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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My Terrible Truth


I try to write carefully on this blog. I try to be thoughtful, to be careful of what I say and how I say it.

I try not to be awful.

But I have learned a terrible, terrible truth today, and this post will focus on that fact. I am afraid that my words will not be chosen carefully today, because they are being lit by the fuse of this terrible truth.

I discovered today that if the circumstances were right, I could kill another human being.

I do not say this lightly. I have often wondered if I would be able to kill an animal if I had to do it in order to feed my family. I’ve never been sure.

I know that I could kill a fish, having done that more than once. I have no qualms about killing and eating a fresh, sweet clam.

If the dark days ever came and my grandkids were truly hungry, I think I could force myself to kill a duck or a turkey. But I doubt that I could ever, ever kill a deer. I can’t stand the thought of killing something so beautiful and so alive.

I see myself as a coward when it comes to taking life. I eat meat, and I don’t condemn those who hunt for food. Still, I have never believed that I myself could actually make the kill.

Until today, I was sure that nothing in the world could ever make me take the life of another human being.  I’ve never served in the military. I’ve never been in law enforcement.

I’m a gentle, tender hearted, nurturing mother figure. I have been a teacher, a speech therapist for disabled children, a mother, a nonni. I rock babies. I cook nutritious soups. I capture spiders and put them back outside.

I hate violence of any kind. I won’t watch violent shows or movies. Other than mosquitoes, I don’t kill anything.

So today, as I sat rocking my 8 month old grandson in my arms, watching the winter afternoon drift by, I thought of myself as a giver of life. A giver of life and tenderness and understanding.

As I sat breathing in the sweet baby smell of my little Johnny’s hair, I didn’t expect the terrible truth to assault me the way that it did.

But the news was on.

And I saw yet another public school surrounded by swat teams, and armored vehicles and men in combat gear. I saw even more children running out of their classrooms with their arms in the air.

Another school shooting. The 18th in the past 6 weeks? The 19th? We are nearly at one a day!

“Again?!” I gasped out loud. “Again??!!!”

I held Johnny tighter. I thought about his mother, my daughter, my child. She is a teacher. She trusts me to keep her babies safe while she nurtures and cares for other people’s children. I am so incredibly afraid for her!

I thought of my former colleagues, at the school where I taught for two decades. I am afraid for them.

I am afraid for every child in this country who kisses their momma goodbye and gets on that big yellow bus.

And as I rocked my baby boy and cried into the softness of his silky hair, I was hit, hard, by the realization that I would happily, joyfully, gleefully blow the fucking heads off of those who have allowed this country to become a place where public schools are shot up every single week.

I tried to stop that thought. It goes against every instinct that I have to harbor such violent wishes.

But you know what?

Just once, just this once, I wish that I could use the complete lack of gun control to satisfy my own desire to protect our teachers and our children.

If I had the guts…..no, let’s be honest….if I had the opportunity… to be in the presence of Wayne LaPierre (head of the NRA), any NRA lobbyist, or any of the members of Congress who have taken money from the gun whores of the NRA…..

I would happily take my legally obtained AR-15 and cheerily insert it directly into the open mouth of any one of them. I would pull the trigger with a sense of relief and pleasure. I would step over the ugly mess that their brains and skull bones made as they were spattered on the nearby wall.

Then I’d offer their families my thoughts and prayers and deepest condolences.

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The face of a killer…in the right circumstances.

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.

 

Yes, Dammit, It IS a Gun Problem


I am speechless. I have no idea what to say, or how to respond.

Yesterday I was taking a quick check of Twitter when I read the breaking news about the latest mass shooting. More school children cowering as bullets fly overhead. More innocent victims cut down as they go through their daily lives.

I commented on Twitter, because I can’t stand it anymore.

Now, you have to know that I hardly ever tweet. Sometimes I respond, and I often retweet what others have said. But this time my anger, my sorrow, my rage made me send out my message.

Because, come ON! Of course it’s a damn gun problem!!!

All of the usual arguments against gun control are just so stupid. They simply make no sense.

I won’t even go into them all. I can’t.

I just can’t.

My heart hurts. My head hurts. My logical brain? It doesn’t hurt anymore because it melted.

Oh, the responses I got.

Holy hell.

What the absolute fluff is wrong with these people?

Let me be clear (to quote every politician in the past 50 years). The people who responded to me were articulate, smart, well informed and respectful. There was no name calling and no profanity. On their part or on mine.

But do you know what they believe??! Are you ready for this?

These American citizens, living in what most people would consider to be a relatively civilized country, these people scolded me for my belief that I am in danger because so many people around me are carrying concealed weapons.

These are a few of their responses to my insistence that the problem is a gun problem.

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Uh, huh. So….the answer isn’t to limit the number of deadly weapons. The answer is to arm the schools. And churches. And movie theaters. And malls.

What the hell?

Then there was this:

This is just about the saddest, most distressing image of the United States that I have ever seen. These people honestly believe that the police have no duty to protect us. They truly believe that their only defense from people with guns is to carry guns.

They are unable to grasp the fact that in EVERY OTHER developed country on earth, this is untrue. They believe that every young mother who takes her babies out to the park should be packin’ heat. Every teacher should be armed. Every grandmother like me should have a gun in my purse before I take the kids into the grocery store.

This is, of course, insane.

But the fact that these intelligent people believe it is just about the most depressing thing I’ve seen in years.

It is also just about the least patriotic thing I’ve seen in years. They distrust the government, the police, the fire department, the laws of the nation. They distrust and dislike the United States.

And they honestly believe that we living in the age of the OK Corral.

Isn’t that just awful?

I still think its a gun problem.

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