In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 27, 2012/ 8 Menachem-Av, 5772

Looking for Meaning in a Massacre

By Suzanne Fields

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The memorable massacres of history have been the stuff of ruthless despots. They're about power and intolerance — getting rid of anyone who could cause trouble. Attila the Hun needed an army to massacre his enemy. Josef Stalin was a wholesale killer who measured his dead in the millions. So did Hitler, who appealed to "willing executioners" who benefited materially and officially from an actively fed prejudice, along with a cadre of SS officers who hated Jews and hunted them as though they were animals.

Retail massacre, on the other hand, is the work of loners and losers. These massacres usually have elements of nuttiness, malicious imagination and obsession with information that is easily distorted through a lens of madness. That's the way of religious fanatics drawn to terrorism, like the Army major at Fort Hood, Texas, who imagined he was a soldier of Allah. (President Obama wants us to regard the Fort Hood massacre not as terrorism but as "workplace violence," but almost nobody else does.)

Killers can be the mentally mangled with the means to destroy, like the killers at Columbine.

They can also be deranged by something like an aggressive tumor on the brain. Charles Whitman, the sniper in the tower at the University of Texas, was a onetime Eagle Scout who suffered an unknown swelling until it pressed itself into the service of violent behavior. An autopsy discovered the tumor. Science and psychiatry can tell us much in laboratory and asylum, but there's still much we don't know and can't explain, or even attempt to understand, until tragedy disrupts the calm of conventional lives.

Aristotle described tragic theater as exciting the emotions of pity and fear — "there but for the grace of G0d go I" — and such emotions can turn evil in modern everyday life. We look for scapegoats and even identify a few, but the loss of innocent life seems most fathomable by simply recognizing that death by massacre is pure bad luck, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The more we learn more about alleged gunman James Holmes and his habits, the more we're likely to ask whether any drugs played a part in his murderous rampage and whether his obsession with a nonviolent video game contributed to a psychotic personality. Something called "i-craziness" (the "i" is for Internet), or "connection addiction," is thought to contribute to panic, depression, psychosis and even rewiring brains.

Scientific research supports anecdotal observations that ultra-smart technology may in certain circumstances control the "controller," or bring on a "reactive psychosis," a form of temporary insanity.

Newsweek magazine, in a cover story on "i-craziness," describes lurid examples, such as the young couple who "nourished" a virtual baby online while their real-life infant died from neglect.

In another example, a young man fatally bludgeoned his mother when she suggested he log off his computer. He then used her credit card to continue with pay-to-play sites.

The planning that went into the Aurora massacre shows that such craziness can be fed from many streams, including the disappointment of a young man accustomed to academic success.

In cruel irony, the new Batman movie was supposed to bring closure to the trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan, but instead raises further questions from real life. The Warner Bros. studio now says it will contribute "a substantial sum" to the victims of the tragedy. The moviemakers can expect less analyzing of the epic's aesthetics, good or bad, than of the massacre that followed the opening. Real life, when forced into the details of drama, can be far less understandable than the human hand dramatizing a story.

Aristotle, who wrote the ancient rules of drama, said spectacle was the weakest part of tragedy. That's why the Greeks kept the gory stuff off stage. When James Holmes made his first court appearance, he certainly looked diminished, not at all what we might have imagined. A sloppy dye job had left his hair in shades of pink, yellow, orange and brown, nothing like the startling mop of the comic-book Joker. He looked more like a careless adolescent than a monstrous villain.

His behavior in the courtroom held more in common with a character in a dull theater of the absurd, not a greater-than-life-size villain. He was drained of menace with not a drop of danger showing in his demeanor. It was easy to understand why he was held in solitary confinement for "his safety," rather than the safety of others.

The horror of one dark night had morphed into memory and loss. If only we could rewind the film in the theater of the real.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.


Suzanne Fields Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields