Saturday, 15 December 2012

What are you going to do to stop the next one?

Today's aching question: how can someone be compelled to shoot and kill a room full of five year olds?

In the land of "super-size me," it is no mystery that the founding framers' need to create the US Constitution's right to bear arms (so that people could kill their food for their daily bread and protect themselves from the odd grizzly--and, yes, possibly keep those slaves in line) has now morphed into: "Dude. Supersize me to an AK-47, or yep, add on two more, to go with that ammo pack."





And absolutely fear-based.

A centered person, secure in what they stand for, and at peace with who they are and the unpredictability involved in each move of this game called Life, is not compelled to pack (or hoard) heat for protection.

So all of you ranting about the fact that we need to control the "lunatics" and not guns?  An anxious, paranoid, angry personality is the prototype that would feel the need to daily pack heat or has that "just in case cache" to defend themselves from "the others."  

Many of them are your neighbors. 

Add to that a culmination of events in their life that fuels a healthy dose of anti-social characteristics, down right meanness, a vindictive mission and a hearty death wish and you have a recipe for the disaster like we've witnessed today.

Oh, but we need to keep the guns out of the hands of those big, bad criminals.  Yes, that's the gun-control answer.  

Is it?

These "criminals" that have committed such crimes are One Goh, a former nursing student who sprayed gunfire around a classroom killing seven people in 2007; Seung-Hui Cho, 23, Virginia Tech student who killed 32; Charles Carl Roberts, 32, a milk van driver who killed five girls; Jeffrey Weise, 17, who killed nine; Eric Harris, 18 and Dylan Kebold, the infamous Columbine killers who took 12 lives, which doesn't sound so much after today; Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, who killed five at a school in 1998; 14 year old Michael Carneal killed three and wounded five in 1997; shootings in movie cinemas . . .  and some young person that felt the need to take out a classroom of five year olds today.  The list will continue unless something changes.

See the common thread of crazy, lunatic, criminals with guns?


You don't.

What you see are mainly kids and adults who you would never, ever, pick out of a line up for the United States' biggest and baddest threats to society.

What you see are scared, frightened, depressed, paranoid, angry and suicidal people-- who decide to bring others down with them, to make some sort of statement.  Without a gun with the kick to achieve these powerful killings, they likely would have passed, without our knowledge, as another silent suicide.

With 88.8 guns to every 100 people in the United States, it is just too easy for someone to kill themselves and others with a gun. What is mind-blowing is that, I would venture to guess that 99+% of the people I associated with while I was in the US did not own guns.  

No, rest-of-the-world:  aside from the picture that statistic paints, not all US citizens are gun-toting.  

Where are they all?  

With a long, strong history of firearms, why would we be so naive to think guns would not proliferate and be easily accessible to our young people?  

Why wouldn't there be a faction of American citizens looking for more, bigger, and better like some do with cars or computers?

And New Zealand?  With your climbing suicide rate?  

Be warned.  

Thankfully your population is statistically a spec compared to the United States, but this common denominator of suicide is frightening.  

Suicide-murders happen because, very occasionally, when a person is despondent enough to kill themselves, their judgment button is a total fail and they decide to take others with them. 

And don't think copy-cats do not exist.  

Look at today. And all the attention this horrible, irrational act is receiving and how it will continue to be highlighted. 

Right now a depressed and angry soul is out there studying the coverage and looking up to the killer(s) and imagining their own "what if."

What are you going to do to stop them?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Ninety years and counting . . .

For my beautiful mom 

Although I can't physically be with you on your 90th birthday, I want to thank you for living such a wonderfully long, healthy, loving and productive life.  

And for your love.

Thank you for role-modeling the epitome of what a mother should be . . . your unconditional acceptance has held me up and wrapped itself around me throughout my life.

Thank you for sharing your vivid memories of the Great Depression in the dustbowl of Oklahoma. You were able to illustrate how events in history and struggles in society can make or break a person. 

For the record: it made you.  

(And, in your honor, I fold this piece of used tin foil, neatly tucking it in the drawer to be summoned for its second coming.  Thank you for the gift of sensible frugality.) 

And thank you for making peanut butter on saltine crackers taste like heaven amidst hearing how you went hungry as a child, survived on beans for many a meal, and still grew up to love them.

Thank you for always answering when repeatedly asked, "tell me about the olden days." Time after time--and I know you didn't always want to do it--you shared a vivid memory.  

A small girl wearing a dress, riding bareback on the back of a horse and arriving to school with bloody legs, rubbed raw from the friction of the coarse horse hair-- physically ill from the experience.   And the sweet teacher that took care of you.  I could vividly imagine the scene in my mind's eye.  

Picking cotton until your tiny fingers bled, smart enough to know: no cotton, no food.  

Listening to the play by play of your life, connecting the dots of where it led you in your living, has inspired the passion and respect I have for folks' unique stories.

Thank you for encouraging me to live big.  Pushing me out of the house as a teenager to stay with friends or take trips-- letting me know it was okay to get away and live life. 

Willing me to have no fear, even though you saw yourself, at times, limited by fear. 

Thank you for being by my side during pregnancies and parenting babies and sleepless nights that came for a variety of reasons.  You were and are my best friend that knew the deepest, darkest secrets and struggles before anyone else.
Thank you for still being by my side.  

Weighing out pros and cons of making this huge move to New Zealand, you spoke of people who stay in a holding pattern waiting for a parent (or someone) to die and how morbid that was . . . and with pluck that seems to creep up every year of your life, you stated, "I'm healthy, I could live another fifteen or twenty years.  You would wait until your 70 to start living a dream?"  

In that one conversation you gave me the gift of knowing this risk was okay. And hearing your enthusiasm about our adventures during our lengthy phone conversations, and your continuing affirmation of our choice, is a gift.

Thank you for being everything you have been to my children.  As you know, they absolutely adore you.  And hearing your genuine adoration for them makes me want to sing at the top of my off-tune-lungs about the circle of life. To see those I gave birth to, in awe of the woman that gave birth to me: priceless.

Thanks for being the sane and loving parent when anger and unpredictability defined the childhood that felt like it would never end. You raised me-- as a human and out of despair--then pushed me out of the nest and willed me to fly.
You are right.  
We are always together.  
We will always be together.  
Seas may separate us. 
Love holds us tight.

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays.
You are always in my heart.