Robert C. Koehler

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

"Between 1877 and 1950, 3,959 African Americans were murdered in lynchings." (Photo: Wolfram Kastl/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Lynchings Past And Present
When history is looked at in its complexity, it plays havoc with the present moment. “This wasn’t done by the Klan, or people who had to wear a mask. This was done by teachers and clergy and law enforcement officers.” This is Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, talking to Oprah Winfrey...
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 "Does the Second Amendment pay homage to the default American storyline: that the enemy is always out there and the only defense is shooting first (or building a wall)?" (Photo: Kim Davies/flickr/cc) Views
Thursday, April 05, 2018
Rethinking the Whole Country
Repeal and replace? How about the Second Amendment? “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Setting aside the antique strangeness of the wording, isn’t it time to give thought to the values...
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Thursday, March 29, 2018
Change Is Coming... And Not Through the Barrel of Our Guns
The cries of loss and anguish become public, at last. A million young people seize the truth: “Half of my seventh grade class was affected by gun violence. My own brother was shot in the head. I am tired of being asked to calm down and be quiet.” The stories went on and on, speaker after speaker...
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"When violence is normal and ongoing and, in the case of war, celebrated and glorified, it feeds on itself." (Joshua Roberts / Reuters) Views
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Normalizing Violence
Addressing the Parkland shootings last month, and the apparent emergence of a movement for tougher, saner gun laws that has followed, a USA Today article asked: “What has been so different from all the other mass shootings over the years?” In one sense, this is a reasonable question. Why now? Why...
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Thursday, March 15, 2018
Breaking the ICE
Perhaps the best political news of the Trump era has been the emergence of sanctuary cities — city governments valuing the presence of immigrants and standing for the protection of their right to live without fear — and their defiance of this country’s current manifestation of legal racism. “How...
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Friday, March 09, 2018
Something’s Gotta Give: Time To Disarm the Gun Debate
The “gun debate” is the national schism that seemingly cannot be bridged. Those on one side see the loosely regulated presence of 300 million firearms in this country as a threat to everyone’s safety and gasp in ongoing disbelief when the gun lobby smirks that the solution to every mass killing is...
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"Your religion, your money and your politics cannot stop the melting of the Big Ice." (Photo: Screenshot/stella-polaris.org/film/) Views
Thursday, March 01, 2018
Melting the Ice in the Human Heart
How close, how intimate, have you ever gotten with Greenland? A new documentary called Stella Polaris , directed by Yatri Niehaus — part of Chicago’s tenth annual Peace on Earth Film Festival — takes you on a meditative journey to this lonely, extraordinary island, to its melting ice, its rampaging...
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"The problem with this, beyond the fact that this kind of spending on “defense” shrivels social spending to a bare minimum, is that planning for war — celebrating war, glorifying war — has a long-term psychological impact on a large segment of society." (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Views
Friday, February 23, 2018
The Cheapening Of Human Life
The cries of terror and disbelief continue. Teenagers lie down in front of the White House to protest the nation’s tepid, stalled gun-control legislation. Parents grieve for their children and stare at the wound carved into the American soul. Assault rifles have more rights than schoolchildren. A...
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"In America, the horrors of poverty go on and on." (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, February 15, 2018
War and Poverty: A Compromise With Hell
It’s so easy to paper over the real American security void with verbiage about strength vs. weakness and the endless need to upgrade the military. Here’s Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, for instance, quoted the other day in The Guardian : “It is incumbent upon us to field a more lethal force if...
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The paradox of reaching beyond war, as I noted in the wake of the Iraq invasion, is that doing so disrupts “the mobilized public at its level of deepest bonding” and “sews doubt in the psychic well of patriotism.” (Photo: Cleo Leng/flickr/cc) Views
Thursday, February 08, 2018
The Other Superpower?
“I’m so honored to be alive at such a miraculous time in history. I’m so moved by what’s going on in our world today.” This was 2003. The words were those of Robert Muller — the other one, the one from Costa Rica, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations — who was speaking just...
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