Send Them Peace

Send Them Peace

Targetting Fear

Exploring the link between fear(s) and violence.

Could addressing fears, asking people to voice their fears, better understanding fear(s), become a potential inhibitor of violence?


mass shooting is an incident involving multiple victims of gun violence.


This topic surfaced recently from several directions:


    1.  Someone had asked for details about the initial care of President Ronald Reagan after an assassination attempt, March 30, 1981. (Something that I had quite by chance, as for others that day, participated in).  From that topic arose the review that the attempted killer, John W. Hinckley, jr. had been motivated by his infatuation with actress Jodie Foster, and as in the movie Taxi Driver, in which she starred, the goal in real life became to impress her by stalking and killing a President, thereby earning her love.  Hinckley committed a mass shooting on that date. Subsequently during his trial and in subsequent therapy, he voiced the fear that if he did not attempt this assassination, he would never merit her love. That was what he feared.
    2. Some statistics related to mass shootings appeared recently from Knoema, a review prompted by the recent shootings in Orlando, and that looks like this:  Knoema statistics on mass shootings.jpg
    3. Then I obtained from a Mother Jones' Investigation, the following Excel Spreadsheet on US Mass Shootings 1982 - 2016. (Click here for this XLS spreadsheet).  I further extracted a few summary totals :
        • 668 fatalities
        • 647 wounded
        • 1315 total victims
        • 78 male killers, 2 female, 1 incident with 1male & 1 female
        • Signs of prior mental illness:
          • Unclear - 15
          • Unknown - 2
          • pending - 1
          • Yes - 45 (56%)
          • No - 17
        • Total: 80 killers
    4. Clearly, a majority of the perpetrators were felt to be mentally ill. Almost exclusively, male gender. While it would take a case-by-case review of these tragic events to answer the question, how often did "fear" play a role?

Hinckley expressed on multiple occasions as well as in writing, that he feared that if he did not commit this act, he would never earn Jody Foster's love.

Crazy, isn't it ...

Does a fear of unrequited love lead eventually for some, to such violent actions arising out of mental illness?

Do other persistent fears, lead to violence as a form of mental illness?

Or is there always mental illness first, and the fear(s) simply a component of that illness?

We won't pursue an answer to these psychiatric questions here. The topic is frequently transmuted to become "Overcoming Fear." 

Do those presented below simply need "33 Powerful Ways of Overcoming Fear" to get beyond their motivators to violent action? Perhaps.


But let's pursue fear(s) just a bit further. Perhaps much further, and as specifically as possible for the individual. What are the fears of these individuals? Do they share common fears, like a fear of dying, or is each aroused and propelled by very personal, deep, individual fears that separate them from the rest of humanity?


Rather than moving as a first step, towards "Overcoming Fear," some have more thoughtfully begun by simply "Observing Fear," this from the ProjectLove web page:


Project Love - Observing Fear.jpg


"... the only thing we have to fear, ... is fear itself."  ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt: Inaugural address, 1933.


Was this just a snappy phrase created for an Inaugural Speech, or does it attract because it carries a deeper truth? It quickly leads one to consider that fear, in and of itself, as an originator of bad outcomes, is to be eschewed; avoided as much as possible.



To remain with the point: Does the presence of fear in an individual, ... unremitting and ever-increasing fear, ... eventually lead to a greater probability of violence? And aside from the issue of whether that violence arises in a reason that isn't reasonable at all, but is "just crazy," or actually and specifically, "crazy" (as in paranoid schizophrenia) but rather, "I've had enough of this fear, and now I'm going to do something about it. Pass me my gun and machete."


When Islamic Turks crucified Armenian girls during the 1919 genocide, ... what were they afraid of? Their answer would probably have been: "Nothing!"


Cruxified Armenian Christian Girls 1919 genocide.jpg


In our daily practice here of Send(ing)ThemPeace, and our reliance on the presence of Compassion in meeting The Challenge each day, where is fear? Are there positive and protective effects of fear? ("Don't go too close to the edge of the cliff, Honey,... you might fall!"). Here is an example of how fear as self-preservation gets usefully presented. Or does the type of fear that leads to violence, always arise from our shadow side? Can we bring that shadow side into the light by "Observing Fear"? Does that make it (the violence), and the fear(s), evaporate? Were these types of fear never real, but simply false constructs of someone's imagination, that nevertheless manifested in hideous actions in the real world? What does this suggest about their image of self and sense of personal security? Where do these images of self and personal security arise today for a young U.S. male? And for young men throughout the world? Why would women be better adept at dealing with their personal fears? Perhaps they are not more adept. Perhaps the correct assumption is that they are less motivated to translate their personal fears into violence. Why?


Ask others what they are most afraid of in life right now.


The 12 Presences are: Welcoming, Knowledge, Sympathy, Empathy, Compassion, Abundance, Forgiveness, Acceptance, Timeliness, Peacefulness, the Feeling Driver, and Compassionate Action. How do fear(s) relate to each of these? If one can't find Abundance in one's world, what is one specifically fearing? What does one fear would happen if one could include Forgiveness on a daily basis?


But more to our point here, let us look at some images from our current Target, the Central African Republic, a hideously challenging Target for SendThemPeace and the World:


Extremist Christian militia.jpg


"What are you afraid of? What do you fear?"


Looking for Muslims to behead.jpg

























"What are you afraid of? What do you fear?"



Militant Christian in CAR.jpg


"What are you afraid of? What do you fear?"


Can one assume to imagine their answers?



    • "I am afraid of nothing. To prove it, I will now chop off your head. Then I will blow your dead head's brains out with my gun."
    • "I am afraid that if I don't participate in our village's militia, that I will be killed."
    • "I am afraid that the enemy (Muslim for some, Christian for others) will:
      • Take my village
      • Burn my village
      • Take my money, my house and property
      • Take all our food (water, vehicles, guns, etc)
      • Take our women (rape our women, kill our women, burn, beat or torture our women)."
    • "I am afraid that the government will:
      • Take my village
      • Burn my village
      • Take my money, my house and property
      • Take all our food (water, vehicles, guns, etc.)
      • Take our women (rape our women, kill our women, burn, beat or torture our women)."
    • "I am afraid my children will never know Peace."
    • "I am afraid I will be:
      • killed
      • beheaded
      • stoned to death
      • separated from my family
      • starved to death
      • sold into slavery
      • lead a boring life."

Yet, their answers might:

    • Surprise us.
    • Provide inroads to understanding where compassionate action may have half a chance of succeeding.
    • Be a beginning.
    • By sharing fears and empathizing, make non-violence a possibility.


If you live in one of our Target countries at SendThemPeace, write us to share with the world what you most fear. We'll post your reply here.


And what are you afraid of ?

  • To get on a plane and go anywhere?
  • To participate in large public gatherings?
  • To take the Metro?
  • To take your children out into the public?
  • To leave your children alone at home?
  • That your village, town, city will soon be overrun with migrating refugees?
  • That global corruption will destroy your civilization?
  • That things will get worse before they get better?


Are we already so deeply into the process of fear, that we don't even recognize it?  If the above statistics on mass shootings are correct (they seem to be), it strongly suggests that if one takes fear as a motivator to sprees of violence, then men in the U.S. are much less aware of the fears that they harbor, than women.


What power struggles are you deeply involved in right now? Why? What outcoming do you anticipate?


Have you threatened anyone recently?


Think of your own answers. You can write them to the following address:, and we'll share them here with other Peace Warriors.


There is power in asking, then just listening. And of course in the meantime, join us each day for The Challenge. It's frightfully simple. Join us each day at 12 noon, GMT ( find your time here). And if you can't be online where you are, download a Guided Exo-Meditation, take it with you, and stop what you're doing for 20 minutes each day to join with others. You'll soon begin to notice the effects, and so will our World.



"Think of your enemy as the shadow that you yourself cast." ~ Tao Te Ching ~Lao Tzu

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