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Normalizing Violence

By Robert C. Koehler Addressing the Parkland shootings last month, and the apparent emergence of a movement for tougher, saner gun laws that has followed, a USA Today article asked: “What has been so different from all the other mass shootings over the years?” In one sense, this is a reasonable question. Why now? Why […]

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Breaking the ICE

By Robert Koehler Perhaps the best political news of the Trump era has been the emergence of sanctuary cities — city governments valuing the presence of immigrants and standing for the protection of their right to live without fear — and their defiance of this country’s current manifestation of legal racism. “How dare you vilify […]

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It’s Time To Disarm the Gun Debate

By Robert C. Koehler The “gun debate” is the national schism that seemingly cannot be bridged. Those on one side see the loosely regulated presence of 300 million firearms in this country as a threat to everyone’s safety and gasp in ongoing disbelief when the gun lobby smirks that the solution to every mass killing […]

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Melting the Ice in the Human Heart

By Robert C. Koehler How close, how intimate, have you ever gotten with Greenland? A new documentary called Stella Polaris, directed by Yatri Niehaus — part of Chicago’s tenth annual Peace on Earth Film Festival — takes you on a meditative journey to this lonely, extraordinary island, to its melting ice, its rampaging waters and […]

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The Cheapening of Human Life

By Robert C. Koehler The cries of terror and disbelief continue. Teenagers lie down in front of the White House to protest the nation’s tepid, stalled gun-control legislation. Parents grieve for their children and stare at the wound carved into the American soul. Assault rifles have more rights than schoolchildren. A movement simmers, or so […]

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War and Poverty: A Compromise with Hell

By Robert C. Koehler It’s so easy to paper over the real American security void with verbiage about strength vs. weakness and the endless need to upgrade the military. Here’s Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, for instance, quoted the other day in The Guardian: “It is incumbent upon us to field a more lethal force […]

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The Other Superpower?

By Robert C. Koehler “I’m so honored to be alive at such a miraculous time in history. I’m so moved by what’s going on in our world today.” This was 2003. The words were those of Robert Muller — the other one, the one from Costa Rica, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations […]

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Yemen’s Crisis Belongs to All of Us

By Robert C. Koehler What’s a little cholera — excuse me, the worst outbreak of this preventable disease in modern history — compared to the needs of a smoothly functioning economy? A week before he was kicked out of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet for allegedly having watched pornography on his government computer, former […]

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Governing by Scapegoat

By Robert C. Koehler Got a problem? Simplify and project. When you have a country to govern and you have no idea what to do — and, even more to the core of the matter, you also have a crony-agenda you want to push quietly past the populace — there’s a time-proven technique that generally […]

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The Wisdom of Mass Salvation

By Robert C. Koehler Incoming! Incoming! Uh . . . pardon me while I interrupt this false alarm to quote Martin Luther King: “Science investigates,” he says in The Strength To Love, “religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals […]

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