“Road Wicked Slippery”

“Road is Wicked Slippery”

Here’s the rant.  You only need one bullet to kill a person.  Being able to fill a body with rounds doesn’t change how many times you can kill an individual.  The Shooter doesn’t get more points for more ammo used.  What is it about the human condition that makes it susceptible to crowd dynamics from the security of their own home?  Did we watch too many Terminator movies where entire arsenals are emptied into the “monster” and still he rose to attack again?

As a teacher, I’m appalled at the suggestion that children would be safer if more teachers carried weapons.  I’ve spent my life teaching that two wrongs never make a right and now those threatened by stricter gun laws stand up with deceptive answers to a grieving nation about what exactly safety looks like in order to save their lucrative gun trade.   In a panic situation, the last people who need firearms are the nervous and untrained.  Train the teachers, well sure, we’re still the nervous and untrained unless instead of educational improvement money it becomes funding for the shooting range.  And then we’d have to have simulation training because nothing is like the real world situation.  So our children become well-guarded and uneducated.

In today’s world, it’s all about how well students are prepared to compete in a global market, how well they can communicate their ideas and work together to find new solutions.  How can I teach collaboration if every issue that comes up in our lives is instantly polarizing?  We either have to agree or disagree but whatever we do we can’t discuss amongst ourselves and solve the problem at hand.  But wait, I was railing about gun control right?  Wrong.  I’m ranting about our inability to have a conversation that involves more than one point of view, is informed, and not about who is right and who is wrong.   Have a discussion that could lead to problem solving from global warming issues to world peace and involves creativity and innovation.  Without open minds we will be our own demise.

Fear seems to be the biggest culprit.  And here I’ve resorted to threatening and fear to coerce my reader to take my point seriously.  The difference is that I’m not generating fear to sway a vote or belief; I’m expressing my own fear for our future.  My yacht club, group meetings, and conversations out on a Saturday night, all tend to reflect the climate of the times in our capital.  In the 1950’s people practiced duck and cover preparing for the nuclear holocaust to be triggered by the Soviet Union and built underground shelters stocked for their family’s survival.  Today they are called “preppers” and stockpile everything from food to their own arsenal.

What are we afraid of?

On the other hand, there are moments of brilliance taking place in the world where collaboration is the key concept.  Look what happened in Cancun when the endangered coral reefs reached critical mass.  The initial threat was that the area would be closed to the tourist trade to give the reef a chance to regenerate.  One reaction of the local diving businesses was that they would sue if their business was ruined.  Ultimately a solution was reached that both saved the tourist trade and the environment.  What a novel idea – a solution that wasn’t political or religious in nature and deserved an audience which led to an answer for the benefit of everyone.  Ultimately, an artist with a vision had a project that fit their need and an underwater sculpture garden was created using materials that promote reef life and regeneration.  It was a win-win situation for the environment, the local businesses, and for the tourists.

My point is let’s stop blaming each other and protesting the protest and start doing something about our future.  Instead of gun lovers shouting heresy to those who abhor firearms, how about talking out the possibilities from both perspectives and working together to find a way?

Our situation in Washington is reminiscent of my middle school classroom.   When I ask students to pick up messes and their first response is that it’s not their mess.  If it’s not our mess whose is it?  It’s so much easier to just out shout because then nothing has to change.  No one has to make concessions and look who makes more money?  The gun industry since we’re now proposing every school needs an armed guard.   I guess we could sell tickets to the local shootouts and ultimately bring back the Roman Coliseum – like those that were so popular before its fall.

Or we can use our minds to innovate, to talk, and to work together – just don’t look to Washington for useful talking points;  bring common sense and new ideas, please.

In Honor of Tim Russert

I am so sad to hear of Tim Russert’s death!  What a shock and loss of a “clear” (Brokah) true voice in the news industry.  I looked forward to hearing Tim’s opinion on the political world confident that his words were not spin but real and honestly researched facts and positions.

When Russert spoke, I listened because what he had to say made sense and he offered original viewpoints that exuded indepth understanding of the subject matter and his distinct intelligence.  His integrity and character showed in his obvious respect for people he interviewed giving everyone an opportunity to speak but allowing no one off the hook when discussing difficult topics.  In politics, everything is difficult.

My condolences to his family, colleagues, and friends.  We have lost a truly monumental newsman – there is no one like Tim Russert.  God Bless you Tim!


“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

I am so disgusted I had to blog my feelings.  Everyone is talking about the beating of a 91 year old gentleman and, of course, sensationalizing the video clip by showing it over and over again.  But my disgust was gut felt when I realized a whole group of people watched and didn’t even lift a finger to call for help, let alone intervene.  What would it take to be a human or show a glimmer of intelligence?  These individuals displayed a whole new level of low life.  It’s off the charts scummy.  There is no question this man is in desperate need so not wanting to get involved, or even more deplorable, not caring is evil.  As Elie Wiesel said,

Of course, indifference can be tempting — more than that, seductive. It is so much easier to look away from victims. It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes. It is, after all, awkward, troublesome, to be involved in another person’s pain and despair. Yet, for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbor are of no consequence. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless. Their hidden or even visible anguish is of no interest. Indifference reduces the other to an abstraction.”… “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

To all of the people responding to the video with racial slurs – you have merely placed yourself next to those who are indifferent by using such a hideous crime to vent your narrow minds equipped singularly with ignorance.  This situation is about people…if you hold such great hate that race defines your life’s confines, you are a lost soul and need to search your own heart to find the strength to realize your dreams and desires.  No one is to blame for your situation in life but you. 

Happy Birthday William Shakespeare!

William Shakespeare (approx. April 23)

Some of my favorite  words to live by:
“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”

Hamlet (III, iii)

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.