Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Louise Penny

Gamache put on his rubber boots and waxed Barbour field coat and went for a walk. He had a lot to ponder and he knew that everything is solved by walking.

--The Cruellest Month (2007)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

John Carlos

"Not every young white individual would have the gumption, the nerve, the backbone, to stand there," he said. John Carlos recounted the conversation they had before going out for the medal ceremony. They asked Peter Norman if he believed in human rights. He said he did. They asked him if he believed in God. Norman, who came from a Salvation Army background, said he believed strongly in God.

"We knew that what we were going to do was far greater than any athletic feat. He said, 'I'll stand with you'." Carlos said he expected to see fear in Norman's eyes. He didn't. "I saw love."

"Peter never flinched [on the dais]. He never turned his eyes, he never turned his head. He never said so much as 'ouch'.

1968 Olympics, Mexico.
Photo by John Dominis

As reported by Martin Flanagan, Sydney Morning Herald, after Peter Norman's funeral services, Melbourne, Australia, October 10, 2006. Tommie Smith and John Carlos were pallbearers at Peter Norman's funeral.

Brandon Keim

“Video games could be expected to have a larger effect than media violence. The player is participating. They’re being reinforced,” says Rowell Huesmann, a psychologist at the University of Michigan. “The important thing is repetition. I think any child can play Grand Theft Auto or a first-person shooter a few times, and it’s not going to have much effect. But if they play day in and day out, over a period of years, any psychologist who understands the power of observational learning is going to find it hard to believe that it’s not going to have a major effect on increasing risk.”

Slutkin and Huesmann believe that violence is contagious, spreading in a manner similar to infectious disease, but with behaviors rather than microbes as the instruments of transmission. Of course, pathogens don’t always cause disease: Many other factors, such as a person’s immune system strength, alter an infection’s course. In keeping with this analogy, first-person shooters weaken the psychological immune system. They change the odds of whether violence takes root or whether a person can resist it.

From What Science Knows about Video Games and Violence February 28 2013, NOVA Next via PBS

Monday, July 11, 2016

Charles M. Blow

We seem caught in a cycle of escalating atrocities without an easy way out, without enough clear voices of calm, without tools for reduction, without resolutions that will satisfy.

This is a time when communities, institutions, movements and even nations are tested. Will the people of moral clarity, good character and righteous cause be able to drown out the chorus of voices that seek to use each dead body as a societal wedge?

Will the people who can see clearly that there is no such thing as selective, discriminatory, exclusionary outrage and grieving when lives are taken, be heard above those who see every tragedy as a plus or minus for a cumulative argument?


I know well that when people speak of love and empathy and honor in the face of violence, it can feel like meeting hard power with soft, like there is inherent weakness in an approach that leans so heavily on things so ephemeral and even clich├ęd.

But that is simply an illusion fostered by those of little faith.

The higher calling — the harder trial — is the belief in the ultimate moral justice and the inevitable victory of righteousness over wrong. This requires an almost religious faith in fate, and that can be hard for some to accept, but accept it we must.

The moment any person comes to accept as justifiable an act of violence upon another — whether physical, spiritual or otherwise — that person has already lost the moral battle, even if he is currently winning the somatic one.

When we all can see clearly that the ultimate goal is harmony and not hate, rectification and not retribution, we have a chance to see our way forward. But we all need to start here and now, by doing this simple thing: Seeing every person as fully human, deserving every day to make it home to the people he loves.

From A Week From Hell [Op-Ed] NY Times, online July 8, 2016 (in print July 11, 2016)