Tag Archives: politics

N is for ‘News’: 7 Feel-good Current Affairs You Won’t See on Prime Time News.

Man, the news is so depressing. Sure, it’s important to keep up with the goings-on of the world, but if you believed the news to be a true respresentation of the world, you’d be forgiven for thinking we live in hell.

But we don’t live in hell. There are good, great, and just plain awesome things going on out there everyday. Good news has the potential to spread quickly, with the help of our friend The Internet. Do your bit to be the harbinger of happiness and pass a good news story around today. I’m sure you know a few people who could benefit from a bit of good news, right?

Want to do more to spread happy tidings? Link or write good news stories from around the web in the comments section of this post so that others may be inspired and uplifted by them.

I hope you enjoy ‘7 feel-good current affairs you won’t see on prime time news’. Share your thoughts in a comment!

USA’s Governmental Shutdown Results in the Extraordinary Kindness of the General Public.

The North American Government may have bickered amongst itself to the extent that it forgot about its people: but the people have certainly not forgotten about each other. The USA’s govermental shut-down (due to a disagreement over spending and budgets) has resulted in newly-unemployed people rallying round to help each other in an attempt to sustain some of the country’s most important services, and maintain its proudest landmarks. Out-of-work individuals have been volunteering in all manner of ways: from mowing the lawn at the Lincoln Memorial, to working at educational facilites, allowing them to remain open for the benefit of the children.

Right, just get this finished, then it's on to painting the fence!

Right, just get this finished, then it’s on to painting the fence!

Even some big name companies have been mucking in, offering free food and drink to those who have been sent home from work. This sense of community is wonderful to see, especially because it shows that the seed has been planted in the minds and hearts of the American people that they can survive without their government. Perhaps this will allow the American people to reach the realization that they are more powerful and resilient than their Overlords would have them believe.

Peru’s Government Gives Solar Power to its Poorest People, Free of Charge.

Two million of Peru’s poorest people will be provided with electricity for the first time, thanks to a $200 million initiative by the Peru’s Government. The electricity will be generated by solar panels atop residences. The equipment and power will be provided free of charge.

These lovely sun slabs will change lives.

These lovely sun slabs will change lives.

The initiative is expected to be complete in 2016, and the project’s target is to have 95% of households in Peru using electricity, compared to 66% at present. The solar panels will free up cash for poor families who are still using expensive oil-based fuel products that are harmful to health when burned.

A Medication has Been Developed that Prevents HIV from Integrating with Human DNA.

‘The Point of No Return’ is the name given to the time at which the HIV virus inserts itself into the human genome by its evil enzyme called HIV integrase. Researchers at University of Georgia have created a medication which dropkicks the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, pummels it, then puts it in a chokehold, preventing it from integrating into the host’s DNA. This is the crucial point when, if the disturbing critter successfully sets up camp, it cannot be reversed.

You shall not pass!!!

You shall not pass!!!

The medication is now in its pre-clinical test phase and is expected to work to alleviate and prevent HIV both as a single illness, and where the HIV virus is compounded with others such as tuberculosis. Humans 1 – Viruses Nil.

Huge Underground Aquefiers Have Been Discovered in North Kenya.

With funding from Japan, UNESCO and Radar Technologies discovered five huge underground aquefiers in Turkana County, Kenya. The discovery of the abundant water supply has potential life-changing ramifications for the area’s residents. The water supply may help to alleviate problems such as crop failure and malnutrition and may be suitable to use as fresh, clean drinking water.

kenya, water, woman, aquefiers, drink

Everyone deserves clean water to drink.

Out of a population of roughly 41 million people, 17 million Kenyans lack access to safe drinking water and 28 million are without adequate sanitation. It is hoped that good old H2O will be the driving force towards a richer and more prosperous future for Turkana County and North Kenya as a whole.

Incredible Story of Forgiveness to be Made into Blockbuster Movie Starring Colin Firth.

In 1942, Mr Eric Lomax was up to his eyeballs in war. Working as Signals Officer in Singapore, he was arrested and transported to Kanchanaburi prison in Thailand for the grand crime of cobbling together an old busted radio and drawing a picture of some trees. The Japanese suspected that he was a spy and selected ‘horrific torture’ as the most suitable means to get a confession. He had his arms and ribs broken and suffered water-boarding – amongst other things that would make most of us just cry and die. His torture was carried out by several Japanese soldiers, but the hateful mug he saw consistently was that of Takashi Nagase, the translator who witnessed it all, passing on taunts, threats and promises that Eric would be killed. But Eric endured, basically telling the Japanese soldiers to shove a false confession where the dun don’t shine…which was the only thing that saved his life. Eric returned home suffering from PTSD and thought of nothing but revenge for many years. He sweated and stewed about it, fantasizing about wringing his torturer’s neck like a turkey the day before thanksgiving. The desire to know what happened whilst he was being hideously tormented led Eric on a gargantuan research mission, and through it, he found out that Nagase was still alive. Eric hunted down his torturer, hungry for sweet vengeance. When Nagase’s location was discovered, Eric’s wife wrote to him, and by the use of some intense magic, managed to convince Nagase to meet her husband, so that he could finally move on from his horrendous ordeal. Takashi Nagase agreed.

It had been 50 years since Eric was released from torment, when he came face-to-face with the man who had watched and participated in his near-demise. This was Eric’s chance to at least punch Nagase in the kidney for what he’d done…

But when he finally came face to face with Takashi Nagase, he saw a man who was as fragile and devastated by war as Eric himself. Nagase broke down into a sobbing mess when he saw Eric, bowing deeply, uttering the words, ‘I am so very, very sorry’. Suddenly, Eric felt pretty bad for the guy, and decided that instead of whooping some Japanese Pensioner Ass, he would just open the fattest jar of forgiveness you’ve ever seen in your life.

If there’s one man who has the right to say, ‘At some time, the hating has to stop,’ it’s Eric Lomax, who managed to forgive his torturer, hug him and hold his hand whilst he cried like a baby. Through forgiveness, the two men went on to become good pals for several years. Eric wrote an award winning book about his ordeal entitled The Railway Man, and filming begins in 2013 for the film of the same name, with Colin Firth to play Eric Lomax. Eric Lomax, the absolute legend,  passed away in 2012 with a heart full of forgiveness, at the age of 93.

Kenyan Orphanage receives $80,000 in Donations from Strangers in Response to Bravery of Warden.

A Kenyan orphanage was attacked by a gang of thugs. The kids inside had nothing to protect them except a rickety old fence…and one badass warden. The posse of unsavoury characters had previously attempted to rob the orphanage of its stuff and its kids, but 24 year old Anthony Omari channelled his inner Thor and fended off the gang with the help of an airborne hammer. When the gang returned for vengeance, the children of the orphanage woke up and began to come outside to see what the infernal racket was all about. Omari herded them back into the room and barricaded them in. He was so hell-bent on protecting the children that he did not flinch even when one of the vengeful plebs came at him with a machete. Such was his desire to protect the kids that he literally took a machete blow to the face and still would not let the swarm in. So they left, presumably because they thought Omari must be some sort of wizard to take a facial cleaving and still be standing. Days later, Penn State student Ben Harwick, who was on placement in Kenya, heard about Omari’s bravery and wanted to meet him. Ben took a photo of Omari…

The bravery of one man inspired the generosity of thousands.

The bravery of one man inspired the generosity of thousands.

…and posted it, along with the story on reddit. Little did they know that Omari’s Thor-like wizardry would inspire so many. Donations poured in from all over the world, raising upwards of $80,000 to beef up the security of the orphanage. The money was spent on building an 8 foot steel fence, hiring guards, and making improvements to the orphanage’s thug deterrents. The act of vengeance by armed robbers resulted in the orphanage being turned into an impenetrable fortress. And all it took was a machete to the face: easy money.

You Can Build Your Own Home from Scratch, Get off the Grid, and Leave the Banks Behind.

If you are a young person who is struggling to get on the property ladder, you’re not alone. The lending drought has been pushing people towards ever more inventive ways of housing themselves that don’t involve the backing of satan’s minions…ahem…I mean banks, or thieves…ahem…sorry, power companies. At The Hollies Centre for Practical Sustainability in Ireland, you can build and kit-out a home for under £1000. As a student, you live in Ulrike and Thomas Riedmuller’s ‘cob’ home whilst you learn to build your own. You are taught how to make bricks from hay and clay, and how to power your hand-built home economically and with the environment in mind. Your new house will have a composting toilet, a super energy-efficient wood burning stove, and a refrigeration room provided by the outdoor climes. Learn to build your own house here:

Thanks for tuning into the good news folks!

And now for the weather….

happy weather

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N is for Nationalism: Am I Alone in My View of Scottish Independence?

britiain, england, scotland, flag, independence, scottish, british.

On 18th September 2014, my fellow Scots and I will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question:

Should Scotland be an independent country?

I have been losing sleep over the answer to this question because I feel so utterly lost and conflicted as to how to respond. On one hand, I am happy to see democracy at work – this decision should be made by the people of Scotland – on the other hand, I don’t have a clue what the right decision is, or what the implications of my vote are going to be. I feel like someone has handed me a complicated piece of machinery with no instruction manual and asked me to operate it without making a mistake: too much responsibility with not enough information.

Campaigns have already begun to try to win my vote with a variety of groups attempting to convince me to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’. And after much thought, deliberation, straining and researching, I have reached the profound and certain conclusion that my answer is: I don’t know.

‘I don’t know’ because neither side of the argument have yet been forthcoming with the instruction manual for their machine. The policies and objectives put forward to me, and my Scotland-residing brothers and sisters, have been thoroughly vague and smacking of rhetoric. I have had to do so much digging, research and interpreting in order to compile even the most basic list of ‘pros and cons’ surrounding Scotland’s independence and I’m still not even sure that it’s complete and correct. It concerns me that information about the actual factual ramifications of my vote are proving so difficult to come by, because it suggests that each side is depending on my not-knowing the truth to win my vote. I get the very distinct impression that I am expected to vote with my emotions, rather than with the facts, and I don’t like it. This is worrying: Scotland has a long (sometimes glorious, sometimes shameful) tradition of pride and sentimentalism, either for our place in the United Kingdom or for Scotland in opposition to England, and some people are very passionate and patriotic about which camp they reside in. It seems evident to me that I am being asked to ‘pick a side’ based on the feelings I have about Scotland’s history, roused up by the sugar-coated carrots of vague and hyperbolic policies – which at this point, seem like nothing more than emotional manipulations. I have no strong ‘feelings’ about an independent Scotland, but many of my brothers and sisters in Scotland do. I believe this to be a problem. It is wrong for my fellow Scots to be coerced, perhaps unknowingly or subconsciously, to make this decision based on loyalty to the British Crown or Scottish Land, under the guise of taking part in a rational choice. Surely a body of people cannot make a rational and educated decision when being encouraged to puff up with emotion, and at the same time, being furnished with so little factual evidence? We, the people of Scotland, are due to receive a White Paper sometime in November, which will detail the ‘facts’ about becoming independent from the UK, but you and I both know that ‘facts’ are malleable and can be framed to say whatever suits the agenda of their utterer. My distrust is founded on, and compounded by, the reality that the race to win my vote has already begun based on speculation, emotion, and ‘ifs ands buts and maybes’: if there are yet no facts then which of my decision-making faculties are being appealed to? The answer, I fear, is my emotions. Until the facts are made available, it seems that we are being asked to gamble; making our choice via the extent to which we love Scotland and dislike England. This gamble is going to be responsible for the fate of future generations in Scotland and beyond. They will be the ones who have to deal with the repercussions of our sentiments when we are all dead and gone. The more I think about it, the more our sentiments are a hinderance rather than a help: they seem a wildly inappropriate catalyst by which to make this decision. And to be asked to do so makes me very uncomfortable.

I have done my best to compile a list of the dreams and ambitions offered to us by the main proponents of ‘yes’ and ‘no’. What follows are the basic pros and cons- the scaffolding that’s holding the referendum up – but please, bear in mind as you read them, you are reading a wish list, not a list of facts or certainties.

Benefits from Scotland becoming independent from the UK: the ‘Yes’ Vote.

We could make decisions from a parliament that is more relevant to, and invested in, the people it represents.

This is a super idea and I can totally see the merit in governmental decision-making power that is based closer to home, but we are not voting for the idea alone, we will also have to vote for the people who will promise to put the idea into action on behalf of the people. What concerns me about this point is that it may turn out that Westminster understands Scotland just fine…and that it is the indivuals we elect – rather than specifically the English parliament – who make a mess of cranking the machine and signing the dotted lines. In which case, aren’t we just as likely to have idiotic or misguided decisions make by elected individuals in a Scottish parliament?

We would have control of our oil and gas resources.

*Sigh* Unless some unbiased and independent person in-the-know is going to publish well-researched statistical findings about this matter, we the public are in the dark and can only trust what we are told. And what we have been told by the media so far is exactly this:

He said, she said, he’s lying, they are lying, you can’t do this, we can do this, they are spending all your money on lawyers, they are destroying data, your country is in debt, we are richer than you. Blah blah blah. It really is just noise. What is the truth? Will we benefit from keeping our oil to ourselves or not? Show me the research that says so. Unless we are furnished with a report, signed, sealed and delivered by an independent body, perhaps comprised of economists, scientists, ecologists and engineers et. al., we are in no position to make a judgement and should not be voting with this in mind at all.

We would ban nuclear weapons from Scotland.

This is the one policy that would swing my vote for independence if it were true. I really hope it is true. We simply don’t know right now. I want to see a piece of paper signed by all parties concerned, detailing that nuclear weapons will be removed from Scotland on such-and-such a (soon) date. After the fact, I do not want to come to learn of any non-public small print that says, “Due to the complexities of ‘legal separation’ of military resources, it’s going to take 20 years to get the nukes gone.”

Have a look at the Yes Scotland q&a page for more information on these points.

Benefits from Scotland remaining in the UK: the ‘No’ Vote.

We would keep the £GBP.

There are no available statistics to guarantee if the £GBP or some new Scottish currency would be weaker or stronger. So we’re back to gambling again.

We would remain more powerful as part of the UK’s Armed Forces.

This may be intuitively true since Scotland is smaller when separate from the UK, but again, there could be other benefits to leaving the UK’s Armed Forces, like not getting dragged into wars we don’t agree with. It could also be the case that more military jobs would be created if all the necessary departments for a Scottish Armed Force were located in Scotland, again, without the facts, there could be convincing rhetorical suggestions either way.

Mortgage interest rates would be decided by the UK.

So?…’Being decided by the UK’ does not automatically mean cheaper or better. For this to be convincing, Westminster needs to make a pledge or an offer, they need to propose some actual and realistic competitive rates and post them online so that we, the public, can make an informed decision.

It would be ‘bad for jobs’ if Scotland left the UK.

‘Bad for jobs’ is a direct quote which seems to be anchored in no facts whatsoever. How do we know it would be bad for jobs? Where is the research that says so?

Scotland has full powers when it comes to health and education and spends £1200 per head more than the rest of the UK.

What? Surely this is an argument in favour of Scotland having more of its own power?

We get ‘the best of both worlds’.

I can see, intuitively, that this could be the case. My stepdad is English, as are many of my friends, and I also have Scottish friends who reside in England. To make ourselves a foreign country to England at this point seems like a tangled and complicated web that may not lead to us being better off, but again, we’re talking feelings here, not facts.

Scotland sells more to the rest of the UK than it sells to the rest of the world combined.

What is this statement? Is it a threat? Is it supposed to incite a sense of togetherness? We cannot deduce from it how Scotland’s trade with England would be affected by independence. The laws and regulations concerning trade should be clearly set out before we vote, not guessed-at until after, or else…what are we voting for?

You can read the lealet for yourself, I pulled this information straight from the Better Together Campaign (the ‘no’ campaign).

Besides the distinct lack of facts from both sides of the argument, I have other questions and meta-concerns not addressed by either side. The first of which is this: Since Scotland is so multi-cultural and diverse, does the emotional attachment to an ‘independent Scotland’ really have meaning that the ‘yes’ proponents would have us believe it does?

My next concern is that our world is becoming a global community; doesn’t it seem counter-intuitive to move in the opposite direction, becoming more separate and isolated as a nation? Becoming independent not only separates us from the other residents of the island that we share, but it also tells the rest of the world, who will surely be watching, that we wish to be separate too.

My final concern is that the posing of the question: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ will serve to reignite old rivalries, a ‘them or us’ mentality, amongst some people. This is exactly the opposite of what Scotland needs right now, since we all must live side-by-side with people from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life. From religion, to sport, to east vs. west, there are elements of our nation that are unhealthily divided. Regardless of their intentions, I find it very difficult to support a group of people who nurture and foster our nation’s frequent – and often damaging – inclination towards creating opposition, who have little more than fantasy and rhetoric as the backbone of their argument.

In my ideal world, I would vote for greater devolution of power to Scottish government, and I would support the First Minister’s use of Scottish voters’ clout to request more power and independence in areas that are specific to Scotland’s social & cultural standing; and ecology and resource profile. But of course, this option is not on the table because the leaders of our nation have shown themselves to be stuck in the hyperbole of ‘them or us’, ‘yes or no’, ‘Scottish or British’. And this could not be father away from what being Scottish and British means to me.

I would vote for transparency. If the ‘yes’ campaign came out with an utterly transparent fact sheet, stating what an independent Scotland could and could not do, with facts and figures and sans rhetoric, I would vote for them.

I would vote for respect and understanding. If Westminster were to propose a fair and open negotiation of our autonomy as a Scottish nation, I would vote for them, simply because to me, getting rid of the illusion of opposition would be the healthiest thing that we could do as both a Scottish and British nation, moving forward.

I dislike wearing my cynical hat, I don’t think it suits me, but for now, I must. I really think that if ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are put forward as our only options, and we believe that ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are our only options, then that in itself serves to show that we are not ready to effect such drastic change.

I’d like you to weigh in on this. Are you a Scottish person willing to share which way you’re going to vote and why? Are you a non-Scottish person whose nation has failed/succeeded at becoming independent? Do you think my point of view is mistaken?

Have a read of the Guardian’s Essential Guide to Scottish Independence. What do you think?

Still, I am in the mindset that I do not know which way to vote. Should I choose not to vote? Those who do are labelled ‘apathetic’ and are often blamed when the outcome of a vote is unwanted. Should I vote by destroying my ballot paper? This is the official way to refuse to decide, but what happens to the destroyed ballot papers? Nothing…they just get discounted, the act is not strong enough to indicate a protestation.

If, like me, you believe we have been thrust into a false dichotomy, and that neither ‘yes’ nor ‘no’ is the way forward, then write to your MP. To vote for a false dilemma gives it validation. To write to your MP stating that you are unhappy with being presented with so hyperbolic a choice is a vote in itself. England is not the enemy, and whether Scotland will or will not be better off outside of the UK is a mystery, but the cogs that turn to move both Scotland and England forward, I believe, are more intricately wrought than a heavy-handed and ill-informed ‘yes’ or ‘no’ can break or repair.

Stanley Odd Frontman Solareye/Dave Hook has done the conundrum justice through the medium of rap.

Next Time… N is for ‘News’ : Good news from around the world, not being reported in the mainstream media.

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I is for ‘Injustice’. (A spiritual perspective on the tragic murder in Woolwich. Why do we let fear do the talking?)

I sat down to write a blog post on ‘intuition’ yesterday, and as I turned on my computer, I was met with the horrifying and tragic news that Lee Rigby, a young soldier, had been murdered in broad daylight outside an army barracks in Woolwich, London yesterday afternoon. My thoughts and prayers go out to the man, his family and friends.

I did the rounds on facebook and was also surprised to read the reactions of some people from behind the safety of their computer screens.

And the horror continued…

It is alleged that within a matter of hours of the incident, groups were gathering to riot with police, and two individuals entered mosques with weapons, one with intent to arson, because the perpetrators of this crime supposedly made a remark that they were Muslim.

Of course, I know that if you are reading a blog about spirituality, it is unlikely that what I am about to say is addressed to you, but nevertheless it must be said.

The aftermath of an event such as this is not the time to reject our spirituality. It is the very time when our spirituality is needed: patience, forgiveness, understanding and introspection are ways that you can help as an individual, and are also ideals that all of us, as a collective, should try to remember. In the wake of this tragedy, let us react with rationality and love; and not irrational knee-jerk fear. Anger is a natural response to this horrific act, but retaliation through anger is a bad idea: that’s how any act of violence is escalated and perpetuated.

The very nature of ‘tit-for-tat’, ‘an eye for an eye’ is never-ending. So, we hit them twice as hard, then they hit us back even harder, then we get really pissed off and attack their country (which country?), then they buy a nuke from somewhere, then we nuke them first, then they nuke us twice as hard, then there’s three people left living in a cave with the cockroaches. Ok, perhaps that scenario is slightly hyperbolic. But the point remains: Where does the violence end? It ends where we choose it to end. Let the desire for violent retaliation end here.

Human being to human being, soul to soul, I am telling you, from wherever in the world you are reading this: You can choose not to retaliate. Here in the UK, we must choose to be ‘the bigger person’ at this time, even if it is difficult.

I know that many of us are scared and shocked by the murder of this poor soldier but fire cannot be fought with fire. Raising fear in others through retaliation is not going to heal the fear and anger that will be felt by many in the days and weeks to come. The desire to retaliate is like an overwhelming urge to scratch an itch, where if you do, you know the itch will just move somewhere else. So you scratch it again, and again, and again…and before you know it, you’ve scratched your skin off. Before thinking, saying or acting through impulsive anger or fear, we all should take a deep breath, take a step back and ask ourselves, ‘are my thoughts, words and actions a spontaneous fearful reaction right now?’ Yesterday, my answer was ‘yes’ so I went away to go do something else before sharing my thoughts with you. I gave myself a chance to calm down and think it through.

Here’s a problem. If someone chooses to incite more fear, hatred and discrimination, through words or actions, whether he or she feels justified or not, then that person is fanning the flames of violence and retaliation. Here are some things I hope will be taken into consideration before a decision is made whether retaliation is the right course of action- be it by an individual on facebook, or from within our government:

1. Unless someone was actually there in person and witnessed the scene, he or she doesn’t know exactly how much of the information being fed to us by the media is correct at this point. Buzzwords like ‘terrorist’, ‘muslim’, ‘soldier’, ‘death’ catch like wildfire, and are used rhetorically to make us feel scared. It just takes for one news story to use them and the rest of the internet jumps on the bandwagon. The information reaching us is not, and cannot, be the full story. Some information that was given to us when the story broke has now proven to be incomplete or false altogether. And so none of us can possibly make a full and correct assessment of the situation. This is why retaliation is a bad idea. No one has any idea what to retaliate against.

2. When someone hits back with racist remarks, anger, violent action or discrimination, it really just looks like he or she hates their own life and is looking for any excuse to express their own sad and frustrated feelings. If you don’t believe me, look back to point 1. We don’t know the whole truth of the situation, so an individual’s remarks about it are not actually comments about anything true…they are just that person’s feelings.

3. No one has any right to discriminate against a race of people, or a religious group, just because two individuals have done this. First of all, both the perpetrators are thought to be British and second, they are not representative of the Islamic religion, nor are they spokesmen for the Islamic people of this country. Do we want Muslim children being scared to go to school for fear of being racially attacked because of the actions of these two men? The children did not do this and Islam did not do this so we must resist blaming them. Some individuals need to be reminded that no religion has a clean sheet when it comes to violence, but what almost all religious violence does have in common is fear, anger, hatred and retaliation.

4. I have heard some outrage that both perpetrators are being treated in hospital. What purpose does this outrage serve? Denying medical treatment to them is just another form of retaliation. We live in a society, for better or worse, that is supposed to be democratic at its core. To live here is to accept the way things are done. If someone really feels strongly against the way things are done, then that person has the inalienable right to protest that x person/s who commit x crime should not be treated in hospital at expense of the taxpayer, but how many armchair fist-wavers on facebook will actually use that right? To express such an idea in a public forum without backing it up with action is simply to express outrage and incite more fear. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I don’t think that that is the true opinion of many outspoken individuals: it is the fear talking. In living in the UK, we give assent to the justice system, (I live in Scotland and we have a slightly different system to England, but that’s a conversation for another day), perhaps, this tragic event will show up areas of the law that need improvement, but I highly doubt that any meaningful changes will occur through the mighty court of facebook! As it stands, in order to be tried, the perpetrators must be fit to stand trial which involves being conscious, in order to be conscious and fit to stand trial, they must receive medical treatment. We do not condemn people to death in the UK so leaving them to die is simply not an option (would you really want it to be?). Being in receipt of medical treatment does not mean that the perpetrators of this crime are excused.

I wonder, why should these people in particular be denied medical treatment?…And where does the withholding of treatment end? I’m sure all of us know someone who has gotten into a physical fight; many of us will know someone, sadly, who has been killed. Should none of those people have received medical treatment? What about someone who has attempted suicide? They tried to take a life so should they be refused medical treatment? Where does the refusal end, if we were to really start on down that road?

I’m going to suggest something now that may be uncomfortable for some of you to read. What if the people who did this felt loved instead of scared and angry? What if the two perpetrators were not angry or afraid – would this have happened? To see the devastation that is caused by anger, fear, hatred and retaliation, we need only look at the act itself. When I look at those men, I see two scared little boys. Two scared and disturbed boys who do not feel loved by their God, who do not feel loved by their fellow man, who certainly have no love for themselves, who see no value in their own existence, and who have a heartful of anger and hate. One has to wonder, who taught them to hate so deeply? Who loved them so little that they felt that murdering another human being was the solution to their bad feelings? Who retaliated against who in their past, thereby teaching them that retaliation is the answer?…And back and back it goes. Let us make the decision that this tragically lost life will not be in vain, and will not simply be another cog in a never-ending cycle of tit-for-tat on an individual, inter-continental, religious or global scale. Let the tragic and unnecessary loss of Lee’s life remind all of us that a cycle of violence can only be broken when we realise that a reaction motivated by love, patience, foresight and forgiveness, however hard it may be, is the only progressive way to scratch the itch of retaliation.

Until Next Week: Visualize love for Lee and his loved ones. Visualize love for anyone in your life who is scared and angry and is reacting as such and, if you can, forgive.

Next Time: J is for Joy! (Why sublime happiness is good for your health.)

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If you are in the UK, and you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this blog post, you can get support here.