Posts Tagged ‘guns’

Our youngest, Hannah, graduated from university this past weekend. She earned her degree in December but walked the stage in May. It was a time of celebration for our family. So very proud.

Now, as an American mother, are there times when I breathed sighs of relief that my child was no longer in elementary school? Yes, I admit that I have, even though those years were the absolute best. Amazingly fun, formative years.

But those would be the stupidest sighs of relief I’ve ever emitted.

Because shootings in the USA (note: not the world) are commonplace.

Everywhere. My children and loved ones are still vulnerable. We are all vulnerable.

Grocery stores, houses of worship, college campuses, workplaces, concerts and many other places.

It’s just particularly heinous when innocent children are gunned down in their elementary classrooms.

We absolutely need to come together as a country-regardless of political affiliation-and demand change.

Jaysus, this life is already very short and it’s getting shorter and shorter, by the minute, for many (in this so-called advanced country) due to gun violence.

It’s coming to a neighborhood near you if we don’t do something about it.

In 2017, the daughter of a woman who worked at our elementary school in California (and gave us our first school tour) got shot in the head with a bullet. The twenty-three year old was attending an outdoor concert in Las Vegas when a man fired more than 1000 bullets into the crowd. This young lady survived. Sixty (yes, that’s right, sixty) people did not. Four hundred and eleven people were wounded. Yes, you read that correctly.

Two weeks ago there was another shooting. Dr. John Cheng was shot and killed at a church in Southern California trying to disarm a man. He practiced in Aliso Viejo where we lived. The name was familiar and kept resonating with me. Yes, my daughters saw him on a couple of occasions at the medical center where he worked.

You’d be forgiven if you missed that because it was just two weeks ago. We’ve already moved on to be horrified by the numerous shootings since then. This was directly on the heels of the mass murder in Buffalo.

In fourteen days, we lost beloved community members, a well-respected Doctor and sweet, little school children. In a grocery store, church and elementary school. Places which were once considered safe. This is just a two week period.

Ten years ago when a gunman went on a rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School my little niece and nephew were attending school in the neighboring town. They were in lockdown mode-as were many of the schools in the area. My niece was sent into a cubby and my nephew was under the desk. We were the lucky ones because we were able to celebrate Christmas together. The families of twenty innocent children, along with six adults, were not so fortunate. The entire community was reeling with horror and grief.

Ten years ago.

Could we have ever imagined something like that could happen again? And again? And again? And again? And again? And again? And again? And again?

The NRA held their convention just hours away from Uvalde. Prominent politicians continued to spew the same old canned responses while acknowledging the NRA is the backbone of their political movement. For those way in the back-I don’t need to spell this one out for you.

Fatherless children. Where are the parents? Arm the teachers. Have police on every campus. Video games are the cause. We don’t have a gun problem-we have a mental health problem. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

These are things we hear immediately after each and every American massacre. Along with the promise of many prayers.

Arm the teachers? I know plenty of teachers and they do not want to be armed. They already have an extremely difficult job.

Police on campus? Where on earth would we even find all these police for the 130, 930 public and private K-12 American schools? Or the nearly 4000 universities and colleges. What about all the other places massacres have occurred?

Mental health issues? Yes, no doubt we are experiencing an uptick in this area. And worsened by the isolation of Covid. I’m all for more focus on mental health issues. Especially in schools. Educate students on “if you see/hear something-say something.” Identify and address bullying. Care for our vulnerable youth.

Fatherless children? Not a new thing.

Where are the parents? Probably working most of the time. Especially if they have fatherless children.

Guns don’t kill people. Give me a guy with a knife in a crowd any day of the week. Let us all investigate stabbing massacres in the USA. It’s not our thing. Ask anyone around the world.

Canada is receiving flak for tough new limits on firearms because, in reality, they don’t want to end up like their neighbors to the South. In response, U.S. Senate Minority Leader stated, “There is no verifiable link between guns and shooting.” Wait, what? I’m no genius but that one flummoxed me. And if I wasn’t confused enough the Governor of Texas responded to the Canadian proposals, “Guns aren’t the problem. It’s doors.” Umm, okay.

When my family and I traveled (or lived) outside the USA many of my fellow Americans asked me this question. Time and time again.

“Is it safe there?”

Coming to a neighborhood near you.

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There are a few issues in the U.S. that need addressing.

We need to start respectful, serious discussions.

Mass shootings in America has totally gotten out of control. I think we can all agree on that. What we cannot agree on is how to fix it. Or prevent it.

There is always someone who will say loads of people die from drugs, alchohol or car accidents. Should we ban driving? Again with the Prohibition?

Someone actually did say this.

No. But as a nation if we can keep improving why wouldn’t we try?  In many ways we have shown so much progress.

Our children are strapped in secure car seats. Probably saved a few lives. While biking we have our kids wear helmets. I am sure that prevented a head injury or two. We still have cars but almost every American buckles up once they are behind the wheel. Think that kept a body or three protected. Cars are now outfitted with air bags. I can tell you that helped me when I was in a head on collision many years ago.

The age to use/buy alcohol was changed and while young folks can/will still find a way to drink it might just have decreased the rates of alcohol related accidents/deaths and early addiction for some.

So why, when it comes to our children being safe while learning their ABCs or attending a concert, would we not want to look at any/every possible way to keep them secure? Have safety measures in place?

I feel like it’s closing in on us.

Long time followers of this blog will remember that my niece and nephew lived in the next town over from Newtown when that horror took place. Neighboring schools went into lockdown mode. My nephew was under the desk and couldn’t understand why his teacher was yelling. My niece was sent into the cubbie with the teacher pretending it was a game.

That was right before Christmas. Next town over but it effected everyone in the area. My brother and his wife were sick about it. Could hardly talk about it. Who wouldn’t be sick about it? I just can’t imagine the pain of a parent losing their baby like that. The fear those children must have experienced.

Not too long ago there was a terrible shooting in Las Vegas. Wasn’t in a school but during an outdoor concert. A young girl, whose mother worked in the office at my daughter’s California school, was shot in the head that day. A guy who attended high school with my friend Karla was killed.

Something has to be done. A lot has to be done. And maybe both sides of this debate can make the decision to move a bit closer to ensuring the safety of our children.

They can be the future.

If they’re safe.

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My fingers kept typing like it was a Ouija board so forgive the ramblings. Hope you can follow the thread of this.

I keep seeing these postings on Facebook.

The ones that state, “Where’s the outrage now? A white policeman is dead and there will be no looting and rioting in the streets. Because everyone knows that a deranged shooter alone is responsible for it and no one is blaming his race.”

What are they really saying? Are they saying that white people are more civilized and discerning? That it’s just bad odds that black men are the ones being shot or hurt by white police?

Ironically, these are usually the same people that want to blame every single Muslim (not a race but a religion) in the world when someone with an Islamic sounding and/or Arabic surname commits a murder or an act of terrorism. And wants you to get worked up about Sharia Law that could possibly be embraced by our very own Muslim president. 

Or blame every Mexican (a race) immigrant for crimes committed in Texas and California by those who share their heritage. Let’s send them all back and build a wall. 

Here’s another posting. “Thank you, police officers. There are still people out there that support you.”

The insinuation is that the police does not have the support of the people. Or that folks aren’t allowed to be angry at past injustice. You’re considered almost un-American if you question this authority. And especially in the wake of a recent crime committed against a police officer. Somehow, you’re made to feel as if you are somehow disrespecting the dead.

It’s so manipulative.

Most people do and/or want to support and respect their police. They want to trust them. And tell their children, “If you’re in trouble just go and find a policeman.” That’s why there has been the anger.

No one policeman or anyone with authority is above the law. I believe this and it doesn’t make me non supportive of the brave, hard working men in blue that go out there every single day to protect us.

A horrible, despicable crime recently took place in Houston. A black man unloaded his gun on a white police officer who was just filling up his car with gasoline. Execution style. Absolutely heinous. I cannot imagine what his family must be feeling.

Was the policeman targeted because of his occupation? Maybe. He was in uniform.

But a fact of this matter, in this particular case, is that the murderer was declared mentally incompetent in 2012 and committed to a mental hospital. 

He was a man who had mental problems who had access to a gun. So he could fire multiple bullets (possible 15) into an innocent police officer. A husband and father.

These same people that keep posting are the ones that will spout out with their dying breath that there should be no gun control.

Yes, and this is just after another black man, a disgruntled employee, killed two people on live television. With a gun.

These are the same people that are posting about a black Sheriff quoting, “Stop trying to fix the police. Go fix the ghetto.” So, it’s now totally okay and it totally affirms their beliefs because we have one black man telling us the problem is with the ghetto. See, it’s not just the white people. Black people are saying it, too. So, it’s got to be true. They’re saying it, too!

Do we really want to trust just one mouth piece speaking for an entire race?

Bill Cosby comes to mind. A black celebrity and one of America’s beloved.

But then he started ranting about black folks (poor black folks) not taking responsibility for themselves, not getting educated, the dangers of drinking, drugging, sex and crime.

Lots of people loved this. See, Bill Cosby, a black man saying the same things we’ve been thinking! He’s right. Pick yourselves up from the bootstraps and get on with it. Use Bill as your example! You can do it!

Only to find out this highly educated, black man has raped countless women, after slipping them drugs. And then did not take responsibility for his crimes. If that is not the pot calling the kettle BLACK, I don’t know what is.

Thanks for the role modeling, Bill.

You do not speak for an entire race.

I have never been afraid of the police. Some of my friends are police officers. They are the first ones I would run to or call if I felt unsafe. They’d be the first ones I’d call if Bill Cosby invited me out for drinks.

But that’s me. I can’t speak for everyone.

A few things bother me. Let’s see if I can suss it out of this diatribe.

We have a huge problem with guns. These horrible examples cited were all crimes committed with guns. Domestic violence, mental illness, racism, etc. will always exist. It always has. Early intervention could bring the numbers down but these issues will always be there. In some form or fashion.

We can, however, reduce the number of murders in the United States with stricter gun control.

I cannot, right hand to God, even remember the names of all of the men who went on mass shooting sprees in the last five years. There are that many. Worse, there were over seventy one mass shootings since I graduated high school in the early 1980s. Most obtained the guns legally.

I can recall, however, the feeling I had, upon hearing that my niece had to hide in a cubby and my nephew was under his desk while their entire school was in lockdown mode. Because in the next town over, at Sandy Hook Elementary, twenty little angels-the same ages as my niece and nephew-were being systematically slaughtered by a man with a gun. I remember this killer’s name but I find it unnecessary to type it. Yeah, he had mental problems also. Obviously.

Another issue is the vitriol spewed out by these Kool-Aid drinking followers of a certain news channel and questionable politicians. They are so dogged and unyielding in their beliefs. Hmmm. They remind me of someone. Oh yes, that’s right. Bill Cosby had that same “holier than thou” attitude.

The third thing that bothers me is this. The reason for the uproar about the police shooting black males is/was because the police are the authority. We need the police. They, in my opinion, are the only ones who should have guns. As long as they are not shooting innocent folks.

But just google, when you have time, “Police shoot unarmed….” and see how many hits you will get. Is there an issue?

Do we have problems in the poor neighborhoods? Oh, yes. Especially in the poor, black neighborhoods. The black sheriff is 100% correct. We certainly need to fix the ghettoes. Address the poverty, unemployment, and education.

But we also need to address cases of injustice. And if some of the police forces need fixing then lets take care of that also. Ensure diversity training is available. Hire and increase the percentage of black officers.

Most of those who protect and serve are there because they want to make the surroundings a better, safer place. For us.

Police lives matter. Of course they do.

Black lives matter.

All lives matter.

But you actually have to believe that. For it to actually matter.

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Every day I read about the increasing gun violence in America. It truly amazes me that these shootings take place on a daily basis. Gosh, when is it enough?

When I worked in Dallas there was a guy named Don. Worked in the mailroom and then was promoted to management. Can’t remember if it was a temporary position. It was a time of growth in this particular office and we were filling spots everywhere.

Don would poke his head in my office and say good morning with a huge smile. Some folks thought he was sucking up to management. I didn’t care. Would rather have someone making an effort to stop and be friendly. More flies with honey than vinegar as the saying goes.

On cold days he would sometimes laugh and say he thought of me on the way to work. Because he once heard me kvetching about companies on the main road that did not turn off their automatic water sprinklers. In cold, RAINY weather! It was like a death slide into work.

Anyway, it is always nice to hear that you will forever be associated with automatic sprinklers.

Don’s wife worked in the office as a customer service representative. His son was also employed by the company.

The marriage went south. He and his wife split up. Not sure why. But it happens.

He kept company with one of our female employees. And I heard rumors that he also kept company with a crack pipe. Not sure when exactly these two things came into play. But rumors were rampant in an office that size so I didn’t pay too much attention.

So who knows what came first? The chicken or the crack pipe?

What I do know is this. One October morning in 1997 a group of us were heading to the Texas State Fair for the day. Under the guise of team building.

But before we left the office that morning we learned that Don was dead.

The girl he had been spending time with shot him. More than once. She then turned the gun on herself. Ending her life also. That’s what was reported to us. I suppose based on blood splattered walls and who was left with the smoking gun in hand.


I had no idea that this young woman carried a gun in her purse. And I heard, after this horrible thing, that she had. Quite frankly, the thought wouldn’t have even occurred to me back then.

My job in Dallas was managing attendance and disability. And many times disciplining and terminating employees who showed no improvement.

This gal with the gun was not assigned to me. She reported to my friend, Kim, who was in the office right next door to me. They met on more than one occasion. Kim might have even fired her. My memory fails me there.

But what  has never left my memory is the image of an unstable, young blond girl sitting in my friend’s office with a loaded handgun concealed in her purse.

What bothers me still?

Same thing.

Schools, homes, offices, movie theaters, post offices, churches, malls, and routine traffic stops.

So many unsafe places in America. And so many triggers.







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I am going to repost at the end of this. I don’t usually do that. But nothing has changed since that last post. And that is the saddest thing.

Didn’t watch the court proceedings on television. I personally don’t think any of us should be viewing it unless we want to get off our rear ends and get down to the courthouse. Because not ALL cases are televised. Just those special celebrity laden, juicy and/or particularly nasty ones. All about the moolah and ratings.

We have race issues. And if anyone denies it I would have to call them a liar or the most naive person in the whole world. We are all guilty of it. In some way. I am not even saying it is our fault. It’s been so ingrained in our society (world) that sometimes it’s not even noticed. White people rule. Still.

But I have heard or read comments and so have you. Some people check to see racial numbers before moving into a neighborhood and/or school. Maybe not because they even dislike Blacks but because not a lot of money is plunked down in areas where Black folks live. Especially in cities. So education stinks. Everyone knows that. Yup.

We had the white flight. The pristine suburbs away from the city. But how were the Blacks going to leave?

White people use code words for Black people. I didn’t even know that until my friend told me recently. But when I read up on it (like I do everything) I saw that it was out there. Some said it came from the food service industry. That Canadians were known for not tipping and so were African Americans. Sigh. Really?

A lot gets blamed on the Black folk. Do you know what the percentage of Black folks is in America? According to a census report for the year 2012 it was thirteen percent. How can everything (or anything) be blamed on such a small group?

I read an article today. Interestingly enough it was not about Trayvon Martin.

It was about America. And how the minority populations will soon be majority. This means that these folks, the ones now largely ignored, under educated and jailed will be our workforce ready (tongue in cheek) to compete with the rest of the world. If the country doesn’t  spend the time and money to fix this (and I don’t mean popping out more white babies!!!) then the country will suffer. Maybe that is what it will take to right the wrongs but USA might wait too long.

Sure, we love our sweet Black singers, our NBA athletes and funny actors. As my girlfriend once said, “Yup, everyone wants to sing like a Black person. Dance like a Black person. Play sports like a Black person. Emulate us in every way. But no one actually wants to be Black person.” 😦

One more thing. I remember Eddie Murphy (Black American actor and comedian) discussing an incident. His celebrity only masks outward racism. Usually. One day he is on an escalator and a fan (white girl) is smiling and waving at him. Her male companion says, “What are you waving at that *%&^&# for?” She said, “It’s Eddie Murphy.” Oh, okay, then.

People are not protected from racism. No matter how successful or big they make it in the world.

I am not even saying that Zimmerman is a horrible racist. But it exists in our world. And could have distorted his view. Maybe Trayvon looked suspicious (to him) because of that BUT he didn’t have to approach him. He did and the young man was shot. And killed. He was told by the authorities not to follow. He did anyway. Someone needs to be accountable. Because there was loss of an innocent, young life. Please don’t bring up pot smoking to me. Or graffiti.  Or even stealing a necklace. Or that he wasn’t a squeaky clean youth. For God’s sake, if we killed off all of our not so squeaky clean youth then what 60s, 70s, or 80s bands would we have? And who would be writing this very blog?

I have gone on long enough. Sorry. See blog posting below. Nothing has changed. In years and years.

Walking Freely

March 21, 2012 by Mary

A young man, seventeen years of age, was shot and killed in Florida a couple of weeks ago. His name was Trayvon and he was black.

A twenty eight year old man was patrolling his gated neighborhood and thought Trayvon looked suspicious. So he called the police. The police told him not to pursue. He did anyway. And shot Trayvon.

Someone’s son.

That is the tragedy.

Trayvon who was visiting a relative in the neighborhood and was armed with nothing more than candy wrappers. And was scared of this grown man chasing after him.

But sadly, that is not the only tragedy in this story.

The man who murdered him in cold blood walks freely among us. Not charged. Not jailed. There is a law in Florida that protects him. A law that states you can stand your ground. In a nutshell- someone can meet force with force if they feel that it will prevent death or harm to themselves.

But what if you follow, chase and hunt down someone? Provoke and then shoot them? Not in your bedroom. But down the street in your neighborhood.

Well, apparently that law still protects you.

I’m not going to discuss guns. That’s a posting for another time. I’m not going to discuss the racism. That’s also a posting for another time.

Lots of people talk about how this country is going downhill and we are losing all of our rights. That can’t be true. Because we still have rights. The right to kill. And walk freely after doing so.

Walking freely was probably something that Trayvon, being young and black, never took for granted. He was scared. He was murdered. And he will never walk freely again.



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Last night three people were shot and killed at a restaurant in Ohio. A man killed a woman and a girl. He was later shot and killed by police. Apparently a domestic dispute.

Also last night. A California Sheriff’s Deputy was shot and killed while serving an eviction notice in Modesto.

In New Hampshire, the police chief, with twenty six years on the force and due to retire in eight days, was shot and killed. Four other officers were injured. Possible drug bust gone bad.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, four different men and one woman were randomly gunned down -three of them died. Racially motivated.

Dallas, Texas. Fourteen year old intruder shot and killed by the fifty one year old homeowner. Protecting property with a firearm.

Florida. An unarmed seventeen year old is shot and killed while walking to a relative’s house. Vigilantism.

Oakland, California. Guman open fires on a college campus and kills five people. Reason unknown.

Down in Georgia. A nine year old shot by nineteen year old babysitter. Child might live. Unknown reason.

Up in Washington state. Nine year old charged with shooting and critically wounding his eight year old classmate at school. Parental negligence.

Out in Pittsburgh. A man kills one and wounds others at a clinic. Instability.

Los Angeles. Two international students shot and killed. Attempted carjacking.

Hmmm. Starting to see a theme here. When someone is shot then they will probably die. Seems to go hand in hand.

Also appears to be a U.S. thingy.

And seems to be happening with frightening frequency.

This is recent news. Nothing old about it.

People are shot and killed every single day in this country. Are we comfortably numb? No longer horrified? Until it hits really close to home?

How much closer does it have to be?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Guns don’t kill people, Mary! People kill people. Well, yes, that’s right and we are killing each other with a gun ho (I meant gung ho!) ferocity.

My thought is this. Just my thought. That without guns there would be a lot less dead people.

Isn’t it ironic how we get all up in arms (that pun just slipped out) about atrocities that are committed in other countries? That would never happen in our country.


Do we really want to be known as home of the free and land of the dead?

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