Incarceration Nation

The U.S. imprisons a greater portion of its citizens than any other nation in the world. We also incarcerate a larger absolute number of prisoners than any other nation, even China! What does this tell us about our culture and about how “social control” is exercised in America? One thing is certain: more and more … More Incarceration Nation

Public Renaissance: What Ebola, Ferguson, and Finance Can Tell Us

Public concern over the possible spread of the Ebola virus epidemic from West Africa to the U.S. is growing. While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is taking various precautions, the situation is nevertheless of sufficient complexity to warrant concern. The outrage over the police killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown continues as a … More Public Renaissance: What Ebola, Ferguson, and Finance Can Tell Us

After Indictment: Justice is not Enough

News coverage in the aftermath of the police killing of Michael Brown and the ensuing civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri have died down now. But in the aftermath, little else has been said in the national media about the underlying problem of police in America. Ferguson’s city council responded to protests with some mild reforms … More After Indictment: Justice is not Enough

War, Wealth, and Waste

I never quite understood the logic of the “laws of war.” The idea of a “just war” is a little more complicated, but also weak. Stanford historian Ian Morris’s recent book* claims war has reduced human violence over the past ten thousand years. Sometimes a really counter-intuitive but brash idea can garner a lot of … More War, Wealth, and Waste

What Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy can Teach Us about Racism in America

Ignorant racism occasionally bursts onto the scene in the national media because the racists involved are unaware of the social and political impact of their blatantly racist talk. Sometimes ‘honest’ racists don’t even believe they are racists and are ignorant of the nature of their racist thinking. Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who has refused … More What Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy can Teach Us about Racism in America

The Incredible Darkness of Being…a Cop: Warrior or Peacemaker in a Dangerous World. Part III

Note: A condensed version of Part III of this series was published in the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sunday, April 13, 2014. It is hard to imagine, after watching the police video footage of the shooting to death of a mentally ill homeless man, James Boyd, by Albuquerque police on March 16, 2014, how that … More The Incredible Darkness of Being…a Cop: Warrior or Peacemaker in a Dangerous World. Part III

“A Revolution of Values” is What It Will Take to Humanize the Coming Great Transformation

Martin Luther King referred several times to the need for “a revolution of values,” in his speech, “Beyond Viet Nam,” April 4th, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York, a year before he was assassinated,.  I listened again as it was replayed on Martin Luther King Day, 2014, forty-seven years later. That speech had been … More “A Revolution of Values” is What It Will Take to Humanize the Coming Great Transformation

Against Ideology: Creativity is Best Hope in an Uncertain World

Uncertainty is everywhere and growing fast. That makes many people uncomfortable at best, violent at worst. Most seek certainty in what they perceive as a set of beliefs that they equate with reality. When conditions appear uncertain or change quickly, certain people conclude that someone is messing with their reality. They expect to live in … More Against Ideology: Creativity is Best Hope in an Uncertain World

The American Way of Violence: Community or Chaos in Politics and Policing

The tension seems to grow by the day. Anyone who steps into the limelight of media exposure is subject to death threats. Anyone who happens to be in a store or workplace when an “active shooter” begins to fire his semi-automatic combat weapon may die without the slightest sense of why. A teenager at a … More The American Way of Violence: Community or Chaos in Politics and Policing

Relative Deprivation in Black and White

Relative deprivation is a peculiarity of human perception and fact. The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many people in many ways. As public health researchers study the virus and learn more about its behavior, they have learned that it attacks humans in many ways. However, it has become clear that in the US, Blacks, Latinos, Native … More Relative Deprivation in Black and White