Archive for the 'Tragedy' Category


But why is there even a “market” CORRECTION

I wrote a few days ago about the  uproar in the last weeks over the kidnapped Nigerian girls, whether they can be found, whether the military can rescue them without risking their lives.

Questioning how it is that nobody is talking about the people who enslave girls, force them into marriage, etc.

I had it wrong, though, for which I vehemently apologize.

These girls weren’t being kidnapped to be enslaved; they were kidnapped as an act of “rescue” — to convert them from their errant ways as Christians to the correct religion, Islam.

That’s so much better.

Or maybe a different form of enslavement, but enslavement nonetheless.

I’ve deleted the rest of the post — it asked some tough questions, but questions that should be asked in a more relevant context.

I also recently deleted a post on my other blog, expressing my dismay at a woman driving down the road with a “God not Government” bumper sticker. I wonder whose God she meant. Presumably not the Muslim one, as she was driving a car, and was out without an adult male relative escort.


I should have done better research before ranting. (My new motto: Research Before Ranting.)

I will try to do better.



This needs to change. Why is it so difficult?

Just attended an active-shooter-response “training” session, required, at the college where I teach. It’s so depressing, and traumatizing, that we even have to talk about this stuff. Our K-12 schools have to have THREE lockdown drills a year. This must be fun for the children.

It’s so awful that we spend all this time and energy teaching our children, and ourselves, what to do if such a terrible thing happens; it’s even more awful that it’s more time and energy than we seem to spend trying to prevent it from happening. (And by this I don’t mean installing locks on the outside doors and having everyone go into the school through the office. I’m talking about our insistence that everyone has a right to buy a semi-automatic weapon and keep it, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, in their homes.)

The argument that if you don’t like guns don’t buy one, (this argument has actually been made to me personally by someone I’ve known since childhood), is ludicrous. I doubt the children at Sandy Hook, or Newtown, or in movie theaters or fast-food restaurants, were only affected by guns if they owned one.

Why is it, given that more people think we shouldn’t have such easy access to weaponry than think we should maintain the status quo, that we can’t change this?

A woman at my table asked whether the presenters, both law-enforcement personnel, had any statistics regarding the frequency of this in other countries. The answer was that other countries have these problems, too, in the forms of bombings and chemical attacks; that they build their schools like bunkers; that we live in a more open society and that this is the price we pay. I wanted to shout “bullshit,” but I didn’t want to make a scene.

This article points out that there are countries where fewer guns are owned but more people are killed — principally in South America and South Africa. I would have to point out the obvious – that these are relatively politically and societally unstable countries, and that we should hardly be feeling good about a favorable comparison to Johannesburg.

This article states that Americans are 20 times more likely to die from gun violence than their European counterparts, including the claim that “. . .the United States, they found, has more firearms per capita, the most permissive gun control laws and a disproportionate amount of firearm-related deaths from homicides, suicides and accidents. ‘The United States had a homicide rate 6.9 times higher than those in the other high-income countries, driven by a firearm homicide rate that was 19.5 times higher than those in the other high-income countries,’ the report says. ‘For 15 year olds to 24 year olds, the firearm homicide rate in the United States was 42.7 times higher than in the other countries.”

We as Americans think of ourselves as people for whom our children’s safety is one of our most important jobs. Something must be done. And we must stop just saying that, and doing it.

Anybody with any ideas how?

She thinks so, too.


you’re there, and then you’re not

First Son asked me once, when he was probably a pre-teen, how you knew when you were a grown up. I told him that I thought it was when you realized that you didn’t actually know very much about anything.

I’ve been wondering, recently, how you know when you are/are past “middle-aged,” and I think it’s when you realize that you will actually die someday. This might be slightly colored by the death of both of my parents in the past 15 months, but much as I don’t really like the idea, there it is. We all die. (Gulp.)


On my way to Only Daughter’s orchestra concert two nights ago. Stopped at a red light. The light for traffic coming from the other direction always turns green first, and as the first couple of cars travelled through there was a loud thump, (tire blowout?), something flew through the air (part of a fender? something on the road that the car hit?), and one of the cars braked suddenly. Our light turned green and I saw two other cars stopping to assist, so I drove on.

The orchestra played a very short concert, and coming home the road was blocked by police cars, meaning that whatever had happened may have been a bit more involved than what I thought.

We arrived at home, made dinner, OD did homework, etc. etc.  I got into bed, and for some reason the thought in the subject line flitted through my mind, prefaced by “It’s so weird;. . .”.

I then wondered if there was something on our local newspaper online about the accident, so I reached across for my smartphone and went to the site.

A headline and article reported that a runner had been struck be a vehicle a little after 6 p.m. at that corner, and died instantly. And then I remembered a flash of the shiny tape on jogging pants, and the fleeting thought: “It’s a good thing he has those, or we’d never see him.”  By the time I heard the thump I had forgotten he had even been there, or not realized that he was about to cross our road when he did (it’s a weird corner; 5 lane on the main road, the “cross” street off in one direction at a sharp angle, unusually-timed light changes).

It took me a long time to get the image (flying metal? a body?) and the sound (thunk) out of my mind. Even more upsetting is thinking about how irrevocably so many lives were changed in just a flash. The driver of the car and his 7-year-old daughter (can you imagine?). The family of the jogger perhaps preparing dinner, awaiting his return. He was 51; he had a lot of life still to live.

The jogger, an experienced runner, made an error — the 2 lanes closest to him had a red light; he didn’t look up to notice that the 2 lanes across did not — that any one of us could make, and, in a flash, it cost him his life.

Joggers and bicyclists: Be smart out there. Be alert. Look around. Don’t assume anyone else can see you, especially after dark. Black outerwear with shiny tape is probably not enough. Double checking your right of way and safe passage at crossings is a must.

I’m haunted by this, and my proximity to it. And I was just a bystander.




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