Shalom


Peace.

Peace be upon you and upon all you love.

Salaam.

Peace.

I don’t know what to write today, so I’m going to simply wish you peace. Soft words, soft landings, safe spaces.

Peace in your hearts. Peace in your angry, saddened souls.

Peace to all of us who mourn for more lost lives, more unspeakable gun violence.  Peace to all who fear for the future of our country.

Wishing peace and calm to all who ask themselves “How could we have come to this place? How could we be letting these things happen?” Peace to all of us who have begun to fear each other. And peace to those who are feared.

Shalom to all who have already been through this kind of awful, ugly, ignorant, hateful terror and lived to tell us your stories. Salaam to those who have already gotten away from this kind of hatred and violence and have come to us as a safe haven.

Peace.

Peace.

Peace.

Tomorrow, smile at someone who wears different clothing than you do. Say hello to someone who has skin of a different tone than yours. Give a helping hand to someone who is speaking a language you can’t understand.

Peace.

Shalom.

Salaam.

We need it so much right now.

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Here’s a Challenge


Donald J. Trump, the man whose “bone spurs” kept him out of the military, just told a room full of American governors that if he had been there, he would have run right into the school where bullets were ripping people apart. In fact, he said,

‘I really believe I’d run in there, even if I didn’t have a weapon’

What do I say about such an outrageously stupid comment? Most people move past their superhero fantasies by the time they reach High School. The proof of Trump’s arrested development and pathetic self-aggrandizing is part of my visceral reaction of disgust to these comments.

But more enraging to me is the fact that this overweight, out of shape, coddled, spoiled, rich brat of an old man can say anything he wants, because he will never, ever have to prove it.

On the other hand, if he sticks a gun into the hands of a classroom teacher, that teacher may very well have to prove their courage or die in the attempt.

What a pile of bloviating, steaming, fly infested bull shit.

So I have a challenge for Trump. I’ll issue the same one to Wayne LaPierre and Dana Loesch, those shameless apologist whores for the NRA.  All three of them have called for arming teachers in order to protect our students from the bullets being sprayed out by military weapons.

I challenge all three of these people to take up a gun themselves.

I challenge all three of them to take part in a simulated active shooter drill. They should carry a loaded gun in a classroom.  The classroom would be filled with real, live, active, bouncy, excitable children. Like most classrooms in this country, it would be overcrowded.

I’d put them in a sixth grade class, since sixth grade is halfway through our public school experience. The kids would have all of the real issues of real kids. ADHD, learning disabilities, anxiety, hearing loss, physical disabilities, crazy-out-of-control hormones, allergies, divorced parents, hunger, poverty, autism….You know. The regular public school classroom.

I would ask Loesch, LaPierre and Trump to teach math, science, literature, social interactions, civics and history to those kids for a few weeks. They would need to manage recess, lunch, homework corrections, testing, lesson planning, modification of the curriculum to meet the needs of each child.  You know, a regular public school teacher’s job.

At some point when they least expect it, the school should be fake attacked, with a bad guy breaking into the classroom.

Let’s see how well the three Stooges would do in countering an attack with an AR-15 (armed with blanks, of course! We wouldn’t want to hurt anyone!).

Is there anyone on earth who really thinks they would manage to calmly organize the kids, face the shooter and get off a shot? A killing shot?

I dare them.

I challenge them.

Let them try take on this challenge before they have the unmitigated gall to tell me that my daughter needs to carry loaded weapon in her classroom.

If they don’t, then they really need to shut the fuck up and find a REAL solution.

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Put up or shut up, you big fat jackass.

 

THIS is the kind of thing I’d like to see these idiots try.

Proof That Concealed Permit Holders Live In a Dream World

She was only a baby


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There was another shooting at another school in the United States this past week.

I know. Yawn, yawn. It doesn’t even make the headlines anymore.

But still.

Think of the teachers who kiss their children goodbye every morning and grab their travel mugs of coffee as they head to school. Think of the parents, millions of them, who pack lunches for their kids and check homework. Picture them kissing their children and putting them on the big yellow bus.

Think about how much trust it takes to send children off to spend the day in the care of other adults. Think about how much trust it takes to go into work every day as a teacher. Think about the number of school shootings that take place in this country every month.

I used to be a teacher. I went to those terrible, horrifying trainings on how to react to a live shooter in our school. I had to keep my door locked at all times, in the event of a shooter coming in to get us.

I used to stay awake at night picturing how I would react if someone burst into my classroom with a weapon. I imagined using my broom to hit the bad guy in the chest or the throat. I imagined telling my ten year old students to lie flat on the floor as I did this. I thought about kicking the weapon away from the killer and I thought about hitting him with my broom, or my feet, or with a big dictionary.

It never felt real. And it never felt it would be enough.

What kind of country asks its children to practice hiding from guns, rather than keeping the guns out of the schools? What kind of insane society asks its teachers to practice taking out a murderer during a reading lesson?

The other day a little girl took hold of a gun and brought it to her Los Angeles middle school. She shot her classmates.

She was 12 years old.

Let me say that again.

She was TWELVE.

She was too young to vote, to order a glass of wine or to get a credit card. She was too young to understand that death is eternal. She was a child. A young child. She was an unhappy pre-adolescent girl who felt bad about herself.

What kind of country would allow her access to a weapon? What kind of sick, twisted, insane society would put this kind of gun into the hand of a sad little girl who doesn’t understand its power?

I am so ashamed to be an American. I am. THIS is why.

I am ashamed because I live in a country that believes that the right to shoot for fun outweighs the rights of children to go to school in safety. I am ashamed because I live in a country that has decided that the millions of NRA dollars are more important the lives of millions of teachers.

We have so completely lost our way, America.

A TWELVE YEAR OLD brought a gun to school and shot up the kids who were bugging her. And nobody in power gives a shit. It didn’t even make the front pages of our national newspapers.

We have lost our way. We are lost. We have abdicated our right to call ourselves merciful, kind or nurturing.

I am sick at heart. And I will forever mourn the adults who let this little girl destroy her own life and the lives of her classmates just so they can tell themselves that they are big old badass gun toting Mericans.

If Canada would have me, I’d be there next week.

 

THESE are the terrorists


I am enraged. I am fuming. I am disgusted, upset, angry, irate, weeping, frustrated, demoralized and fired up.

The National Rifle Association, those money grubbing gangsters, have put out an ad on Facebook and YouTube that is so appalling I can’t believe that it isn’t the top story on the news.

The ad calls for violent action on the part of gun owners toward an unnamed “Them.”

It is urging NRA members to use guns against “them.”

“They” are people who opposed Donald Trump.

“They” include Barack Obama.

“They” are me, and my sons, and my friends who attended the ENTIRELY PEACEFUL woman’s march. “They” are all who have used the word “resist.”

The ad is a blatant call to arms. It is fanning the flames of division in this country. It is full of lies, full of hate, full of anger.

Just listen to the voice of the woman who narrates. She couldn’t be more bitter, dismissive, hateful or vicious.

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How is this legal? How is this not considered to be hate speech?

How is that our national news tonight is full of Donald Trump’s latest nasty boy tweet toward a media person (Ho fucking hum) instead of looking at THIS.

I don’t even know what to do with the fear and rage that this piece brings out in me.

I hate the NRA. I hate them. I hold them personally responsible for ALL of the young people in this country who despair and kill themselves with guns. I hold them responsible for every baby and child who is killed because a gullible parent bought into the lie that owning a gun would keep the family safe.

I hate them.

If I had to list who I fear the most, Islamic terrorists would rate way below NRA leadership.  They’d fall below my anxious neighbors who decide to carry guns into Walmart.

Please watch the ad. Please share it with thoughtful people. Please contact your representatives and your local media and tell them to label this what it is: a criminal act of hate.

 

Why Do They Call This “Political”?


I spent today, like so many others, listening and watching as the news outlets covered the shooting in Virginia. Congressmen were shot, so the coverage was intense and constant.

I have to write down some what I’m feeling. Otherwise, you know, I’d probably explode in a shower of tear soaked sparks.

It was terrible. It’s a terrible, horrible, awful thing for innocent people to become targets for angry, sick, armed lunatics. When I heard the news breaking this morning I cried. I held my hand over my mouth. I shook my head.

It’s so awful. It should NOT be happening.

Now its a few hours later. I’ve been listening to the men who went through the ordeal.

These middle aged men, some of them military veterans, were on TV, fighting tears. They were talking about how surreal it was. How much they feared for each other, and for themselves. How they thought about their families, wanting to see them again.

These men, one after the other, are shaken, upset, angry and filled with the natural need to process all of this.

My heart goes out to them.

But.

This happens every day.

Every. Day.

Multiple times every day, someone in this country is faced with the surreal situation of being in the presence of an angry shooter.

I think about the children living in America’s cities who have been in their very own bedrooms when shots go off right outside their windows. I think about how horrified those little ones must be, every single damn day.

I wonder if those Congressmen are thinking about these kids?

This morning I heard one of the shaken Congressman saying that he felt like he was a “sitting duck” in the first base dugout. His voice was trembling, he was taking deep breaths as he told his story. I heard the sympathetic voice of the reporter, clearly feeling empathy for the Representative.

That’s when I really stared to cry. To sob, with the back of my hand against my lips. “Sitting ducks”, just waiting to be shot and waiting to die. My mind filled with the image of trembling, terrified victims, suddenly faced with a madman and his gun. Knowing that they were about to die.

But I didn’t see middle aged Congressmen. I didn’t.

I saw first graders. I saw kindergarten students. I saw babies, huddling in terror on the floor of their classroom, crying to their terrified young teacher. Asking her to save them.

I saw my students, looking to me for an explanation after Newtown.

I thought about all the guns, the tens of millions of guns that have flooded this country. I thought about all the times a gun has been used to massacre the innocent.

And I thought about those security officers. How they have to go to work every day knowing that there could be a shooter on any corner. In any building, at any event, on any day. They are surrounded by guns. I thought about how they must feel going to work. How their parents and their spouses and their children must feel.

So I am once again thinking, and praying, and hoping that at last we might see our lawmakers address the need to control our guns.

But if I bring it up, or if anyone does, we are told “this is not the time to politicize” this tragedy.

So here’s my question.

What’s political about wanting to be safe in my own neighborhood?

How is it partisan to think people should be safe at baseball practice? Or to want my grandchildren safe at the park?

See, I don’t think that controlling how many guns are out there is political. I don’t think passing laws about what kinds of weapons can be carried around our cities is partisan.

I think its time to question our obsession with outshooting the bad guys.

It’s not political. It’s logical.

 

Again? AGAIN? How Many Babies Have To Die?


I am a liberal. A progressive. A no-war, all peace, hippy dippy Nonni.

But when I saw the faces of those Syrian babies, choking and dying, I wanted to go over there myself and beat the living shit out of Assad, the Russians and everyone who ever helped to create a chemical weapon.

I despise and loathe Donald Trump and everything he stands for. He disgusts me on every level.

But when I saw those babies, gasping for breath, and dying because a bunch of stupid, ignorant, self-absorbed, power hungry adults don’t care enough to protect them, I applauded those bombs dropped in Syria.

Now here I am. Once again. Thinking about babies who are dead for NO REASON at all. NONE.

But this time I’m not talking about war that’s happening thousands of miles away. This time, again, once again, I’m talking about a war on American children. Right here in our own homeland. Right in our towns.

Right there in the classrooms of our youngest children.

Guns. Fucking useless guns.

This time the NRA has once again succeeded in letting an angry, depressed American have a gun. This angry man lived in San Bernardino, California. He was mad at his wife.

He had a gun.

Remember that old saying? “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”?

When you’re depressed, angry, feeling hopeless, and all you have is a killing machine, everything looks like a target.

Even your wife.

Even the sweet, innocent, eight year old boy who happened to be chatting with his teacher when you burst into the room with your slaughtering tool.

And here we are again.

Our government is willing to spend over 70 million dollars to protest the lost lives of those children murdered by their government. But not one of those swaggering macho gunslingers in Washington has the balls to stand up the NRA in defense of little ones like the child who was massacred today while talking to his teacher.

Not one of our so-called leaders has the basic human decency to stand up and say that Newtown was ENOUGH.

I am crying again tonight for the brutal death of a child whose only crime was being born in a country that values the bottom line of the gun industry over its own tender babies.

I’m disgusted.

I feel powerless. I am filled with rage.

Its a damn good thing for the people in Washington that I don’t own a gun.

 

Give Peace a Chance


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Could it really have been 35 years ago?

How is that even possible?

I remember that day, so very well.   Actually, I guess I remember the morning after that terrible day.

I woke up in our apartment, pretty early in the morning for a twenty something young woman.  My husband had already gone to work, but  my shift at the sandwich shop didn’t start until eleven.

I woke up. I stretched and yawned.  I think I cuddled with my cats for a few minutes.  Then I guess I got up and made coffee: I don’t remember this part of the morning.  This part came “before”.  I probably poured a cup and wandered into the living room, where our big old TV sat in its big heavy oak box.  I probably plopped into the armchair in that small living room after hitting the button to turn on the news.I probably sipped my coffee.

I don’t know for sure.

All I know for certain about that morning is that I heard the news man saying, “John Lennon was shot to death last night outside of his apartment in the Dakota.”  I remember that I gave a cry, that a terrible sound of shock was torn from me.  I remember that I stood up, and that I walked toward the TV screen.

And I remember that someone described the shooter, saying that he stood “in a military stance, with both hands holding the gun and aiming at the target.”

I remember falling to my knees and crying.

John?  John Lennon? Our John?  I couldn’t believe it.  I was numb and in shock and shaking.

I had already lived through the assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy, of Martin Luther King.  I had been to peace marches and rallies and anti-war gatherings.

I had grown up with the Beatles.  I saw that first appearance on Ed Sullivan.  I memorized every word to every song.

I played “Revolution #9 Backward” to see if Paul was really dead.  I cried when I heard about Yoko.  I cried when I heard that the band had broken up.

John Lennon was like my older brother; handsome, wise, talented, a little bit mysterious.

I couldn’t believe that he was dead.

Mostly, though, I couldn’t shake the image of someone facing him “in a military stance, with both hands holding the gun and aiming at the target.”

How horrific!  How could we live in a country, I asked myself, where anyone could get ahold of a gun like that and kill someone so good and caring and talented? How could someone just take John away from all of us?

It’s now 35 years later.  My questions remain the same.  The answers remain just as elusive.

John, we sure could use you now.

“Imagine”