It’s Been a Year

 

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida.

It’s one of those places now that, just by mentioning its name, evokes vivid, horrifying images for us all.

One year ago today, that school lived its worst nightmare.

An eighteen-year-old former student showed up on campus with a semiautomatic rifle and shot seventeen people to death; fourteen of them, students.

Most of us can’t possibly imagine what that experience was like; to helplessly watch the surreal scene of a gunman randomly killing people, killing your friends. 

And you wait, paralyzed in utter shock and terror, for your turn.

Can you imagine?

And today, all the surviving students, teachers, families and members of the community who have lived with this horrific tragedy every day for the last year, will commemorate this anniversary by honoring the memory of those who were lost, and by renewing their commitment to putting an end to the senseless violence that forever changes the lives of all who are affected by it.

Which, incidentally, is all of us.

 

So then, let’s all honor the memory of those who died tragically a year ago. Let’s remind ourselves of how precious the people in our lives are, and how we need to let them know that every chance we get, because the time could come when we run out of chances.

I was listening to a man on the radio this morning recalling his experience that day. He was at a Starbucks just blocks away from the school when the shootings happened. He clearly remembers all the parents’ phones ringing at once. He remembers the horrified screams, the panic and chaos.

And he remembers one mother’s tearful regret over not telling her daughter goodbye that morning before she left for school.

Remind the people you love that you love them. Today.

 

And let’s also honor the memory of those who died by letting our lawmakers know very clearly that there is no longer any excuse for weak and inadequate gun control laws. This insanity has to stop, and they have the power to make it happen, if they can just stop kissing the arse of the National Rifle Association.

Let’s all speak out. The Stoneman students are; let’s support them. Let’s join them.

Today, we are all Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

 

#MSDStrong

You Want Them Here Forever

 

One of the bad things about getting older is, everyone else gets older, too.

And the people you love the most, who are older than you, who have always been in your life…

…eventually pass away.

And an essential part of your life is now gone.

You feel deeply hurt and, for a while, a little disoriented.

Your constellation looks different now; there’s a star missing.

And it upsets your sense of order. You want all these precious people who have always been here, to always stay here, defying the inevitable, because you don’t know life without them, nor do you want to.

And you know this is how life is; it’s just the natural order of things. But you still hate it.

 

My wife lost an aunt this week, one that she knew and dearly loved all her life.

Her passing wasn’t that unexpected; she’d been in poor health. But of course, that doesn’t make losing her hurt any less.

I met her 37 years ago, back when my wife was my girlfriend, even before I met my future in-laws. She was a wonderful lady, a terrific sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She loved her family wholeheartedly, and took care of them the best she could.

I know everyone who knew her will miss her. Like I said at the beginning, letting go of someone you love is always hard, and the older you get, the more letting go you have to do.

And memories, as much as they will sustain you in the future, feel woefully inadequate in the immediate sorrow and grief.

And that’s where family comes in. We cry on each other, hold each other up, affirm our love for each other and for the one who has left.

And we all just go on, considering ourselves so lucky for having known that special someone.

 

Love you, Geneva. You’re one of the best people I ever knew. Rest In Peace.

While the white people rally in Orlando…..

I fully agree with everything in this editorial from the Orlando Sentinel. I only hope decency prevails in the 2020 Presidential Election.

Ends and Beginnings

The face of Trump

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Our Orlando Sentinel endorsement for president in 2020: Not Donald Trump | Editorial

Donald Trump is in Orlando to announce the kickoff of his re-election campaign.

We’re here to announce our endorsement for president in 2020, or, at least, who we’re not endorsing: Donald Trump.

Some readers will wonder how we could possibly eliminate a candidate so far before an election, and before knowing the identity of his opponent.

Because there’s no point pretending we would ever recommend that readers vote for Trump.

After 2½ years we’ve seen enough.

Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies.

So many lies — from white lies to whoppers — told out of ignorance, laziness, recklessness, expediency or opportunity.

Trump’s capacity for lying isn’t the surprise here, though the frequency is.

It’s the tolerance so many Americans have for it.

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Day Trip to France

 

Have to admit, most of what I know about D-Day, which commemorates its 75th anniversary today, I learned from watching Saving Private Ryan. (A terrific movie, by the way.) I know it involved a lot of young men who knew they would probably die that day on the shores of Normandy, France, yet despite being scared out of their minds, courageously carried out the mission that ultimately saved the world.

And some of those young men are still alive today, and though they are much older now, the memories of that day are no less vivid, no less haunting. War stays with you your whole life.

It would behoove us all to take some time to read about the events of June 6, 1944, and appreciate just how historically impactful they were.

And to remind ourselves of just how undeniably horrible war is.

To all the remaining veterans of World War II and D-Day, I salute you, and offer my heartfelt gratitude. Your courage and heroism in the face of grave danger is why we are all here now.

Peace in Our Time.

Madness and Angst at the End of Empire — Kenn Orphan

 

This post isn’t a short read, nor an easy one, but I have yet to read a better, more truthful description of the American condition. Chew on it for a while.

Larry

 

“Recent Research suggests that human societies will experience disruptions to their basic functioning within less than ten years due to climate stress. Such disruptions include increased levels of malnutrition, starvation, disease, civil conflict and war – and will not avoid affluent nations.” – Jem Bendell, professor of sustainability leadership, University of Cumbria, UK “Perseverance porn […]

via Madness and Angst at the End of Empire — Kenn Orphan

Minefield

 

I’ve been more than a little hesitant to broach this subject, but I feel compelled to say something about it; given all the attention it’s gotten lately, it just feels wrong to stay silent. So, here goes.

Abortion. There, I said it. Of all the hot-button topics there are, this one may be historically the hottest.

And it’s front and center these days, with states from Michigan to Texas and Alaska to Alabama crafting new legislation to abolish it, feeling emboldened by the conservative Supreme Court to challenge the landmark Roe v Wade decision from 1973, which protected a woman’s right to privacy in regards to abortion.

Just check out the anti-abortion measures being considered in several states or, in the case of Alabama, already signed into law. By a female governor. (!!) Punishment not only for the woman who has the procedure, but for the doctor who performs it. Severe punishment.

(By the way, where’s the punishment for the guy who impregnated her to begin with? It does take two, you know.)

 

Let me be clear: I’m not here to debate the morality of abortion, itself. Whether I believe it’s right or wrong is irrelevant. I’m taking issue with the choice to have it done being taken from the woman. That just makes no sense to me. It’s her decision, nobody else’s. Certainly not the state’s.

And it’s incredibly naive for anyone to believe that making abortion illegal is gonna put a stop to it.

Anyway, that’s as much as I’ll say about it. If a woman is facing the decision of whether or not to abort, let’s offer her education, counseling, spiritual guidance, whatever, but leave the final decision to her. Don’t legislate it.

I know some of you will agree with me and some of you won’t, but I’m gonna say what I feel. You’re welcome to do the same. Thanks for your time.

 

Running With the Crowd

 

My fellow Americans, today I am formally announcing my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

Why? Because everyone else in the world is.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced his candidacy Thursday, which brings the total number of candidates to somewhere around 857, I believe.

Holy Clusterf***, Batman!

You think everyone wants a shot at donnie? They are lining up, friends.

I mean, can you imagine the stage for the debates? There’ll be more candidates than audience members. Just introducing them all will take up about half the allotted debate time. You’d need a program to follow along.

And honestly, I stand as good a chance as most of them.

So, why not? I don’t know a thing about running a country, but we’ve already proven that’s not a prerequisite for getting elected, right?

I mean, the economy, health care, foreign policy, the environment…how tough could this job really be?

So, yeah, vote for me, folks, and I promise to get on this stuff right away.

After all, I don’t have a Twitter account!

Oh, and at the debates, I’ll be the sixteenth guy from the right.

I’ll wave at you.

Forget God — these days it’s ‘In Trump We Trust’

I know some of you will disagree, but I find this a bit scary.

Teri Carter's Library

b272baf1-23bc-4fcc-9b6c-331612b0ed99 April 2019 — Trump rally in Wisconsin — photo credit: CNN

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After watching a rally crowd gather in Wisconsin in April, Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted about his boss, the president, “Only God could deliver such a savior to our nation.” 

This, at the same Wisconsin rally where said-savior famously lied, “The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully, and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.”

Yes, lied. 

The president’s sickening, spun-up lie that women are giving birth and then consulting with their doctors about executing their babies is nothing but a vicious, calculated stump speech fed like a drug to his supporters. And yet, according to Parscale, the man telling such incendiary lies is a savior delivered to us by God. 

And…

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Crisis Text Line

 

This website was brought to my attention, and I want to share it with you.

It’s called Crisis Text Line. It’s a place where you can send a text message anytime, 24/7, for free. A trained counselor will receive your message, then text a reply, and the two of you can begin a totally confidential conversation, the purpose being to bring you to a safe place emotionally.

And if this sounds to you like some suicide hotline, it’s not just for people who are contemplating suicide. Any emotional distress you’re experiencing, you can talk about with someone over the Crisis Text Line. Share only as much as you want with the counselor, who will actively listen to you, empathize with you, and maybe ask some questions.

The conversation usually ends when both you and your counselor feel you have reached a safe spot, but not before then. Take all the time you need and remember, it’s all confidential.

You can reach them by texting HOME to 741741 in the US, or to 686868 in Canada.

I haven’t gone there, myself, but over 102,000,000 messages have been exchanged since August 2013, when this site opened. So, somebody’s been there. Roughly 75% of those texts are from people under 25 years of age, among whom texting is a more common means of communicating.

If you’re going through a tough time emotionally, and you don’t feel like you can talk to anyone over the phone or face-to-face, here’s another option for you. If you use it, I hope it helps. If you want to learn more about it, just go to https://www.crisistextline.org/

I wish you well.

 

Break Time

 

I like to think of myself as, at least, a semi-informed chap, a guy who has some idea, anyway, of the goings on of the world. As such, I try to stay on top of the news of the day.

But I may have to rethink that.

I truly believe, if I try to keep up with the news these days, it may drive me to a nervous breakdown, or worse. The anger it stirs in me might blow out a blood vessel, I don’t know.

Because it is so overwhelmingly depressing. So bleak. So hopeless. It leaves me with a dim view of the present, and an even darker one of the future. And feeling helpless to do a damn thing about it.

And the sheer weight of it all becomes almost too much.

Am I the only one who feels like this?

 

Part of this, I understand, is due to the media’s propensity for focusing on the bad news. But, we’re to blame for that; bad news consistently pulls in good ratings, which are what the news business is all about. Like the philosopher Don Henley once said, we love dirty laundry.

I guess, if I had some other belief system, perhaps it wouldn’t get to me like it does. But I believe what I believe, although even that’s shaky these days. Maybe I’ve been wrong all this time. Don’t think so, but I’m not quite as sure as I once was. I don’t know…

I just know that, for the sake of my sanity, I don’t wanna know. My head just needs to be in the sand for awhile, good or bad.

But, if someone drops a bomb on us, can someone please give me a heads-up? Thanks.