Changing One Mind

This is the letter I am sending out to each and every Senate and House Leader, our President and Vice President… I have printed off 21 letters… I am trying my best to make a change… I can only hope

Dear Senator/Leader/Elected Official,

I am writing this to try and change one mind… yours.  I know that we can both agree that mass shootings are horrendous, that no innocent life should be lost and that school children should be safe in their classrooms.  We can agree that it is a complex problem full of many complex issues.  It is also politically heavy for both sides.

We should also be able to agree that IF something can be done to prevent even one more of these attacks we should try to do it.  No one wants one more funeral or one more speech about ‘thoughts and prayers’…  Not you, not me, and not the families of murdered children.

After so much bluster, looking at the arguments on both sides, hearing the anguish and anger from victims’ families we should be able to agree that to solve this problem we MUST take a four pronged approach.  One change will not be enough and if we are committed to making a change for the better in our country we will have to spend money, make sacrifices, and empower the government.

In my state, Oregon, as in many other states, there is no waiting period to buy any type of gun.  If your background check does not come back within three days (it usually comes back instantly) you can get the gun without the check.  Other states require a 3-10 day waiting period… the federal government could make this true across the country.  Consider it a chance for someone buying a gun out of anger, or in a rage, to have a chance to think more clearly and cool down.

So, #1 make nationwide waiting periods to buy any gun

The AR – 15, and guns like them, are meant to do one thing, kill.  We do not need to have this gun available to the general public. You know it, I know it, any reasonable person should agree that we don’t NEED this type of gun. As someone who was elected to serve our country YOU must sometimes make the difficult decisions for the good of all.  YOU need to step up, as the Australian government did, and say that part of your job is to think about the welfare of the people who may not be as educated or privileged as you.  You must make this decision about these weapons without worrying about re-election.

So, #2 ban semi-automatic assault rifles

We all like to point to mental illness as the key factor in these mass shootings.  Yes, mental distress, instability, trauma, lack of belonging, lack of empathy and losing touch with reality all play a role in these tragedies.  It is difficult to predict who is just shooting off their mouths as teenagers and who has a real intent to carry out horrendous acts.

So, #3 federally fund a school psychologist in every school… this would be in addition to a school counselor. 

Preparation in schools for active shooter situations is a reality for every school aged child.  We have drills where we turn out the lights, hide in a corner and practice being as quiet as possible… the children in my care are six and seven years old… This weekend I went into work and planned which furniture I could quickly drag to the corner of my classroom to better barricade my 24 children in case of an active shooter.  Do I want to live like this?  Do I want to practice this plan on Tuesday?  No, but I will.  I will practice perching on the high shelf next to my doorway so that if someone manages to get through my locked door, I can jump on them and fight to save the lives of my children.  This is not a joke.

So, #4 federally fund one police officer for every school (two to very large campuses with multiple entrances)

Will this be enough?  Probably not, but it is a start.  We need to somehow quell the anger and loneliness these shooters feel, we need to make America kind and loving again.  I am hoping that YOU have the courage to do your part, to stand up to people who elected you and say, I am here to make your life better, to protect your children, and this is what we need to do as a country.  Sometimes we need to help people be their better selves, we need to lead the way.

Our children are counting on you. Don’t let them down.


Allison Whitworth

First Grade Teacher



We Wish Him Well

He says he’s innocent…. of course he does.  The only men stepping up and saying they did what their accusers said they did are paying the price, they have stood up, apologized, then stepped down. The message from the president is clear… he does not care what you do in your personal life as long as you are working hard for him and you are loyal.  In this #MeToo era he is dismissing accusers as vindictive and politically motivated meant to bring down his presidency.

I am not saying that sometimes people are falsely accused, I know from personal experiences that sometimes things are interpreted based on a history of the victim where an innocent comment or touch on the shoulder is twisted into something it is not or someone using the system to ruin someone’s life… THAT is completely different from domestic abuse, molestation, sexual harassment, or rape.

But THIS, this is women coming forward showing what happened to them behind closed doors, at the hands of a man helping run our country. Upstanding men, who are polite and respectful, who are hardworking, who do a very good job for an organization, can be violent and abusive at home.  They can have anger issues, they can keep their personal lives hidden, and, of course, they will claim to be innocent.

Our president doesn’t care about the ‘alleged’ victims… he has victims of his own… he wants to wish the man accused of the abuse well, give him the benefit of the doubt, and protect his own image.

What message are we sending to the men of our country? We need to speak more clearly about expectations.  Education for all is key… teach your children to respect themselves and others, and expect respect and kindness from your own partner. We all know about the cycle of abuse… well wishing never breaks that cycle.

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?

A Wall Won’t Help

Terrible, terrible, terrible… day after day, tragedy after tragedy, conversation after conversation, we search for answers.  How do we stop this from happening? No one is willing to talk gun control, we are willing to talk immigration reform, control, and suspension.  Our problems in this country have NOTHING to do with immigration, either legal or illegal.  NOTHING.  They really have nothing to do with terrorism.  They have to do with people who are unhappy for whatever reason, feel powerless or fearful, feel like they want to make a difference, AND who are at the very edge of being tipped over the edge of valuing humanity… they are lost and looking for purpose, they are not operating under the norms of society AND they are being radicalized.

Being radicalized does not necessarily mean that a terrorist organization has converted them… it means that they are thinking violently and searching out violent answers.  They are looking to end their pain and blame others for their suffering.  They are not thinking rationally.  They are lost.

Yes, we can say they are evil.  They are probably also sociopaths.  But once, they too were children.  What were the lessons they learned as they grew up?

Building a wall won’t help… you would have to build a wall around every house, school, church, stadium, pedestrian path… the list goes on and on.  Most tragedies are being committed by American citizens, born and raised by other Americans… those who are not citizens may have been fine for many years but were tipped over that edge of sanity long after being here.

What can we do?  Teach and preach KINDNESS… stop arguing about whose ideology is correct and learn to be kind… stop posting horrid comments on-line that are filled with anger and hatred… go back to the idea that if you don’t have something nice to say then keep your mouth shut.  We are living in a time when everyone feels that it is their right to say whatever hateful thing that pops into their head… just look at our president.

Time to dig deep…  make it a part of your daily interactions… be kind, teach kindness, ask yourself if your comment is kind… to yourself, your children, your neighbors… When people’s lives are going well, when they are happy, when kindness touches them we will see fewer of these problems…   oh, and let’s get rid of guns

Now We Know…

It does matter, now we know.  For years, decades even, I recall hearing the idea that it really didn’t matter who the president was.  Things remained mostly the same, relatively.  But that idea, almost lament, was shattered drastically when Trump took office.  When he took the American people hostage.  We now know that one very disturbed narcissist CAN change the lives of so very many people.

Those ‘Make America Great’ people have not seen the change affect them, yet.  They were hoping for something big… and when that change hits them, they will see it.  Sadly, it will not be the change they were hoping for. Our country will be united because we will all finally be suffering together.

The people who have already felt that change? The LGBTQ community where haters have been emboldened to strike out against an entire group of Americans, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, women who need health care, the free press, South Koreans, liberals, the Lokota people, Puerto Ricans, NFL players who take a stand or a knee, and many more have been affected by his hostility that lashes out in early morning tweets and in executive orders.

In the past, it might have been possible to just muddle through a four year term, muttering your displeasure as our illustrious leader makes policy that may or may not improve your life and the lives of your neighbors.  But THIS president, THIS president is holding America hostage, so many are dangling dangerously over an open cauldron of boiling oil, just waiting for his next ‘decision’.  By decision I mean a fleeting thought that pops into his head.

This time it really did matter… and because enough of us thought our country, our government, was too big for one man to make a difference, we are being ‘led’ by someone who is focused on himself and his close friends and family.  Never again can we stay home or throw up our hands at election time because we don’t like our choices…. the lesser of two evils? Well, that didn’t happen… I don’t like to use the word evil… but in this case, evil won.  Resist and hang on. It matters

It’s Not About Him…

Tweet, tweet, tweet… day after day we read absurdly offensive statements from our president.  We asked ourselves why he took so long to tweet about Charlottesville  or any other event… there is only one answer… Charlottesville was not about him, and when things are not about him he doesn’t really care until someone makes him see that those events require a presidential response … what he really cares about is what he tweets about: crowd size, news that makes him look bad, SNL, people who disagree with his handling of an increasing number of incidents at home and around the world. He does not really care to tweet about incidents- just the people who disagree with or criticize him or things that will make him look good to his base.

As we go through these next 3 + years remember that everything that comes out of the white house is meant to make him look good, feel good or fire up his base. His perception of events are not ever objective.  For example, there may have been a commotion when he was tossing paper towels, what he said he heard were cheers, cheers for him.  It was probably shock, confusion, and a bit of outrage, but that is just my spin.

No tweets (that I have seen) about the California fires… he doesn’t really care much for Californians who didn’t vote for him, and sending his thoughts and prayers to that liberal state may upset his base.

If someone makes it about him… we will see some commentary and perhaps action… otherwise he has better things to focus on like his executive order reversing health care subsidies for the most needy Americans.  So glad he is showing America he can keep his promises. I can’t wait for America to be great again.

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.