The Single Stage of Radicalization

The Washington Post just published an article with the most baffling headline.  “Attacker in Nice is said to have radicalized ‘very rapidly'”  Eh?  What in God’s good name does that mean?

Is there a process for radicalization?  A methodology in which he skipped some of the steps?  Is it like a surgery where he went into the operating room as a normal human being and three short hours later, instead of the ten that the procedure normally takes, he emerged as a religion-crazed cold-blooded killer?  Or is it like a treatment plan, a course of antibiotics thxbattery-phone-charging-29-1467204409.jpg.pagespeed.ic_.lJOclKVvn1at he needed to complete in three weeks to have the full effect?  One pill in the morning, one at night?  Or is it like the five stages of grief, where you can track your progress as you descend into the darkness?  Perhaps it is more like my iPhone battery.  25% Radicalized.  50% Radicalized.  Charging at a rate of 1% per second.  100% Radicalized and ready to kill.

This is the language of Science Fiction.  It is the philosophy of movies like The Matrix and Equilibrium.  While the idea makes great art, it has no roots in reality.

If you’ve ever been human in this reality, you know it doesn’t work like that.  You get out of bed every morning, just like this killer did, and you have choices to make.  These choices sometimes come without deliberation like “I’ll have eggs instead of cereal this morning.”  Others come at the end of a process of thinking like “I’ll submit my application to Durham University instead of NYU this morning.”  That process of thinking can take months or minutes.  And then there is the crazy shit like “I’ll run a lorry into a crowd of people this morning.”  But still, no matter the thought before, the decision is made in an instant.  It can also be unmade in an instant.

Take for instance, the person who walks into their office one day and hates the place so much that they have the sudden urge to set the bitch on fire.  Have you ever been there?  I have.  You can’t see me but I’m raising my hand right here at my desk.  You know what happens next for normal people?  We turn around and walk out.  Or we go to the toilets and wash our face.  Or we sit our civilized backside down at our desk and get some work done.  All in an instant.

But no.  Mr. Nice Guy had to go kill a bunch of people.

This is not a Muslim issue.  This is not a gun issue.  This isn’t a lorry drivers’ issue.  This is not a European or French issue.  You know it.  You also know it takes NO TIME AT ALL for some people to get that crazy.

We live in a tinderbox time.  People are angry.  Lots of them.  People are being left to die avoidable deaths.  Lots of them.  People are suffering in the impact of avoidable conflicts.  Lots of them.  How long does it take to set the box on fire?  How long does it take to radicalize an angry, terrified, white cop into putting three bullets into a car full of black people?  How long does it take to radicalize the ‘badman’ in downtown Kingston into murdering a couple of harmless homosexual boys?

It takes a second.

Our enemy is not who we think it is.  Our enemy is Fear.  And every day, with every act of violence in this terrified world, more recruits are joined to it’s cause.  And yes, they are radicalized “very rapidly”.  In a single stage.  The stage of FEAR.

Be the love.  Let the religion, color, occupation, and radicalization of LOVE win.

(Image credit to


Needy Woman


  • attention
  • acknowledgement
  • to feel like I am significant to someone who matters to me
  • stability
  • trust
  • quality time
  • matched intentions
  • recognition of my feelings, my thoughts, my stands
  • to be desired, wanted, TREASURED
  • to be cared for
  • to be treated like a lady
  • to feel feminine
  • (I could go on but I think you get it)

YES.  I said it.  I have needs.  These are mine.  They’re with me.

Isn’t it interesting how difficult it is for us Single Women to say that out loud?  And we know what our needs are.  But filling them in relationships often feels like an insurmountable task.

This morning, following a night of recognition of my unmet needs, I ask myself, and you, what is in the way?

I looked first to the party line – “I haven’t met a man who gets all of it and is ok with it.”  Really though?  Doesn’t just about every man have a corresponding list of human needs?  Weren’t we created with the intention of matching off eachother?  Many men are seeking that special someone to desire, to treasure, to give their attention to, whose trust and respect they crave to win, and whose intentions they seek to match.

In my own human experience I dug a little deeper.  So if it isn’t that I haven’t met a man who gets all of it and is ok with it all, then what is it?  And then I got it.

It’s not about the receiver not being open.

We just don’t throw the ball.

How many of us judge ourselves for having these needs?  I mean, who wants to be a NEEDY WOMAN?  Every day I see women punishing themselves for needing attention, for needing to be desired, for needing to feel significant to someone else.  I catch myself singing the same tune in my head, the modern tune of single women – you SHOULDN’T need these things!  Needing these things means I am broken.  And broken people do not deserve to be treasured, trusted, cared for, respected.  And needs are so unnattractive.

Right?  Sound familiar?

Honey, how NUTS is that?   How are we ever going to get those pesky needs that actually make us human met if we don’t accept them?

How can we expect anyone to believe that we deserve them to be met when we don’t feel that we deserve to have our needs met?

Who on earth would make a priority of filling a need of yours that you deny even exists?  Or believe shouldn’t exist?

I propose an experiment.  Single women out there, let’s try this out.  The next guy who is nice to you and strikes up a conversation in the supermarket, the bookstore, the coffee shop, the bar, find a way to weave it into the conversation.  “I am a woman, I have needs, and it is important to me to get those needs met.”

I’m curious to see what happens!  Please be sure to tell me.  I’ll go first – I will have that conversation with 5 men before Monday.

Love at 30,000 feet – Falling in Love Again

So it was that Mr. Mack and Mr. Mali prepared my soul for the awakening.  With their songs brewing in my head I tucked myself into the flight to Pittsburgh, PA, surrounded by people I didn’t know, headed to a city I had never seen, to do God-knows-what there.  I was planning to sleep but was incredibly nervous in the way that only a small plane can make you nervous.

I lifted my new skull candy earphones to my head, squished them tightly in, and settled in for a wee nap to take the edge off.

Todo Cambió… cuando te vi….” slammed into me much louder than I’d expected, seductive and clear.  I was about to reach and turn it down when I decided nah… let it wash over me.  Settling back determined to nap, I closed my eyes and let Camila make love to my ears.  But the nap was not to be.

Soon enough I found myself rocking, as if possessed.  The power of Mr. J’s colourful stories and the richness of Mr. Mali’s blues bubbled up and met the Spanish lovers of my Pittsburgh flight.  It was like being earnestly romanced by all the beautiful men of the world.

I drifted out of my body, out of my flight, out of the United States, elevated well above and outside of my reality to a place where there is only love and music.  The place took me over with the softness of a down duvet and smelled like fresh laundry hot from the dryer.  It was warm and cozy, sitting in this place of grace and beauty, and I never wanted to leave.

A sudden noise, louder than the love song, woke me from the drift.  My eyes flew open and looked around the flight, totally startled.  All was as I’d left it – my neighbours were fast asleep and the attendant across the cabin was doling out weak coffee, totally unaffected by the sound that had brought me back to earth (or at least the cabin floor).

It took a few seconds for me to completely arrive and notice that the interruption had come from inside of me – my own voice – joining Camila in “antes que pasen mas…. quiero decirte amor…”

Like a mad woman I cracked right up, laughing out loud beyond the music.  A giggle turned into a frank and open belly laugh.  I was only slightly grateful for the deep dreams that kept my neighbours’ eyes shut because they may well have freaked out at this crazy half-young woman taking full delight in herself next to them at 30,000 feet.

Digging back into my cloud I peered out on the wintry world below me, organized very neatly into fields of rows and variations of greens and browns.  The love songs crashed over me like waves  (“Abrazameeeeeee”) and I didn’t want the flight to end!  Pittsburgh could well and wait.

At that I checked in with myself and questioned, why would Pittsburgh have to wait?  I could carry this with me.  The music is MINE.  The iPod is MINE.  The skull-candy buds snug in my ears are MINE.  And, most beautiful of all, the love is MINE.

Love at 30,000 feet – Journey to Timbuktu

The Kora

The Kora

The shuttle was late and I was getting antsy.  Antsy is such a gentle word – who am I kidding? – more like I got quietly psycho, planning my death stare and sharp words for the late driver.

When he arrived it was at a run.  He sprinted to me, grabbed my bags and ran to the shuttle.  Having showed the appropriate amount of haste and concern I cooled out the laser vision and quieted the lurking killer just under my skin.

He put me in the front seat right next to him and told me he would let me drive.  His passengers behind me I sensed to be just as antsy (murderous) as myself, and so it was with great prudence that our driver, a tall wiry man from Mali, pulled out a CD of music by Ali Farka.

At stop lights and in bumper-to-bumper traffic Mr. Mali introduced me to the music of Timbuktu, the home of the Blues.  I found myself grudgingly falling in love with the Kora, a West African guitar that was probably what David would have used on old King Saul.  And even through I could see right through it – Mr. Man knew he was taking his passengers to breaking point – it was having the same effect on me!

We went from song to song, blocked bridge to clogged street, blues to ballad, CD to CD, until suddenly there was a break in traffic and JFK loomed ahead.

I said a rushed goodbye to Mr. Mali and raced to my gate.

But the music stayed with me until I boarded to plane to Pittsburgh and plugged in my iPhone to fall asleep.