Robert Koehler: If the slaughter of innocent people can be folded so neatly into a phrase, “mass shooting,” allowing us to categorize one, then another, then another act of senseless carnage and file it away as recent history, then move on with our lives, might that not be a serious cause of the nothing-we-can-do-about-it syndrome gripping America?
Robert Koehler: What, I wondered, if we started facing our fears instead of living in fear? To do so, we have to find wisdom in the maw of power.
Robert Koehler: We live in a deeply problematic and unfair world, but suddenly social awareness has solidified around the wrongness of sexual abuse, so much so that powerful men are feeling the sting of accountability for stupid and cruel behavior that until recently seemed consequence-free.
Robert Koehler: Forty years later, I find myself coming to grips with the fact that women’s rights have been only partially implemented and the social change they have wrought remains superficial.
Robert Koehler: Trump, you might say, is the logical consequence of a passive, spectator citizenry: a “leader” who tweets the unconscious impulses — the fears and hatreds — of his supporters and delivers one comforting scapegoat after another for the public to revile.
Robert Koehler: Both victim and defendant must choose to be a part of this process, which involves, in lieu of traditional court proceedings, the convening of a peace circle in which all those impacted by the crime are given the chance to talk about how the incident affected them.
Robert Koehler: Only beyond the context of war are there any options at all. Only beyond the context of war does humanity have any hope of avoiding suicide.
Robert Koehler: The Marshall Islands, which had gained independence in 1986, filed a lawsuit, both in in the International Court of Justice and U.S. federal court, against the nine nations that possess nuclear weapons.
Robert Koehler: Whether or not he’s impeached, or removed from office via the 25th Amendment, his effect on the country won’t go away. Trump can’t be undone, any more than an act of terror — or war — can be undone.
Robert Koehler: Apparently protecting national security also means forgetting the Korean War, or never facing the reality of what we did to North Korea from 1950 to 1953.
Robert Koehler: Ever since 9/11, I’ve been driven by an urgency to understand why we as a nation accepted Bush’s war of revenge so enthusiastically and felt so little empathy toward the innocent, sitting-duck populations we were about to carpet bomb.
Robert Koehler: Despite the horror and violence and hatred, this moment, too, is part of our world — and reaches beyond itself, reaches into the heart of every occupant of Planet Earth. I don’t know what it changes, but I know it opens a door.
To my ongoing perplexity and despair, what is never part of the story is the concept of karma: what goes around comes around.