Robert C. Koehler

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

Articles by this author

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Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 7:00am
Ferguson and the 'Us vs. Them' Illusion
As the grand jury’s decision on whether nor not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson loomed, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told a TV reporter “ he’s preparing for peace and war .” What the governor did, in the tense uncertainty preceding the decision, was pre-declare a state of emergency and...
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Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 7:00am
Democracy's Most Cherished Act
Democracy! A word, a way of life, our highest ideal: Everyone is equal; no one is marginal. I still feel the force of this word, though the middle syllable — “mock” — grows increasingly dominant when I hear it, especially now, as election season rolls around again. The enormity of my indifference...
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Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 6:15am
One My Lai a Month
“When somebody asks, ‘Why do you do it to a gook, why do you do this to people?’ your answer is, ‘So what, they’re just gooks, they’re not people. It doesn’t make any difference what you do to them; they’re not human.’ “And this thing is built into you,” Cpl. John Geymann testified almost 44 years...
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Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 6:15am
Our Souls Turned into Weapons
“During basic training, we are weaponized:our souls turned into weapons.” Jacob George’s suicide last month — a few days after President Obama announced that the US was launching its war against ISIS — opens a deep, terrible hole in the national identity. George: singer, banjo player, poet, peace...
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Friday, October 3, 2014 - 6:45am
The Cancer of Violent Extremism
“As we look to the future, one issue risks a cycle of conflict that could derail so much progress. And that is the cancer of violent extremism that has ravaged so many parts of the Muslim world.” The cancer of violent extremism . . . I listen to the president’s words and stare into the void. All I...
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Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 9:15am
The God of War is on the Verge of Another Victory
Barack Obama’s central dilemma last week, when he tried to sell a new war to the American public on the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, was to speak convincingly about the wisdom and effectiveness of U.S. foreign policy over the last decade-plus while at the same time, alas, dropping the...
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Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 2:00pm
Fast-Draw Morality: Stalled in a State of Endless Embattlement
“So you want to disarm cops LOL yeah that’s an intelligent thing to do the gang bangers would love that surely they will unilaterally disarm too.” I’m used to semi-anonymous sarcasm by now, like this Huffington Post comment beneath a recent column I wrote on the militarization of the police and the...
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Thursday, September 4, 2014 - 8:00am
A Future That Values Everyone
“I think if we had a gun we would have been shot immediately.” This is as good a place to start as any, at the logical limits of violent self-defense. The speaker is Andres Gutierrez of Nonviolent Peaceforce, a nonprofit organization that has engaged in peacekeeping work in troubled regions of the...
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Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 7:45am
The Courage to Disarm
The Ferguson tragedy, like all those that preceded it and all that will follow — involving the trivial and panicky use of lethal force, by the police or anyone else — stirs up questions the social status quo doesn’t dare face. My sister, Sue Melcher, put it this way: “I find myself also nauseated...
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Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 6:45am
Deep Justice in Ferguson
Black ’hood, white cops. “Get the fuck on the sidewalk.” And so it begins, and begins, and begins. An African-American boy dies for walking in the street — for yet one more insanely small transgression. Protesters cry for justice. The legal bureaucracy hunkers down, defends itself, does what it can...
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