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(15 comments) SHARE Thursday, November 4, 2010 Why Die for War and Not the Golden Rule?
It seems curious how we send people off to war, even when we know that many will die, and accept that as a rational thing to do. But the suggestion that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us, or that we confront aggressors with nonviolent civil disobedience, is met with the objection that this is an irrational suggestion. Why do we think war is a more rational solution?
(13 comments) SHARE Monday, November 1, 2010 Is the Golden Rule Optional?
Polarizing speech in the U.S. is being used by talk show hosts to dig a canyon between the political right and the left. In addition to words, images are beginning to be used to demean and dehumanize "the other." Is the idea that we are to treat the other as we want to be treated dying? Talk show hosts, take heed.
SHARE Saturday, October 30, 2010 The Worst of the Worst - Part Five of a Series: Restoring the Nation's Integrity
The talk show hosts who are using divisive linguistic strategies to divide Americans may be improving their ratings, increasing their earnings or getting a lot of attention. Attacking others can be used to advance material interests, or heighten control. It is not a way to bring honor upon ourselves or our nation. There is no peace at the end of this road.
SHARE Thursday, October 28, 2010 Part Four in a Series, Restoring the Nation's Integrity: Turning Reality on Its Head
In the U.S. polarizing words are being used to divide us between warring camps of liberals and conservatives. One strategy is to make positive words negative, so we no longer have a vocabulary to discuss love, empathy or connectedness. Words, the tool we rely upon to communicate, are being robbed of their normal utility to be used instead to attack.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 27, 2010 Part Three in a Series, Restoring the Nation's Integrity: What Do We Want?
Polarized speech is dividing the country. It doesn't happen by accident. Specific strategies are used to generate fear and then manipulate it. Within the macro strategy of setting up the "in group" against the "outside group," establishing a clear "us versus them," there are a number of sub strategies. When the strategies are known, it is easier to avoid being manipulated.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 26, 2010 Part Two in a Series, Restoring the Nation's Integrity: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
When we watch the "talking heads" on TV, rudely interrupting each other, putting one another down, we are spectators to a word wrestling match designed to entertain as it plays on our fears. Considering how deeply divisive some of the rhetoric used in these word fights is, and the lessons history teaches us about where this can lead if it goes unchecked, we need to stay alert. It has gotten bad and it is getting worse.
(13 comments) SHARE Monday, October 25, 2010 Restoring the Nation's Integrity, Part One: To Solve A Problem We Must Know We Have A Problem
Words can be either powerful or controlling. When words are fear-based, they are used to promote separation and divisiveness to achieve control. When words are love-based, they promote a sense of community and connectedness, and are powerful. A destructive trend is arising in the United States. Words are being used by a growing number of conservatives and liberals to gain control through fear.
(7 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 21, 2010 Time to Get Tough on Get-tough-on-crime Politicians
We now have enough data to know that voting for candidates who promise to get tough on crime is a big mistake. That's political jingoism used to play on our fears, not because it is good public policy, but because it's good for getting themselves elected. It is time to get tough on politicians who promise to get tough on crime by getting rid of them.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 20, 2010 Victims and Offenders are Valuable Resources
In our traditional criminal law system, victims are reduced to mere witnesses for the state and offenders are to play an intricate game of winner-take-all cat and mouse. But in the restorative justice process, victims and offenders are valuable resources who promote the safety and peace of our communities. Restorative justice makes far more sense.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 14, 2010 13th World RJ Conference, Day Two
The diversity of approaches being used to implement restorative practices was at the heart of the second day of the 13th IIRP World Conference on restorative justice in Hull, U.K. While punitive justice takes a one-size-fits all approach to conflict and crime, namely punishment, restorative justice comes in many forms.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, October 13, 2010 13th World RJ Conference, Day One
The 13th International Institute of Restorative Practices World Conference on restorative justice opened today in Hull, U.K. Twenty four countries are represented among the 500 participants. The day long plenary session included reports on restorative justice programs in a number of countries. The take away is that this is a time of significant change.
SHARE Monday, October 11, 2010 A Unitive Justice Systems Theory
As our society has become more litigious, unitive models of justice are proving to be an important structure for enhancing institutional efficiency. To insure that unitive models, such restorative justice, collaborative law, transformative mediation and transformational justice are consistently effective, a systems theory for reliably predicting success and avoiding failure will help unitive justice achieve its potential.
(11 comments) SHARE Friday, October 8, 2010 Creating a Restorative City
The city of Hull, England, has declared it will be the world's first "restorative city." When this small city lost its thriving fishing industry several generations ago, it languished as the poverty rate rose and expectations fell. They decided to invest disproportionately in children and young people, using restorative practices (RP) as the core element. The results have been remarkable.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, October 5, 2010 Are Assisted Living Prisons a Good Investment?
When politicians promise to "get tough on crime," they don't always tell us what the hefty price tag includes. Take assisted living prisons that house the elderly and infirm, long beyond the time they are a threat to anyone, as an example. Is that the best use of scarce tax dollars?
(6 comments) SHARE Sunday, October 3, 2010 Lessons from the Stanford Prison Experiment
The Stanford Prison Experiment, a 1970s college project designed to differentiate between what people bring into a prison environment from what that environment brings out in people, produced unexpected results. The most important lesson learned was that when good people do terrible things, it is the outgrowth of systems that provide the necessary institutional support, authority, and resources for such acts to be perpetrated.
(7 comments) SHARE Saturday, October 2, 2010 Punitive Justice Distilled: the Stanford Prison Experiment
Our prison industrial complex is plagued with problems so complex it is difficult to figure out where they begin. The Stanford Prison Experiment conducted by a group of social scientists in the early 1970s helps unravel the mystery
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, September 30, 2010 Learning From the Talking Piece
Imagine 4th graders who have gotten into a dispute sitting in a circle resolving their differences. A talking piece, such as a ball, is passed from one student to another to facilitate a respectful discussion of the conflict. The dispute might be bullying, name calling, taking something that belonged to another student, or even a conflict between a student and a teacher. It works, and it is far better than Zero Tolerance.
(6 comments) SHARE Saturday, September 25, 2010 Time for Zero Tolerance of Zero Tolerance in Our Schools
The flaws found in the punitive system of justice at the adult level are the same flaws found in the punitive system when it is applied to schools in what they call Zero Tolerance. This is a good example of how punitive justice is grounded on a flawed moral compass that gives contradictory guidance, even when matters of simple justice are at stake. Fortunately, there is a better way.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, September 23, 2010 Execution Vigil for Teresa Lewis
Tonight I will be attending my first execution vigil. This is new for me. Before I understood that there are two models of justice, I thought the death penalty made sense. With this new understanding, I am no longer willing to be silent and inactive while the state carries out its act of proportional revenge, blindly gouging an eye for an eye, violating basic moral teachings.
(5 comments) SHARE Tuesday, September 21, 2010 One Woman's Journey from Retribution to Reconciliation
There are many compelling examples of how responding to conflict by employing the principles of unitive justice, instead of retribution and revenge, can be transformative. I am especially inspired by the journey taken by Thomas Ann Hines. She is Texan whose son was shot to death by a young man in a carjacking attempt.