I have never been able to completely disassociate being happy from being either stupid or ill-informed.  It's also easy for me to confused hope with naiveté.  But I am hopeful and I attribute a lot of it to reading a book called The Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker.  The thesis of the book is that we are living in the least violent time in our history and that violence has declined by at least three powers of ten over the past thousand years.  That means that for every thousand violent deaths a thousand years ago, there is one today.  Even the horrific violence of the twentieth century was not a deviation from that trend.  Of course, the trend is occurring unevenly across the globe.  The murder rate in Europe is about one per hundred thousand, four or five in northern USA, eight or ten in southern USA, and on up into the thirties and forties in Latin America.  He reminds of us of human cataclysms in the past, most of which I hadn't even heard of, like the Mongol oppression of India, in which tens, even hundreds, of millions of people perished unnecessarily.  He reminds us that there was a time when party entertainment included sometimes tying a rope to the tail of a cat and dangling it over a fire.  And here's my favorite: In late medieval Europe there was a sport played regularly at festivals in which you nailed a cat to a tree so it faced outward.  Then the fun began when you tried to beat the cat to death with your face without getting your eyes clawed out.  It sounds like something in The Onion, but is isn't.  
 
Humans survived over the millions of years because our minds paid more attention to the exceptional detail because that detail had a much higher probability of being the appearance of a predictor or an enemy than not.  No survival advantage is conferred by focusing on what is not a threat.  And news medias know that.  They get their ratings from capturing our attention.  The point is that we have a false perception of the violence in the world unless you stop and examine carefully what is going on.  That's why you have such a strong alignment of low education, fear, and indifference to facts in election 2016.
 
The Better Angels of our Nature is a fat book because the analysis is so detailed and the documentation is so prolific.  I listened to it as a book on disk from the library.  It's thirty-six disks long as I remember.
 
Anyway...
 
Don't worry.  Be happy.
 
Chris 

I have coasted for too long.  I am aware that I have several writing projects I want to take up.  For a long time I have wanted to write a column for my church called St. Luke Changes Lives.  I have written perhaps eight such columns over two years, but I want to be publishing them about once a week.  Column two: I want to write a column called St. Luke Stories, which would be just that.  I want to write a journal that is little more than a set of letters.  I write well and I want to have an impact on the politics of our time so why don't I put those two together.  Write letters to newspapers, websites, politicians, writers, whoever and bring to bear my smarts, my reading, my ability to write, and my passion for justice.  I have a couple other ideas but those three will do for starters.

Now I remember that I haven't practiced writing for several years.  I have written pretty much every day, but writing, and thinking for that matter, are like every other practice or art form.  Skills degrade unless they are used and no skill improves without being deployed.  Writing every day has been a good way to maintain - somewhat - what I can do with my pen, but I have to resume my discipline of improving my writing.  Fortunately, I can do both t the same time.  I can begin my various projects and I can do it with a great deal of self editing which, with some luck will improve my ability to write.  I know from my past that I got much satisfaction from accomplishing good writing.

So off I go.