Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace
Author Biographies (alphabetical order - click on letter)
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I was born in 1949 in Pixley, California (the setting of Of Mice and Men), to Texas-Okie migrants who had not been informed of the end of the Depression. My childhood included nine years in a Southern Baptist orphanage on the outskirts of Dallas, Texas, and four years of public school in San Bernardino, California. I also spent a year embedded with a group of families from Mexico moving about Texas building highways; I lived briefly in an especially kind foster home in Odessa, Texas.
I joined the Marines in 1968 and won discharge as a conscientious objector in 1970. I have since earned a B.S. in political theory from the University of Texas and an M.A. in culture and spirituality from the Sophia Center at Holy Names College in Oakland, California. I work for Veterans for Peace as a fund raiser.
I want to dedicate these stories to my friend with whom I joined the military, thinking that we would serve our country and our people. John suffered an unimaginably severe beating while we were in Marine boot camp in San Diego. The rest of our platoon almost literally carried him through the remaining weeks of training, but John never regained his emotional balance, and he committed suicide a few weeks after we completed our training. Brother, I am seeking, and I will find, the courage to tell your story.
I have profound karmic debts to each of my children: Billy, Krickett, Isabelle, and Elisa. Their unnecessary suffering at my hands has taught me much about the destructiveness of anger and the value of tenderness. I am eternally grateful to each of the three women with whom I have parented children; Phyllis Blevins, Helene Dreyfus, and Gina Sconza have each made significant contributions to my healing from early childhood trauma. To my friend Meg Patterson and to Mary “Magdalene” Mulligan, who, meeting me at the door of an open tomb, assured me that ALL things can heal, I will forever be grateful.
As described accidentally in a newspaper article, I am a “former ex- Marine” (my emphasis). Don’t buy that jive about “Once a Marine always a Marine” till you’ve talked to me. Having been brought up on Christian parables and the Sermon on the Mount, like Bill Moyers I learned everything I needed to know about politics and war in Sunday School. The Bodhisattva Jesus is my secretary of state, the Beatitudes my national security doctrine.