Oops, Oh Well

Turns out there was another school shooting. Yeah, the one in Oregon, not the people who shot the cops in Las Vegas because they didn’t like the government – that was the day before, I think. No, in Portland, Oregon, at a high school, not the university one in Seattle. That’s been a few days [Read More...]

America…Where Do We Begin?

I can’t sleep. Again. Tonight I’m thinking about how, in the city where I live, the police shot and killed a 34-year-old unarmed woman today, with her 1-year-old in the back seat of her 2-door sedan. I’m thinking about how I’ve driven those very streets, gotten stuck in tourist traffic on those avenues, turned around [Read More...]

The Endless Seconds of Good

I was feeling a little shaky earlier this week, and it took me a few days to sort it out. I could point to this or that as the reason, but really I know a big part of it is that on Monday morning, there was another shooting. This time the shooting was in a [Read More...]

WTF?

Really, WTF? Has people shooting at strangers become a sort of national pastime? Are we supposed to get used to this? Worse yet, have we gotten used to it? Really, what am I supposed to say? Once again we are in that place of knowing that people have been killed and injured for no apparent [Read More...]

Who’s In and Who’s Out of Institutions (and the immigrants between)

The British social anthropologist Mary Douglas had this to say about institutions: Inside a religious body you get sects and hierarchies, inside an information network you get bazaars and cathedrals, it is the same, call them what you like. They survive by pointing the finger of blame at each other. That about sums it up, [Read More...]

None of the Above

As I write, the President and Congress are discussing how to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Not surprisingly, the blogosphere is full of strong opinions: that we must respond to the wanton abuse of citizens with chemical weapons, that bombing Syria would be a huge mistake, that force is the only [Read More...]

Heroes

Perhaps you have heard about Antoinette Tuff, who this week single-handedly prevented a massacre at an elementary school outside of Atlanta. When a man bearing an AK-47 and a variety of other weapons came into the school where Ms. Tuff works as a clerk she did not pull out a gun and shoot him, fulfilling [Read More...]

Looking for Words that Help

Here’s what I’ve been musing about all week, as events of all kinds have folded and unfolded: How do we describe forces that are indifferent to human life and suffering, and does our description make a difference as we try to lessen their hold on us? Here’s when I started to wonder: When President Obama, [Read More...]

The Day After Newtown: Finding Our Way

And so we wake up the morning after, and it wasn’t a dream. The children are still dead, the teachers beside them. It is another day, a gray one, where people and animals must be fed and life will go on no matter how we feel. Many of us took the occasion, yesterday, to find [Read More...]

“Guns Don’t Kill People”

OK, so what if we accepted that “guns don’t kill people, people do”? Just for the record, I don’t happen to accept that premise, since guns kill people a whole lot more efficiently than, say, knives or fists, but never mind. Let’s just take it as a starting place. Isn’t it just possible that our [Read More...]


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