» This entry is PART TWO, continued from » Part One. It was split into two pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go .. the conclusion of » Shooting First Graders? Like Fish in a Barrel? What the Fuck?
» A Curious Connection & the Ability of Man
I'd rather not .. but I must say .. that I find it 'curious' .. that the VERY NEXT section in Matthew [.. in the very same chapter .. right after where Jesus says "Suffer little children" in verses 14+15 ] .. he next talks about » the Rich Young Ruler [ RYR .. in verses 16-26 ] ..
And for me .. this trusting-in-riches thing FEELS LIKE .. a ROOT .. out of which I suck something that feels like security (comforting) ..
.. a root that is very difficult to pull up .. and which starts growing (all-by-itself, it seems) .. soon as you let it drop.
.. is » "With men this is impossible." [ Because uh, I have *tried* .. and not necessarily because I wanted to. ]
» Impossible (with Men)
"Impossible," he said. In other words » with men » Mission Impossible. [ And if you fancy the trick a trifle, let me be the first to challenge you .. to sell everything. Give it all to the poor. Let me know how it goes, dawg. ]
[ Uh, now I think I know why trusting-in-riches .. feels like a 'root'. Cool light bulb. ]
So the wealth may or may not corrupt .. but the LOVE of it certainly does. Do I have it, right? (Hmmm. I will need to think about that.)
So if I myself am having a struggle in this area .. I don't see how it could possibly be any easier for the rich .. for the wealthy. Do you?
The scriptural implication here .. as I see it (.. correct me if I'm wrong) .. is that .. if we are to 'succeed' in this area (.. big IF) .. then we will need God in order to do it. No?
.. because, it seems to me .. that if the 'root' (.. of all kinds of evil) is coming up (for good) .. then He's gonna have to be the One to do it.
That's MY read anyway .. and I can vouch that it certainly does feel beyond mere human ability.
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This much is clear .. if you wake up from that heart attack and find yourself in heaven .. and you were "a rich man" here on the earth .. you can tell everybody you meet on your way to the party .. that you are a Walking Miracle. =)
Tho it's probably not advisable to work ourselves into a place where we are depending on a miracle.
People (like me) get so freaked out that Jesus told the RYR, "Go, sell your possessions..." .. that they miss the very next part .. where He said "Come, follow me."
Far as I know, he only made *that* offer to 12 other dudes. That's called 'Apostleship'. Right? (And Judas was the Money Guy. Coincidence?)
I have thought that perhaps the RYR simply DIDNT KNOW .. what he was doing .. in walking away.
But a closer look shows Mr. RYR asking about » how to obtain eternal life. Uh, you dont ask just anybody about eternal life. No. Heck, you don't even ask just anybody about where to find a good pizza. In other words » he knew.
» Gun Control Not the (Only) Issue
There are many telltale signs out there that reflect how we (as a nation, as a society) treat our children.
The Connecticut gun-control laws WORKED! [ Nana says CT has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. ]
Adam Lanza tried to buy a gun and he didnt ..
.. cuz he didnt want to wait the mandatory waiting period and/or submit to the Wacko-Background-Check (WBC).
Unfortunately, Adam used mom's guns, but none was an Uzi, or a gas-powered carbine or other fully-automatic assault rifle.
No, I don't own any guns myself. Tho my dad and grand-dad liked them and owned a modest collection.
One time, while in the cellar with my dad (.. in Connecticut) when I was young .. I asked him [ curious me ] what was in the big plywood box.
"Guns," he said. "When you were born, your mom made me lock them up. She was scared you kids would get into them."
You would have to remove about a dozen nails to get into the framed plywood box. I never did. I asked him to show me. He never did.
In other words, these things werent simply locked up. They were much more difficult to get to .. than lock-n-key.
Tho later, when I was a teenager, he had a 357 Magnum revolver in the house. Bullets, too. Never fired, far as I knew. Hand-cannon in the sock drawer.
The reason people are so fanatical regarding Gun Rights .. is cuz people don't trust the government. And for good reason.
The government does shit like .. shoot a War Vet in the face with a tear gas canister .. then toss in a flash-bang for laughs ..
.. when a crowd gathers round to help the unconscious guy with the bloody face.
In other words, too many have already demonstrated their intentions .. regarding projectiles that exit a muzzle at terrific velocities and other things that sail thru the air and explode.
So I am not very encouraged by our government. Are you?
And if THEY got the guns and we don't .. that's not a good thing. For us. Then we not only don't have our kids, we don't even have our country.
Every day on the evening news we see stories of what happens when the State has the guns and we-the-people dont. And it's not pretty. And the bigger the guns, the uglier it gets.
It may take me a few days, but I will hone my thoughts on where I think we [society] let these [and other] kids down. Because it's becoming clear that this is huge.
I'm talking about the magnitude of the effect on the national psyche. And the shooter will give us clues .. about where we need to make adjustments, improvements.
I see two problems:
- guns in the hands of wackos
- people who want to kill lots of people who they've never even met, who have done them no harm (.. which unfortunately includes kids)
If a wacko (a smart wacko, a clever wacko, like Adam) really wants a gun .. are laws really gonna stop him? [ Yes, if you shoot a room full of first graders, you ARE a wacko .. by definition. ]
» Stealing from our Kids
What do your moral instincts tell you?
For me, Cormac is like Elijah-the-prophet [ .. "like" I said. So chill, bro. ]. In other words, he » turns-the-heart .. on a level that is .. well .. you would have to read the book to understand. [ For men-only. ]
Cormac is the real deal. No, not easy to digest. But pablum he does not dispense.
When I went to the Reference Desk at the local library, for example .. you shoulda seen the look on the face .. of the girl sitting there .. when I asked if she had copy of Blood Meridian.
She froze .. then slowly looked up and asked, "Are you *sure* that's the book you want?"
In real life .. Cormac McCarthy has son named John. A young son. Cormac will turn 80 next year. He loves that boy to death.
The Road (© 2006) is dedicated to his son » John Francis McCarthy. It's a story about the survival of a desperate father and his young son.
And I'll bet .. that, if you ask Cormac, he will say .. that the love he has for his boy .. had a LOT to do with that book.
And I'd wager .. that Cormac feels like a lucky man .. like a very fortunate man.
.. and so we can keep the stock market and real estate prices artificially inflated (.. which only makes it more difficult for kids to buy their own home someday).
Speaking in terms that are purely mathematical (.. not moral or ethical) .. I dont know how you feel about the fact that we are running up a debt of mind-blowing proportions .. that our kids will have to repay.
But I *do* know .. that NOBODY ASKED THEM .. how THEY might happen to feel about it. [ You know, the ones who we are expecting to pay our debts. ]
For me, the lesson of the Newtown tragedy comes from the photo of the mom holding her little boy, who is covering his mouth and his nose with his hands. In other words » we should be thanking God for our children ... instead of stealing from them.
» Timing » Doomsday + Newtown + Debt-Ceiling .. Right After Sandy?
Does it not strike you as odd .. or perhaps slightly coincidental .. that the Newtown Slaughter occurred exactly 1 week .. before the long-awaited Mayan Doomsday?
And that the Monday-of-the-week that begins 'Doomsday' .. we will start to bury a score of First Graders? (.. all from the same small town). All slaughtered.
You must admit .. the timing is a little too curious. It's like the Nation is talking .. and we are listening. It shouldnt take a Slaughtered Score of First Graders to get our attention.
I grew up living downstairs from Nana. Nana is mom's sister. (Best friends.) Technically my aunt. But more like an alternate mom. (Nana was a mom to most of the neighborhood kids.)
So it was something of a family affair, upstairs/downstairs. Me, my brother and her 3 = 4 boys + 1 girl (Tunie), and the neighbors, and the swimming pool.
Nana is a better cook than my mom ever was (much better), so naturally I spent much time upstairs. =) Everybody did. The whole neighborhood .. where the homemade french fries never stopped.
Nana's living room was the scene for this. .. watching cartoons on Nana's TV .. while the adults were away.
The last time that I talked to Nana, she said, "I can't talk long. I'm making cookies."
"I'll be right over," I said.
Nana might not be book-smart, but she can read people better than anybody I've ever met.
You always want to run your new girlfriends by Nana. She was never wrong. (Ever.)
And don't think she won't let you know. =) At your own peril you ignore her advice. We all learned that lesson (.. usually the hard way).
Regarding the Newtown tragedy, I asked Nana what her take-away was at the end of the day. Without any hesitation, she replied:
"No place is safe. Peolple moved to places like Newtown after 9-11, because they wanted to get out of the city. It used to be farm land. Newtown says 'money'. The houses and farms there look like postcards now. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere. No place is safe anymore. Look at what happened up the road in Cheshire a few years ago. Cheshire!"
Nana never went to college. I doubt she even wanted to. To be honest I'm not even certain that she finished high school. But even my brother, who is a Board certified surgeon, listens when Nana talks.
When was my mom was on her death bed (at age 47, cancer), she made Nana promise that she'd "Take care of my boys. Make sure they always have a place to go."
Nana said, "Your mom gave Papa and me a place to live when we had nothing. I mean nuth-ing."
My mom [ who was 19 when I was born ] was the brainy Academic .. who paid regular visits to our local public library. Nana was the Practical one .. and easily the better cook. [ "Sorry, mom. But you know it's true." ]
When, as a small boy, I stepped barefoot on a big piece of glass outside one summer day, and blood was gushing everywhere, mom freaked out and called/yelled upstairs for Nana. [ Tho nobody started calling her 'Nana' until after her first grandchild was born. ]
Nana looked at my foot (.. with me sitting beside the kitchen sink, with footsteps of blood showing my path across the kitchen floor) .. and just like it was just another day in paradise, she said, "Oh, it's just a cut. He'll need stitches."
[ That sucker was gushing serious blood from a nasty, deep gash. You could SEE the inside of my foot. ]
"What are stitches?!" I asked. [ You must admit, the word 'stitches' does NOT sound like a very fun thing. ]
They drove me to the hospital with my foot wrapped in a towel. (I still have the scar.) Nana never freaks out .. like mom sometimes did.
Did I mention that she's a good cook? She whips up delicious plates without even trying. "I just threw some things together," she says. "How is it?"
Nana makes the best apple pie you've ever had. And I say that will all due respect .. knowing full well that you have no doubt had many apple pies .. that have kicked very much ass ..
.. specially you Southern boys .. cuz I've BEEN to your grandma's house .. and I've HAD her cracklin' cornbread, and her butter beans and her collard greens. And I know how good it is (.. guaranteed to make a hog outta anybody).
But dude, if we go to Nana's, you will turn to me as you push away from the kitchen table that contains the empty pie plate and you will concede, "You were right." =)
And Nana will be right there, asking, "Would you like another piece. I made two pies, so there's plenty."
She makes them with her own apples .. off of her own tree .. that she goes and picks herself. Nana taught Betty Crocker how to cook.
Nana may not be very big. ("I'm shrinking!" she says.) But she has a big heart.
And the timing of this thing .. coming right before Christmas .. the holidays .. ugh.
» Wish I Could Cry
Yes, I can feel that I want to. But I can't.
Looks like I had my one chance there in the taco joint .. listening to Obama. But I don't think that I knew then/yet .. that it was all first graders.
Maybe I'm too freaked out. Maybe I'm still in shock. Twenty first graders. In the classroom. Wow. [ Your favorite, choice expletive. ]
The scene *that* must have been. The terror. The pain. Where were the kids? Were they huddled together?
I would imagine that Adam shot the teacher first. Then the horror of seeing your 6-year old classmate get ripped apart .. right before the strange man points the gun at you.
I read that he shot some of the kids 11 times. Eleven times? What the fuck? Twice for every year of their life?
The confusion. The surreal atmosphere to the whole thing. Why these kids? These innocent kids. "Who did you no wrong .. nor could they .. even if they wanted to. Why not the local mall?"
Were you specifically *seeking* first graders? Or did they just happen to be the first group you stumbled upon?
» The Insanity
.. said <paraphrasing_on>, "This shit will drive you insane .. by making you forget who you are .. because it's disorienting."
That's why I feel it's important / healthy / therapuetic .. to get up into the mountains for a few weeks every year ..
.. Yosemite or Big Sur .. someplace where you can feel yourself re-orientating back to nature. But we can't. Cuz we need to work. To earn money. To pay the bills. That never end. Til we die.
Food for thought .. as we ponder this tragedy .. too tragic for even Shakespeare.
» Trajectory of Society in the Digital Age
At the bar in a coffee shop where you find the cream-n-sugar, I overheard one guy tell another .. that the effect of digital technology will *exceed* that of the printing press [.. Gutenberg et al, circa 1440 ].
"Exceed," he said, stressing the word. And when you compare the two technologies side-by-side .. you can see why he said what-he-said .. not denying that gravity of the statement.
More food for thought .. here on Doomsday eve.
» Trying to Understand the Mindset of Adam Lanza
Update - Clearly Adam wasnt deterred by the prospect of spending years in jail, and it seems that the Adam's parents divorced a few years earlier and that bothered him.
He didnt like when his dad started seeing another woman. I see.
Cuz that meant his parents werent getting back together. The end of any hope for a Return-to-Camelot for him. Despair.
In Catholicism, despair is considered the "sin against the Holy Ghost". And Connecticut is very much Catholic.
I dont know if Adam's mom had chosen to remain single .. or if parenting the boy made a new relationship problematic. But he was obviously no big fan of mom, either.
Did the divorce crack his already fractured head?
<begin michelle sidebar>
I recently knew a girl from the coffee shop, who had a son the Bug's age, with developmental problems related to language.
He was a little hard to understand, but his mom knew exactly what he had said, and she would often translate for you.
She claimed that such treatment would only make him worse. So after fighting with school administrators and hiring lawyers and losing, she finally resigned to home-school him.
Cute kid. Almost adorable. But he was a handful. He would do things such as drop quarters into your coffee and let the water run onto the floor from the drinking bottle dispenser.
Many coffees he spilled. She was the fastest cleaner-upper you ever saw. She could clean up a coffee spill without ever losing her train-of-thought in a conversation.
I admired that she was never mean to him. Frustrated yes, but never nasty.
I tried to play with him sometimes, so she could have time to socialize with others (.. which she obviously craved).
He loved it when I spun him around. But you needed to watch him like a hawk.
He was not malicious, but it was obvious to me that watching him for more than 15 or 20 minutes could quickly become tedious.
I once told her that I knew it was tough, but that she was doing a great job. (She was.) She started crying. Her only son. Her only child. And she was too old to have more.
I rarely saw her without him. She took him to a speech therapist twice-a-week, which gave her a short respite. And she had read a lot of books. She seemed very well-informed to me .. not just on the medical, but also on the administrative. Clearly the administrative pained her.
I honestly don't know how she did it. I guess we all do what we have to .. to survive. And he was a good-hearted kid.
Wouldnt you agree that we are forced to play by a different set of rules .. when we find ourselves operating in survival mode (.. and not cuz we want to be there, either)?
The Bug has told me .. on multiple occasions .. that he wants me and his mom to live together. I mean, he has no problem about coming right out and saying it. "That's what I want," he says (.. in a carefree tone that says you-can-go-ahead-and-make-that-happen-now-dad).
Certainly understandable, no? And you naturally want to do everything you can for them.
Note that .. this was not a student shooting other students (.. who might have tormented him).
No. This was a 20-year old adult .. shooting First Graders .. like fish in a barrel (one for every year of his life). Something is very fucking wrong here.
What does your intuition tell you? [More insight.]
Now I could be wrong here .. but it seems to me that Adam was specifically SEEKING OUT the kids .. no?
In other words, the adults just happened to get in the way. Is that your read? I mean, why else would he go to an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?
Cuz that's fucked up. Really fucked up. Like uh .. freak-out-a-whole-nation fucked up.
If there is any one thing that we DO know .. about Adam Lanza and the family in which he grew up .. it's that (.. as Nana points out) » "Money was not a problem." (No, not even close.)
Update - 9 Months Later
Update Sept 16, 2013 (9 months later) - Every time I hear of another shooting I am reminded (tho less-n-less) of those first graders at Sandy Hook elementary. And this is what I am left with (the residue) ..
Gun control has gone almost nowhere. I said that this never felt like a gun control issue. Others have far more developed and nuanced positions on the issue.
Here's what I know. If we lose our guns, we'll never get them back. So we need to be aware that it's a slippery slope.
My point is .. that, yes, goverments can be your friend ..but they can also stick it to you. And they seem better at the latter, unfortunately.
But again, I own no guns, so it is not an issue I feel very passionately about. And therefore I am not well researched on the topic.
Normally I would be in favor of restrictions that protect innocent children, as would most people .. but the way our government has been eroding our rights like mad lately .. gives me pause.
I mean, this guy (Aaron Alexis) had a Concealed Carry permit .. even after he told people that he was hearing voices .. and that bad people were shooting microwave vibrations into his body thru the walls ..
This is also why I still feel that Newtown was more about kids .. than guns.
Yes, guns are important, but not more important that mortgaging the future of an entire generation.
So it seems like there are bigger problems. Even tho no kids were killed.
But since this shooting incident (that killed 12 and injured 14) took place right near the US Capitol, you can be sure that our representatives are feeling the issue of gun control .. a little more accutely.
Like things usually are felt .. when they hit close to home.
But the idea of a black President taking away their guns .. is just too much for some people. No? ■■
» Update 28 December 2013
Update 28 Dec 2013 - Connecticut Police released their final report on the shooting at Sandy Hook. The following paragraph stood out:
Police Lt. Christopher Vanghele said he and another officer found what appeared to be about 15 bodies, mostly children, packed in another bathroom.
So many people had tried to cram inside the bathroom that the door couldn't be closed, and the shooter gunned them all down, Vanghele surmised.
I obviously did not know this last year, seeing that this info has just now been made public. Does that not remind you of shooting fish in a barrel?
» Worst Day of Your Life
Here is another quote:
Among the details: More than a dozen bodies, mostly children, were seen packed "like sardines" in a bathroom. And the horrors inside school were so terrible that when police sent in paramedics, they tried to select ones capable of handling what they were about to witness.
"This will be the worst day of your life," police Sgt. William Cario warned one.
Packed like sardines. Oh my God. Those poor kids.
Now, I would like to say that, being from the area, I knew somebody .. who knew somebody. But I dont.
I just imagined them huddled together. [ That's what first graders do. ] But no, I never imagined them huddled in a closet.
And that fucks with my head even more ..
.. because, that means it REALLY WAS like » shooting fish in a barrel.
I mean, look » the report used the term » sardines.
Yes, I am pretty sure that would qualify as the "worst day of your life".
So again I ask » what the fuck? ■■■
On December 12, 2013, I posted some comments from Connecticut at the one year anniversay.
Update Nov 22, 2014 .. ar roughly the 2-year anniversary .. see here » Report Questions Role of Wealth in Lanza's Care. (Wow.)
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The beginning of today's entry is posted here » Shooting First Graders? Like Fish in a Barrel? What the Fuck? - Part One