Simple Solution for Ending War

10 08 2011

One great thing about researching for my current book project (on North American Tribes) is coming across interesting facts. I discovered that some of the California Indian nations had an unusual way of doing battle–one I think we might do well to emulate.

The opponents lined up facing each other and at a signal from their chiefs, who monitored the battle, they began firing arrows at each other. The battle ended when the first person died. That side was declared the loser, and everyone stopped shooting.

Battle over. Minimal casualties.

If either side felt they hadn’t gotten enough satisfaction, the two chiefs set up another battle in a different location ten day later. Same rules. If during the battle, things got out of hand or too many people were hurt, the chiefs took off their hairnets and waved them in the air. Fighting stopped instantly.

That ten day cooling off period was a terrific idea. I wonder how many fights got called off during that time as ration prevailed over emotion.

I’m thinking we could learn a lot from this. Although I’d love to see a world completely at peace, this might be a solution to the horrible carnage of war. Limit the deaths to one rather than thousands.

The more I read the accounts of European explorers and American settlers, the more I have to wonder about the label, “savages” that the Euro-Americans used for the Native nations. Who really were the savages?

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Killer Nashville

13 08 2010

Well, I’ll soon be off to Killer Nashville, the great crime writing conference. Looking for tips on how to bump off pesky characters, pull off a heist, or escape a jail sentence? You’ve come to the right place. Where else could you sit down to dinner with tablemates who are all interested in discussing the best way to poison people so it’s undectable. Sort of makes me a bit paranoid. I find myself curling my arm around my plate to protect my food, but who knows if that would help. One of these would-be writers might have experimented with their poisons in the kitchen.

So what turns people crazy enough to write about sneaky ways to kill other human beings, or to read these books by the dozens? Not sure I want to delve into the psychology behind it, but I once heard that crime writers are often perfectionists who love to solve puzzles. Perfectionists do tend to get themselves all worked up over small details & threaten to kill people who mess up their orderly lives. So I’d suggest you steer clear of perfectionists when you’re choosing a spouse or a friend. You never know when they might knife you in the back.

Here’s a schedule if you’re interested in attending. Keynote speaker is Jeffery Deaver; find out more about him on his website. Agent and editor pitch sessions are included in the registration price. Conference runs from Thursday evening, August 19, to Sunday afternoon, August 22, 2010. Hope to see you there.