America and Guns

I was writing a piece on “hate crimes” and then the Las Vegas massacre happened. I woke up at 1am, which is about 11pm Vegas time, and my television was on…I was in total shock. I remember screaming out “NOOOO!!!!” followed by a bunch of nonsensical stuff as I started to cry. I could not believe what I was watching; seeing happening in Las Vegas, it was just too much to comprehend.
I live in the USA and there is this thing called the Bill of Rights. The 2nd Amendment to this is the “right to bear arms”…meaning we have the right to own guns. And because the NRA (Naitonal Rifle Association) basically funds Republican candidates and pays off politicians we have very loose laws concerning gun ownership. Recently our “president” signed a bill allowing mentally ill to once again be able to purchase guns without question. Yes, it’s a very sad state of affairs we have concerning gun ownership and responsibility.
Our “president” refuses to call the Las Vegas shooting an act of “terrorism” – which is exactly what it is. What could BE more terrifying than being attacked by machine gun fire while at a peaceful music concert? But, because this was a WHITE man who wasn’t acting on behalf of any terrorist organization he refuses to label it what it is: terrorism. Most acts of terrorism in this country are committed by individuals just like this guy. Trump just doesn’t understand what it’s like to be terrified and in fear for your life. He doesn’t get it, because he’s a coddled old nasty rich white man.
I’m sick of all of the mass shootings taking place in America. It’s horrific that we cannot craft legislation to help possibly prevent some of these people from being able to so readily acquire these assault style weapons and ammunition that can pierce metal – such as a car door or plane fuselage. What individual person needs this kind of ammo? Only someone with very bad intentions would purchase such ammunition or assault rifles. There is no good reason to own such items. If you think I am wrong, you tell me the “good reasons”. Unless you are preparing to kill multiple people you do NOT need an automatic weapon. They aren’t used for hunting, hell you’d tear up your target and not get any good meat! They have ONE purpose: to kill people. Period.
I believe in the 2nd Amendment. I believe we DO have a right to own a gun. And I would never want our government to try to remove that right. BUT, be serious, we need some regulations to help curb some of the violence and deaths. We need strict legislation. We all need to stand up to Congress and demand to be protected by such legislation and regulations! MANY other countries have put strict gun ownership laws into place and have vastly reduced gun related murders and deaths in their lands. Australia is the prime example. In 1996 there was a terrible mass killing, they put new laws into place and have drastically reduced gun deaths in their country to date.
I fully understand that putting more restriction on gun ownership won’t completely solve the problem of gun related crime. And yes, like illegal drugs, you can always get an illegal weapon if you try hard enough and know the right people – BUT remember, locks only keep an honest man honest. It’s a mentality thing, responsible gun owners understand the laws of gun ownership are there to protect them and other people. Intelligent, responsible people have no issue with things like background checks and enhanced legislation that moves toward curbing the wrong people from obtaining guns. I truly believe that if we all work together we can find solutions that will appease all of us. I believe we CAN save lives and lower the gun death rate if we just focus on the issues, work toward solutions for those issues and work together to solve them. It’s not going to please everyone, because that’s just impossible. There will still be that rogue gunman who, most likely because he has penis envy, will need to own 50 machine guns and armor piercing bullets….God only knows what his real reasoning will be. He will be in a minority I hope.
I too pray for the families of the victims of the Las Vegas massacre, but prayers without action to back them up are fruitless. I will continue to speak out and be visible in my fight to have better gun laws in this country. I will continue to pressure my Congressmen and Senators. I won’t idly stand by and feel like my voice has no impact. And if we all speak up, and speak LOUDLY, we can change this world and make it safer for all.
Peace. ~MB

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Solemn Memories of September 11, 2001

2017-09-11 13.41.52Today is Monday – September 11, 2017….the 16th anniversary of the bombing of the 9/11 attacks on America…US flags will be flown at half-staff today in remembrance.

I worked a few hours this morning and am home now…and I am remembering exactly where I was 16 years ago today when the first plane hit the Twin Towers in NYC…I was building a barn, and was standing up on the floor of the 2nd story or loft area, readying to put up the roof rafters.  Time seemed to stand endlessly still.  Then the second plane hit.  By this time I was in the house in front of the television watching it live…and I was crying.  All of those innocent people, on the plane, in the buildings…and then we hear that another plane has hit the Pentagon…more death and destruction…then the field in Pennsylvania…carnage.  Then the Twin Towers fell…this was hell.

I will never forget that day.  Or the weeks that followed as we tried to wrap our minds around what had happened, and why it had happened.  It was the our baptism by fire into the world of terrorism.  Pretty much up until 9/11/01 the citizens of the USA lived in a sort of world where we almost thought we were untouchable by outside forces.  We believed that “it would never happen here” in our own backyard.   No one would dare attack the United States directly….then it happened on September 11, 2001.  That very day our whole world changed; flipped completely upside down and would never be the same again.

For days I was glued to the television watching the live news casts for hours on end.  I couldn’t sleep, no one could.  People were missing.  People were severely injured.   And eventually we would learn that almost 3,000 were dead.  We were all devastated, as posters and notes to the missing were being tacked up all over NYC.  Families searched for loved ones, and some found them unharmed, some never heard from them again.  We heard about those trapped in the towers calling loved ones to say good-bye on their cellphones…unbelievably sad.

9/11/01 was a day that changed me.  It changed America.  It changed all of us.  We were not invincible.  We had been attacked; savagely attacked and cut to the core.  Everyone knew someone who was lost in the attacks, or knew of someone who was directly affected.  It’s an amazing thing, the way we are all so intertwined.  It’s the phenomenon that we are all connected within 6 degrees….or the 6 degrees of separation theory.  I’ve found it to be quite true in most instances.

Because of the attacks on 9/11/01 I have far more consciousness of living life in the moment, not passing up chances to learn new things, meet and know new people, and not to take it for granted that there will be a tomorrow.  I, like many, developed a deep rooted sense of prejudice against Muslims; one which I have worked hard to get over and change.  I admit it, at that time I blamed radical Islamic teachings and those who were part of that faith for the attacks.  Now, I know that it is a small percentage of Muslims that hate America and wish to attack us because of this hate.  I have worked to overcome my misguided prejudices, and to understand better.  I now have friends who are Muslim, and even a cousin who married a Muslim man and converted to his faith.  I no longer blame them all, but those 7 terrorists that carried out those senseless attacks on 9/11/01…I hope they are rotting in extreme hell.  And as we know, their leader Osam Bin Laden is DEAD, and hopefully he’s rotting in hell as well.

So, today, 9/11/17, I stop to remember, because we can NEVER FORGET that fated day in 2001, when the world stopped, and we all changed.  We must NEVER FORGET.

Peace.  ~  MB

 

Sunday Reflection

As a good friend reminded me – and people on my Facebook page –

The divisiveness, the hate and the rhetoric has been there a long time.  Trump is just the catalyst that brought it into the bright light of day and made it acceptable.          (thanks ButchDK)

Last night I had to remove a nasty comment – from my own brother – on my Facebook page and block him.  While it made me both angry and sad to have to go to that extreme, I am just sick and tired of listening / reading the ignorant remarks of the minority few that still remain tolerant of hate and supportive of Trump.  And I came to the decision after some long thought, that I would not start deleting people from my life who act in this fashion.  Thus, any and all of those individuals continue to promote and invigorate this hateful rhetoric on any social media platform that I am part of and who either comment to me or directly promote this bullshit, will be deleted, erased, removed, unfriended, unfollowed and otherwise prohibited from communicating with me or across my pages.  Period.  End of Story.  I now have a ZERO tolerance policy on this issue.

Now, let’s turn our thoughts toward Spain.  The Barcelona terrorist bombing…I was very, very shaken by this bombing incident.  As many of you known I was very much involved with a young Spanish/American woman who resided in Barcelona a couple of years ago.  When I heard the breaking news of the bombing my heart jumped into my throat.  Was she okay?  Did it happen right near her, where I thought it happened?  I was very concerned and while I no longer had contact with her, I still care very deeply.  You can’t just turn off love…it doesn’t work that way.  So, I swallowed my Butch pride (and that’s a BIG fucking swallow) and emailed her at her work account, asking if she was alright.

Two days went by, no word.  I would tear up; get choked up when I thought about her.  She has this really vulnerability about her and I know that this kind of thing is very frightening to her.  I could only imagine how scared she was.  I kept trying to not think about her or the bombing…but it was all over US television and in my heart.  I understand that I chose to not be part of her life – or have her be part of mine – when things were “over” so to speak, because I just couldn’t do the “friends zone” stuff with her.  I would never have been able to move on and love another.  She had burrowed deeply into my thoughts, broken down my walls, crashed through the barriers and become someone I didn’t wish to let go of ever.  In the end I had to because moving on was what she wanted, and was doing, and I needed to do it also.  I know I’ve never talked about this, because it hurt too much until recently.  While I will always have space in my heart for her, I have moved on now.

She did answer my email.  She’s fine and yes, the bomb went off right in front of a business that she would frequent daily.  She was lucky not to have been there at that time. But she was fine even though it was very scary for her.  I thanked God, then I thanked her for responding and left it at that.  It was extremely hard for me to not want to talk to her further, to ask how she has been and how things were going in her life these days.  But I can’t know, I just can’t.  I need to focus on what I can have in this life; on those great things in store for me, and on the woman who loves me.

Terrorists are active around our world.  The past week of news stories happening around the world proves this.  Here in America we are engaged in internal strife and being divided as a people.  Abroad ISIS and the Jhadists are employing truck bombs and IED’s on civilian populations – such as in Barcelona.  It’s sad.  It’s infuriating.  It’s frustrating.  All of these things affect us all.  That is the goal of these terrorists – whether foreign or homegrown.  They want disruption, fear and chaos.  And sadly they are achieving that goal in many ways right now.  When will it stop?

I’m going to turn off the television today.  I need a day of rest from all of the news coverage coming in from around the world.  I am going to go outside, taking the dogs with me, and work in my garden.  I will paint my porches. And I will focus on what his here in front of me that is peaceful, beautiful and good in my life.  I will plant a perennial flowering plant in memory of Corey today.  And I will try to heal some of my broken parts just a tiny bit.

Peace.  ~MB

 

 

 

 

Hatred or Terror?

I have been simmering over the Orlando nightclub massacre; still trying to make some sense or come to how I really feel about it – other than very sad for those people and their families and very angry…although I am not sure just who I am the angriest at.  The shooter, his wife, failed intelligence, gun control….

One of my facebook friends asked the question yesterday, and I paraphrase here “Was Orlando a hate crime or a terror attack?”  That question has been stuck in my head.

Really.  Which was it?  We know only what we are being told by other people that he hated gays and was angered by seeing 2 men kissing, but then other little weird things are coming to light like the one woman in his apartment building says that he would hang out in one of the apartments with the gay men that occupied them. Maybe he was questioning his sexuality…?

The whole shebang is very complicated and we will probably never know the real reason.

His apartment showed little connection to ISIS or radicals.  He had scoped out other locations to do this dastardly deed, even went to the Pulse himself a few times – scoping for this or for a date?

Now his wife has acknowledged that she had known full well what this man was going to do.  THIS angers me to the core.  She should be prosecuted for premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder just to start with, in my opinion, which is based on what the news media is reporting.

I could get into all of the little angles, facts, alleged happenings and the such here, but the point that is stuck so hard for me is the question of did he do this because he hated gays or because he wanted to instill terror in the hearts of Americans.  What was his primary motive?  We all know he was a certified lunatic and very evil.   Did he kill because he hated gays or because he wanted to be a terrorist and wanted a location rich with targets, that he knew already.

I could talk about all of the missed chances the FBI and other homeland security operations dropped the proverbial ball on this as well.  Could they have stopped it before it happened?  I think they could have made it more difficult for him at the very least.

There are so many questions surrounding this horrible tragic and needless killing of so many innocent people who were just out to have a fun night with friends.

Hate or Terror?

Maybe the guy did “hate gays” as reported.

I doubt he had much – if any – direction or connection to ISIS and radicals.  They (ISIS) claims he was one of theirs, but they would do that anyway, it’s their way from the pattern I’ve noticed since 2011….if it is a terrifying act against the US then they’ll claim they ordered it and take responsibility for it, like getting another notch in your belt kind of thinking.

Orlando was a senseless loss for the LGBT community.  Particularly the Hispanic part of our community .  I don’t think we will ever be able to comprehend the multiple ways in which this brought such loss to our country.

As part of the LGBT community, I don’t feel that this was a hate crime against us.  I think it was a hate crime against America.  AND it also could be a terror attack that could have been aimed against any one of the multiple groups that man claimed to hate.

So, what, dear reader, do YOU think?  Was this a direct assault against the gay community or a terror attack against American values?  Or both?  I’d love to hear your comments, or perhaps a blog of your own on it.

Be Safe.   Peace to ALL   ~MB

 

 

A Moment of Reflection

So much happens in the world, and inside my freaking mind, that I would love to find the time and energy to write my thoughts about, but it seems that I can never put the two – time and energy – together when I am in that right frame of mind to write.  I am sure other bloggers out there understand what I mean. Just when you are entrenched in a good topic that’s got you blazing the paper’s edges, and breaking pen tips, something NEW happens that throws your thought process right out the window. What’s more pertinent, staying on the topic I am already on, or attacking this new “issue” or “event” that has spurned some strong emotional and intellectual responses, right away?  Yes, it’s a blogger’s thought process nightmare.  

It seems that the older I get the faster this world spins.  Of course I know perfectly well that it is not spinning any faster than it was when I entered it in 1962. Although the more years I put between today and 1962 the smaller each days percentile becomes thus giving the illusion in my brain of the world moving faster by the day. If you understand what I am saying, you are definitely good!  🙂  

The last few years have been years of some pretty major events in this world.  Mostly tragic and horrific things like super storms, inextinguishable fires, rampant madness and murder, bombings, explosions, and freak weather conditions.  Each seeming to run in to quickly take over from the last major “event”…and it just packs the mind with so much thought and a plethera of emotion that is sometimes difficult to figure out because with today’s social media and split second news reports, instantaneous information and reporting of events is so common place that if it takes more than an hour to become world headlines someone definitely turned off the internet to make that happen.

I think that growing up during the decades that I did was a blessing and a privilege for me.  It gave me the opportunity to live through and experience some very profound events in this world.  The walking on the moon, a continuously advancing space program – although I will never understand the justification of what we spend on space travel and research when there are still SO MANY problems right here on Mother Earth that could use far more attention than the question of if we can sustain life on Mars.  

Yes, if I think of all the wild, cool and incredible things that have happened during my lifetime alone it amazes me.  The bringing down of the Berlin Wall – I was bass fishing in western Massachusetts at that very moment.  Yes, astounding, unique moments in life and in the world’s history.  And I have been blessed to live my life during these seemingly packed decades of great world history and events.

There were those tragic moments as well.  Such as 9-11-01 when terrorism brought the Twin Towers to the ground, thousands of lives lost, and heroes made in mere moments.  I was standing on the roof of the barn we were building contemplating the importance of what I was doing, compared to the importance of what was happening in the world. Hammers silenced, I stood frozen with grief for my fellow citizens, their loss and the loss of innocence in America on that very day; I cried for real that day.

So this is just me contemplating where I stand today, and the view from here.  Wondering what all these things have done to me, how they have all been part of forming how I think, who I am and where I find myself today. Sometimes it’s just good to take a look at your life, to think about things, and see what’s important; what’s been important, and what will continue to be important to each of us, always.  

Just some of my many thoughts. Thanks for stopping by, for reading my blog and also thanks to those of you who watch my videos on Youtube, your support and encouragement mean a lot to me always.  Peace.