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Third Saturday Seminar 2015-2016

Return of the Elders, Unleash your Wisdom

Session 04


Does the 24/7 news cycle put us under unnecessary stress?

A discussion with

Curt Gibby
Saturday, 16 January 2016 (Third Saturday)
9:30AM til Noon

 Room B-102, Lone Star College - Montgomery
3200 College Park Drive - Conroe, TX - 77384 - 936.273.7000

After you watch or listen to the news, how do you feel, Informed or Fearful?

Fear is a useful emotion, if it leads us to being able to evaluate the threat and put it into a real life context that allows us to decide if we are a likely victim or in all likelihood, not. Before the holiday season when the malls are full of shoppers, sometimes the media will actually give some good advice about how to avoid being robbed. Do we listen to the advice and plan our shopping accordingly? Even then, considering the thousands of shoppers “at risk” most of us will not have a problem. We should learn to be alert, but not panicked.

For all of the terrible mass killings and terrorist attacks that seem to be on the increase, very few of us will ever be directly affected. It does seem that now the “Bad Guys” are ramping up their activities, recruiting martyrs either at foreign sites or over the world’s social media. In ISIS’s case it may well be because they are being seriously challenged in Iraq or Syria. So they are trying to put pressure on their opponents including us. But even then, there are over 350 million of us. The resumption of business in the days following 9-11 recovery, showed how strong our infrastructure and determination can be when necessary.

Whenever something terrible happens we have professionals, police, fire fighters and emergency medical personnel to respond to those situations. In some cities police departments have developed local intelligence capability that will get better as we go. Already there have been a number of planned attacks that were foiled by good police work and luck. And, we will get even better at it. But when something serious happens, even when people are killed, it is not the end of the world, unless we allow it to be.

Since our “coalition of the willing” invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein, governments have failed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Mali and Somalia and others are ineffective. Long story short, millions of people have been displaced and are flooding into the neighboring countries of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and now into Europe and into North America and with them there is fear that terrorists will arrive mixed with the innocent. This is not an unreasonable expectation. In fact, thanks to our media we have seen it happen, with each incident reported over and over again. We have to learn to put it in context.

“Dead air” (silence) is anathema to a broadcaster and the supply of fresh world class news items is limited on any given day. So they keep talking, often adding emphasis to the available information, especially when they can use superlatives, saying that this is the “greatest” number of people killed since (you supply a date). It is natural in the case of a mass shooting or bombing to try to make the viewer, listener or reader personally identify with the situation and intentionally or inadvertently make them fear it could happen in their town or neighborhood.

The fear du jour is radicalized Muslims. Either on orders from ISIS and its analogs or claiming allegiance to them they will join the flow of the refugees and attack their host countries. That is possible and in some cases likely and has happened: Charley Hebdo, the recent Paris attacks, and the mobs of Muslim Refugees that attacked and raped women in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve certainly validate these concerns.

If you have listened to the Presidential debates on the Conservative side we hear “fear the immigrant, refugee, asylum seeker,” and on the other side it is all about how we have to welcome them with open arms. Fueled by recent incidents such as San Bernardino on the one hand and on the other hand, compassionate concern for the majority of the refugees who are good people who have been displaced by no fault of their own. Like most issues in life, neither side is so simply dealt with.

Part of the problem is the sheer volume of refugees. As I understand it. The United Sates is expecting far fewer that the European Countries whose resources are being sorely stressed. From the events in Cologne Germany, we see the effects of men separated from their families and having a serious misunderstanding of expected civility and social standards of European society especially towards women.

Of course it is natural to stop and think. I recently received this comment in an email from a Scandinavian friend:

We had last autumn about 40,000 “refugees” from the Middle East crises areas.

Now we have high peak in criminal statistics in rapes, stealing, etc. made by this “refugees”. They do not have any identifications and they try to be under age 18 so they are in status child, but oldest one have been 40.

People do not like this but what to do?

 In a TV show was asked opinion about his refugees and we can see from TV that about 99% is against it but in newspapers headlines sad that opinions was even??

 Some drunk people are doing stupid things and throwing a bottle of full gas in fire to refugee’s accommodations, but it is extreme.

 Most of the problems coming that these refugees are drunk (Muslims) and fighting between in their accommodations. So much that accommodations have to be not more than 20 miles from police station.

So we are living in middle of very interesting times.

And I have added a lot new bright flood lights with infrared sensors and cameras around my house.

Our house is so far away from most of problems, but I coming familiar with the newest technology.

Our politicians are saying that we can’t allow any Syrian refugees into our country because there is a possibility a few might be terrorists! ISIS has insulted the world just as al-Qaida did in 2001. Terrorist attacks, even serious ones are not an existential threat to any country with its head on straight.

Remember? The IRA bombings in Britain including one inside the Tower of London, the train bombings in Spain, the al Qaida attack on the London underground, the Sarin Gas Attacks by Japan's Aum Shinrikyo religious cult. Each country was horrified, fearful, but they mourned, immediately cleaned up the mess, and pursued the attackers while their country returned to serving its citizens and doing its business.

Unlike the US after the 9-ll when attack our politicians and war profiteers used it as an excuse to panic the country into massive paranoia, trashing our Bill of Rights and starting a war with two countries in the Middle East which was guaranteed to drain our coffers and our spiritual energy, just as Osama bin Laden intended and expected, because he understood the Western psyche far better than we understood the Middle Eastern.

What are the chances you will be victim of a terroristic or any catastrophic threat?

Do you understand the difference between possible and likely?

We will discuss it Saturday.


For those who like to “read ahead” I suggest the following:


The State of Terror Defenses in the U.S.

 Josh Sanburn @joshsanburn Justin Worland @justinworland

Nov. 18, 2015 Updated: Nov. 24, 2015 11:15 AM ET


“Terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 129 people last week shocked the world and raised vigilance for a potential attack on U.S. soil.

A soccer stadium was evacuated in Germany Tuesday (Nov 17, 2015). Counterterrorism experts were dispatched across New York City. Members of Congress called for changes to the Transportation Security Administration. “There’s a much greater awareness,” says Mark J. Sullivan, former U.S. Secret Service director and co-founder of security firm GSIS.

The risk of becoming a victim of terrorism is in fact extremely low; the odds of dying in a terrorist attack in the U.S. from 2007 to 2011 were one in 20 million, according to Richard Barrett, a former British intelligence officer now with the Soufan Group, which provides security services to governments and multinationals. Most domestic terrorist attacks in recent years have been the work of lone wolves acting without marching orders from organizations overseas. The chances of dying from non-terrorist related gun violence, car accidents or a drug overdose are many times higher than from foreign or domestic extremists.”

Media Fear Tactics

Gavin de Becker (The text of the article prints out to 6 pages.)

“I want to help you break the code of alarming newspeak so that you can more easily find the valuable information that may (or may not) be part of a story.

Given the disturbing reasons we’ve all been watching so much TV news, it would be understandable to overlook the sheer ridiculousness that is inherent in some of the sensationalism. Occasionally, the way TV news is delivered can be downright funny, and indeed, the ability to laugh at something indicates that we are beginning to gain perspective on it.”

Apocalypse Not Now  - Letting Go of Fear

Gavin de Becker (He addresses some technical areas in an understandable manner. The text of article prints out to 10 pages.)


“We all feel some uncertainty these days, and indeed these are uncertain times – like all times. Even so, there are things about which we can be certain: We can be certain that life doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle – and that’s been proved by our management of every challenge we have faced together as a nation. And we can be certain that terrorist threats are not guarantees of action, and in fact, are usually in place of action. These certainties allow us to go about our daily lives; you remember, the daily lives that derive so much of their variety and vitality from uncertainty.”

Gavin de Becker is also the author of “Fear Less, Real Truth about Risk, Safety and Security in a Time of Terrorism” copyrighted 2002. Some of you may still a copy have in your libraries, as I passed out a bunch some years ago. If you go to you will see information about his security agency

As usual we will start out with Current Events (Distractions)

The Primary Season is about to start in Iowa and New Hampshire. These two contests seem have turned into a horse race.


El Chapo is captured after giving an interview with Sean Penn. Apparently it is planned to extradite him to the US but it is expected to take a year.


President Obama will give his last State of the Nation Speech tonight.


The Hillary Email saga continues.


The Primary Election will take place on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

The last day one can register to vote for this election is February 1.

Early Voting takes place from February 16 – February 26.

The General election will be November 8, 2016                            Will you be ready?

Third Saturday Seminars – Spring 2016
6 Sessions

To refer to an ancient Chinese saying, “our world is in interesting times” and individual citizens are assaulted with a blinding array of propaganda from every conceivable source. The Third Saturday Seminar is about demystification of what is going on around us. Time will also be spent on current events. Meets 1/16, 2/20, 3/12, 4/16 (2nd Sat), 5/21 and 6/18. Meets on Montgomery Campus in B102.
15216 S 1/16-6/18 9:30 a.m.-Noon B102 Gibby

3200 College Park Drive, Conroe, TX 77384
ALL- Montgomery Links:

Academy for Lifelong Learning: LSC-Montgomery
Steven Gorman
Program Manager, Academy for Lifelong Learning,
LSC-Montgomery 936.273.7259

How do I register for a class? You can fill out a registration form and submit it to us:

In person: LSC-Montgomery (3200 College Park Dr., Conroe, TX 77384), Continuing Education/ALL Office Building E (Room 205)
Phone: 936.273.7446
Fax: 936.273.7262

Reminder for ALL members:
Please let us know if you change your address, phone number, or email. Call 936.273.7446 or email:

"Some part of our being knows this (the universe) is where we came from. We long to return. And we can. Because the cosmos is also within us; We're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself." Carl Sagan

See you Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 9:30am, Room B-102
Curt Gibby