November 1, 2016
Living in Peace
All you have to do is pay a visit to Google News and read the headlines, or go to any page on Facebook, or scroll through your Twitter feed, and you’ll quickly see that we are not living in peace. Far from it. Take a look at a random sampling from the headlines at Google news.
Trump: Clinton’s foreign policy plan would start WWIII
New York Times
Mosul Fight Unleashes New Horrors on Civilians
Why Pakistan Still Sees Huge Militant Attacks
Or lastly, this…
Al-Shabab attack’ on Kenyan town Mandera kills 12
Don’t get me wrong, this was by no means the extent of the violence reported; in fact, if I had included the vitriol from Facebook and Twitter, especially dealing with the elections, I wouldn’t have had room in the post. Living in peace is a difficult fact to prove.
Living in Peace…
…should mean just that. Living in a world where you don’t have to worry about some lunatic pulling a knife on you, or shooting you, or pushing the button to start a war. And that’s a nice vision, but the world hasn’t been living in peace for a long time. A very long time.
A History of War
Just look at our own country. We sprung to life with the Revolutionary War, followed by the War of 1812, then the War with Mexico, the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Granada, Gulf War, Iraq War, Afghanistan… and interspersed in here were numerous wars on the American Indians, the Cold War, and others. If you add Great Britain’s history to the mix, I don’t think there has been a moment’s peace for three hundred years.
War Has Even Infiltrated Our Language
Think about it. Everything these days is a ‘war on something.’ A war on drugs, war on crime, and so many more.
And the hatred doesn’t stop with war. We dislike or distrust people based on any number of things: color, religion, sexual preferences, gender, and more. And why is that?
Because you don’t know them. You don’t understand them. You haven’t lived the life they live. I’m not saying fall into the ‘woe is me’ state of pity, but do try to empathize. Do try to put yourself in their shoes for just one minute, then, after you’re situated and comfortable, imagine it’s a lifetime.
Sometimes it seems as if we object to living in peace. As if we purposefully avoid it.
We Could Learn From the Animals
My wife and I have an animal sanctuary. At one point it had 55 animals of all kinds: pigs, horses, dogs, cats, one wild boar and even a duck. And yet, with all of those animals, we never had a serious altercation. We were living in peace.
No one killed or even hurt one another; in fact, the only problems we’ve had have been two incidents with coyotes. Below are two pictures showing one of our dogs, Slick, with the animal who became his best friend, Louise the duck.
And even more proof of their cohabitation abilities, is the pic below. It shows one of our horses eating with the pigs. And in case you didn’t know it, most pigs don’t like to share their food. And this is not a rare occurrence. Joe (the horse) eats lunch every day with them.
Perhaps the best example though, happened a few years ago. A stray cat wandered onto our property, and about a week later, gave birth to five kittens. Less than a month later, a coyote killed her. And that night the kittens all went to sleep with Dennis, the wild boar, perhaps knowing it was the safest place on the farm. There’s not a coyote in the world crazy enough to mess with Dennis. Several times, when I went out to feed him in the morning, all five kittens were sleeping on his back. Below is a picture of Dennis.
That pic was when he was a little more than a year old. He’s now almost five years old. He weighs about 450 pounds and has 4″ tusks. One last pic.
This is a picture of Freckles and Gracie. Gracie is the brown dog and she’s blind (caused by long-term diabetes). Freckles has assigned herself as Gracie’s companion. She goes everywhere with her, barking to let Gracie know which way to go, and instructing her on what to do. It’s a heartwarming sight, especially if you knew Freckles, as she is not friendly to anyone else.
There are many more tales from the sanctuary, and thankfully, all of them are good tales. Not to say we don’t have our moments of heartbreak, but never has an animal given us cause to be concerned. That’s a lot more than I can say about humans.
Come on, people. It’s time we grew up and joined the rest of the world in being civilized.
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Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. And he also writes non-fiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series as well as books about grammar and publishing. See the complete list here.
He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.