Change, One Step at a Time: On the Newtown Tragedy, Guns, and Letting Go of Our Excesses

A vigil for the Newtown school tragedy. Photo credit: 2012 Penn State/flickr.

My deep conviction has always been that the moment of tragedy is no time for advocacy or politics from either side; that as a nation we move too quickly to get past these horrific events and would benefit from marinating in our shared humanity, pausing in communal grief, and just feeling. But my mind and heart have been changed by the horror in Newtown, Connecticut. Unlike other national tragedies which I certainly feel to an extent, this one cut into me as a parent, a Christian, and an American. From my cubicle at work, I began to tremble and cry when I saw the news, and have since been moved by the firm challenge of many including our President who remind us that these tragedies are so frequent now that there remains no good time to discuss solutions. If we can’t focus our outrage at this moment, when will change ever come?

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The U.S. Assassination of a U.S. Citizen and the Nobility of Asking Tough Questions

A U.S. predator drone. Photo Credit: flickr/CliffStreetPhotography. Usage does not represent endorsement by the photographer.

ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper is a hero as far as I’m concerned. Tapper bothered to ask White House Press Secretary Jay Carney a few critically important questions about the U.S. government’s assassination of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, after Awlaki was decimated in Yemen late last week by a missile fired from a U.S. predator drone. When given the political run around, Tapper didn’t shrink into his chair. Thankfully, he persisted.

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What Uprisings in the Middle East and Asia Suggest About Muslims…and Everyone Else

Flag of Egypt all over Tahrir Squarephoto © 2011 Ramy Raoof | more info (via: Wylio)

 

 

If you follow the news then you know that Egypt is in the midst of a revolution. Don’t be alarmed if you’re experiencing deja-vu. The unrest is something the whole world has witnessed recently in Tunisia, Kyrgyzstan and Iran. What are the goals? And what do these movements say about Muslims and the rest of us?

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Brian Robinson Leaving The Broken Telegraph; Other Changes Ahead

Brian Robinson.

Some notable changes are coming to The Broken Telegraph over the next month. First of all, Brian Robinson will no longer be writing for the blog. Brian was the first writer to join me here about 6 months after I launched the site. He’s been a regular contributor ever since November of 2008.

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Interview with a Special Forces Captain: On the American Reaction to War

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates & Soldiersphoto © 2009 The U.S. Army | more info (via: Wylio)
Tyler is currently a Captain studying for a Master’s Degree in Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School. He served a year in Iraq as an Infantry platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division, and three tours in southern Afghanistan as a Special Forces Detachment Commander and Operations Officer. In the first of this multi-part interview series, Tyler and I discuss the American reaction to war. His last name has been intentionally omitted from this interview. 

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Inside North Korea PART III: What Do We Do Now?

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il

North Koreans suffered for decades under the oppression of Kim Il-sung until his passing in 1994.  Then an economic collapse, famine, and the continuation of tyranny under Kim Jong-il claimed the lives of up to 2 million North Koreans during the 1990s. What’s happened since then?

North Korea continues to be a prison for its citizenry. Kim Jong-il has relaxed a few restrictions and punishments though other state-sanctioned human rights abuses such as public executions have escalated. Almost all of the U.N. and world food aid has been diverted away from the population most in need. It was probably stockpiled for military purposes or sold by government workers on the black market.  Economic stagnation and malnutrition continue to reverberate throughout the land in what has been called the greatest humanitarian crisis on the planet. As many as 2 million more North Koreans may have died prematurely since the beginning of the new millennium. North Koreans are, with rare exception, completely cut off from the rest of the world, and any incoming access is manipulated by the regime’s robust propaganda operation. The question for the rest of us is: what do we do now?

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The Insanity of the Ground Zero Mosque Debate

The proposed location of the “ground zero” mosque in lower Manhattan.

I saw a Facebook group today that took irony to a whole new level. It read “I’m flying this [American] flag to oppose the Muslim worship center at Ground Zero.” There were then options to deny or to support their position by adding an American flag icon to your profile. Unfortunately there was no “I can’t believe you’re serious” button because I would have clicked that. The great irony is that the American flag represents the very thing this Facebook group is against.

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Misguided Outrage: Christians vs. Comedy Central’s Jesus Show

Comedy Central is developing a new show called ‘JC.’ The pitch from the network’s website describes it as “a half-hour animated show about JC (Jesus Christ) wanting to escape his father’s enormous shadow and to live life in NYC as a regular guy. A lot has changed in 2000 years and he is the ultimate fish out of water. Meanwhile his all-powerful yet apathetic father would rather be playing video games than listening to JC recount his life in the city.”

Some Christians are pre-emptively protesting the show, and have begun an online campaign against Comedy Central. Of course, all of this just means people are objecting to the idea of something without even having seen it. Well, I find these Christian protests to be offensive to my Christian faith.

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The Collision of Paranoia, Hatred and Politics

Photo Credit: wikimedia.com

by Guest Contributor Brian Robinson

Americans have never met a conspiracy theory they didn’t like. We are prone to believe in questionable concepts like UFOs, The Lone Gunman Theory, Bigfoot and The Patriot Act. And with the election of our first President who isn’t exactly what we are used to seeing in that job, we have come up with a slew of new non-issues to worry about.

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