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In dangerous, battle-scarred world, trying peace can only help

December 28, 2008

News-Leader.com - Springfield, MO
December 26, 2008
 
A friend queried me recently on my thoughts about peace during this holiday (all right, Christmas, Bill O'Reilly) season. Peace? Not too broad a subject, and an excellent concept. Hmmm.
 
First, I must recall how the shopping season started on Black Friday. As you recall, the full-tilt-boogie shopping season began with two rather sobering stories.
 
A Wal-Mart worker was trampled to death in the early morning onslaught of more than 3,000 bargain hungry shoppers who apparently gave not a whit about the lives or limbs of others if they could only grab one of the limited stock of LCD HDTV's (never trust a product that is abbreviated like some military position or battle plan), X-Boxes, or other "must have or die" items all priced for a few hours only for about $19.95. Wal-Mart provided no security.
 
Peace on Earth. Sleep on in heavenly peace.
 
Later that same day came the disturbing story of a gunfight in a Toys-R-Us that left two pistol-packing men dead after their wives or lady friends argued over a particular product that I suppose was in scant supply. It was never reported, to my knowledge, whether or not the men possessed legal firearm carry permits, but I'd like to think they did, if only to give credence to my disgust with the debate over permit-carrying firearm enthusiasts in Springfield parks and playgrounds. Hello? Is anyone sane out there? Have we not already heard enough stories of children being accidentally shot to death by handguns that their permit-laden parent swears was "locked up?" And before you Glock or Sig Sauer owners start crying for my blood, allow me to say: I am not anti-gun; I am anti-proliferation of guns. I am anti- your right (?) to carry your deadly toys any damn place you please.
 
But it's the holiday season; enough of that, Fiedler, get on about peace.
 
I can only hope that the upcoming new year brings tens of thousands of weary troops home from the quagmire in Iraq.
 
If you recall, I wrote prior to, and after the election in support of Barack Obama.
 
But I am more than a tad concerned that he will be so overwhelmed with the economic crisis here at home that he may have to renege on his campaign promise to bring our young men and women home from Iraq.
 
I pray that the Veterans Affairs administration finally do all they possibly can to help those many thousands of our troops who have come home with fewer parts or a grossly altered brain. The status quo is shameful.
 
I know many wounded and disabled veterans from Iraq and the stories they share with me regarding their treatment by the VA are horrifying.
 
I also hope that those who still decry and bemoan Obama may come to peaceful terms with his presidency. Even go so far as to show support and tolerance as he tries to bring about true, positive change during extremely trying times. This may be a tall order for Santa, but I place it on my list anyway.
 
And finally, on the subject of peace on Earth, and goodwill to men, it's really quite simple:
 
Allow me to relate a story about the Dalai Lama on a recent visit to the U.S. At a press conference he was asked about the core dogma of his religion -- what great truth did the Tibetan's brand of Buddism ascribe to?
 
The Dalai Lama smiled warmly at the dim-witted reporter and said, "Be kinder to one another."
 
What would happen if we all tried it, if only for an hour or two today?
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