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Time for national emergency 

Surely, most humans want peace for their children's future. Peace starts with us.

Time for national emergency

Surely, most humans want peace for their children's future. Peace starts with us. A 2014 Gallup poll asked 66,000 people from 65 nations what was the "greatest threat to peace in the world today?" A plurality answered: the United States. Statistics confirm the U.S. has yet to become a genuinely peace-seeking society.

Violence is in the U.S. DNA, from Native American genocide and slavery to dozens of recent nondefensive military invasions. Our deregulated profit-seeking media is saturated with violence and content that leads to violence against women. We're a militaristic culture of bloodlust that teaches children that violence solves problems best, so widespread school shootings and police brutality are unsurprising. However, DNA is subject to mutation.

Despite endless war glorification, we've never had a "war to end all war." War and violence never achieved an enduring peaceful order.

Many believe World War II was the "good" war. Hitler was defeated, but lasting peace was never reached, and horrific terroristic atrocities were committed by all sides. Most problematically, WWII was followed by our establishment of a permanent war economy, nuclear arms race and vast empire, which now entails 700 to 1,000 foreign military bases.

This empire exists to control other nations' resources, and makes Americans less safe. It entails dozens of invasions, CIA coups overthrowing democracies and installing puppet dictators, which fuel hatred, extremist radicalization and terrorism.

Although there have been no wars between major powers since, many smaller conflicts occurred and the United Nations helped resolve over 170 of them, according to Inter Press Service News. The U.N. has been unsuccessful in resolving other conflicts, especially Israel's, that involve the interests of the five nations with Security Council veto power. Describing vitally needed U.N. reform, including abolishing the P5 veto, will require another essay.

Reforming the U.N. is only one piece of the peace puzzle. Like transforming the suicidal fossil fuel energy system, shifting away from the war economy is multifaceted. Although no major politician will admit it, the two transformations are one. A Truthout article titled "The Military Assault on the Climate" points out: "the Pentagon is the largest institutional user of petroleum ... (energy, and) ... Any talk of climate change which does not include the military is nothing but hot air."

As the world's greatest economic and military power, we're leading the world to apocalyptic annihilation with escalation of war and terrorism, and ignorant environmental disrespect. Yet, we can change gears and lead the world toward peace and true civilization.

To inspire the mandatory change of "swords to plowshares," a serious revolutionary leader must frame this as a national emergency akin to confronting Hitler. Vast transformation of American peacetime manufacturing for WWII was immense, and now we must reverse this.

The national emergency must entail a deeply urgent imperative for international cooperation, and massive investment in open source scientific research and development of alternative energies, conservation technology, desalinization, etc. Everyone involved in the war economy must be guaranteed jobs in the peace economy, especially bright scientific minds.

Abel Tomlinson

Fayetteville

In defense of greyhound trainer

I have recently been made aware of a blog that was posted on the Arkansas Times website regarding a trainer fined for allegedly administering "lidocaine" to a greyhound at Southland Park Gaming & Racing ("Trainer fined in greyhound doping," Nov. 18).

After reading the article, it was painfully apparent that reporter Leslie Newell Peacock not only didn't gain a full understanding of the circumstances behind the case she referenced, but she apparently didn't care to even try to obtain the full facts of the case before passing judgment and writing her blog.

For the benefits of your readers who may actually care to know the facts, the presence of lidocaine in that greyhound was due to a topical spray the trainer, Alan Harrell, had used to help the greyhound heal from what are known as "hot spots." Hot spots are minor irritations that can occur on the surface of a dog's skin from time to time, most often compared to eczema on humans. When the positive test came back from the lab, the kennel building was inspected immediately to identify the source of the lidocaine. The state veterinarian confirmed that its source was the topical spray product that Harrell used to treat those hot spots, and that the trainer stated he was unaware that the product contained lidocaine.

One can argue that Harrell should have known the contents of the spray. However, this spray is often prescribed by veterinarians, and the trainer believed he was treating his dog as any veterinarian would have recommended. The judges who heard this case also felt that Harrell was acting in the best interest of the greyhound overall and there was no intent to tamper with the actual performance of the greyhound itself. The judges also received confirmation from a qualified veterinarian that the amount of lidocaine found in the dog, especially applied in this manner (topically), made zero impact on the dog's performance. The fine ($500) was enforced due to his negligence in failing to check the ingredients of the spray, but the suspension was not enforced because of these circumstances.

Under state regulations, the judges may elect to follow or depart from the RCI Model Rules based on the circumstances of the case, and that is exactly what the three-judge panel did.

None of this information was provided in the blog. Instead, Peacock rushed to judgment and irresponsibly posted completely incorrect information that could damage the reputation of a greyhound trainer who was, in fact, conscientiously attending to his greyhound's care in a manner that qualified veterinarians affirmed.

Unfortunately, the damage has been done. One look at the comments she generated based on her version of the facts shows how some people, especially those with an existing bias against greyhound racing, have bought into this misinformation.

Shane Bolender

Director of racing operations

Southland Park Gaming and Racing

West Memphis

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