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Robert Koehler "Normalizing Violence"

by John K. Stoner (March 6, 2018) 

On January 29 I introduced a voice for peace, that of Robert Koehler click here .  I return to Bob today because he has written another wise reflection on this country’s problem with mass shootings.  He is telling us that we can’t , as a nation, promote bullying violence on the wholesale level as the way to run the world, and hope to restrain it on the retail level for our own culture.  This is a simple truth, but who is speaking it?
The Raven Foundation, dedicated to helping us understand and challenge our culture of violence, carried Bob’s essay here click .  Bob brings back, from 50 years ago, the voice of Martin Luther King.  I quote the “normalizing violence” article today, the voices of King and Koehler.  I cannot improve on what they said.  I hope you will click on the article and read the full text.  It will help you know how to help our teenagers to address this violence problem realistically.

    And if this is so, then what we have emerging here is not simply a movement for stricter gun laws but a new civil rights movement, with a voice as clarion and courageous as the voices of that earlier movement. And the scope of the movement is violence itself.

    The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit,” Martin Luther King told the nation, and the world, at Riverside Church, a year before he himself was murdered.

“…The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’ This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

    Here’s how educator Gabriel Paez put it recently in The Socialist Worker: “Ultimately, we need a completely different society that is freed from terror and mass murder, from mass incarceration and war. In the society we strive for, prosperity and freedom would not be measured by access to automatic weapons, but rather by access to health care, including mental health care, housing as a human right and global peace.

    I have no doubt this is what America’s teenagers are demanding: a legal and social structure that values life rather than feeds on it.  click for full article

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