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

Not only are statues of Confederate generals finally coming down, but Christopher Columbus—colonialist conqueror extraordinaire—apparently has also had his day, with his statues coming down all over the place. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Is the Nation Opening Its Soul?
Topple a few statues, remove some iconic names from American institutions . . . and the ghosts of the past start to escape from history, filling the present moment. It’s called awareness. Too much awareness can feel like chaos. Not surprisingly, a lot of people would prefer to stick with the old...
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Reinvest in people? Are we really ready for that level of common sense? (Photo: Shutterstock) Views
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Defunding 'Justified' Murder
Well, he deserved to die, didn’t he? He fought, he ran, he grabbed the cop’s taser and fired it. And he was intoxicated, apparently. And he was blocking traffic. “If an officer is hit with that Taser, all of his muscles will be locked up, and he’ll have the inability to move and to respond,” said a...
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Demonstrators protest the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer on June 3, 2020 in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Globally Uprooting a Racist Past
"This was not an attack on history. This is history . It is one of those rare historic moments whose arrival means things can never go back to how they were." And the toppled statue of a 17th century slave trader, now at the bottom of Bristol Harbour, is suddenly more relevant than ever, as the cry...
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One day the whole nation will take to its knee. (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images) Views
Thursday, June 04, 2020
The Knee for Change
Is George Floyd today’s Emmett Till? Is the nation moving beyond, oh God, its third manifestation of “legal” racism? The first manifestation was, of course, slavery, which was eliminated via the Civil War. The second manifestation was the Jim Crow/KKK era, with its lynchings, black vote suppression...
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 Police need to be highly trained and thoroughly multi-racial. They need, indeed, to be the ones who take the lead as we rebuild our social system based on the sanctity of life. (Photo: Erik McGregor/Getty Images) Views
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Policing and the Sanctity of Life
This is so much bigger than personal accountability. Yes, the four police officers present at the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis were fired the next day. The case is being investigated by the FBI. And the mayor of Minneapolis and lots of other politicians are talking about “...
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We must disarm our concept of social order. This means a different sort of training for police officers—less target practice, more psychological awareness. (Photo: Kevin Cortopassi/Flickr/cc) Views
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Rethinking Public Safety: Trust vs. Force
“Guns aren’t just a danger in and of themselves,” writes Noah Berlatsky at Quartz. “They enable a policing philosophy built on violence and forced compliance, rather than one founded on respect, trust and consent. That philosophy affects every police interaction, even those that don’t involve...
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The first institutional change would have to be in our criminal justice system and our underlying theory about the maintenance of social order. Disarm policing. Rethink justice: It’s not a matter of punishment but a matter of healing. (Photo: Reuters) Views
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Racism and the National Soul
How deep does American racism go? And is it possible to uproot it? Or will it simply—endlessly—shift shape, wrap itself in the political correctness of the day and morph, say, from slavery to Jim Crow, from Jim Crow to stand-your-ground laws, gerrymandering and voter suppression? At some point, the...
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Why does it take a pandemic to get the world to stop fighting? Are we being led by 3-year-olds?  (Photo: Shutterstock) Views
Thursday, May 07, 2020
Can We Achieve Nuclear Adulthood?
“I’ll never tire of repeating: We need to demilitarize world affairs, international politics and political thinking.” What if a world leader — someone with extraordinary power, even, my God, control over nuclear weapons — were to talk this way? Well, this is as close as we can get for now. The...
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The prison system doesn’t work. (Photo: Derek Goulet/cc/flickr) Views
Thursday, April 30, 2020
A United World Must Break Out of Prison
At a time when the president wants to reopen the economy—but not the borders!—it’s time to grab ahold of the moment and start groping in our minds beyond what’s politically possible and start envisioning serious social change. Life is fervid chaos right now for those who are on the front lines of...
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(Photo: flickr / cc / The Accidental Photographer) Views
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Moral Injury and the Pandemic of Violence
"The vet in the mirror may be wounded in the soul—and it is your duty to carry this one last vet for help." This is not an easy reach—into the soul of the loneliest man or woman on Earth, which is the definition of everyone who is on the brink of committing suicide. For decades, Roland Van Deusen...
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