Do you think this person feels safe?

University of Michigan student wearing a hijab was threatened with being set on fire, policy say

A University of Michigan student was approached by a stranger who threatened to set her on fire with a lighter if she didn’t remove her hijab, police said.

The incident occurred between 5:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday just outside the campus in Ann Arbor. Police said the woman complied and left.

“We do consider this a hate crime,” Diane Brown, public information officer for the university’s Division of Public Safety and Security, told The Washington Post. The Ann Arbor Police Department is heading the investigation.

How about this person?

Veteran in dispute with Chili’s over Veteran’s Day meal incident

In the meantime, people on behalf of the company have expressed some regret about what happened here.

Video of a Chili’s manager snatching the meal Army veteran Ernest Walker received as part of the restaurant’s Veterans Day tribute sent shock waves across the internet.

CBS 11’s story on the incident drew hundreds of comments and thousands of reactions on Facebook, but Walker says the response he wants is from Chili’s.

“I personally have not heard from them, no,” Walker said.

I recently read King’s pursuit of positive peace on Learning to Speak Politics and have been motivated to write a post on a subject that I think needs to be written about. It’s often a question that is hardly ever asked and can often be assumed based on circumstances or your environment. The answer to this question from a complaining white liberal would be drastically different from someone being bombed on in Yemen by the Saudi’s. I’ve had a tough time with this and the post is going to reflect my internal processing of this question.

Starting with the easy point, anyone involved in war would potentially say that being safe means not being involved in war. War is a classical example of how human arrogance and ignorance can escalate exponentially into something that is hard to stop once started. As if we didn’t learn our lessons from World War One, we had to fight another one that we unceremoniously called World War Two. Then came the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War v1.0 (where we didn’t invade Iraq), and the Gulf War v2.0 (where we did invade Iraq). I’ve never been a soldier and honestly could probably never be one that made a difference. This is the reason that I have unwavering respect for anyone who serves to protect our country. During a war, there is no safety, no comfort; just pain and suffering. No one actually “wins” in a war and the fact we fight them is a testament to our inability to seek first to understand then be understood. What do you think anyones answer to this question would be from Honduras, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, or Yemen? Yeah, there’s that many, and the United States was involved in some way with all these countries and making them living hell for the people living in them.

Our species has fought hundreds of wars throughout our history, sometimes for obvious reasons, sometimes for not so obvious reasons. A common thread amongst most armed conflict is the oppression or control of people who decide they’ve had enough, or at the very least, people that are made to feel inferior to others that think they’re superior. You can look back through history and see these waves of prosperity (highs) in between waves of conflict (lows) that would look like a roller coaster. We continue to ignore our own past and have consistently not learned anything from our conflicts to keep them from continuing. The interesting thing is that the majority of the population is essentially peaceful and would normally avoid conflict in most cases as logic dictates that conflict is often not efficient or conducive to solving problems.

I’m going to use a science fiction reference now because I think it supports my thought process at the moment. In the episode “Genesis of the Daleks”, Davros is a scientist for the Kaleds, who are fighting a 1,000 years war with the Thals. Both sides had been fighting the war so long they had forgotten what they were fighting for or about and instead kept attempting to overpower the other. Davros, seeing the nuclear war they were fighting was causing mutations, found a mutation for the Kaleds that resisted the effects of nuclear radiation. The resulting mutation required a mechanical mechanism to allow them to move and interact with their surroundings. Davros felt that emotion was the cause for weakness and war and he genetically removed every emotion apart from hate. The resulting creation, Dalek (an anagram of Kaled) viewed themselves as the supreme race in the universe, intent on purging the universe of all non-Dalek life. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Germans of WWII perhaps? In a world full of Daleks, no one is safe.

My own definition of safe is slightly more obtuse as I don’t see it as something tangible. Rather, I see it as something emotional in that we have the ability to “be” safe as well as being physically safe. Physical safety is owning a gun or locking your doors at night, looking both ways before crossing the street, paying attention to a sign that says “Hot” and not touch. Exercising physical safety is logical and generally the guidelines that dictate physical safety are accepted and aren’t usually ignored. Being safe is much harder to describe in broad terms and I only have my own experiences to draw upon. I used to “be” safe by not questioning what was going on around me as it would have threatened my belief of safety. There are so many queues around us that things just aren’t as they should be, but the majority of people choose to ignore them or see them and not talk or take action against them. This leads to complacency, a false sense of safety, and an inability to accept atrocities even when they’re right in front of you.

There are thousands of people in this country and hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people in the world that don’t feel safe and probably have never felt safe. The real problem is that when you don’t know any different, you don’t know that you’re not safe. That isn’t living, its torture. The worst kind of torture because you don’t know that it can be better, so much better. The hardest part for anyone to admit in all this is that in order to support someone elses right to be safe, their right to live as a human being, we need to sacrifice our own mental safety for a period of time to effect action that benefits everyone. We took a huge step on November 8th as a country and chose to surrender our safety as a people and elect someone who has the potential to be a rather poor decision for President. The bull that media, elites, and the Democrats fed to us for so many years was enough to finally show people who their safety was being threatened in a larger way than if they elected the other person. The fact that people were voting for Trump and saying they voted for Clinton on exit polls is a huge indicator that they were afraid. Afraid of other people’s reactions, afraid of being labeled.

The piece that inspired this post is well worth the read and I encourage you to watch the “I have a dream” speech that is linked to her post. It would be wise for all of us to remind ourselves that people before us have fought and died for their beliefs in equality and to a lesser extent, living with a relative feeling of safety in the world. I’ve had the opportunity to read several of the speeches from Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and even Barack Obama. All have had points in their speeches that just make logical sense and serve as reminders that it takes a village, not an individual, to make things change for the better. I’ve connected with like-minded people (Learning to Speak Politics, R.R. Wolfgang, In Saner Thought, John Liming’s Blog, etc.) so that a connected and cohesive message can be spread through the written word. It’s up to all of us to keep that going and spread that to the people in our lives that are open and receptive to differing points of view.

An open mind is a terrible thing to waste, so go find a few, step up, and speak.