February 15th, 2018

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Guns, Again.

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

A very sad iconic photo of the Ash Wednesday/Valentine’s Day massacre at the school in Florida: Florida school massacre001. (That’s the reason for the cross on the ladies forehead.)

If nothing else, take time today to visit these two websites: Giffords.org. That’s Gabby Giffords, then Arizona Congresswoman, shot doing the business of being Congresswomman Jan. 8, 2011. Paralyzed.

Then visit Brady Campaign. Jim Brady was Ronald Reagan’s Press Secretary, shot along with the President March 30, 1981, in Washington D.C. Paralyzed. Jim and Sarah, his wife, fought the good fight for years. They are both deceased. Their story is here.

I’m a long-time contributing member to both organizations.

Doubtless there are many other common sense organizations to stop the insanity of guns in our society. Find one, get involved.

Most important:

We have our own paralysis: variations of “I can’t do anything”.

I have the same feeling. It’s not that I haven’t engaged. I just put “guns” in the search engine for my blog and 63 references come up. But I fall into my own paralysis again and again.

The only sure thing about that paralyzed feeling is the certainty that if you can’t do anything, you’ll get the exact same result as the feeling: nothing.

Do something. And then keep doing something. There needs to be far more than a single eruption of concern and outrage today.

Cross Hill above Columbine High School, April 1999, granddaughter Lindsay by the crosses, late April, 1999

This year, April 20, is 19 years after Columbine High School. My then 14 year old granddaughter and her parents lived, and still live, little more than a mile from Columbine – essentially walking distance. She didn’t attend Columbine, but when I heard about the massacre (driving on the freeway in Brooklyn Park MN), I certainly paid very close attention. I was at the school, with the family, at the end of the week, at Cross Hill, still a monument, above the school. That is the photo, above.

The Crosses? Immediately after the killings, a man, I believe from Illinois, came west with crosses, one for each of the dead, including for the two students who killed the others. He placed the crosses on a hill of dirt probably from previous construction. They became their own controversy, and the two to the killers were cut down and removed. We were at Cross Hill one year ago in March. It is still there, but now a formal monument.

Today’s Just Above Sunset, if you wish. Scroll down to the para beginning “This was a bad Valentine’s Day at the White House” for the content about Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School, Valentine’s Day 2018.


from Jeff: Congress sends its hopes and prayers, but its too soon to talk about it. It really is very hard not to be cynical about this….they will talk about mental illness now, missing the point that the accessibility and ease of [getting] guns is the actual problem.

from Greg: This tells about the amazing lady after whom the school was named in Parkland Florida. She lived, really lived 108 years. Knowing about her will help us get through the next several days. here

from Carole: No question that we need universal access to medical care and services. Which means that we need a large percentage of the women running for office right now to succeed.

from a long-time Republican friend: Add to this the congressman that is working to get a reciprocity law past which will allow citizens of states that allow open-carry to come into our states and openly carry their weapons. We do need to overturn the congress and clear out all the right wing crazies. I’m pleased to see so many GOP congressman bailing out at the end of their term. Can’t close with my usual “Cheers”. Not much to cheer about today.

Occasionally my edit feature “freezes” on me, and so it happened with yesterdays post. Here are some later comments received yesterday on that post.

from Mary: Thanks Dick for sharing your thoughts and the Valentines. My mom use to make the Valentine box for my class. I think from 1st to 4th grade. Needless to say it was always spectacular which was way the nuns always asked her to make it. I felt very proud of her.

from Darleen: Thanks for the Valentine’s thoughts / memories. I remember seeing my Mother’s cards which were very similar. I made some for my children and grandchildren this yr. Not as dramatic as those old ones, but modern scrap booking… Life was simpler back then — less meetings / clubs / expectations. There was time to run and play and sort out thoughts / beliefs / dreams.

from Lydia: Seeing the old Valentines was a bright moment on Valentine’s Day. Thank you!
While this is a day that’s almost entirely associated with romantic love, I’ve enjoyed using it as a way to appreciate friendships—a connection NOT nearly as appreciated in our society, as I wish it was—especially between men & women. In fact. many still seem to believe that deep friendship is NOT even possible between men & women–only a “prelude” to sex & romance—or those feelings being unrequited on one side or the other. I feel lucky that I’ve had close platonic men friends since high school.

If we found a way to encourage more NON-romantic friendships between men & women, I wonder if that would go some measure towards healing the attitudes that have made the #MeToo movement necessary. An inability to see women as anything EXCEPT an object of sexual desire or to respect women’s right of consent is certainly part of what fuels much (not all) sexual harassment.

Today, men and women are in situations that the past hasn’t prepared us for: some couples inevitable form out of work relationships—and there’s nothing wrong with that. My only caveat would be: it must be made clear that men have to take NO for an answer and NOT be persistent when a co-worker declines. When it’s a supervisor employee situation, frankly people should simply be expected to”act professional”–as it’s too easy to make it at least appear that “job pressure” is being applied. Women have to assert ourselves—but, NOT be punished for doing so. At the same time, I’d apply an Alcoholics Anonymous motto “Don’t sweat the small stuff!”: sexual jokes, a pat on the shoulder, compliments on one’s appearance—UNLESS they are particularly CRUDE & FREQUENT. Then, Human Resources should step in and the “offender” gets a CLEAR WARNING. (NOT fired for first complaints).

Of course, much of what’s been described by women in these last months of the #MeToo movement is far worse than what I’ve described. At times I’ve thought some of it was “small stuff”. With Sen. Al Franken, it sure SEEMED to be “small stuff” EVEN if I believe everything his first accuser—fellow USO performer 11 years ago—was a former lingerie & Playboy model turned into a Fox commentator. I just didn’t believe that a KISS was “traumatic” for her. It smelled by like a political hit-job & that (allegedly) progressive women who were Franken’s colleagues piled on REALLY disappointed me a lot.

There are CONCRETE things that should & must be done. Changing how CONGRESS itself addresses sexual harassment is a start. But, personally, as a survivor of sexual assault (actual rape), I’d like to see FULL FUNDING & a REQUIREMENT to test ALL the “rape kits”/DNA evidence gathering dust in police departments across the country. Whenever that backlog is addressed, perpetrators WITH MULTIPLE VICTIMS are identified and gotten off the streets.

No doubt, there are many more conversations that will come out of the #MeToo movement& they won’t be comfortable. Women have to be honest, men have to listen and we all have to see how we can create a more equitable environment. Starting with a FRIENDS FIRST attitude towards one another could help.