Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Some Thoughts In The Aftermath Of The Orlando Shooting

Lots of people have been penning their responses to the recent mass shooting in Orlando. People are scared and angry. Some are trying to be positive by focusing on the good things that happen as a result of tragedy. For me, it’s too early for that. Because I’m still angry.

I’m angry that this attack could have been prevented if this person, who was twice investigated by the FBI, wasn’t able to get a handgun, and an assault rifle so easily. If he hadn’t been able to waltz into a local store, just a few days before the incident, and purchase these deadly weapons, some, if not all of these people would be alive now.

Some will say that he would have found another way to kill. Would he? Was he really that creative? Others will say that he could have killed people with a knife. 50 of them? And still others will say that if a “good guy with a gun” had been there he would have been stopped. Really? Because it took cops hours to stop him, and what better “guys with guns” are there than cops?

But, because this is America, I’ve been through these feelings before, and I will go through them again. The NRA is a powerful organization, and has brainwashed many into believing that they will be safer with guns, and that any attempt at “gun control,” translates into the government taking everybody’s guns and leaving the populace helpless.

Well, guess what? We are helpless. We are helpless to the gun manufacturers who don’t allow people to sue them. What other industry has that kind of power over the people? What happened to fair trials, and innocent until proven guilty. If they believed that their product was helpful, or, at the very least, not catastrophic, why would they ban people from being able to sue them?

We are helpless to the mighty dollar. The millions of mighty dollars that go into the politicians pockets when they endorse the gun lobby. What’s a few dead pre-schoolers, church-goers, or gay people, against millions of dollars?

The corruption makes me sick because it is personal. I have kids. And I have to send them out into the world, knowing that because of greed, and a huge misinterpretation of what the second amendment really is, I can’t be certain that my kids won’t get gunned down by some maniac. Or a non-maniac who is just having a bad day. Unless you can tell me that you have NEVER done something that you regret, then you can’t tell me that you could make a “mistake” with a gun. I’ve seen how people drive, that’s all the proof I need that people can’t be trusted with deadly weapons.

But most of all, I’m angry at the selfishness of gun owners. The way that they hold on, so tightly, to their little toys, even when ALL of the research shows that better laws would make for a safer society. They say things like, “criminals don’t follow laws,” as a justification against better gun laws. So, why do we have any laws at all then? Why do we have stop signs? Why not just let everyone do whatever they want since criminals don’t follow laws anyway.

You see, none of it makes sense. When you really think about it, all of the pro-gun arguments are actually ridiculous. But people don’t care, because they are afraid that their toys will be taken from them.

I’m teaching my kids to share their toys. And I’m teaching them that guns are dangerous. I don’t let my kids play with swords or toy guns. They don’t pull animals tails either. They are learning that violence is NOT the answer. They are learning that war is NOT the answer. And they are learning that strength comes from within, so they will never have to feel that without a gun they are less safe.

In the moments when the anger about the gun debate fades, I am incredibly sad for ALL of the families of those lost in mass shootings. It feels so wrong, and so unjust when more and more families continue to experience these tragedies, in this, country, which is supposed to be the home of the free. I honestly can’t imagine the depth of their pain. And each day, I pray I never have to.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Between Two Breaths

Image result for let goLately, I've been doing a lot of writing for other people. And, while I love helping businesses grow, I realize that I've been letting a few things build up inside of me. So, here's to letting shit go.

First, I need to talk about this election. Trump is a disaster, and if you are voting for him, you need your head examined. Cruz is ridiculous too. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a democrat. Both of them want you to blame the Muslim population for terrorists, which is absurd. Terrorists are terrorists. They are not acting from a real religion. They are acting to create chaos. There is a huge difference. Plus, if you can't see that blaming Muslims is the same thing as blaming Blacks, or Jews, or Green-Eyed Tree Frogs, then  I don't know what to tell you. Discrimination is never a good idea.

Image result for peaceAnd speaking of things that aren't a good idea: War and Guns. Please don't tell me that you think war makes us safer, or gives us freedom. I just can't handle how wrong that idea is. War does nothing but create more violence. It does not give us anything except enemies. It kills me that so many brave young men and women join the military, believing that they are doing something noble, when they are really being used for a political agenda. And then the Republicans have done such a fantastic job at making me seem unpatriotic, and like I don't "support the troops," because I don't believe in war. Again, it takes the ability to see the bigger picture, to realize that war never has been, and never will be, the answer.

(P.S. I think it's awesome that a bird flew onto Sander's podium. Mother Nature is clearly feeling the bern. And so am I.)

Guns, by the way, are just as dumb as war. They are weapons, meant for violence. They do, in fact, kill people, and that is what they were made for. Anyone who tells you differently is owned by the NRA. And it's time that we start taking away people's privileges to parent, when their kids get a hold of their guns. So, incredibly sick of toddlers shooting or getting shot. Get it together people. Having a gun in your house does not make you safer, it puts you and your family at risk for getting shot. We've seen it time and again.

So, what is the answer, if it isn't guns, war, or blaming one group of people?

Image result for let me clear my throat memeI'm glad you asked.

It's time that we realize the truth of all things. We are all one. As much as I hate Trump, he and I are made of the same stuff. We all come from the same place. It doesn't matter if you were born in Afghanistan, Istanbul, or New York City. It doesn't matter your ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, or lactose intolerance. It doesn't matter your hair color, shoe size, or height. We are all part of this Universe, and that means that we are all connected at a cellular level.

Image result for we are all oneWhenever any one of us does something that is good for her soul, the world feels the vibration. When any one of us lies or cheats, that is felt too. Everything that we do matters, and is seen. We cannot separate ourselves from everything else that lives. The idea of separation is actually a myth, one that is perpetuated by culture, society, and greed. You see, there is no money to be made in Unity. Only by making us believe that we are all in competition with one another, can weapons be sold.

I live in North Carolina, where our horrible governor just signed one of the most bigoted laws in the country. Many who live here are outraged, and embarrassed by this law's backward-thinking. Basically, it allows businesses to openly discriminate against gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals, and it requires that people use bathrooms that correspond with their birth gender. Like I said, it's embarrassing. But, you know what? If you believe that this law is wrong, but that Muslims are the problem, then you are missing the point. Same if you believe that Israel is right, but lesbians are wrong.

Image result for we are all connectedDo you see what I'm saying? Stop fighting only for the country of your origin, or the ethnicity of your parents. Fight for all rights. Be inclusive. Don't tell me that women deserve more rights than men. That's just as bad as saying men deserve more rights than women. Realize that putting one group down, is the same as putting any other group down.

One exception. Please don't think I'm supporting the "All Lives Matter," crap, because we all know that that slogan was only developed to diminish the importance of the "Black Lives Matter" campaign. And yes, Black people have been unfairly persecuted by police. Research has shown this to be true. And, no, it's not because Black people caused this to happen. It's because many police officers have control issues, and need therapy. And I don't blame them. Their jobs are scary. They are taught to be on edge, to always sit at the back of the restaurant, to never put themselves in a vulnerable position. So, who is to blame them when they think they see a gun coming out of a Black man's pocket? How can we expect to teach them to fear others, and then not respond when they perceive a threat?

Somehow, though, we need to remind them that the person they are shooting at, is a boy. A son. A friend. A brother. A person. He's not just a threat.

I'll end by saying this. Today is Easter. A time for resurrection. A time to start new. I know that these issues won't be resolved because I shared my opinion on them. But, I also know that keeping them in was taking up too much space in my insides. And I know, that in order to have true hope for the future, we need to let go of what weighs us down.

Now tell me, what do you need to let go of?
Image result for let go