In a few days, we will be welcoming the year 2015 AD. I wonder, as people my age are wont to do, will this be a truly better year? Or will it be more of the same? We, as a people, have the ability to really make a change, and make things better for our children and grandchildren. 
 Oh, I know, I can hear so many people saying "What can I do? Things are out of control, and I am but one person!" But, my friends, each and every one of us can start to turn things around. All it takes is to treat everyone that with whom you come in contact, with a little respect! A smile, a thank you, I have found, turns around most people. The cashier that seems to be hostile,  the server who seems to be less than caring... I have found that smiling and being nice turns the most hardened person around. Be kind and pleasant to everyone that you come in contact with, and you will be surprised at the way their actions change.
  We are in the middle of a crisis with police and the public. People seem to want to either blame police for every trouble out there, or condemn them before they actually know what has happened. Both of these reactions are wrong. I happen to be privileged to personally know several people in the Law Enforcement community. These are upstanding, hard working men and women who do their best to enforce the laws, while respecting citizens and their rights. To condemn all for the actions of a few is not only wrong, it is unconscionable! It is no different than profiling someone for their race, or religion. To say that all police are bad or corrupt is no different than saying all Italians are in the Mafia. It's no different. We need the police, regardless of what many people may think. Without the police, we would have anarchy and people killing each other in the streets. The society that we live in would break down without laws and people to enforce them.
  If we are civil to each other, and not treat people with indifference, it would be a start to a more civil society. Small steps lead to great rewards. 
  2014 has been a hard year. We have violence in the streets, and anger in our communities. We have war and atrocities across the globe. Sociopaths posing as religious zealots are once again killing and maiming their fellow humans without care. They claim to be following the will of their God, but their only goal is to instill fear into anyone that would oppose them.
  We again have those who whip up public anger to aggrandize themselves. They cloak themselves in the robes of righteousness, but they revel in the discord that comes from real or perceived wrongs. They are demigogues who thrive on the discord that comes with trouble. They don't want to find a way to make people heal. Rather, they look to build on the anger and the hatred to forward their own agendas. They don't want to help heal, they want to inflame the wounds. We have to, as a people, find a way to heal and come together so that these people do not get their way.
  I know some will think that this is a simplistic view of the world, but changes would come if we just learned to get along with each other. 
  I wish each and everyone of you a Happy and Healthy New Year. I wish for all the peace and tranquility that I so long for. Love and Peace to you all.
 John Zaffino
 Kent Lakes New York
 December 29, 2014

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