Archive for February, 2014

as_a_man_thinksApproximately 10,000 athletes came to 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi to compete, athlete against athlete. In doing so, we read of no physical fights, no reported athlete-to-athlete racism or outward hatred. In fact, outside of the former band “Pussy Riot” and a few others, little disparagement noted.

This does not mean Putin is a wonderful human being, for he isn’t. And this doesn’t mean Russia’s overall position against and gay lesbian members of the community can be legitimized, for it doesn’t. It simply means that in this world, there is a significant capability for the world’s global body to come together, harmonize, live and enjoy one another.

Contrast that with Arizona where the legislative body seemingly came together and forged legislative bill SB 1062, making it legal for businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbians on the grounds of promoting religious freedom. Reflecting upon SB 1062, I’m struck by several things:

  • First, some congressman actually thought of this idea;
  • Second, Arizona’s high-priced talent actually thought this was an idea of great worth to society; and
  • Third, it’s taken Arizona Governor Jan Brewer a long time to deny the bill’s merits.

In spite of Arizona’s pressing needs, legislative proponents say the bill protects religious liberty. Basically, extremely conservative members of Arizona’s congressional caucus believe this form of legalized racism is good for Arizona businesses.  Lacking hindsight, the return on investment for SB 1062 is significantly diminished when one ponders the counterarguments and issues raised by such legislation.

Let’s sample some legal issues. If SB 1062 is signed into law:

  • Can gay and lesbian business owners deny service to a Catholic, Protestant, or any other member of faith? Or is the law only valid for Christian business owners denying service toward members of other faiths or social class?
  • Can a Catholic business owner deny services to members of the Protestant faith?
  • Can a conservative Christian bus driver deny entry to Muslim onto a city bus?
  • Is it legally justifiable for religiously affiliated hospitals to deny emergency healthcare on the basis of faith? Can a member of faith deny a pregnant woman out-of-wedlock any type of medical service? Can I deny someone welfare services and benefits based upon faith or any other social position?
  • Can I deny a mortgage application to someone of another faith on the basis of faith?
  • Can Arizona prosecute an Atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, Jews or any member of another faith differently? Can we hold them to different standard because of their faith?
  • As a Christian grocer, can I deny members of other faiths the ability to buy food for their family?
  • Is there a difference between a Christian owner’s dog and Muslim owner’s dog? Or can I just shoot the Muslim owner’s dog on the basis of faith alone?
  • Can I rape and intimidate a female coworker because she’s Taoist?
  • Could a Muslim gas station owner who believes women shouldn’t allowed to drive alone refuse to sell gas to a woman driver?
  • Could a Muslim refuse to work with women or women who didn’t wear a burka?
  • Could a Jewish short order cook sue his employer for forcing him to cook bacon?
  • As Christian business owner, would I be able to pay a non-Christian Mexican immigrant less than a Christian Mexican Immigrant?
  • I can legally deny service to a gay man, but is it ok to serve a former child rapist? Rapist? Drug dealer? Murderer? Wife beater?

The list goes on and on.

In reality, in most of Arizona, and most states in the U.S., businesses don’t need a license to discriminate against gays: It’s already legal. If you reside outside of Tucson, Phoenix or Flagstaff, there is no federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination, and most states lack laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Unlike race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, and other such classes, sexual orientation is not covered in the federal anti-discrimination law. The only thing this legislation would do is confirm Arizona is a nut case and opens up a Pandora’s Box of questions resulting in a flood of litigation against business owners from those willing to test the limits.

The broader question resides within our minds. If we have already allowed a habit to form in our thought, then the thought lives and it becomes extremely difficult to change the path of our thoughts. The aphorism, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,” not only embraces the whole of a man’s being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.

Should Governor Jan Brewer sign SB 1062 into law, would we really be any different from Russian President Vladimir Putin or Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni?


Late Update: Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday vetoed SB 1062.  “My agenda is to sign into law legislation that advances Arizona,” Brewer said at a news conference. “I call them like I seem them despite the tears or the boos from the crowd.

Jamie Coots: The Leadership of Ignorance

jamie-cootsJamie Coots, a snake-handling Kentucky pastor who appeared on the National Geographic television reality show “Snake Salvation,” died after being bitten by a snake. Pastors such as Coots cite a Bible passage from the Bible’s book of Mark, Chapter 16, that reads, in part: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Meanwhile, Jamie Coots is being hailed as a “martyr.” Professor Ralph Hood stated, “They will continue, and praise Jamie Coots as a martyr who died for his faith.” Seriously, martyr?

The simple definition of martyr is someone who is killed because of his or her religious or other beliefs. In both Islam and Christianity, the words used for martyr originally meant ‘witness‘ or ‘testify to’ as in a court of law, and the words quickly became extended to those who by their deaths testified to, or witnessed to, their belief in their respective faiths.

Many in our world believe there are ideas worth dying for. Many in our ‘parents’ and ‘grandparents’ generations thought ideas were worth dying for when they fought in WWII.  Christianity and Islam, the two largest world religions, teach explicitly that they are worth dying for, and they both have martyrdom as core values which shape their practice and sense of identity.

So let’s lay it out there; right now, right here. Dr. Martin Luther King was a martyr. Gandhi was a martyr. Christ was a martyr. President Lincoln was a martyr. Coots? … Well, Coots was bit.

Looking at Coots’ life via the National Geographic reality television, I’m amazed at what he did not do.  His pastoral life focused entirely upon getting live venomous snakes.  There was little focus upon how to employ the parish’s unemployed, generate food drives, increase childhood education, develop healthcare and raising the standard of living for his congregation.

All Coots contaminated pastoral leadership. He was fined in 2008 for keeping 74 snakes, sentenced to a year of probation for illegal wildlife possession after crossing into Tennessee with five venomous snakes. He had no life insurance, leaving his wife a widow and children fatherless.

His ministry was choked by ignorance. And a week later, the train wreck continues:

  • Coots will be remembered with a special tribute to air on National Geographic Channel.
  • Cody Coots, son of the late Jamie Coots, said he would handle deadly snakes during upcoming services.  What’s more, he says there will be no anti-venom meds on hand in case the snake attacks again. “I will lay right there and say to everyone, it’s God’s will.  It’s good enough to live by, and good enough to die by.”

I’m positive God cringes when we repeat stupidity.

Be careful when choosing faith over evidence. Some will claim Coots was faithful. In truth, ignorance is what killed Jamie Coots. That same ignorance condoned slavery, suppressed women’s rights, attempts to oppress gay and lesbian communities (such as in Arizona, Kansas and other states). For Jamie Coots, faith meant death.

Dignity is Life-Long

DignitySometime within the next coming years, I will have a choice, live in pain until the bitter end or legitimately choose to withhold treatment and end life. The decision is not something I’ve taken lightly. Thus, I was very interested in a story arising from the Belgian government. In essence, the Belgian government poses an interesting question, “Can a terminally ill children choose the right to die?

Obviously these laws raise a number of ethical, moral, and legal dilemmas, including is it right for a parent to propose the legal killing of their child in any circumstances? And, as children don’t have the same reasoning skills as adults, are they equipped to make a terminal decision about their lives that will significantly impact so many others?

In the United States, a New Mexico judge has ruled that terminally ill patients have the right to “aid in dying” under the state constitution. “Such deaths are not considered ‘suicide’ under New Mexico’s assisted suicide statute,” ruled Judge Nan G. Nash. Further stating, “This court cannot envision a right more fundamental, more private or more integral to the liberty, safety and happiness of a New Mexican than the right of a competent, terminally ill patient to choose aid in dying.

In opposing the ruling, New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops objected, citing both “religious and moral grounds.” Their argument mirrors that of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “A society that devalues some people’s lives, by hastening and facilitating their deaths, will ultimately lose respect for their other rights and freedoms,” the bishops said. “Taking life in the name of compassion also invites a slippery slope toward ending the lives of people with non-terminal disease.

In Belgium, Rik Torfs, a former parliamentarian and current rector of Catholic University of Leuven noted “The Church has the opinion that life is a gift from God and that we don’t have the right to throw away.” If I summarize most clergy correctly, life is a gift from God and we have no right to throw it way.

Both statements were intriguing. In truth, I will sidestep the argument for or against an individual’s right to physician-assisted suicide. More so, should we consider life a gift from God? And if so, is there really no personal right to throw it away? I tend to argue that that’s exactly what most modern societies do … they throw the gift of life away.

As a whole, in reviewing Christ’s life, there is great focus on His ministry. Thus, many of the crowds to whom he preached received healing, both mental and physical. And outside of Himself, only Lazarus was raised from the dead. Today, many Catholic ministries focus a tremendous amount of effort fighting for personhood rights.  We tend not to deliver critical and necessary services for the poor and disadvantaged during their life.

There are timeless examples where societies have continually averted their eyes from the sacredness of life. Nations across the world have shown little value for life. Here in the United States, we protest against abortion, Obamacare, reproduction rights and gay rights; but we’re completely fine with the notion that 4,000 children run away or are kicked out of their homes daily. Thus, these societal orphans are marginalized and live in negligible interest. We never wonder about the child who’s fallen to street predators, advertised on and sold for an hour at a time. And certainly, we give little attention to the men paying for them.

The government fails on so many levels. We shoot unarmed children and claim self-defense. Gun control advocates allow the shooting of children in malls and schools while successfully claiming plausible deniability. We allow elected representatives to discontinue food stamps to the needy, welfare to the single mother, expansion of medical coverage while cutting deals under the table for lobbyist cash to fuel overly-price electoral offices.

Worldwide we ignore wholesale genocide, human rights violations and hunger. We spy on friends, families and allies alike. We kill by drone, but ignore painfully hard decisions including global climate and income equality. We call the poor lazy.

The innate dignity of human beings does not stem from our relationship to an all-mighty God or our endowment with an immortal soul. It stems, rather, from the exalted place we human beings place upon it. What makes human life so special is that human beings have a capacity for moral choice that is not shared by other types of beings. We have the ability to help, love or destroy. Though subject to limiting conditions, we always possess an innate power allowing us to change ourselves and the world.

From my perspective, one can positively argue for or against the personal right to die in dignity. However, should that argument be made to me, ensure you understand the quality of life doesn’t begin and end when children spurt from the womb.

Dignity is life-long.

Dear Wall Street

Dear Wall Street was exceptional.

These are some wonderful thoughts. Everyone needs to contemplate.

Happy Valentine’s Day

0Dear Ms. K:

Four years have passed and I still find your love strengthens my heart. Many days vivid dreams carry me from work. There in the quiet room of our hearts we embrace and bathe in love … a fulfillment of all this world could offer.

There is no judgment when one’s love comes of the soul of the heart. Sitting in solitude of this winter day, I meditate in quiet moments of the past and feel the vibration of unconditional love. I long for the tearful moments that slid upon our cheeks. We lost our hearts at first sight and we became soul-entwined. We sought refuge in each other, a hidden room to which only we could enter, only we could find. Haunted by these moments, memory holds you gingerly.

For some happiness is a career, for others there’s passion. And for me, life’s prayer is to find you again, to find the key of my soul.  You enriched my life and grace cracked open the granite surrounding my heart. I am forever in your debt, a guest who’s privileged to have experienced your radiance, your lips, the beauty of thine hair, the firestorm of love from a single touch. My heart sank into your soul and forevermore I have been lost.

Your spirit was Christ’s beatitude, a formless, unknown penetrating love that spun throughout my soul and beautifully refined everything within. Thine love is the most forceful, potent and powerful connection ever felt. Part of me ran while another wanted you to completely desolate my spirit, swallow my love and absorb all I offer. Artiste, I am your sculpture.

My dearest Valentine, know you are always near. You surpass any emotion ever felt. Paraphrasing F. Scott Fitzgerald, “I slipped briskly into your intimacy … from which I never recovered.”

Happy Valentine’s Day My Love.

The Moral Imperative

Moral ImperativeIn all of its infinite wisdom, our government passed the farm bill. The new farm bill’s budget guarantees direct payments to farmers regardless of their harvest quality or crop prices, an insurance policy that equates to $7 billion. The farm and insurance lobbies spent at least $52 million influencing lawmakers in the 2012 election cycle. And rather than thin the most expensive program in the nation’s farm safety net, Congress has agreed to funnel billions more to individuals who already are more prosperous than the typical American.

However, the 1,000-page mega-bill also cuts approximately about $9 million from food stamps. The cuts are said to trim an average of $90 a month in benefits from some 850,000 Americans who rely on the program. As Representative Marlin Stutzman, Republican of Indiana exclaimed, “This bill eliminates loopholes, ensures work requirements, and puts us on a fiscally responsible path. In the real world, we measure success by results. It’s time for Washington to measure success by how many families are lifted out of poverty and helped back on their feet, not by how much Washington bureaucrats spend year after year.

In truth, the number of conservatives presuming constituents accepting public benefits are trying to pull a fast one over honest working Americans is stunning. In 2010, more than half of counties with high numbers of people struggling to feed themselves were in rural counties. Rural America is one of the GOP’s strongest geographic bases. Even with that, the Congressional Budget Office estimates nearly four million people would be removed from the food stamp program under the House bill starting next year, with an additional three million per year thereafter.  Republicans called food stamps “welfare” and cutting food stamps psuedo renames the Farm Bill as the “Work Opportunity Act.”

So after five years of recession and with 11.3 million people unemployed — 4.3 million out of work for 27 weeks or more — along with 7.9 million people working part-time but looking for full-time and another 2.3 million “marginally attached,” what the country needs is even more hungry people. On face value, my presumption is that if the rural poor had $52 million dollars to influence the conservative caucus, the Farm Bill would look radically different.

With that being said, working in poorer urban and rural areas for the Affordable Care Act has led to several conclusions.

  • First, 80 percent of the people come from some sort of dysfunctional family.
  • Secondly, a majority poor single mothers were exposed to the juvenile justice system or required social service intervention.
  • Third, there are places in their lives when our society could’ve intervened in their lives and nudged them off of their path. But we as a society simply didn’t give a shit.
  • Fourth, we could be providing early childhood care for economically disadvantaged and otherwise troubled kids, and we could be doing it for free. But we don’t.
  • Fifth, we could be providing special schools, at both the high school level and the middle school level, but even in K-5, that target economically and otherwise disadvantaged kids. There are a handful of states that do that; but states like Texas doesn’t.
  • Sixth, we could be intervening much more aggressively into dangerously dysfunctional homes, and getting kids out of them before their moms pick up butcher knives and threaten to kill them. If we really honor the sacrament of life that God gives us, we need a place to put them.

Strangely, conservatives always talk about a return on investment. Perhaps conservatives failed math class. But for every 15,000 dollars spent intervening in the lives of economically and otherwise disadvantaged, society can save 80,000 dollars in crime-related costs. Certainly our world is imperfect. Buddhism recognizes the need of certain minimum material conditions are favorable to spiritual success – even that of a monk engaged in meditation in some solitary place. But even if you don’t agree that there’s a moral imperative that we do it, it just makes economic sense.

Well, at least we saved farmer Fincher.  Representative Fincher, a farmer elected with Tea Party support, owns a farm and collected $3.5 million in farm subsidies from 1999 to 2012 (about $269,000 yearly).

How’s your moral imperative now?

Equanimity In The End

DeathAs you may know, one can often find me meditating in the wee hours of the morning. It is here, where I often find peace and harmony with the world and with God. So, in this sense, I offer the following story occurred February 11, 2014 between 2:45 AM and 3:30 AM.


W. Get up and meditate. I want to talk to you.

Uughhh,” looking at the clock. “2:26 AM Ms. K. I am tired today.”

…. 2:39 AM ….

W.! Get up and meditate. I have a surprise for you.

Ughh…. Ok, Ms. K..” Stumbling about. “Can I use meditation music?

No. No meditation music.

Glancing at upon my clock … 2:42 AM.
Within several moments of starting my meditation, I seemed engulfed by a powerful presence. There, standing in front of me was Ms. K., my friend who passed late last year. Standing in spirit form, she stood beautifully. While there was no physical body, her face, eyes, lips
 and hair was identifiable, but appeared gleaming by a warm soft light.

Everything about her was translucent. It was the strangest thing ever. I could see her, but see through her. She lived, but was different, beautiful, radiant and swarmed by golden light. 
While her smile was deeply moving, what captured me was this deep sense
 of love and peace. And aside from Christmas Eve 1978, this was perhaps the most powerfully
 expressive amount of love I have ever experienced. Ms. K’s touch peacefully
 penetrated my body. We embraced and our
exchange was filled with an overwhelming sense of acceptance.

Ms. K guided me through her new home. It was a world not unlike our own. At first glance, the grass was green, but each blade
 echoed a similar golden hue, a drop of dew and glistened from warmth surrounding everything. Each tree leaf was illuminated with a sense of deep purity. It was a most peaceful and accepting world where a light humming form of music I cannot adequately describe. There were no musicians, no choir, no rap, no reggae
 or jazz. It was harmonic.

W., this is the hum you hear at night. It is the music of the universe. It’s god’s
love. You, as do many others, hear the harmony of life.”

Before I could respond, we suddenly stood overlooking a city. The city seemed
 small and quaint, but it was hard to say. Every building was surrounded
 by golden aura, emanating from every wall, every roof and each window. Suddenly, without notice, a tall man stood before me. Adorned in white,
 I was embraced and a rush of ever present love streamed
through my body.

You are forgiven.”

I am forgiven?” I queried.”

You are forgiven. Whatever you have done, you are forgiven. I forgive you.

Just as quickly, Ms. K. and I were alone.

Was that God?

Yes.” K. replied as she smiled. “I told you I had a surprise for you.

…. 3:30 AM …. Meditation ended.

Everything written is an abbreviated account of my forty-five minutes in heaven (at least I can only relate it as being in heaven).  Being a meditation practitioner for years, I can honestly state I did not fall asleep, did not dream this vision, and did not enhance any part of the story.  I tried as a best as possible to accurately reflect the events.

In real life Ms. K. and I were not true friends. Outside of an occasional business meeting, we did not spend any non-work related time together. However, every since learning of her passing, I have had several “telepathic” conversations. Most of my persistent queries have surrounded what is “Heaven” like and what is God like. The other key part of my conversation centered upon many of my personal failings (adequately described herein this blog).

I can only presume after much pestering she found a way to answer my query.

I want everyone to know that this conversation has not converted me to conservative, Biblical quoting scholar.  In truth, much of my life will remain as the Buddha once described:

Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.”

In other words, our life goes forward and each of us must life it.  Some may claim this vision is a proclamation of my impending death.  Truthfully, that could be true.  But then again, I wasn’t supposed to live this long anyway.  Yes, I have Multiple Sclerosis and my circulation system kind of really sucks at this moment.  But I hope to tarry on for another 100 or so years. Ha! Ha!

I offer only two points.

  • First, I am not unique. I am not superhuman, overly blessed or specifically chosen.  And I still have no understanding why Ms. K. has chosen to communicate to me. But I am honored by her presence.
  • Secondly, I simply offer this story to say that any one of us can be forgiven. If we live in love, breathe in love and give love to others, any one of us can have the same wonderful experience.

If my story offends anyone, I am truly sorry. But I really hope my story brings each of you some peace or hope; that my story offers each of you something positive. If I can be forgiven, any of you can be as well. The real gift Ms. K. provided me was a process. It’s a process that allows any of us to live our days and allow us a degree of equanimity towards the end, looking at that black, implacable wall of death, to allow us a degree of peace, a degree of non-fear.

And I want in.

The Spirit Within

spiritLaying sick this past week, I had extensive conversations with a distant friend.  While unsure why she reached out to me at this particular moment, I have bathed in our renewed time together.  After conversing at all sorts of odd hours, one could find a sense of peace, a spiritual awakening. I felt amazingly refreshed.

Eckhart Tolle wrote,That is the real spiritual awakening, when something emerges from within you that is deeper than who you thought you were. So, the person is still there, but one could almost say that something more powerful shines through the person.”  This reminds all of us that one does not have to be terminally ill nor do you have to perform a bazillion hours of meditation to enter this peaceful state. However, once experienced, this spiritual awakening can become a part of your daily life.

Spirituality and religion belong in the healing paradigm and they factor significantly in recovery, well-being and longevity.  Jesus was once asked when the kingdom of God would come. The kingdom of God, Jesus replied, is not something people will be able to see and point to. Then came these striking words: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21). Looking into peace via the eyes of a friend, I confirmed a long held notion: that every great religious, spiritual, and wisdom tradition have the same commonality— that life’s ultimate truth, its ultimate treasure, lies within us.

After experiencing such peaceful moments in the last eight (8) years, I remember St. Augustine’s thoughts:

I entered into the innermost part of myself. . . . I entered and I saw with my soul’s eye (such as it was) an unchangeable light shining above this eye of my soul and above my mind. . . . He who knows truth knows that light, and he who knows that light knows eternity. Love knows it. O eternal truth and true love and beloved eternity!

And I often do this. I find a delight in it, and whenever I can relax from my necessary duties I have recourse to this pleasure. {I experience] a state of feeling which is quite unlike anything to which I am used — a kind of sweet delight which, if I could only remain permanently in that state, would be something not of this world, not of this life. But my sad weight makes me fall back again; I am swallowed up by normality.

Find a slice of this heavenly peace and invite it into your life. It’s nice to be reminded that the “kingdom of heaven” has many doors. This same kingdom we’ve been hearing about for the last several centuries is “within you.” Within us all. Here and now.

My soul at once becomes recollected and I enter the state of quiet or that of rapture, so that I can use none of my faculties and senses . . . . Everything is stilled, and the soul is left in a state of great quiet and deep satisfaction.

~Mother Teresa~

Throwing Stones

India-Gang-Rape_full_600Outside the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi in mid December, demonstrators raged over what they considered to be humiliating treatment of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade. Protesters carried signs bemoaning U.S. handling. “If USA will not respect Indians, then Americans will not be respected in India also.” The problem much of the world has is that India cannot seem to even respect their own.

Annu Devi, 22, and her baby girl were set afire in their village home in India’s Dumka district. Ms. Devi’s child died instantly while she later succumbed to injuries in a hospital. Devi’s family was harassed for money and other things.  CNN reported that in 2012 alone, India police registered 8,233 murders of women as “dowry deaths.”

In another news report, a headman ordered a 20-year-old woman to be untied from a tree in an remote Indian village, taken to a thatched shed and raped repeatedly over a period of about six hours. Among her alleged attackers was the headman himself. Her crime: she was a Hindu who’d had a relationship with a married Muslim outsider.

This is the latest Indian rape case to reverberate around the world and reveals the workings of an informal justice system that sets rules and imposes sanctions for many living in rural India. In further public stupidity, Asha Mirje, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader in western Maharashtra state, questioned why a 23-year-old physiotherapy student who was gang-raped on a bus in Delhi in 2012 was out late at night. Ms. Mirje suggested the gang-rape victim whose death sparked outrage was partly to blame because she went to the cinema at 11pm.

In truth, I have no idea if Devyani Khobragade’s case is solid. But I do know this, Ms. Khobragade was not tied to a tree and gang raped. Ms. Khobragade was not burned alive. Ms. Khobragade was not like assaulted like a 21-year-old Indian woman, apparently raped by two unrelated groups of men this past Christmas Eve. Lastly, Ms. Khobragade’s complaint against Federal prosecutors was taken and registered. The same could not be said for the woman listed above, as two police officers were suspended for initially refusing to register the 21-year-old victim’s complaint.

Media exposé of India doctors providing sex-selection services and offering to abort girls are commonplace, but they have little overall impact because demand is too strong.  Sex-selection doesn’t paint a complete representation. Many India women are missing because poorer families simply murder infant daughters at birth. In reality, there are increasing stories of women being kidnapped or trafficked to be forced into marriages because India men cannot find brides. Until recently, there was a tremendous unwillingness by India media and justice to become engaged.

Buddhist or Christian, we need to talk more often about the treatment of women within our countries and communities. Transforming violence against women is part of Buddhist teachings. We need to make that message heard loud and clear, regardless of boundary.  Societies as a whole must demand concrete steps ensure women’s safety, starting with norms of equality between genders.

Until then, I concur America has issues. But one shouldn’t throw stones in glass houses.

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