM

the "tank man"

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peace symbol

Derives from the campaign for nuclear disarmament. It was designed by Gerald Holtom for the British nuclear disarmament movement and is a combination of old world war semaphore signals for the letters "N" and "D," short for nuclear disarmament. Deranged people in the United States, in their hatred for pacifists and hippies, have twisted the story to claim that the peace symbol is a broken cross and therefore Satanic. They are apparently unaware that Jesus Christ was for peace.

peace banner

The peace banner of Nicholas Roerich also known the Pax Cultura emblem.

dove

In political circles, the dove is the symbol of peace and the hawk is the symbol of war. Doves want peace and hawks want war. Chicken hawks are pedophiles and cowards who advocate war but will not fight themselves preferring to send poor men off to die or lose limbs.

The dove is also a symbol of The Holy Spirit in the New Testament. In the Old Testament or Pentateuch or Torah, is was a dove that brought back a leafy twig. an olive branch, which is also a symbol of peace.

a peacemaker

Being a peacemaker is not for wusses or weaklings. They may throw you in jail or shoot you in the head. Both happened to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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World War Two

If you have not studied history, the symbols won't mean anything to you. This is a vintage poster from the WW2 period.

the consequences of war

health -- stress, psychological problems haunt a warrior for decades after a war, dying young

I come from a military family (both my father's and my mother's side) representing every branch of the military. I even have ancestors whose names are in your history text book. I am proud of their service. I don't have a problem with the military. Far from it. Generals and GI's alike have spoken out against war. As several military men have said: No one hates war like a warrior. The villain is warmongers. These are usually hawks who have never served in combat and may have dodged the draft (or gone AWOL) while condemning others who go to Canada or who volunteer to serve (and win Purple Hearts that these villains make fun of).

It is very complicated. Nixon is a case in point. He was a crook and he sold out Taiwan to the communists (thus emboldening the Reds to rape Tibet). But there was enough Quaker left in him that he got the US out of Viet Nam and he created the Environmental Protection Agency. You have to give this devil that.

So is the fate of the human race to muddle through the next 200 years with ever bigger wars?

World War Three -- the Cold War

World War Four -- the so-called War on Terrorism and the term is occasionally used in the United States political and policy debates that continue in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. As long ago as 1992, Count de Marenches, the former head of French intelligence, wrote a book alleging that a "fourth world war", of terrorism versus civilization, was taking place. As a designation for the post-9/11 war on terrorism, its use was first proposed by Eliot A. Cohen in his opinion piece written for the Wall Street Journal opinion page on November 20, 2001 titled, "World War IV: Let's call this conflict what it is."

World War Five -- ?

quote

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

Albert Einstein

US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

World War Four

You slept through World War Three but for sure you will rest in pieces during World War Five.

Guide to Peace

Unlike everything above, this was written after the Connecticut shooting of the First Graders.

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Mass shootings used to occur once a decade in the United States. Then the frequency changed to once a year. Now it seems up to once a month on the way to once a week, once a day and perhaps then hourly. The USA is always slow to fix a social problem. It took half a millennium to make any progress against slavery, Jim Crow and racism and it is still a work in progress despite the milestones of a black Miss America and a black president. Gun violence could also be compared to the slaughter on the nation's highways. There was push back but consumer advocates got such things as anti-lock brakes, seat belts, then shoulder straps to add to the seat belts, air bags, helmet laws, highways with rain grooves to help allay hydroplaning, and interstate highways with other safety features (like guard rails), and, on ordinary streets and roads, light poles that snap off at the base. Plus drunk driving laws. There has been actual progress in terms of reduced deaths from accidents.

So how to stop mass shootings? The instant answer is to arrest the leaders of the National Rifle Association but let's get scientific research first. This means the children (climate change deniers and tobacco lobbyists) must leave the room before we can have an adult discussion since they are anti-science, anti-reason and anti-logic.

All gone? Doors closed. Children busy watching mind-blanking television or video games? Well that's not good. Television news and television entertainment and television sports is full of violence. Americans love carnography. Which brings us to the next suspect: American culture. Other nations have easy access to guns. Some, such as Canada, actually have easier access to guns but lower rates of mass shootings. What gives? Canadians are not phobic like Americans. Michael Moore was right when he pointed out that the Europeans who landed in America immediately started slaughtering the Native Americans who had helped them survive in Plymouth (no wonder Native Americans dislike Thanksgiving). I knew this fact long before Michael Moore's documentary but he went on to paint a more comprehensive picture of peaceful African-Americans after emancipation being slaughtered in the Jim Crow South because the former slave owners were afraid that slavery wasn't enough of an injustice and that they had to compound the original sin of America by continuing to make the lives of African-Americans miserable. I liked how Mr. Moore suggested that the KKK morphed into the NRA. Anything that makes the NRA uncomfortable is fine with me because the NRA has opposed any research into gun violence. Any research that has been done was done with private money not taxpayer money.

[Disclosure: I am not telling you whether I am a member of the NRA or not.]

Next, is the matter of gun violence on a wider scale than shootings. I mean war, the opposite of peace. In the local news, a black child or two is shot every day and we all ho-hum because it is black children. But let white children be slaughtered and it is flags at half-staff. I am reminded of quotations by Malcolm X and Reverend Jeremiah Wright (the latter being quoted out of context in order to vilify him) that talk about chickens coming home to roost. If you have never lived on a farm, the reference to free-range chickens or cows coming home means nothing to you until you have actually seen farm animals coming back to their chicken coop or barns without any human herding them. They come home because it is nearing nightfall and there is often an evening feeding of grain or ground-up meal and then livestock prefer to sleep where it is safe from predators (foxes and wolves for example) in the wilds near farms and ranches. Yes, I know, city folk are dense and they still do not understand the expression "chickens coming home to roost" in reference to America's original sin (genocide and slavery) and why that sin should have any consequences. One has to have a scientific mindset in order to understand the concept of cause & effect. One also has to be able to grasp the concept of sin (much less the concept of original sin) and what effect it has on conscience (another concept lost on sociopaths). It is a religious concept and America is walking away from organized religion. No, not to become Baptists (everyone knows that Baptists like to splinter and schism at the drop of a hat). Many Americans still consider themselves spiritual but have taken a cafeteria approach to it like those cafeteria-style health plans at some companies. Basically I am saying that violence is wrong not because some law says it is wrong but because violence is immoral and unethical and not spiritual. If you subscribe to some philosophy that says humans are just biochemicals, then you might think it perfectly okay to dissolve people in vats of acid like Saddam Hussein did in Iraq. After all, those people are still chemicals (albeit tossed into a toxic waste dump or flushed down the sewers of Baghdad) therefore it must be okay to treat carbon-based units as things. Hopefully, if you are not a Christian like me, then you are beginning to understand where us salt of the Earth types are coming from when we analyze things in a peculiar way. Fundamentalist Christians constantly fight pitched battles against science and against that amorphous entity that straw man called "secular humanism". I am that odd Fundamentalist who has no problem with hard science nor with humanism. I have no truck with Puritans who can't stand the thought that someone somewhere might be happy and so banned Christmas. The reason you find me often criticizing my fellow Fundies is because I know my history and it was Christians who formulated scientific method and science in the first place and it was Christians who developed humanism as a reaction to those who wanted no enjoyment of this life and to those who deliberately sought to make life as unpleasant as possible -- you know, conservative Republicans and Tea Partiers. [If you are a regular reader of my lenses, I will get around someday to bashing Democrats more overtly. I already do it in a covert manner.]

Going off on the above tangent is meant to lay the foundation for a common understanding of the words we Americans throw around whenever a mass shooting occurs. I do not expect Americans to all rush to the nearest church at the next mass shooting. In fact, I acknowledge that sometimes it is religious nuts who perpetrate the shootings. But I also acknowledge that the most Christian of us, the Amish, have been the victims of non-religious nuts. Religion might be a solution to gun violence if we all believed in the same religion and if that religion was capable of compelling its members to forgo violence. The only denominations that fit that particular requirement are the Peace Churches: The Amish, The Mennonites and a very few others. In my humble opinion, they are more Christian than me because they actually take the words of Jesus so seriously that they refuse to bear arms. I, on the other hand, refuse to be a victim.

Is violence as American as cherry pie in the words of H. Rap Brown? I never liked that quote for stupid reasons. I always thought that he should have said apple pie. You know, mom, the flag and apple pie. But alas, Brown is correct.

America has been dragged into some wars (like World War Two) but has instigated other wars (the Spanish American war). So I can bless America along with God for being reluctant to go to war at time while damning America for being eager to spill blood at other times. Reverend Wright was correct that God can be vengeful (read the Bible -- especially the Sodom and Gomorrah part or the Noah's Ark part) and can send agnostics to burn forever in hell (along with murderers, sodomites, slave owners, and perpetrators of genocide) and can do whatever He likes but obeys His own laws. That last part is the scariest for most people. The idea that someone other than the NSA and Homeland Security is watching us and listening to us and can reach out and touch us by making us drop dead (a stroke or a stray bullet) is scarier than any horror movie. So we become atheists to write God out of our reality except reality keeps intruding to remind us that other people exist outside our solipsist existence. It is a baby's philosophy to think that the universe feeds us and changes our diapers. If you doubt this, I suggest that you do an INTERNET search and pull up images of neglected and dying and dead babies in Third World countries or babies found in dumpsters in this country. Even babies do not get a pass from a cold universe. Only a fool thinks that Creation was not created by a Creator. I happen to believe that God used evolution and the laws of nature as discovered by science to create but then I am not your average Fundie or Trust Fund baby. I happen to believe that we should obey both the laws of Caesar (murder is illegal) and the laws of God (Thou Shalt Not Kill). I also happen to think that even if we lived in a perfect Utopian world with a syndicalist system (true anarchism, self-government, direct democracy rather than representational democracy via the INTERNET) that even without government regulations and no religion in the words of John Lennon, that violence would still be forbidden but on the basis of ethics rather than criminal law or morality. Violence is simply not functional in any society no longer at the Stone Age level of cavemen recently descended from the trees. And I rather doubt if violence made sense even a million years ago for Fred Flintstone or the Clan of the Cave Bear.

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I am not a vegan and so I concede that killing of animals for protein made sense then and still does today (less and less though because large populations of cows emit greenhouse gases). And even if you allow for using livestock for food, the Jewish people have the right idea: slaughtering livestock animals should be as painless as possible for the animals.

One, because humane treatment of animals helps make for more humane treatment of children and other helpless humans. That is how the human mind works so let's go with it.

Two, less stressful slaughtering means that the meat is better without all the by-products of adrenaline in it. I have visited slaughterhouses and even "dumb" animals understand the language of other animals of their own species. In other words, a cow understands the moos of other cows just like a crow understands that a certain vocalization of another crow means "come here" or "danger" or whatever. Animals have languages. That is a fact established in recent years by research. So when a cow further down the line hears the cries of another cow further up the line being hooked or hoisted up into the air, the cows further back will freak out. I know because I have lived on a farm and see the reaction when cows know that they are being loaded to go to auction at a stockyard. Except for those born and raised on one farm or ranch all their lives, the other cattle remember the experience of being auctioned. And the worst experience for a cow is a non-kosher slaughterhouse. Does that cow further back in the line being herded to the butchers know what is going on? You betcha. Not the specifics since no cow has returned from McDonald's to tell other cows any more than any chicken has returned from KFC to tell other chickens but they get it in general terms. They can hear the cries of dying animals. Am I a vegan? No, I eat meat. But do I wish that they re-thought the disassembly line? Yep. Figured out ways to calm the animals without pumping them full of drugs that we humans would consume. Venison tastes wild partly because the deer was scared at the moment of its death. So number two, it is practical to offer meat that tastes better without all those adrenaline by-products in the meat.

The point of talking about our treatment of animals is not just better treatment of animals. The point is better treatment of humans -- less mass shootings and less wars. The way to this goal is more humane and humanitarian humans and also humans who are more practical. Do we really want meat full of adrenaline or soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder? Certain biochemicals and certain psychological traumas persist.

So what are the factors that scientists should research?

1. the National Rifle Association -- Few (perhaps no) NRA members are the perpetrators of violent crime. But what about the national leadership? Are they encouraging gun violence with the policies that they advocate?

2. carnography -- There has often been a debate about whether pornography leads to sex. Generally no. And that is the science talking not the stand-up comedians at comedy clubs. The Europeans and Japanese have long known this and Americans have pretty much accepted this also. Now here is where the analogy with sex breaks down. Does carnography lead to violence? Does watching violence on TV news make one more accepting of higher murder rates in one's city? Does watching violent TV entertainment shows or violent movies at the multiplex inspire teens to join violent gangs or obtain an illegal weapon or bring weapons to school or mug some adult? Teens in other nations are not so violent as American teens. Does watching football inspire hooliganism? Or does seeing football stars or music stars arrested for beating or murdering their girlfriends inspire fans to don wife-beater undershirts and emulate their heroes? Does playing violent video games inspire real life grand theft auto? Whether true or not, someone has acted on this phenomenon. The Pentagon recruits kids who are good at first person shooter games to fly by wire drones. Not the autonomous drones that have artificial intelligence but the ones that have cameras and are satellite-linked back to a base that may be located in the 50 states.

3. American culture -- Is violence as American as apple pie or cherry pie? Is it built into our culture? If so, how do we engineer society to remove this tendency? There will be people who howl about social engineering. How do we engineer them out of existence? And a question for the philosophers, should we engineer dissenters out of existence? Or just the ones who are pro-violence or pro-war? The United States government has long been violent with left-wing dissenters (police beat the sh*t out of peaceful protesters who have the Constitutional right to assemble) but lets right-wing nuts (Aryan Nations, KKK/NRA, Identity, Neo-Nazis, Tea Party, etc.) run around loose slaughtering people. They even shoot congregations in churches and little children in schools, so no place is sacred to them. That word "sacred" is also a religious term. Perhaps you are beginning to understand why I am always injecting religion into the discussion.

4. war -- Do nations that get into foreign wars have more domestic violence? The Swiss do not send their army to kill in other lands and one seldom hears of shootings in Switzerland. Kashmir was once cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the lowest murder rate in the world. In fact, murder was once unknown in Kashmir. Then Pakistan decided that this part of India belonged to them and now Kashmir is one of the bloodiest places on Earth.

5. religion -- Which religions produce the least violent countries? The Peace Churches? Which religions or lack thereof produce the most violent countries? Islam? The biggest death tolls have been racked up by communist atheism in Russia, Maoist China, and Khmer Rouge Cambodia. Government should not have the power to encourage one religion over another but we the people can do what we like by voting with our feet. We can walk out of violent denominations and look into denominations that have clean statistics with regard to violent crime.

6. activism -- Which movements are violent and which movements benefit society? Homeland Security spies on environmentalists (who kill no one) because the polluters (who kill by the thousands) own Congress. George W. Bush Jr. at the prompting of people like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove had the government wasting taxpayer spying on pacifists !!! Their twisted logic was that people who sold baked goods from roadside fold-up tables in their suburban neighborhoods to support the effort to prevent the USA from invading Iraq (which supposedly had nukes and nerve gas) must be terrorists. I swear to you dear reader that I am not making this stuff up. Do your own research if you doubt me. It turns out that it was Iran not Iraq that was working on developing nuclear weapons but illiterate George Bush could not spell and tell the difference between Iraq and Iran. He only knew that he had to take out Saddam because Saddam had tried to kill his father and that he could use the taxpayers' trillions to pursue a personal family vendetta. Never mind that Osama bin-Laden was elsewhere. So Bush threw away international goodwill after 9/11 with both hands and let the military do the job of the police. Which leads us to the next factor to research . . .

7. stupidity -- Are we Americans just plain stupid? In scientific terms, are we illiterate? That can be measured by literary rate. Is our average national IQ as high as that of say Japan or South Korea? Are we turning out enough PhD's? Are most of the PhD's that our universities turn out foreign students who will return to their home countries after obtaining their degrees and leave the USA just as stupid as ever? Why do corporations complain that they cannot get qualified people and so they have to go abroad for good people? Are they all lying? Or are US companies (like Koch Industries) eager to dumb down Americans by supporting anti-science lobbies and cutting public school budgets? Does the stress on sports rather than athletics in high school and college accelerate the dumbing down of America? Does our popular entertainment glorify the stupid and make fun of the smart (Big Bang Theory)? I have been around scientists and they are indistinguishable from other Americans in both appearance and in personality. Where they differ is that they tend to be smarter. Nerds and wonks in high school become your boss. They remember if you were the bully who tormented them in high school and they can make your life hell. That is a working definition of stupid on the part of violent bullies. The loners who bring guns to school? They were never going to succeed anyway. The quiet type who keeps to themselves? Quiet describes ninety-nine percent of us. Most people will not speak even with a gun held to their head. And unless you follow someone around, you don't know that they keep to themselves. Maybe they just don't like you. Maybe they socialize with people other than their neighbors. Heck, most Americans don't even know their neighbors so pontificating on the shooter when the police detectives come around to do a postmortem is useless. You don't know what bar they frequented or what groups they belonged to or who they dated or what place of worship or their politics or anything about them because you never talked to them. You are the loner. You are the quiet one.

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8. police profiles -- The police are willing to create profiles that can be used to discriminate against minorities but not against majorities. Police profiles are useless beyond the generality that most mass shooters are white males between 20 and 39. Since this demographic is not an ethnic nor religious minority, I don't see them being rounded up and sent to Gitmo anytime soon. In fact this demographic has a lot of clout politically so expect no progress on the matter of profiles. Some research money will go into it but it is likely to please no one apart from feminists. I have met some bad men in my time but are the feminists right? All men are bad. All men are rapists and murderers (or at least potential murderers and rapists). Are all men bad? Surely, except for misanthropic man-hating feminists, most women would concede the existence of one decent man on Earth. Jesus perhaps. Better research would be figuring out if there is a type of man who is disposed to violence. Sociopaths for example. If there is a gene for altruism, then maybe there is a gene for violence that could be removed without killing the baby boy (or girl) who did not ask to have a parent who passed along the gene. If violence is partly the product of nurture, how do we change our schools to educate for peace and non-violence? One other question worth researching is finding out if misogynistic woman-hating men follow up their dim view of women with violence directed at women. This type of male seems to predominate in Muslim countries, Africa, the USA and sometimes Brazil. Do misogynistic women-hating men become serial killers or do they more often become gay or remain straight but either go celibate and avoid women in social situations? The non-serial killing options are not a crime. And it would be wrong to stigmatize all misogynists because they may have been raised by a single mother who was a misanthrope or who hated boys and the fact that she had to raise one or who molested her son or who hung out with lesbians who did not care for the presence of males or make up your own scary scenario. I have seen young boys traumatized by their childhoods. What happens to such children? Do they all end up in the sights of a SWAT team sniper? Is this how we treat our children and teens and adults in America? Is is asking too much for America to figure out how to become smarter and wiser?

9. mental illness -- The budget cutters always go after social programs first. And one of the first programs they cut is mental health. We know for a fact that the Republicans in Congress want to cut health because they could not stop health care reform in the election and they could not stop health care reform in the Supreme Court. So they are now using the fiscal cliff to cut health. And mental health is more precarious than physical health because you can see blood in an emergency room but you cannot see what is going on in the mind of a potential mass shooter. Ultraconservative reactionaries in particular hate mental health because wing nuts would be the first ones thrown into the looney bin (insane asylum) if this country was operated in a sane manner. For the historians out there, we first began to see increasing numbers of street people and serial killers and mass murderers after about 1970 when "mainstreaming" was all the rage and the budget cutters began to take apart LBJ's Great Society. They threw inmates out of insane asylums and turned them out on the streets to fend for themselves. They tried this also with the mentally retarded (now called challenged) but there are social safety nets for them. The mentally ill were not so lucky. Viet Nam sent back huge numbers of vets with problems and they overwhelmed what little there was with VA hospitals and veterans groups. Schools were deteriorating and that generated still more mentally ill youth. Family structure was breaking down, and to this day, the ideal family of married father and mother raising their own biological children with the help of grandparents is often seen as the exception and not the norm. Step, half, foster, adopted, surrogate, gay and other forms have pretty much shattered the ideal of a child knowing both their father and their mother and having a healthy non-abusive relationship with both. In fact, one is expected to apologize for even saying what was once gospel among psychologists. And people make fun of picket fences and housewives on TV shows (perhaps reflecting the writers' dysfunctional families). Divorce, abuse of all kinds, custody & visitation games all contribute to mental illness. Churches which used to offer pastoral counseling became embroiled in scandals of philandering preachers and pedophile priests and yet another part of society generated mentally ill people. The workplace became the scene of people "going postal" and shooting co-workers as American capitalism squeezed its workers for more productivity by laying off workers and forcing the remaining workers to do the work of three people. The workers had to comply because the unions had their backs broken by voters slitting their own throats with right to work laws state by state. Thanks ALEC ! Our politics has degenerated into war. The wise use movement even uses violence but the authorities go after non-violent environmentalists instead of the Wise Use thugs. The Tea Party movement began its existence by bringing guns to Town Hall meeting and waving them at US Senators. We should not have been surprised at the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords when there were right-wing radio talk show hosts urging crazies to shoot liberals. And that is exactly what the crazies did. One nut went into a liberal church and sprayed it with bullets. Some sexually transmitted diseases in their terminal phases cause bizarre behavior. You do not have to watch House MD to know this. Idi Amin's reign of terror in Uganda was partly the result of his poor hygiene and partly because he was simply a bad man. America has a drug addiction and the legalization of marijuana will not help. That simply means more privacy-invasive drug testing of people like me who do not use drugs while addicts crash planes and trains and tractor-trailers and kill hundreds. Needless to say, drugs generate mental illness from bad drug reactions and American culture thinks that taking a pill solves all problems. When has it ever? Our entertainment celebrates insanity and may even cause it. Lyrics to songs encourage bad behavior -- even in the absence of drugs.

Whether the grunts in the military, the public school system, families, churches, corporations, politics, sex, recreational drugs (including alcohol), health care system (including pharmacies), or entertainment; all sectors of society are generating mental illness. Worse, they do not even realize that they are creators of mental illness. And we know the result of mental illness. Bang bang.

10. drugs -- This is worth examining as a separate factor. Which drugs make one violent? Which drugs predispose one to violence? Alcohol is a convenient whipping boy because we have all seen mean drunks. There are personalities who use alcohol in moderation and are simply mellow. But I still am no fan of pot because it destroys memory and chromosomes. Not just recreational and illegal drugs should be studied but scientists should also study the side effects of drugs commonly prescribed by psychiatrists. And psychiatrist ought to be held accountable if their patients go on a killing spree. At the least, such shrinks ought to have their license to practice revoked.

11. pollution -- Think that I am reaching with this one? You won't be when you consider pharma-pollution and when you consider that lead pollution is known to lower IQ. There are chemicals which are known to have behavioral effects and I am not just talking about leaks at Army nerve gas arsenals and the communities down wind of them. Kids huff inhalants and even gasoline. They use nitrous oxide not only for race cars but on college campuses. So consider that an executive who worked his way up from the bottom of a petrochemical company to CEO has had decades of exposure. Do I think Rex Tillerson or the Koch Brothers should get off the hook for their financial support of the pro-pollution lobby? No. Throw them in prison and throw away the key. But I do think that it would be a fascinating study to see if chemical executives have as much contaminants in their bloodstreams as chemical workers. The industry has an appalling safety record (or lack thereof) and if they really are dosed, it might explain their odd behavior in resisting even the mildest efforts to clean up the ecology.

12. overpopulation -- I allude, of course, to behavioral sink. This is the phenomenon in sociobiology when overcrowding of members of a given species into an area leads to breakdown of the animal society. This is directly applicable to humans who also have experienced higher murder rates and rape rates as population increases. Also, as with various animal species studied, one observes aberrant behavior and abandonment of the young. The business community profits from growth in population. Therefore, they want more immigration legal and otherwise and the consequences be damned. The religious community wants more babies because that means more members and more tithes. One could even argue that the military wants more cannon fodder. There needs to be forces in society that counter this destructive factor. Sustainable economics in business, enlightened spirituality and a war-weary military may be part of the answer.

origami crane - very popular in Japan

© Sarah Klockars-Clauser (Wallingford, PA)

Creative Commons: Public Domain

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peace in space

Peace on Earth is the first step to peace in space. This lens (like most of my lenses) is really about space but I thought that the subject of peace deserved a fuller treatment or a wide lens before focusing on peace in space.

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Keep space for peace. And for the Star of Bethlehem.

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The Most Important Thing

Eco-tourism and space tourism are the best new ideas in the peace movement.

Channeling energy into green tourism on Earth and green space tourism means that energy does not go into war. When you have visited other countries and have gotten to know the people, then you are far less likely to let your government blow them to bits. This was the thinking when Russian and US moral leaders encouraged foreign exchange of students during the Cold War. You don't bomb when your kids are over there.

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This is a cynical answer from a Nazi and probably typical of the Nazis. They were all cynics. Unfortunately, however, Goering was correct in his analysis.

No reasonable person, least of all me, wants to agree with anything a Nazi says but right is right. He is correct that national leaders know that if they want to drag the country into a war (because the war industry wants a war), then all they have to do is scream that the country is being attacked and those "unpatriotic" pacifists are exposing the country to danger.

In the USA, just use the magic words "national security" (or homeland security) and you will be able to get away with anything -- nullifying the Bill of Rights, invading privacy, arresting people and sending them off to torture them, jacking up taxes, killing Americans by shooting down passenger airliners at random, strip searches, lining up people so that you can grope them in public, databasing photographs of law-abiding citizens and treating them like mugshots, abolutely anything you can imagine. The People (sheep) just go along with it like lambs to the slaughter.

The peace movement has been an utter and complete failure as a result. The peace movement has always been a complete failure and will remain a complete failure until it finds a better way.

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