Friday, October 1, 2010

A Big Good can turn a life around

One to overcome anger and a bad circumstance is to do a “big good” in the community.

A former Black Panther leader in Kansas City, Pete O’Neal, is living in exile in Tanzania. He was arrested 38 years ago in the United States for carrying a gun across state borders. Using a fake passport, O’Neal and his wife jumped bail and went to Sweden, eventually settling in a small town in Tanzania. He was allowed to stay if he kept out of trouble.

Over the years O’Neal not only stayed out of trouble, he did some good. He built a community in his exiled land and became a local “elder” or Mzee, a position of honor. Arriving with nothing, O’Neal has built a community center, teaches children, assists disadvantaged children and has adopted children that would have no place else to go.

All of this has made him a peaceful man. He has shed his belligerent fervor in exchange for a devotion to the community.

There is little doubt that if O’Neal hadn’t turned his life around, life would have been much different. The members of the Black Panther Party considered themselves at war with the United States. Many of the activities they sponsored were criminal. Although O’Neal’s crime of carry guns across state lines would be legal if the Republican’s and the NRA had their way in congress (and supported by the Responsible Community), there is a good chance that violence would eventually have put him in jail for a long time, or O’Neal would have been killed at a young age.

Mzee Pete O’Neal though, has found a secret to the improvement of life in the community without looking for it. It is, if you see wrong, fix it without hurting anyone. In a reverse turn of a phrase that is thought of as a popular African saying, “To support a community it takes an individual.”

Communities depend on the support of individuals. It is responsible people doing what is best for themselves, their families and their communities. O’Neal, now a responsible individual, has healed his belligerent soul by doing a big good in his new found community.

Everyone benefits from such action.

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