Considering the Gun Issue……

I want to ask you to do something important today.

 Mark Kelly–Gabby Gifford’s husband asks a favor of us….
Dear friends,

Loosening the gun lobby’s grip on Congress and state capitals across the country will be difficult. It will take a lot of hard work over a long period of time. It will take everyone committed to our cause — and I mean everyone — doing their part.

I want to ask you to do something important toward that end today. Yesterday morning, I published an op-ed in the Washington Post about the need for action to prevent gun violence and some common sense steps Congress can take right now — steps that almost all Americans agree on.

Please read my op-ed below and then forward this email to five of your friends. If we can spread the word about the actions Congress can take that are supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans, people will be more empowered to demand change from their elected officials.

– Mark Kelly




Sunday night started out as a beautiful evening in Las Vegas, with country music in the air and the lights of the Strip mingling with stars. At least 59 people lost their lives at such a uniquely American scene, and more than 500 were injured. Thousands more will fight emotional scars, and tens of thousands will grieve and question along with them. The phenomenon of the mass shooting — and the political paralysis that follows us — is sadly also a uniquely American scene.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed by a gun than people in other developed nations. Over 100,000 people are shot each year, 33,000 of those fatally. We can offer thoughts and prayers and move on through life numb to these losses. We can accept this galling reality. We can assume that other people — like my wife, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — will pay the price for our status quo. We can accept the enormous social, moral and economic cost imposed on this country by accepting gun violence as simply the cost of living in America.

Or we can choose courage instead of cowardice. I flew combat missions in Operation Desert Storm, orbited the Earth 854 times as a NASA astronaut and wake up every morning next to Gabby, the toughest human I’ve ever met. I choose courage every time. So what do we do?

First, we have to recognize just how entrenched the problem is. In the last few weeks, Congress was actually pursuing looser gun laws — making silencers easier to buy. There’s no reason to make gun laws less restrictive. Gabby and I, and Americans across the country, had been working our hearts out to stop this bad legislation. We can’t go backward on gun laws.

But even on our toughest days, we’re optimists. And if we want to make our country safer, we can’t just work to defeat bad legislation like federally mandated concealed carry and the deregulation of silencers. We also need to push for solutions, to pass good legislation that keeps extremely deadly weapons out of the wrong hands.

That means we need to demand leadership from the people who are elected to lead.

Americans need more than President Trump’s prayers — we need his plans. We need a Congress that will stand up to the special interests, look at the research and act to save lives. Public safety must be our top priority. Predictable as clockwork, though, the refrain we all know came immediately on Monday: It’s too soon. It’s not the right time to talk about politics. It’s what people told me after Gabby was injured, and something I’ve said myself in the past.

Not the right time to talk about politics? Gabby and I have come to reject this. Every day of her life since the shooting, Gabby has honored those hurt and killed alongside her by working to enact policies that will prevent others from experiencing this terrible pain. Don’t let anyone tell you not to talk about politics when we talk about guns. Gabby got into politics because she wanted to govern. The people we elect can take us backward, condemning us to many more days when we wake up to more carnage and more lives lost — or if we make them, they will take us forward, toward a safer country.

No one gun law will prevent every shooting, but we know that these policies will work to reduce gun violence and save lives. We can’t only react to the horror of what unfolded in Las Vegas; we must work to make all American communities safer from gun violence. Here are a few things our leaders can and should do today that will keep America safer:

• Pass universal background checks to make sure everyone gets a background check before they obtain a gun. The studies are clear: Where these laws are passed, fewer people get shot. Where they have been repealed, murder and violence have increased. And background checks aren’t controversial: A recent poll found that 94 percent of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun buyers, including 93 percent of Republicans.

• Subject the sale of the most lethal weapons to stronger oversight and regulation. You can buy an AR-15 in a parking lot with no background check at all. That’s insane.

• Require guns to be safely secured in the homes of gun owners, so kids can’t get their hands on them.

• Stop domestic abusers from getting guns. Women are too often killed by abusers with firearms. And most mass shootings start as domestic violence incidents.

• Allow restraining orders to stop folks in crisis from accessing firearms, just like we do with domestic abusers.

• Establish a federal firearms trafficking statute to stop the illegal trafficking of guns from states with weak laws to states with strong laws.

• Require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our public health agencies to invest in preventing gun deaths and injuries — like we do for every other similar cause of death and injury. For 20 years, Congress has effectively banned the study of gun violence because of pressure from the gun lobby.

• And as a first step, Congress should establish a special bipartisan commission to come together around solutions that will save lives. The truth is policy solutions that reduce gun violence are not controversial — they are broadly supported by Democrats, Republicans and gun owners. Now is the time for members of Congress to listen to their constituents.

This could finally be a heroic moment of progress for our elected leaders. But it would mean looking into the face of deep-pocketed special interests and saying: Today, we’re choosing Americans. It means channeling the bravery and determination of first responders in places like Las Vegas, and the bravery and determination of people like Gabby, who fight through the emotional and physical pain of gun violence every day.

Thoughts and prayers are important. But thoughts and prayers won’t stop the next shooting. Only courage and leadership will save us.

Continue reading

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Palestinian Nahida Gordon to speak

 
Nahida Halaby Gordon from Wooster will be Tiffin Area Pax Christi’s speaker Thursday, October 5 at St. Francis Spirituality Center at 7 p.m. Gordon, a Palestinian Arab Christian, was born in Jerusalem in 1939 and grew up in Jaffa.  In 1948 her family became refugees overnight and joined 750,000 other Palestinian refugees in scattering throughout the world.  Soon Gordon came to the United States and had a successful career at an American university, but she never forgot about her homeland.
 

In 2016, she wrote Palestine Is Our Home: Voices of Loss, Courage and Steadfastness. Palestinians asked her to tell their stories about their suffering and the injustices under which they live. Gordon gathered 22 eyewitnesses and will share a few stories from Palestine. Copies of her book will be available for sale and autograph.

 

This special event will be at the Tiffin Franciscans Spirituality Center, 200 St. Francis Avenue, Tiffin, at 7 p.m.  Refreshments will be served.  The public is invited.  Reservations are not necessary.

Nahida Gordon

Contact Jo Hollingsworth for more info:  419.306.0658

Service Tonight—Wed. Vigil of Intern.Peace Day by 9/11 Memorial, Tiffin.

cropped-footprints.jpgTonight, Wed. 7:00 PM We will have a short ritual vigil service trying to give hope and greater clarity —how do we reach out in these tough times with our world?  In light of the Mexico earthquake, Irma, Harvey and now Maria, what can we each do to be engaged and a “part of the solution” towards greater peace in our country, in our city, in our family, etc.

Please just come and if you wish to have a sign, I’ll have an ipad and will put it on facebook afterwards.  Thank you for your love and care.

sr. Paulette

 

Seneca County Fair Pulled Us Together

by sr. Paulette Schroeder….published to give tribute to Elie Wiesel, to speak of the possibilities of communities pulling together…to speak of the Nonviolent Cities Campaign…….

Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel, a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor, wrote 57 books  including  Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.  Because I heard Wiesel speak in person at Central Catholic High School in Toledo in the 70’s, I wanted to read NIGHT and again experience to a small extent how human beings can lose sight of the dignity of each human being as happened in the concentration camps.

Even after his horrid experiences in the camp, Elie said: “We must not see any person as an abstraction.  Instead we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasure.”

I have experienced the truth that when such a conviction becomes the mindset of individuals, violence virtually ceases.  That hope and dream alive in our society and our world stays with me as I continue to reflect on my most recent moments of huge crowds assembled at the Seneca County Fair!  The 1100+ people who visited Project Peace and Pax Christi’s booth “Nonviolent Cities Campaign” were no doubt aware of the thick cultural darkness surrounding us here in the United States.

However, in countering the darkness,  I wish I could bundle up all the energy, all the goodness of the fair goers I met as they supported their children trying to master skills in booth games, in agriculture, animal husbandry, housekeeping, and in sewing. Numerous times, I saw people greeting each other and stopping to chat with friends and neighbors.  At the end of the Fair Week it seemed to me that we’d all want to say: “Let’s continue this kind of kindness and compassion, this neighborliness.  Let’s make it the rule of our town and county.”

I think the annual Fair is truly a gift to Tiffin and to Seneca County.  This year’s 175th. celebration did, I think, what the founders of the first Fair must have dreamed of doing—i.e. bring people together to know each other, to celebrate all the good things happening in our towns and county.

I think, too, that the Fair is an example of the hopes of the newly founded “Tiffin Nonviolent Cities Campaign.” This campaign is going on in 50 cities across the United States, and it is our hope that Tiffin will be the 51st. city to be an intentional city of hospitality and peace. We hope that Tiffin becomes that beacon of light on the hill for all people—a town where residents and visitors will experience peace as the core of who we are and what we do as we offer hospitality to all. In time, it is our hope that there will be efforts made by the various entities of Tiffin, i.e. industry, schools and universities, the town’s merchants, police, firemen, people in recovery, the Sisters of St. Francis, social services, people with mental and/or physical challenges, and people having economic difficulties to work toward deeper, stronger relationships with each other. Everyone will be in a real sense on a level plane raising one’s voice, coming to know each other, and sharing life together.

So much good can be envisioned when the goal for our town is appreciating each other mutually—growing in respectful relationship, looking out for each other so that no one falls “through the cracks.”

Project Peace and the Nonviolent Cities Campaign

Sr. Paulette Schroeder                                                                                                                            For more information, 419.447.0435 ext. 136

 

20 Lessons from the 20th Century on How to Survive in Trump’s America

A history professor looks to the past to remind us to do what we can in the face of the unthinkable.

BY TIMOTHY SNYDER

“Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle.”

This article first appeared as a post on the author’s Facebook page.

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are 20 lessons from across the fearful 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.

2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf.  Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.

4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of “terrorism” and “extremism.” Be alive to the fatal notions of “exception” and “emergency.” Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.

5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.

6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the Internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps The Power of the Powerless by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.

7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.

8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.

9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Learn about sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.

10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.

11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.

12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.

13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.

14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.

15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting.  Consider using alternative forms of the Internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble.   Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.

16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend.  And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.

17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.

18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)

19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.

20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.

Come to the corner to express yourself

No one can adequately express the horror erupting so visibly in our
country with racisim and white supremacy going crazy in places like
Charlottesville.  We as citizens must speak out of our deep conviction
and moral necessity.  Racisim is objectively, morally, humanly—WRONG.  We must call it for what it is.

Please come to the Tiffin corner (the courthouse corner) on Friday Aug.
18, 4:00-5:00 (or any part of that hour) to express your outrage and
conviction.  I’m almost positive we’ll get lots and lots of honks.

I will have some signs.  Make your own if you wish. sr. Paulette

Seneca County Fair Project Peace booth in full swing!

This week at the Seneca County fair has been amazing with about 800 people coming to our Project Peace and Pax Christi booth.  I love meeting the people including policemen, Bill Reineke, some professors, people from out of town and lots of locals learning about our efforts to help Tiffin become more and more nonviolent, strong in its relationships.

little boy, peace
a little fellow receiving a tattoo
clady family
family Marsha busy with the Clady family

Tonight, Saturday, I’ll show you how full the peace circle has become………….how I’d love the whole town of tiffin to see it.   much peace to each of you. sr. Paulette