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Cynique

Back to the drawing board

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Because gang related violence has become so rampant in this country’s inner cities, attempts to focus on this problem have taken on celebrity involvement. Recently ABC news anchor, Diane Sawyer, showed up in Chicago to cover a gang summit being sponsored by Father Michael Pfleger, local hero, activist Catholic priest, and the white leader of an all black congregation. These high level meetings between the hierarchy of Chicago’s gangs have been held before and have not worked or will they ever because guards can never be lowered and ground never conceded. Reputations have to be maintained.

What I find compelling about the situation is the reaity of what is at the root of a lot of the violence. Poverty and lack of jobs and the breakdown of the family don’t tell the whole story. It’s assumed that the wanton slayings are all gang-related, all about turfs and drugs and retaliations . But a lot of the killings are actually personal vendettas by macho cowards, - nonentities who are so consumed with their need to feel important that they cannot deal with rejection.

Time and time again a familiar scenario is what triggers murder and mayhem. Someone is having a party with family and friends when an individual or a group crashes the affair and after stirring up trouble, are asked to leave. The second act of this drama plays out with the resentful offenders showing back up with a gun to shoot up the place. Other situations involve love triangles where one rival will gun down his cock-blocking competitor. Even making longer than necessary eye contact between adversaries can lead to drawn weapons. Any act of disrespect shown by one homie toward another, be it on a playground or at the club or on a FaceBook wall, or at a funeral for a murdered friend is grounds for pulled triggers. What used to be settled with fists is now finalized with guns in the hands of those who invaribly slaughter innocent bystanders, all in the ritual of proving one’s manhood by getting even.

Unfortunately, this need to beat one’s chest doesn’t restrict itself to the ghetto. A more cold-blooded version exists across the board on all levels of society and can even lead to war. When the collective ego of one country is insulted by the collective ego of another country, battle lines are drawn.

It's a fact life that an insatiable ego is an intrinsic part of all living creatures. It’s the nature of the beast to take offense at anything that constitutes a slight, and threatens one’s self esteem or, worse yet, exposes one’s insecurity.

All cooler heads advocate replacing false pride with peace and love, citing these virtues as being the source of true strength because they call for the restraint that saves lives. "Blessed be the peacemakers", but everybody didn’t get the memo. The ruthless ego will not be denied. It rules everywhere as lions fight to be king of the jungle, - and men fight to be king of the hill. Crushing a threat to your status gives the ego an erection.

That damned ego is at the root of all the problems of the world because it goes hand in hand with the quest for power. And power corrupts.

God, you sure screwed up when you created us - in your image...

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As someone who grew up in southern California, divided between a red and a blue in one town and only a few miles away from the violence in Los Angeles, even I am surprised at how quickly I forget. Thank you for putting this back in my head, so it will find its way into my words.

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Unfortunately, this need to beat one’s chest doesn’t restrict itself to the ghetto. A more cold-blooded version exists across the board on all levels of society and can even lead to war. When the collective ego of one country is insulted by the collective ego of another country, battle lines are drawn.

So true! Think about the chemical and biological warfare that various countries are working on in an attempt to be the top dog. It's crazy. And unfortunately, it seems to be human nature.

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The ego is a double-edged sword. It is at its best when a person is confident enough to be self-deprecating. These modest types always seem to be people who have the most going for themselves and whose accomplishments speak for themselves.

Countries can be comparable to males who can't get it up and have to prove themselves with saber rattling. Old men sending young men to die in battle.

Where do women fit into this equation?? I can't be objective enough to make a judgment. But in the midst of their vanity, women do seem to know that a man's ego is his archilles heel.

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