bay window

As I sit here in a tiny alcove off the kitchen of my home staring out of a large bay window into the distance, having my first cup of coffee and just chilling as some in my neighborhood might say I begin to think of the events that are occurring in the world today.

I did not know James Foley personally, I did not know Michael Brown personally, and I did not know Officer Darren Wilson personally. I don’t know any of the protesters in Ferguson Missouri personally and I don’t know any of the members of ISIS personally, but these people have come into my life of late, and as I sit here grieving for some, being angry at others, I begin to realize just how much of an effect this is having on me.

Yesterday I got into a heated discussion with a friend over the events taking place in Israel/Gaza, so that also lingers in the back of my mind as I stare out into what I consider a beautiful garden. I get up early, so I have an opportunity to watch the daylight begin to brighten my yard, making objects I could not see a few minutes ago visible now. I marvel at the peace and tranquility. It is almost as though something in my mind expected to see something other than a peaceful garden, with trees , shrubbery, manicured grass and flowers, some flowers already open and ready to experience the onslaught of butterflies and bees that come to feed, and the glorious life giving sun that will make them stand to attention. The sprinklers were on, but have long since shut down, so everything although not wet is still as though it has had its morning shower, bright, shiny and ready for the day.

My mind goes back to my discussion with my friend, the discussion I told you about earlier and I continue to think of something he said, it just won’t leave my mind. His statement was “Is Israel creating recruits for ISIS?”  “Are the police creating animosity and ill will toward themselves?”  “Will the actions of the police in Ferguson and around the country cause citizens to become militant?” Very good questions I answered. I’ll tell you what I think, I said. I believe Israel is creating resentment and could be encouraging Palestinians to look more favorably upon the militant arm of Hamas.

Why do I say this?  Let me tell you. I say this because of what happened to James Foley. James Foley? My friend asks what he has to do with this. My answer to him was the following: We were discussing how horrible it was that James Foley had died in such a horrible way in the hands of ISIS. We  agreed on how horrible it was and how horrible it must have been for his parents and those that saw his execution on video. Neither of us has watched the video, and my personal opinion is that I will never intentionally seek out the video to watch it. I continued with my theory. Think about this I said, if we both feel this upset about a man we did not know personally, if we are saying to each other how horrible it was and what action should be taken against this group because of what they did, what might the people of Gaza be thinking?

During decades in Gaza and the West Bank human beings have watched their children blown to pieces in front of their very eyes. Children have watched their parents blown up, grandparents mutilated by Israeli bombs, they have watched their pets be slaughtered, their homes be leveled to the ground, and that during an outbreak of hostility. Once the hostility is over they get to go back to occupation where their daily lives are restricted by Israeli troops who guard checkpoints so that they cannot move freely, they cannot fish the Mediterranean pass the two mile Israeli blockade.  This limits their livelihood and their ability to care for themselves and their families. They cannot bring in supplies medical, or any other type without the permission of Israel, their very sustenance, their daily bread is rationed by Israel so to speak, their land is confiscated by Israel, and settlements are built on the confiscated land preventing them from ever returning to land that they once owned. So yes I do see Israel creating recruits for Hamas.

And yes, we can’t forget those Hamas militants, the ones who fire rockets into Israel causing anxiety and unrest. That does not in my opinion help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians, it only gives Israel an excuse to continue to do what I believe they have had in mind since they arrived in the Middle East….carve out a nation of their own and like the immigrants to the U.S. did, eliminate as many of the original people who were living there when they came, or control them to a point where their very existence is no longer a problem and does not prevent them from reaching their goal.

My friend laughed and said, you know  I could say the very same thing about Ferguson MO. The people are restricted in their movement by the police; they are captured in a section of town that allows high police visibility which monitors their every move. They have little to no representation in local government; there are a lot of similarities in that manner. No, the police are not bombing their neighborhoods yet, but it appears they have them just as corralled and controlled as the people in Gaza. And, to add insult to injury, it appears they are just as violent and condescending as the Israelis appear to be toward the Palestinians.

So what do you think we could do in this country to alleviate the problems minorities are having with the police and politicians I asked? We thought about this for a moment, kicked around a few things that we later realized would not/could not work, and dropped the subject.  So now I am back on my window seat, I’m on my second cup of coffee and have decided to ask the members of PlanetPOV to help answer the question for us, or at least give us some ideas on the topic.

Can we as individuals and groups brainstorm this issue? Can we as citizens of this nation have an influence on policies that could help to alleviate some of the pain/strife that we see in this nation? Should we be trying to make this country/this world a better place or should we just be spectators, observers and reporters, who watch the events taking place comment on them how wonderful or how horrible, how unjust, or how just etc., and then go on back to our daily lives?  We are citizens, we are human beings, what can we/should we be doing? Does anyone have any suggestions?

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James Michael BrodieKalimachoiceladyRSGmusicMurphTheSurf3 Recent comment authors
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James Michael Brodie

Michael Brown was no angel. He made a lot of mistakes. Not a hardened criminal, but he was a handful. He also was on a path that might put him in a better direction — enrolling in a trade school to learn a skill that could put him in a position to support himself and be a productive member of society. He had problems and he had promise. His last mistake cost him his life. And now parents must bury a child.

Darren Wilson was also a troubled youth. His mother had been convicted of stealing anf forgery in 2001. He made a few bad choices, including a couple of minor thefts. Then he grew up, grew out of that, joined the police force. He came up in a department that had some issues, including a fellow officer who was fired for a wrongful shooting, and others who got busted on corruption charges. By all reports, he managed to sidestep all of that and have a solid career.

When Michael and Darren met, perhaps for the first time, Michael had grabbed a handful of cigars and frorced his way out of a convenience store, shoving the owner aside. Darren saw a jaywalker and attempted to pull him over.

A few moments later…

We never know how a person’s life will turn out. This is not a time to celebrate a death. Any death of a young person should be seen as tragedy. I have taught in the inner city. Seen some bad kids. Some went on to be like Darren. Some did not live long enough to become anything other than a heartbreak for their parents.

Problems and promise…


Brodie , even if he was not an outstanding citizen, he didn’t deserve to be shot dead in the street and left there four hours.

James Michael Brodie

Agreed, my friend.


Hello again MA

Some of the reasons that people fear the police is that the see or know they have a gun.
People rarely understand another culture and again fear what they have heard. Example African america are violent and in some part criminals.

IN a gun culture that we have the police always have to worry about people no matter what have them even with in their own race. Of course the same culture means they accept guns carried by their own race.

The second amendment is centered around the above paragraph.

You second amendment rights not advertised

You have the right TO get shoot at first
You have the right TO get injured or paralyzed first.
You have the right to die first. That will end your love a gun!!
You have the right to miss second and injure or kill another innocent and get sued for millions and become financial ruined.
You do not have the right to protect other people in pubic, on their lands or in their businesses unless asked or paid.
Look if tour home criminals are not going to rob you!!!
A neighbor is more likely to come and steal your gun.

You are not the police!! But they are trained and many our the gun guys that make up the police force.

Stay alive and do not draw.

The actual idea. is the police should learn to back away if possible. on minor crimes but not leave or do not get out of the vehicle just follow. Calling for backup is not a crime and the time may solve the problem because you can determine if they have a gun with the time provided Also they should be taught to shoot legs and shoulders and arms to protect them with out killing the suspected criminal. See protect and serve posted to you earlier.


The police.
Remember protect and serve.

Well it works on both sides.

If you have broken the law for the police the protect part is you get to have a trial and brought in ALIVE.

The serve part is you Serve your crime in jail or service for the community.

live long and prosper!!


Wonderful first post, monicaangela.

I can’t give you much advice on what to do to change things in your own country, I don’t live there, except to say that people who are aware of what is really going on should try to inform others they meet, and tell that before they vote, research the history of the people they are voting for to see what issues are important to them.

As for world issues, we can write and petition leaders of countries to do the right thing about injustice happening in their own countries and other countries. In the last 8 years I can’t even count the number of petitions I have signed that were a success and changed the lives of so many people who were suffering. In most places you can start your own petitions too. There are many but the ones with the most power are Avaaz,, One (World Hunger)and Causes.

To do something directly to help the Palestinians in Gaza, there are organisations already on the ground helping, like ANERA and Avaaz who use donations directly for the needs of the people at any given time.

We can’t all roll up our sleeves and go to the many places around the world where people are are suffering, but we can continue to speak out against the injustice against our fellow human beings by passing on information, talking about it here or on other sites, contacting politicians and governments, and whenever possible, donating whatever we can to aid organisations who actually have people helping in those countries.

It’s a rewarding feeling when months after you have signed something along with thousands or hundreds of thousands of other people from so many different countries around the world, you receive notification about the offending law that was causing suffering to millions, being struck down to improve important issues that have affected far too many for far too long.

As I always say, every bit helps, and the worst thing we can do is to stop caring, to stop talking, or believing that we can’t make a difference. I believe we can.


As an admirer of author William Kent Krueger who writes what ostensibly are mysteries but are deep reflections on the human condition, I borrow a theme he has used. One of his characters, Henry, is a shaman, a miden, a wise man who is Ojibwe (in English).

In crises he reminds his friends and family that there are two wolves that live in each of us. One is fear and all the angry and hateful thoughts and deeds. The other is love and all the positive and affirming thoughts and deeds.

Which one survives and wins?

The one we feed.


Hey stranger! That was excellent!


Hi..I read your post earlier today. It is complex. It is rich. I wanted to think about it. Having done so, here is what I have to offer.

The common thread running through your post, running through the several narratives you present is how corrupting the culture of violence is.

I was taken back to an essay I read several year ago and spent quite a bit of time finding it.

Here it is:

GANDHI – From Culture of Violence to Culture of Peace
by Devavrat N. Pathak


As long as man lives on this Earth, Gandhi will be remembered as the first to have thought of non-violence as a governing idea of society. For Gandhi the present day society was imperfect in several ways. According to him, it is based on violence and continues to practise violence in almost all spheres of life. His perception was based not merely upon intellectual analysis, but also on the basis of his sensitivity. Someone has rightly said that he thought with his heart. Gandhi’s definition of Violence had a wide connotation. For him anything that smacked of exploitation was violence. Man’s exploitation of man, woman and the child as well as that of nature are all different instances of violence. Among the various manifestations of violence one could name alarming disparities in incomes, overdevelopment and underdevelopment, denial of basic needs, corruption, criminalization, communalism and consumerism. Unless they are mitigated one could never think of a peaceful society. A non-violent society of his dreams had to be a society that has no trace of exploitation. Gandhi’s non-violence was not a negative principle. It had a positive connotation and far reaching implications.

Gandhi’s approach to non-violence places him as a farsighted, sensitive and perceptive man of peace. Modem peace researchers who have contributed to the idea of direct and indirect violence and particularly structural violence find Gandhi as an equally original contributor to the thinking of peace research. The concept of structural violence is a product of social relationships of exploitation. Viewed from this angle, the control exercised by an imperial power is a classic case of structural violence, the British domination over India being one of them. The fight that Gandhi carried on against it was a non-violent fight against violence. Gandhi’s concept of non-violence, therefore, stands for a society where there is no exploitation. This is far from the popular ideas about violence and non-violence consisting and embracing the narrow area of physical assault causing injuries. If Gandhi stood for peace and non-violence then obviously there was no place for violence of any type in his society. Both, actor- oriented direct violence i.e. wars and the system oriented structural violence involving exploitation were ruled out in Gandhi’s nonviolent society.

….the rest of the essay is just as admirable…AND THAT IS WHAT I HAVE TO OFFER.



Hi Murph. Yes i like your link. Gandhi was a very special man.
practice and theory of issues.

Yes they are very good qualities.
Thanks for your post.

These same qualities are the basis of music in its pure form usually done in instruments or leads section of a song that has vocals

saying of the ( Child of nature )

“Mother nature is all things at once, good, neutral and bad. The spirit with in you may have all. You do choose which ones you use. For it it this that makes the person you are.”

A synthesizer can create any instrument made and others that have not been created yet.

long life in the peace of your mind.


Excellent article Monica! Outstanding, actually. You write with passion and clarity. All I can do is say I agree with you. I kinda wish I could get my thoughts down as clearly as you do yours.


Hey Monica! First, let me say that your article is very well written. I know you are very passionate about recent events, and most likely all the not so recent events that involve injustice, violence, suffering, imprisonment…etc.

Some tough questions you ask. People deal with these matters in different ways. Some people only concern themselves with matters in their lives that directly effect them and their families. It’s not that they are heartless or unfeeling toward the suffering of others, but many of them feel they have their hands full, just trying to support families and maintain steady jobs, stay out of debt, save money for college education (or pay off the loans they themselves received). I would say these people are in the majority of all people.

Then you have people who actively work to improve the lives of others, their communities, their states and countries. I think these people are in the minority of all people.

For those who wish to take an active part in trying make the world a better place, it is said that such efforts must begin locally and spread out from there.

As Americans who want to change the wrongs happening in our own country, we can petition our government to write laws that will truly have positive results. We can sign petitions to get rid of unjust laws and harmful practices. We can vote.

America is in trouble, and I think serious trouble. We suffer from a spiritual and moral sickness that spreads through our nation like a cancer. One of the biggest catalyst that enables such a cancer to spread is complacency.

America manufactures complacency, and is quite good at doing so. The media, movies, video games, music, fiction novels, drugs, food, style trends and so on. All these things help take our minds off of matters we’d rather not think about.

We talked about education being key to any lasting change, just yesterday, I believe. Our educational systems in this country are in very poor shape. Our children must have a good, founding education. They must be taught how our government works, the fundamentals of reading and writing and critical thinking. They need good foundations in math and science. We need to stop warehousing our children and stop teaching them how to pass standardized tests and actually teach them how to learn. They are literally our future as a nation.

We can no longer just let major events run the 24/7 news cycle for a few weeks and then move on, acting like nothing happened to begin with. The people of this country have short memories.

I think one way to help bring about change is to not just let major injustices and terrible events get tossed in the dust bin of history. We must stop forgetting and moving on to something new, with every shift in the prevailing winds. We must keep hammering away, making people remember, until wrongs are set right.

Our entire law enforcement structure, it’s methods of policing and training, need to change drastically. We need to get back to having a much more positive police/community interaction. People in communities must feel like the police in their communities are a part of that community. The police should not be anonymous thugs who people don’t know, or don’t know the people they are assigned to protect. Police need to learn to work WITH the community, not against it.

This absolute failure known as the war on drugs has to come to an end. This atmosphere of mistrust and fear must be gotten rid of. More attention must be paid to drug treatment instead of treating addicts like criminals. Nobody with a serious drug addiction should be imprisoned. That is simply a medieval attitude and practice.

We need to make for profit prisons illegal. Incarcerating people, for profit is beyond immoral, it is criminal and must be outlawed.

Sentencing laws for drug possession must be drastically overhauled. We must put an end to maximum minimum sentencing for drug crimes.

It’s not that we lack the means to make these essential changes. It’s like we don’t have good ideas. Our political and legislative machinery is corrupted by money. Big money interests usually win the day. We have elected leaders that are concerned more about reelection than actually doing the jobs they were elected to do. We have lawyers and judges who are more concerned about personal career advancement than the actual laws themselves.

Those who care, those who want to change what is wrong and make it right face a Sysifian challenge. Slowly, day after day, pushing a massive boulder up a steep incline, inch, by inch, where no end to the incline is in sight. I think it takes rare individuals to willingly take on such an arduous task. How do we convince others to join in the work?