gila 300

Summer of Hate

by Gila Hayes

The riots are only going to become more sizable and frequent as weather warms. Greg Ellifritz at Active Response Training gives frank words of advice and wisdom in his article at . He notes, “I think our problem as a species is that our monkey minds tell us to ‘do something’ in the face of a perceived future threat. Until we ‘do something’ we have mental unease. The ‘doing’ we actually need involves staying away from riots and protests. It involves quiet discussions with folks in and outside your social circle who want to make the world a better place. The answer isn’t showing up at the protest with a pistol-gripped shotgun,” he writes. As you prepare for the increased violence this summer, please read Greg’s experience-informed advice. In addition to Michael Bane’s explanation of the current situation at I think that, while you may not like their conclusions, their summations will inform your decision-making this summer, and very possibly keep you alive.

Old Business

Readers might note the above thoughts are an expansion on my May commentary. I got several interesting responses to that column, and I’d like to share a couple of them with you.

“Your editorial struck a nerve, and I agree with most of your points of view. As a more-or-less contemporary in age, over the years I’ve come to believe that many if not most of the U.S. population has lost the ability to think independently, preferring to believe what they read and/or see on TV and/or the Internet without giving it the ‘test of reasonableness’ that you and I learned early on to apply. Although retired for the last couple of years, it was common during my last employment to hear many of the younger people at the firm discussing their opinions of recent events in a manner that made me think to myself ‘do you really believe that?’

“Gone is the time that we could shrug off an unintentional insult, now many prefer to take it personally and ‘get back’. If the subject is race-related, we gather our ‘clan’ and purposely respond violently. Yes, there are dishonest law enforcement officers, but I believe that the great majority are people like you and me who are dedicated to doing their jobs properly. Yes there are dishonest politicians but I believe that most try hard to do what’s best for their constituency.

“Perhaps the thing I miss the most is the sense that we’re all working together for the common good as well as our own betterment, which requires a certain amount of respect for others, even if we don’t agree with them on some topics. When you and I grew up trust was almost a given. Not so in today’s world. There are many times when I’m glad that I’m 73 and not 33.

“On the other hand, the sun is out again today, the deer are grazing close to the house, and my niece in-law and her husband just left after giving me another helping hand for a few hours.”

–Larry in WA

A friend of many years who is also a Network member wrote:

“I wonder if the columnist in Psychology Today, given how she characterizes people who are concerned about where we are headed, might assess them differently had she been privileged to live through, for example, Mao’s Cultural Revolution ... which seems to have many similarities to what is increasingly going on in our lovely country today. Another experience that might have illuminated her thinking would have been to spend a year as a resident of say Dresden while the Soviets still ruled. In both these instances one’s fellow man proved in all too many cases to be a complete ass, and in both cases supplies were short as they usually are under fascist regimes.

“My second ex-wife’s grandparents left Germany and Czechoslovakia in the ‘20s to make new lives in Argentina. Were they neurotic conspiracy theorists? I think not. I believe they were realists, realized they were in Dodge, and chose to spend the rest of their lives more productively and pleasantly than they would had they remained in their front seats for the war and for what led up to it.

“Here’s something heartwarming. I took John Farnam’s instructor class in February, and one of the attendees was a lovely 16-year old girl from Denver who teaches high school boys to shoot. Her dad came with her as chaperone. Excellent people, good minds, outstanding attitudes. She fills me with confidence about our possible future just as does a girl who also just turned 16 this spring named Alma Deutscher, Brit living with her family in Vienna. She has been composing and playing wonderful music for most of her life ... a full opera at 12, piano and violin concerto she first performed publicly in Vienna a couple years ago, playing the solo part in both, and both on the same day, plus a lot more. Look her up. Before one performance in Carnegie Hall she delivers a nice li’l speech about the critics who said she was wrong and should be writing ugly music.”

Greg in WY

Greg and Larry nailed it! There may be a lot of ugliness, but it shouldn’t eclipse the things that make us happy. Listen to Alma Deutscher’s words at and I think you’ll agree with Greg – her existence is good reason for confidence in the future.

Another member suggested a new biography for me to read and I’ll have a pleasant change in direction for next month’s book review. Thank you to everyone who emailed. Hearing your ideas and experiences clarifies my own thinking.

To read more of this month's journal, please click here.