Fear and loathing in america

Last week I lost some friends because I simply asked them to wait out an investigation. They said no.

It actually started  when the Syrian Refugees crisis was prevailing on the news. Real friends that I know were all happy that Rick Scott was saying there would be no Syrian refugees here even though he has no right to say so and we have been settling them quietly in the state through the good work our churches. People who despise Rick Scott all of a sudden without understanding how things work would not show not one iota of kindness because somehow they thought that there was a terrorist next to them hiding under their bed.

At first I thought it was just like they felt that we have enough problems of our own (and we do) but then they went on and on about how they could be terrorists. Even 5 year children.


I realized  most people have no idea what is going on because it is very confusing. I could not believe that so many people were so uncaring. People who claim to care about all kinds of issues  just didn’t care. To them  these people were not humans.

Sort of like how the Jewish People were treated during WW2. Boats turned away. People being killed. Children drowning. I  take Xenophobia personally because after all we (the jewish people) came from the same hood. To me xenophobia today is just an extension of antisemitism.

So I wrote this.

Xenophobia, Syrian refugees,US Governors , Nothing beats human kindness. nothing

I don’t understand how people can be so enclosed  in their own cocoons that they have no feelings for the others in the human race just because their  last name is different.

I’m pretty sure that most people don’t even know that out by Lake O is a wonderful community of middle easterners that have been there for years.


Then I wrote this:

Our Brand is Crisis:Syrian refugees , Florida, Presidential Candidates

It explains the programs and how they work and how people are vetted.

Then this happened.

San Bernardino shooting

I was sitting here charting. My first reaction was who walks into a center for the developmentally disabled and shoots people? Of course there are lots of answers to that question. It could be some parent who upset with the treatment of their child.

We all sat here waiting for the identification of the shooters. Please don’t let them be:

white christian males


middle eastern

my relative

anyone I know

The twitterverse was filled with people waiting for a last name. Even Anne Coulter was sitting and waiting.

Of course if it was some white young male the local news would say something like “I refuse to speak the name of the shooter.” but it wasn’t so all bets were off.

In Facebook land there were lots of theories. People were just waiting and as soon as the name hit the airways Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik that was it!

ISIS had arrived in America.

The news media took that and performed their usual feeding frenzy. People hiding under their beds is great for business.

The GOP took this and their intention is to scare you even more.

This take the focus off of what we need in America and puts the focus on war. What happens: The Rich war machine people get richer. You give up more of your rights all in the name of being cowards. Nothing get’s done. All everyone does is fight with each other. What a mess.

America has turned into a bunch of

scaredy cats.


Our friend over at Eye on Miami wrote this great post.


“The heartbreak of Sandy Hook: Adam Lanza shot 20 children and 6 adults dead. Mentally ill kid with a gun. Columbine High School in Jefferson City 12 more school kids dead and one teacher. The executioner was a student. Oklahoma City another home grown terrorist killed 168 people. Aurora, a nut job named James Holmes killed 12 at a movie theater.”

sandy hook

the gorgeous faces of the children killed at Sandy hook


They call the San Bernadino killers “Lone Wolves” and make a big deal out them. A lot is coming out about things they had planned in past. Doesn’t mean they are sponsored by ISIS or anyone else.

Now we totally can’t have female refugees because one of them might be a terrorist.


noun: terrorism
  1. the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

People are radicalized and indoctrinated in many ways. Religion. Ideologies. We all believe strongly.We all have our causes. But we don’t go around shooting people in the names of causes.

The APA has done a great job researching terrorism.

Ask Siri and go do some reading.

Google APA terrorism

I was fortunate enough to hear some of this stuff at a conference in Guatemala while representing the documentary “Interrogate this! Psychologists take on Terror.”


Filmmaker Maryanne Galvin interviews Steven M. Kleinman, Strategist & Consultant on National Security, Senior Military Intelligence Officer. San Francisco, August 2007. Photo: Cyndi Lenz (me behind the camera and probably the most interesting interview I ever shot)

Let me repeat. Mr Kleinman is a senior military intelligence officer.

Here is the trailer to “The Little Terrorist” a fabulous short film that is featured in Interrogate This.

You can see the whole movie here. It’s only 16 minutes long. It’s quite lovely.

Start here


“Given these complexities, the psychology of terrorism is marked more by theory and opinion than by good science, researchers admit. But a number of psychologists are starting to put together reliable data. They’re finding it is generally more useful to view terrorism in terms of political and group dynamics and processes than individual ones, and that universal psychological principles—such as our subconscious fear of death and our desire for meaning and personal significance—may help to explain some aspects of terrorist actions and our reactions to them.

In fact, the notion that terrorists could be talked out of committing violence using peaceful dialogue and a helping hand is no longer an idealist’s pipe dream, but actually the aim of a growing number of “de-radicalization” programs worldwide, says social psychologist Arie Kruglanski, PhD, co-director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START, one of several university-based Centers of Excellence established under the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

“While there is still a big need to assess these programs,” says Kruglanski, who is studying some of these programs, “in some cases, there appear to be some authentic successes.”

The lure of terror

For years, psychologists examined terrorists’ individual characteristics, mining for clues that could explain their willingness to engage in violence. While researchers now agree that most terrorists are not “pathological” in any traditional sense, several important insights have been gleaned though interviews with some 60 former terrorists conducted by psychologist John Horgan, PhD, who directs the Pennsylvania State University’s International Center for the Study of Terrorism.

Horgan found that people who are more open to terrorist recruitment and radicalization tend to:

  • Feel angry, alienated or disenfranchised.
  • Believe that their current political involvement does not give them the power to effect real change.
  • Identify with perceived victims of the social injustice they are fighting.
  • Feel the need to take action rather than just talking about the problem.
  • Believe that engaging in violence against the state is not immoral.
  • Have friends or family sympathetic to the cause.
  • Believe that joining a movement offers social and psychological rewards such as adventure, camaraderie and a heightened sense of identity.

(Does this sound familiar at all?)

Beyond the individual characteristics of terrorists, Horgan has learned that it’s more fruitful to investigate how people change as a result of terrorist involvement than to simply ask why they enter in the first place. That’s because asking why tends to yield pat, ideological responses, while asking how reveals important information about the processes of entry, involvement and leaving organizations, he has found. Potential areas to tap include examining the myriad ways people join organizations, whether via recruitment or personal decision; how leaders influence people’s decision to adopt certain roles, for example by glorifying the role of suicide bomber; and factors that motivate people to leave.

Some psychologists believe terrorism is most accurately viewed through a political lens. Psychologist Clark McCauley, PhD, a co-investigator at START and director of the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at Bryn Mawr College, has come to see terrorism as “the warfare of the weak”—the means by which groups that lack material or political power fight what they see as oppressive forces. As such, he believes that terrorist actions and government reactions to them represent a dynamic interplay, with the moves of one group influencing those of the other. As one example, if terrorists commit an attack and a state uses extreme force to send a punishing message back, the terrorists may use that action to drum up greater anti-state sentiment among citizens, lending justification to their next actions. Yet research focuses almost solely on terrorist actions and neglects the important other side of the equation, he contends. “If you can’t keep track of what we’re doing in response, how can you ever hope to figure out what works better or worse?” McCauley says.

Studying de-radicalization

In the real world, psychologists also are exploring the effectiveness of initiatives taking place in countries including Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the United Kingdom that are seeking to soften the hearts and minds of terrorist detainees. In preliminary research, Kruglanski and colleagues note that many of these programs share:

  • An intellectual component, often involving moderate Muslim clerics who hold dialogues with imprisoned detainees about the Qu’ran’s true teachings on violence and jihad.
  • An emotional component that defuses detainees’ anger and frustration by showing authentic concern for their families, through means such as funding their children’s education or offering professional training for their wives. This aspect also capitalizes on the fact that detainees are weary from their lifestyles and imprisonment.
  • A social component that addresses the reality that detainees often re-enter societies that may rekindle their radical beliefs. A program in Indonesia, for instance, uses former militants who are now law-abiding citizens to convince former terrorists that violence against civilians compromises the image of Islam.

Some of these efforts have already shown promise, says Kruglanski. For example, Egypt’s largest radical Islamic group, Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, renounced bloodshed in 2003, the result of a deal brokered by a Muslim attorney between the group and the Egyptian government, and a program where Muslim scholars debated with imprisoned group leaders about the true meaning of Islam. As a result, the leaders wrote 25 volumes arguing for nonviolence, and the group has perpetrated no new terrorist acts since, Kruglanski says. A second major Egyptian group, Al Jihad, renounced violence in 2007 based on a similar program.

Five other such initiatives in Northern Ireland, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Colombia are being studied by Pennsylvania State University’s Horgan. His not-yet-published research proposes a framework that policymakers can use to evaluate these programs, including examining how each effort conceptualizes and measures success, and evaluating the reality and practical significance of these success claims.

Given his own experience talking with former terrorists, Horgan is cautious about how much to expect from these programs. In his recent study, he discovered that some of these efforts not only lack clear criteria for establishing what constitutes “success,” but also that actual de-radicalization is rarely a feature of such programs—that former terrorists may rejoin society and keep from engaging in terrorist actions, but retain their radical beliefs.

So we have big brains that are working on this.

Why isn’t anyone reading this stuff?

Why? Because people would rather not educate themselves and go hide their bed and be terrorized by CNN or Fox News being intimidated in the pursuit of political aims. Now that’s terrorism.


Bright Lights: The Children of Canada



Compassion and inspiration

Bring your kleenex