The Net and You

I am not tech savvy and all this talk of Net Neutrality has not drawn my focus… I have been more obsessed with Trump’s antics, Moore’s pedophilia, the Russia investigation, the revision of our tax code, the declaration of Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel, and all of the revelations of sexual harassment by men in power…

But, here I am on my computer, working on the Net, hoping that people will have an opportunity to read my latest blog and wondering how ending Net Neutrality will really affect my life.

The motivation of Trump and the head of the FCC is once again transparent.  Just like all of Trump’s appointments, the new FCC, Ajit Pai, although originally appointed by Obama, at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell,  was once a lawyer for Verison and has continually worked against Net Neutrality.

So, although Trump and Pai claim that ending Net Neutrality will benefit the American people it is clear that the benefactors of this change will be the owners of big companies who can pay to have their content pushed to the head of your search engines.  It will make you, the consumer, pay to see what you want on the net and limit your exposure.  No longer will you be able to have the world at your fingertips because some content will be so far down on the list you would have to weigh through page after page of options before you find that obscure video.  We will pay more for less, and big business will once again be rewarded.

Our internet is a model help up by the world as the gold standard of freedom… this will be one more way Trump will be hurting our international reputation, hurting the little guy and benefiting those who already have wealth and power. Once again we need to speak up, contact our representatives in Congress and protest this rollback of sensible regulations meant to keep our internet a place for the free exchange of information.

If you are reading my blog now you are doing so because of Net Neutrality.  Without it you might have to buy a package that had wordpress included in it or be blocked from seeing content that is not part of your internet package.  Two years ago one of my first blogs went viral and was seen by almost 70,000 people world wide… without Net Neutrality that never could have happened. The free exchange of ideas on the internet is what makes someone living in small town America able to learn about the world, participate in conversation, or run a small business on equal footing with someone in a larger city.  This will affect EVERYONE who uses the internet for information, for communication, for commerce. EVERYONE

Remember that this change will not benefit small business or consumers, it will benefit big corporations and large internet conglomerations … just like all of Trump’s moves, it is disguised as something good for America, let there be no question… it is not.

 

 

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Let’s Look More Closely

Something evil is growing like a cancer in our country… perhaps the people so inclined to act out violently have something physiologically wrong… We scramble to look for a motive, like that will solve this problem or bring us closer to answers.  A motive is meaningless because many of us are frustrated in the same ways, many are raised by less than perfect parents, and many have angry moments… but THESE people, they treat those roadblocks as motive to commit horrendous crimes.  What makes them different than we are?  Are they really evil?  Or are they predisposed to act out violently?

Three people were shot in our town just a couple of miles from where we live.  My husband and I ride our bikes past the street where a 16 year old high school junior in foster care shot and killed his 10 year old biological sister, his 55 year old foster mother and his 26 year old foster sister… it did not make national news. How did this happen? It doesn’t matter what the boy’s motives were… those three people will still be dead…

We should be dissecting the brains of violent killers and looking for biological signals that show who is capable of crossing the line of sanity.  Just like we medicate for other physiological issues maybe we need to look closer at identifying people with a propensity to act out violently… If, as a student, you are seen by teachers to be angry with violent tendencies your parents should be required to take you to a mental health specialist… if you are convicted of violence you should have to have a brain scan, psychological testing, and medication to manage your anger before you are allowed to step foot back into society…perhaps you are also required to forever be linked to a physician who will make sure your medication is being taken and is working… The government should be stepping up to help identify and pay for kids who may be on this path… And we need to stop clamoring about preserving our freedoms… right now we are free and that is no consolation to all the victims and their families.

At some point maybe everyone who goes to get a drivers license will have a non-invasive brain scan to identify if they have that predisposition… and if so, they can be treated before they snap…

Oh, and get rid of all the guns….

The Cost of Freedom

We are lucky to live in a free society… we are not along.  In this day and age there are many societies that enjoy this same kind of freedom.  But here in America we have another freedom, one that has been twisted and bent to serve the gun manufacturer, the hunter, and anyone who has an itch to pull the proverbial trigger… We have the right to own guns, all of which can be used to kill another human being.  ALL OF WHICH CAN BE USED TO KILL ANOTHER HUMAN BEING!

We decided long ago that the shear number of guns in our country was nothing to be concerned about… guns don’t kill people, people kill people… super

We decided long ago that only the mentally ill and convicted fellons were to be curtailed in their ability to buy a gun…

We decided that the way to stop a bad guy with a gun was to have more and more good guys with guns… after every mass shooting there is a new rush on gun shops…

And, even in the wake of those beautiful first graders lost at Sandy Hook, or those church goers praying in Texas, we refuse to look more closely at what we are holding on to…

In this moment you may hold your loved one tight, but in the next, Americans will be clutching their guns.

Open your eyes, 2nd Ammendment advocates, those lives lost on Sunday… they are the cost of your freedom.

Don’t Make It Easy

If you live in Oregon you know this… we can not buy Sudafed at the pharmacy.  We can’t buy it here in Oregon because some people misuse the ingredients to make meth.  If you have to go to work and you have a cold, Sudafed is the best way to kick it for the day.   We have outlawed a medication because a few people can’t be responsible. We don’t want to make it easy for drug dealers.

Years ago my mother was running late for work.  An animal like sound came from across the street… it became a tortured scream.  The neighbor boy had tried to kill himself with one of their family’s guns.  He was lucky, my mom was there and he lived. Years later, in the early morning my phone rang. I sat in my kitchen as my boss told me that my coworker’s 16-year old son had committed suicide with his father’s gun. Then there was an early morning meeting to tell us that a student had accidentally shot and killed his brother.  Of course there was Columbine, Sandy Hook, UCC and many, many more… but those were the big ones… The small ones are the ones we, as a nation, never hear about.  They are the hunting accidents, the suicides, the accidental shootings, the children picking up guns and the sudden bad decisions made in anger that take only one or two lives.  

As a nation we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep our people safe.  We have laws about wearing helmets, wearing seat belts, using a phone in the car, how much medication a person in pain is allowed to receive at once, where we are allowed to carry our glass of wine or bottle of beer in public, how high we need to make a railing, and the age we are required to send our children to school.  

We may never be able to foresee the acts of a mad man or the lengths he is willing to go to do harm… but we can prevent accidents, curb successful suicides, and stifle something done in the heat of the moment (think road rage), and make it extremely difficult to commit mass murder… either way we don’t have to make it easy to hurt someone.

If you own a gun you and your family are far more likely to be injured by a gun. Period. If you own a gun you have to realize that YOUR gun may be used to commit a crime.  A gun really has one purpose: To kill something. You can say it is for protection, for hunting, for target practice, for sport… but it really is just to kill.  We need to care more about keeping our society safe than about owning guns.  Owning a gun does not make you safe… it makes you part of the problem… I know that is harsh, because no one wants to admit that something they believe is a right may need to be restricted or even eliminated…  Let’s not make hurting each other easier than it has to be.

Where You Stand

Facebook is full of opinions. The angriest right now are against those football players and teams who are making a political statement and exercising their first amendment rights by kneeling during the national anthem.  They are unpatriotic, anti American,  against the military and veterans.  Facebook is filled with loving couples posting sweet pictures of themselves with the slogan like: ‘I stand for the anthem and kneel for the cross.’… sweet.  They are proving that THEY are not only real patriots but real Christians.

Showing respect for the flag and our anthem is the way we show we are patriotic.  If you don’t stand you are sending a message… but wait… I think you should have your hand on your heart… take off your hat… know and sing all the words… maybe even have a small flag tattooed on your body somewhere… oh, and donate a small percentage of their earnings to a local VA.  When the anthem is played on t.v. are you standing at home? Are you pulling over and removing your hat if you hear the anthem in the car? THAT would show you are a REAL American.

And those people kneeling for the cross… they should actually be prostrating themselves, kneelers are not really devoting themselves… they should be saying the Lords Prayer… going to church every Sunday and a bible study on Wednesdays…. they should have a cross in their front window… and maybe donate a percentage of their earnings to their local church… and that tattoo… hmmmm…

Maybe we should publish in the paper the names of people who donate their time and money to that VA and local church… then we could really see who is patriotic and Christian.

Is that going too far?

Once we begin to decide who is patriotic and what people need to do to show that patriotism we are taking away their freedom to speak out against injustice in our country.

I don’t care if the men on the field are making 100 times more than I make, many of them probably are… they are also 100 times more likely than I am to be pulled over for driving in the wrong neighborhood… they have to talk to their sons and daughters about how to behave when the police stop them on the street… they have to endure people locking their car doors with their elbows when they are seen walking by with friends on the sidewalk …

Protesting systemic injustice to black Americans was where this protest began BUT people are upset that this protest is against the lashing out of our current president against those who protested last season.  Our current president thinks that the NFL is a government run program that he can influence… take that in… OUR PRESIDENT WANTS TO DECIDE HOW AN INDIVIDUAL CAN PEACEFULLY PROTEST

Really? He is deciding what is respectful and patriotic? He who name-calls with the best of any 10 year old, he who grabs women, he who rates women on a numerical scale, he who tweets at 3am, he who says he likes people who don’t get captured… he is your moral compass?

I am only bringing up the religious aspect of this because of those pictures on Facebook… their message is clear… ‘Good people are standing for the anthem and kneeling for the cross… good people are patriotic and religious.’ They tell me that you must prove to others what is in your heart by making a public display that they recognize and agree with.

If you ask many Veterans, who actually fought, they may say they did it for our country, but they didn’t fight for our flag, or for our anthem… they fought for our freedom.  And Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that you could kneel… he died so that you could live, giving YOU the choice… FREE WILL, people!

For me, I stand with the people who are kneeling… it is not about being unpatriotic, or disrespecting our flag and anthem, it is about exercising our freedom to disagree with how our country is being led, it is about the first amendment, it is about injustice, AND it is about those pictures on Facebook of loving couples who think that by standing for the flag and kneeling for the cross they are proving something… they are… they are proving that they don’t really understand what our country and those protests are all about.

 

 

 

Day One

For the past 17 years fall has been all about our boys. Soccer, cross-country, refereeing, and marching band have taken up Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and some other days.  We used to joke, some evenings, when we were trying to tell each other about our prospective days, that we would talk in 10 years… today was DAY ONE.

We are officially empty nesters. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself today… but I (we) ended up cleaning the kitchen, throwing out and setting aside a give-away pile of the multitudes of crap we have held onto forEVER, and went on a 26 mile bike ride.  I know that people suffer this syndrome when their last child leaves home, this empty feeling… for us, we breathed a sigh of relief.  WE DID IT!  They both survived their upbringing.  Of course they both have their battle scars that will some day send them into therapy, but if we are being honest, we did a pretty okay job.  We are not yet grandparents, no one has gone to jail, they are relatively drug-free, they both can make breakfast, lunch and dinner,  they both subscribe to the beliefs we raised them with, and they say thank you.  We should be opening a bottle of champagne!

This has been the goal of the past 21 plus years, the culmination of sleepless nights, making beds on the bathroom floor, screaming fights, trips to urgent care or the ER, watching soccer in the pouring rain, kvelling at parent conferences, and anguishing over the injustices of coaches and friendships… To be honest there have been some very difficult times, times where we thought the world had gone mad (we still actually think that). But through it all we knew we were heading in the right direction, that someday we would be sitting here, just the two of us, thinking… ‘Well, that went pretty well….what’s next?’

We are here, this is what is next, just us, DAY ONE… starting a new adventure together…  🙂

Only Two

Where is the horror?  Two innocent people have been murdered… a teacher and an 8 year old child… IN A SCHOOL

If you blinked, you may have missed our most recent school shooting.  It was yesterday, when a man waltzed through the front office, signed in, went into a classroom and opened fire in front of children, killing the teacher, her eight year old student, and injuring a nine-year old.  I heard about it in one on-line story about an hour after the incident and then again on NPR as I was driving home.  By the time I settled down with my glass of wine and grading to do, CNN was covering Trump’s excessive golf habits, the doctor being dragged off of a United flight and the Syrian bombing… I watched for two hours and there was no mention of the shooting… WTF?

I guess domestic violence does not get ratings… not to mention that both the victim and shooter were black, the slaughter happened in a brown neighborhood, and only one child was killed…. I am disgusted to think that we only care about Islamic terrorism, violence that is racially driven, mass murder, or manifestos.  We SHOULD care about this…

They were newly weds, he was a church going blessed man, she was a special ed teacher… but things were going wrong, she tried to leave a man that was scaring her and…  HE HAD A GUN… HE HAD A GUN… HE HAD A GUN…

Where is our RED LINE, our 59 missiles, our repeal and replace of gun regulation, our metal detectors in every school across the nation, our extra funding for mental health (or marital health), our wall against gun violence…

Those two innocents meant the world to the people who loved them… but that crime didn’t play into our narrative of things we need to rally against… really?  Here in ‘Make America Great Land’ you are more likely to be shot by a fellow American either by accident or because he is a bit ‘off’, than you are to be killed by a terrorist… let’s put America first by taking care of THIS business…. domestic violence and access to guns needs to be addressed… the end