43 Angry Faces

I recently had a letter to the editor published in our local paper…  so far 43 angry faces have weighed in on my letter… I wrote about not giving your child a gun as a gift.  It was interesting to me to read the comments in opposition to my opinion… those people who are clutching their guns, touting ‘gun safety’ as a way to ensure the well-being of their own gun-owning children and stating that this will not stop mass shootings have no clue what my piece was about.  My piece was about caring about children who do not belong to me… their children.

If you teach your child gun safety are you ensuring that your child’s friends will take similar classes, that the neighbor kids can’t get into your home, or know that when your child is desperately unsure of their place in life and a handful of years older, that they won’t look at that gift differently?  We protect our children in so many ways, safety belts, bicycle helmets, knee pads, shin-guards, and football pads, we tell them to not talk to strangers and if they find a gun they shouldn’t touch it, they should leave the area, and tell an adult…. unless it is theirs…

What part of this is trying to take away your rights? What part of this is suggesting that you need to give up guns? What part of this idea will hurt your children in any way?

The best way to keep kids safe in terms of gun safety is to not have guns near children. Guns kill about 1,300 children each year according to a CNN… this has nothing to do with a child becoming a mass shooter… it is about children having access to a gun.

Those 43 angry faces… are they angry because I care about their children?

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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.

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

Minor Inconvenience

Only a minor inconvenience… 90 days… that is nothing… people can be properly vetted and go back to their regular life… I am not sure why the country is making such a stink.  Okay, folks, here we go…

I am sure you have heard the stories of the Fulbright scholarship student whose plane was turned around, the Iraqi translator who worked for the US military, and the man (with an MBA) with his wife and three children who had waited two years to be vetted, sold his house and was pulled off the plane in Cairo… they have all been inconvenienced by this new policy and how it is being enforced across the world.  We are only protecting ourselves, keeping America safe… why should anyone be upset? This all because we have built up a collective fear of terrorists… they kill, on average, 120 Americans a year over the past 20 years (that is including 9/11)…  But wait a second… domestic gun violence kills, on average, 12,000 people a year… cigarettes kill, on average 480,000 people a year… and 2,200 Americans die EACH DAY from heart disease…

So, until we get a ‘handle’ on THIS situation, let’s put a 90 day ban on the sale of any new firearm, a 90 day ban on the sale of cigarettes, and a 90 day ban on the sale of animal products like beef… it is only a minor inconvenience… let’s keep America safe…

Oh, is that going too far?  It is only 90 days, and I don’t own a gun, smoke cigarettes or eat meat… so how bad will that really be?  It is really for your own good and the good of our country.

And if you think that this new Trump executive order will have any effect on our safety, I hope you realize that it will… we are in far more danger after this stupid move than we were Friday morning.  This just fuels the flames of radical groups, gives Muslims and Muslim countries reasons to fear and distrust us and puts our citizens and country in jeopardy…

This ‘minor inconvenience’ is just the tip of the iceberg… Stand up against hate, fear and tyranny… Trump has already proven he is unfit… continue to resist and speak out! His whole presidency is an inconvenience…

Why I Marched…

I read a great piece of writing earlier this week addressed to a group of women who are posting and re-posting a list of reasons they disagree with the idea of a Women’s March and feel the march was not for them… I was at the march in Eugene… yes, many, including myself wore pink ‘pussy’ hats… they were pink hats with CAT EARS… if you are offended by THAT how is it you are not raising your voice against our own president who said he could grab any woman in the ‘pussy’ because he has money and power. He was not being clever, coy, or using a play on words… even if he had used a different word, the message that it is okay to grab a woman in her privates should be far more offensive than women wearing pink hats marching for equal rights and the marginalized people of our society.

I appreciate that I feel equal, that I am respected in the workplace and by my husband, that I can choose to hang out with friends whenever I want, and that I can, in my life, do anything my husband can do… I am lucky.  I am privileged. And because I know that I have privilege, I know that others must not have those same privileges.

In our country, women can join the military.  Women fought for that right… but along with it came catcalls, snide remarks, harassment, and sexual assault.  And along with speaking out against those conditions came blame, rude remarks, and a whole slew of difficulties and persecution .  I am not saying that every woman in the military goes through this, but many have and just dismissed it as ‘the price you pay’ or ‘part of that culture’ . That is just unacceptable.

Women typically pay more when getting a mortgage, buying a car, and when buying nearly identical clothing items or personal products…. is that okay with you? Maybe it is

But, for me, this march was by women standing in opposition to everything Trump represents.  We have seen, over the course of a few days, the ways he is taking action on his scary promises.  Tech companies have stopped their immigrant employees, who work lawfully in our country, from traveling outside of the country on company business for fear that they won’t be able to get back in if the leave.   People coming in with visas have been detained in New York. People in Cairo, with visas, are being  stopped from getting on their planes. According to a BBC report, over 13,000 Americans were killed by gun violence in 2015. That is over four times more than have been killed by terrorism from 2001-2013. But, it is easier to address those outside threats than look at our own obsession with owning guns. Trump is targeting a group of people… will that make our country safer? Will it make you safer?

I marched because Trump is dredging the swamp and putting those super wealthy insiders in the most powerful positions in our country. I marched for healthcare, for the right to collectively bargain, for immigrants, for refugees, for the right to choose, for clean air, for public schools, for Native lands, for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, and for our children.

So, women’s rights are a huge issue…. but I marched for that and far more… I marched because I am American and believe in what America represents and that is the antithesis of the road Trump is leading us down.

I will not be quiet.  Let me know when we march again…. I’ve got my hat ready to go!