"Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy
that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success,
but rather an ability to work for something because it is good."
"In tandem with the nearly daily warnings of an imminent terrorist attack, the news media seem perfectly in tune with the administrationís scare mongering -- a nearly textbook replication of what Noam Chomsky calls "manufacturing consent." It is important to resist this conformity not only for our own self-respect and the functioning of democracy, but for signaling to European allies in particular; if they believe America is utterly united in its determination to wage war against Iraq, for example, then they are much more likely to acquiesce."
from One Year Later: Unintended Consequences of 9/11 and the War on
Terrorism, John Tirman, AlterNet Aug 29, 2002
Human beings are not our enemy. Our enemy is not the other person.
Our enemy is the violence, ignorance, and injustice in us and in the other
person. When we are armed with compassion
and understanding, we fight not against other people, but against the tendency
to invade, to dominate, and to exploit."
--Thich Nhat Hanh in "Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the
On September 11, 2001, the horrifying events at the World Trade Center reverberated around the globe.
In the following days and months, the
media in the U.S. continued its barrage of news about violence, brutality, hate crimes, racism, poverty, child
abductions, and the endless threat of continued war. As a result, many people have experienced feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
The media's penchant for tales of violence and tragedy, its focus on
sensationalism as opposed to what makes sense, breeds fear and fosters bad policy decisions. As Berkeley Media Studies Group notes, "The presumption  is that journalists report crime to inform the public. But the evidence is that we frighten citizens. And, we provide so little information that they end up making unnecessary and costly decisions about protecting themselves and their families. They accept that they must live with a certain level of crime and the fear that accompanies it. They also vote for legislation or support policies that don't work."
[BMSG. Reporting on Violence, 2001]
In the face of so much horror, it is difficult to know that the real picture is quite different--violence has been
declining, 1 as are child abductions. 2 While tragedies and violence fill our headlines and airwaves, across the globe people are helping one another and laboring to end violence. A great many people and organizations, including many young people, are dedicated to making a positive difference in our communities.
For the month of September, the Trauma Foundation will focus on the positive social policy,
individual, and organizational actions happening
around issues related to injury and violence. These individuals and organizations
can serve as models of hope and action for all of us.
To learn more about journalism and the responsible reporting of violence from a public health perspective, visit
the Berkeley Media Studies Group web
site at www.bmsg.org. To read alternative news coverage, see AlterNet at
www.alternet.org and in-depth
reporting at The Center for Investigative Reporting at www.muckraker.org
Mother Jones at www.motherjones.com.
Have a story of someone making a difference in your community? Write to
us at email@example.com and tell us about it.
California Community-Based Organizations and Advocates Making a Difference
Homeys -- a community action program in San Francisco, CA
Community Wellness Partnership:Pomona Youth
Barrios Unidos -- a community action program in Santa Cruz, CA
Reminders of a Violent Past: A profile of Dr. Lisa Benton
Co/Motion, a program of the Alliance for Justice
1. The year 2000 marked the lowest volume of violent crime since 1985.
Preliminary data for 2001 suggest that there has been a slight (2%) increase in violent
crime from the year 2000. Generally, however, the last 15 years have been
marked by declining violent crime. United States Department Of Justice, FBI.
"Crime in the U.S. 2000" & "Preliminary data for 2001.")
2.The subject of child abduction is one example of how
media hype distorts public perception. For example, according to the
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in 1999, there
were 58,200 "non-family child abductions." However, of
these, 99% were returned home. Only 115 of these abductions were of the most
serious and dangerous types. Almost 60% of these children were returned
safely. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, www.missingkids.com.
See also," What are the risks to your child: Facts and figures on Child
Abductions" at www.missingkids.com.