Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut - How I'm seeing this

It's been a long time since I posted anything here, but it's time. I don't know if anyone will read it, or care even if they do,'s time.
Maybe you do or don't have children. Maybe you do or don't have nephews and nieces or grandchildren. But even if you don't, if you are alive and not living in a cave, you have watched children of the age of the 20 that were, literally, executed. You've seen them at school crossings, in the market, in parks, on television. You are their neighbors or at the least, they are in your neighborhoods.

For those of us who have experienced a close relationship with children this age, be it that they are our own children, our relatives, or those we've befriended via a myriad of ways, we know the charm of that beautiful age between 5 and 7. It is all about discovery, discovery of the world they live in. Now, language is mastered enough to ask the why's; why is the sky blue? Why is that woman in a wheelchair? Why does a tadpole turn into a frog? Why are you fighting? Why do I have to wear the green dress? The how questions; how will Santa get down the chimney? how did the lamps stay lit eight days? how do I deal with Janey laughing at me today? The when questions: When will I die, like Grandma? When will it snow? When will we go fishing, like you promised? When will I get a puppy? When will I be a big girl/boy?

Everything is new and real - beauty is more beautiful, fright is more frightening, the world is bigger than it all will ever be again. Adults are huge, shooting stars are giant, fireflies are magical. There is no science to explain wonder, there is no logic to explain horror. It is one of the brightest times of life, one of the most real times.

The above, just so you know, is why I am having this passion to eradicate - not once and for all, we've gone too far for that, I know - the potential for citizens to own semi and automatic guns in America. As something I read tonight put it, in chart form, we give more difficulties to one who would drive a car than one who would purchase and keep a weapon that was designed for military use.

You want to hunt, because you are hungry? Please do! I'm not against that, though sport hunting disgusts me. You want to keep a firearm in your home because you live someplace that keeping a gun could save you and your families lives? If you do that responsibly, you should have that right (though most police will say that the average civilian does not have the mentality to shoot in time; having a lack of the reality that the intruder does, who has nothing holding him or her back from destroying you, the average citizen thinks - no, this is irrational, we can sort this out - and that hesitation, lovely hope, will be the reason most home gun owners will be victims should the time come). Either their children will find the weapons and hurt themselves or other family members, or the weapon will be taken from them by an intruder and used against them, or it will be used wrongly, without justification. This isn't opinion, it's fact. Look it up.

There are those who are campaigning for more mental health outlets, and that is also, hand in hand, a valid need in our country. When President Reagan opened the doors to letting those with mental instabilities into the streets and subsequent cuts in mental health have left fewer and fewer opportunities for those with mental health issues access to help, the combination is, as we have seen all too clearly in only the last few years, deadly.

We have to fight on the fronts we choose. I choose gun control and leave it to my better informed and able brothers and sisters to fight on the mental health front.

The truth is, we all need to choose love and peace. I could just as easily choose violent video games, violent music. I could wave my lance at many windmills and they are all valid. The thing is, choose something. Choose something that matters, that touches your heart in the face of yet another insanity in our country. One is not better or more important than another, it only matters that you choose one and act on it. Talk is good, but action is better.  That's all I know.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mister Bookseller

I just love this Croatian Darko Macan. Don't forget you can click on the panels to get a larger version (and then click again!

How 'bout that boat cont.

J added this, bringing us up to the moment (even if J's moment is six hours ahead, in which case we're past the present):

More news on flotillas like this one, please!

Israel's media is making a bigger deal outta this flotilla thang than the Turkish media are.  Top story in the Turkish media (at least yesterday) was the killing of a buncha soldiers? by suspected PKK (the Kurdish separatist/liberation/whatever mob) "terrorists" (I put it in quotes in that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter kinda way.....yup, until it's your rellies/compatriots that get killed).  A few of the braver Turkish commentators were asking why Abdullah Gul (Turkey's PM) and Turkish groups were getting involved with the Pals since the Turks have enough trouble on their own doorstep (with the PKK/Kurds), that aid going to the Pals could be better used in Turkey, and why is Turkey bothering with the Pals anyway since the Pals helped the Brits kick the Ottomans outta this neighborhood (this is an area with long, long memories).

And for the ultimate in thoroughly fucked up [referencing my thanks for explaining one of the more complex, fucked up political scenes on earth to the simple minded], I just got email that the US Embassy in Tel Aviv is warning American citizens in Israel to stay far away from the West Bank and cities with large Arab pops, including Haifa, due to fears of outbreaks of violent protests over this flotilla thang.  Haifa???  Violent protests???  I walked all over this city this morning and it was the usual quiet to the point of Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.   They really haven't a clue what goes on day to day here.....*sigh*.....  

And so it is.  

How 'bout that boat?

Whenever things are going on in the Middle East that I don't understand, I turn to my friend J in Haifa, who, in her own unique style, parts the muddy waters for me in a way I can understand. Or at least a way I can read that makes sense. So when I heard about the latest situation of the boat confrontation, I turned to my Mid East (or as J calls it, MidBeast), interpreter for her take on the situation(s):

Haifa, just another place by the sea 
(the Mediterranean Sea, that is)

The 25 word or less answer about this latest "crisis" (never a dull moment around here eh?) is that certain organizations/groups/countries were looking to provoke a confrontation with Israel......and they got exactly what they wanted.
The longer answer is the usual complicated, convoluted on-going political and day-to-day horseshit that constitutes life in the MidBeast, to whit:
This flotilla thang has been brewing for months.  It started being reported here several weeks ago.  As usual, ya'll outsiders only see the sensationalized reaction......ya never hear about all that went on before.
Israel is at a state of war with the controlling regime in Gaza aka Hamas. Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza due to this state, mostly to stop the flow of weapons/materiel into Gaza, such as those rockets Hamas keeps shooting at Israeli civilians. Egypt also imposed a blockade on Gaza.....but ya never hear about that do ya?
Turkey knows it's never gonna get into the EU and therefore is trying to make its "bones" as it were in the Arab/Muslim street thru its increasing public belligerence toward Israel (Israel and Turkey have diplomatic relations but they've become increasingly cool since Turkey realized it ain't getting into the EU).  Sponsoring of provocative actions raises its status among those elements with which the country now seeks to align itself. 
I could mention that this latest "crisis" has nothing to do with humanitarian anything (Israel offered several times to off-load at Ashdod whatever humanitarian aide the flotilla contained and truck it into Gaza) and everything to do with the on-going quest to demonize/delegitimize Israel. I could also mention UN blatant double-standards.  But what's the fuckin' point.......just another day in the MidBeast....*sigh*