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Whi is to Blame?

It is difficult to respond to the senseless killing we hear about too frequently on the news. Words cannot suitably address the pain, sorrow and collective outrage of mass shootings that have no place in a civilized nation. For some disturbed people, the mass killing of innocent victims appears to be a meaningful way to vent one's anger, enact misguided revenge, or spark some insane idea of revolution.
    When I think of the incredible potential, beauty and inherent good of the Western ideals that Chivalry-Now advocates, it is difficult to understand how people set their course in a direction that only leads to violence and failure.
    What exactly are we facing? Nothing but senseless evil. Twisted thoughts. Complete lack of conscience. Contempt for justice. Anger intensified by voices that maliciously exploit popular confusion. A disdain for civilization and for humanity itself. Where does all this come from? What is the cure?
    The International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now naturally reflects the integration of the ideals that we stand for. Areté. Aletheia. Nature's Law. Honor. The quest dynamic. Generosity. Humility. Helping those in need. To us, these ideals make perfect sense and validate the very best of who we are.
    The trouble is, some people conclude the exact opposite. We coexist with them in a nation founded on Age of Enlightenment principles. Instead of building something positive on this foundation, they fan the fuel of extreme anger and paranoia to the point of wanting to cripple everything for which we stand.
    These misguided individuals do not exist in a vacuum. They associate with those of similar beliefs. Within these circles, a litany of complaints and conspiracy theories formulate their vision of the world. Irresponsible conclusions are encouraged by political extremists and media personalities who are out to make a fast buck. Anger turns to rage. The portrayal of violence by our entertainment industry merely adds to the mix, resulting in cultural pockets that are consumed by hate, bigotry, and a complete disregard for the values we hold so dear.
    The influence is actually more endemic than this suggests. We experience it every day even outside those circles. Listen to talk show hosts on television and radio. Witness the violence portrayed in movies. Investigate the ridiculous claims and accusations of extremist politicians. Examine the subtext of various policies being bantered about, shamelessly targeting various groups for reasons of race, religion or sexual orientation. These intolerably vicious, on-going persecutions are already paralyzing our democracy and distorting religious values.
   
Who is to blame for all this?
   
It is the nature of the quest to decide such things for yourselves. If you want to find culpability, listen to the words spoken on the nightly talk shows from both extremes. Open your minds and your hearts to what is being said, the evasive or misleading answers, the baseless accusations and sentiments behind them. Question what you hear from the depth of your conscience. Decide for yourself who speaks for truth, life and humanity, and who promotes death, bigotry and selfish gain.
   
Some say that our problems are the price we have to pay for freedom. I reject that completely. The price reflects a poor substitute for freedom that we mistakenly uphold, the withered view of freedom that has no purpose, no positive direction, no regard for the virtues that give humanity meaning - the moral and intellectual license to willingly lose oneself in lies and manufactured fear.
   
In medieval times it was said that only one in a thousand walks the path of chivalry and knighthood. I am not sure about that ratio, but it does suggest what we are up against in a world where so many people embrace and promote the senseless cause of fear, bigotry and death.
   
In light of those who have been killed or wounded, and those who loved them, our work is cut out for us.

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