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Empowering Kids Instead Of Arming Them


Empowering Kids Instead Of Arming Them

Robert C. Koehler

Let’s open the classroom doors — all of them. Open up the schools, open up America, looking for the lost souls.

Woo hoo!” he shouted as he fired off his guns. By the time he was done, ten more people were dead. Eight students, two teachers.

More sacred lives tossed to the God of War.


congratulations, bob, on earning the “americans who tell the truth award,”! :blush:

although, what a sad statement of our current society that speaking truth is considered extraordinary. koehler does excellent work as a peace activist in a nation that engages in war as a business. i like the example of the city springs school. the idea of arming teachers is frightening! militant america bullies and threatens the world and wonders why acts of violence hit home. change cannot come from the top. it’s time we the people take the reins and create peace on earth. fear not!


That US society is slipping deeper and deeper into crisis seems no longer to be a question but now a matter of when it is going to gob smack each and every one of us upside the head.
The history not taught must be demanded and taught in all of its painful consequences - the proverbial chickens come home to roost.

First and foremost, getting over the exceptionalistic delusion that a society can have genocide so prominent in its methodologies without commensurately deadly moral as well as material and spiritual consequences needs to be assimilated in full NOW. The reason I say this is that if the reality continues to be so hatefully and dehumanizingly ignorant, that in and of itself is a recipe for the floor of meaning to drop away as fascists exploit the la-la land version to rob each and every one of us.

There are elegantly articulate native scholars who are looking at precisely the impact on institutionalized racism that the obfuscation of this history festers and oozes in poisonous ways. The system itself is in decline, the only path such corruption can take, while the majority of Americans are just, desirous of equality and spiritual as well as material well being.

Mark Charles is one of the most eloquent speakers currently addressing this crossroads and his insights provide, in my opinion, cornerstone observations and inquiries from which all of us can benefit.

Below is the presentation he gave atPendle Hill, the Quaker Center for retreat and study in Wallingford Pennsylvania, posted only day before yesterday. Worth every minute… enjoy.


“What happens to kids who grow up feeling valued?”

Sort of just wants to make me treat everybody as well as I can.


A proposed addendum to that final sentence

“… and valuing others.”


Mr. Koehler’s critiques the U.S.'s violent gun culture from a utopian angle. This has pluses and minuses.

Both domestic guns and military arms are declared necessary for protection, but they actually feed violent acts and belief in violence as a solution. The problem is not just easy access to guns, and the solution is not just government control of guns, he argues; the problem is how guns make people feel in control and ‘people’ in a culture in which people feel isolated and devalued. And real solutions to gun violence must involve transforming the culture so that people feel “empowered” and valued by bonds to community.

This utopian and, I believe, underlyingly religious critique has the value of sweeping aside policy details for a vision of peace and love - a vision that goes so far as to treat the murderer compassionately at the very moment of the shooting.

But I reject Mr. Koehler’s division of human action into a quasi-religious ‘kingdom of ends,’ where we seek to spread goodness and forgiveness to all from the start, versus a ‘kingdom of means’ where any ‘steps’ must fail or are judged basically inadequate.

Specifically, what is judged to be an inferior “governmental” and “bureaucratic” solution - a gun control movement - in fact depends on a great, empowering, communal marshalling of human energies - a marshalling that can surely create the transformations and commitments to peace on earth that Mr. Koehler calls for.


thank you, ‘theoldgoat’ for this. the speaker mentions the navajo is a matriarchal society. lately i’ve been thinking about this. many left-leaning people see capitalism as the ism we must replace. i think the seed of capitalism lies in the patriarchy. for not before men and women can meet in equal respect can our species attain stability and equal justice.

however the “christian” message misses me. virtue–simply stated treating others as we wish. . .-- can exist in a religion or in a non-religious. however, all too often organized religion becomes an excuse for war against the dehumanized “other”.