Did you notice that yesterday news of a shooting in Missouri went nearly unnoticed. Just another shooting. Eight dead, including the shooter. Just another mass killing. Our country has become desensitized to the murder of its citizens. Guns have taken the place of discourse in settling issues because guns are omnipresent in this allegedly civilized society. American society is heading in the wrong direction.
On the day that Leonard Nimoy passed away, it is painfully obvious that Gene Roddenberry's vision in Star Trek of a future where the people of Earth finally are at peace and work peacefully with other civilizations out there in the universe, including Mr. Spock's Vulcan world, is never going to happen when we here in the United States are showing the advanced countries of the world that we cannot even manage our own serious issues. Guns, racism, political inaction, a financial disconnect between the one percent and all of the rest of us so great that it boggles the mind ... all of these things and many more from the country that many of us thought could lead the way. Maybe we should step aside and allow some other country to take the lead on these things. Exceptional? Maybe once, but not now. We cannot get to that amazing place that Roddenberry hoped we could if we continue to do nothing to enhance civilization.
More guns will lead us back to the Old West when everyone had guns. That was not a good time in our history, despite any romanticized idea that it was. That was a time when people truly did settle their differences with their guns, men being "called out" by other men, and worse. The Lincoln County War here in New Mexico is proof of how bad things could get. Look it up.
There is a line from the 1998-2000 TV series The Magnificent Seven that is so apropos to what is going on in this country today. The former notorious gunslinger and now-lawman Chris Larabee tells a young Chinese man whose father and uncle were both murdered, who both admires and fears what he sees in Larabee and wants to learn to shoot in order to take revenge on the evil man who ordered the deaths of Chinese workers on the railroad: "Guns and hate. It's a bad mix." How are we in the year 2015 not able to see that for the truth it is and take action to reign in this ongoing domestic terror? More guns brings more lawlessness. Fewer guns brings you far closer to domestic tranquility that our founders wrote so eloquently about.
The very hard work of removing guns as an option for use in any dispute needs to happen. It requires strength and bravery and fortitude from our elected officials, but that means that we, the citizens of this country, need to make it clear at the ballot box that the future of our country is important, that we think it important to safeguard our citizens from killings due to hate or due to happenstance. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is a terrible statement of where we stand on guns today in this country. That children can get hold of a gun and shoot their cousin or sister or mother or themselves and these events be deemed "accidents" shouts to the rest of the world that we do not value human life the way we say we do. Talk is cheap. We need action, and we need it now.
I know, I know. Where, oh where have I been? I've been here, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I've been wondering where the winter weather was, because it has been a very mild winter here in Santa Fe. Because of that, I have been spending a fair amount of time outside, playing with dogs, when not working. It's nice. I admit, it has been VERY nice. But overnight, FINALLY, we got six inches of snow. It's still snowing a little bit now, though temps are heading up over the course of the next couple of days. My six plus inches won't likely be around for very long; I'll need to get the boys out in this a couple of times today for some play time.
Here is what it looked like around 7:30 this morning:
My sister Dana and I, and my three Beagle-ish boys, spent the Fourth of July weekend in these two mountain towns. It's so beautiful there. Yes, it is beautiful in Santa Fe, too, but in a very different way. Here are some photos to show you how pretty it is and how much fun we had.
I have no excuse other than, as Roger Ebert said, "Life itself." My work, my dogs, Facebook, the garden, travel, photography. I certainly have plenty to say, and I freely admit that I say much of it on Facebook these days. But my plan is to get back to my blog, I swear.
I know it's been a while since we lost Tom and Mark. But I feel that I need to put on my blog something about these two men before I use my blog any further. It is definitely the right thing to do, as tribute to two men who are gone too soon. I will say first, before I talk about these two fine and very different men, how much I hate cancer. Good people were taken from us far too soon by this insidious killer. We can do more to find better treatments and even cures for so many cancers, yet we spend money on things, shameful things that serve no benefit to our society. And though I hate the thought of a despot killing his people with chemical weapons, and though ignoring the use of chemical weapons could encourage their use in the future, I am torn about spending more of our money on such an action as has been suggested by the president and endorsed by the Senate panel today. Do I think that this action will be any more than a dent in the ongoing troubles in the Middle East? I think I can honestly say that despite the thousands of people already dead in Syria and the likelihood of more deaths to come, all of the money that we spend on these actions ... on Iraq, Afghanistan ... that money is better spent finding a cure for what killed Tom LaFerla and Mark Melamed.
I met Mark throuh my sister Dana. They were theater people, and Mark always seemed to be on, even when he wasn't on stage. It was his natural way of being, it was something expected. It was something that you learned to love about Mark if you wanted to spend time with him, and we always loved spending time with him. If Mark wasn't being Mark, that's when you knew something was wrong. But Mark was almost always up. He was fun, even when he was frustrating. He was a core member of our game playing group. Man did we have fun. We could play games all night long. There were many nights I remember finishing up around three in the morning, having gathered, usually at my house or at Mark's, around 7-ish the night before. The amount of fun we had was probably illegal in some countries.
We didn't see much of each other these last few years. My move to New York, and then New Mexico, did what distance often does to relationships. He and I didn't always see eye to eye on the dog thing. But we were like-minded on many topics, on the most important things. His brave stand against his cancers was Mark as we will all likely remember him, on stage, his co-star ... cancer ... making him dig deep for this final role. He played it well.
Tom LaFerla became a friend through my work. Mikasa was a special customer for me. I made many friends there. Tom and Dolores were two people who it was so easy to be friends with, so easy to love. Such a gorgeous relationship, such fun people. For me, when I make friends with someone really special, they almost always become friends with my sisters, and that was how it felt with Tom and Dolores. We spent time at each others' homes, in the company of each others' friends and family. We spent time at Grounds For Sculpture and the Shelburne Museum and had many great meals and conversations together. When I moved to the Adirondacks, Tom and Dolores made several trips up to enjoy the area, and to nurture our friendship. I don't know how Dolores goes on, except that she is strong and she is great. Tom was the sweetest, funniest, most compassionate man. I loved him. I would love a Tom LaFerla of my very own. Dolores was lucky to have him. I was so lucky to know him.
More than any movie star ever could, Roger Ebert epitomized what the movies mean to me. He was a great writer, his Pulitzer Prize wonderful proof of that. But to really understand how great a writer he was, spend some time at this link and read some of his blog posts. Yes, there are typos, but that is something I can certainly forgive considering the wealth of fantastic subject matter he chose to hold court on. He was a brave man and a good man, and I will miss him. I will keep the link to this blog here for a while. I have quite a backlog of blog posts that I still need to get to.
Rest in Peace, Roger.
And read this post from Roger's wife Chaz. He lived a long life, and in spite of all his medical difficulties these last ten years, a good life.
If we continue to do nothing about access to guns, does that not make us all complicit in every death past, present and in the future?
Here is my Facebook post about this horrible mass shooting today:
I keep seeing posts and hearing on the news that this most recent mass shooting is so much worse because children were killed. No it's not. It's exactly the same. Every horrible incident where innocent people are killed by someone with a gun is equally as bad as the next. Or more precisely, the last, as we continue to learn nothing and do nothing about access to guns.
This kind of thinking reminds me of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis a few years back. Someone was quoted as saying something like God must have been looking down on those children in that bus as it hung precariously on the ledge; they all survived, if I remember correctly. Yeah. And those people who perished, falling to their deaths? My takeaway, based on the ignorant Christian who said this, is that apparently God could give a shit about those who did die.
Now, let's go back to today's events. Are the children who survived looked upon by God differently than the children who died? We as a society - of all faiths and no faiths - need to think before we speak. And way more important than that, we need to act on guns and gun violence and stop being stupid, or more likely disgustingly and knowingly disingenuous, about the difference between hunters having a right to their guns and citizens thinking they need guns for protection - which are two very different things - and that that alleged right is more important than the safety of the populace as a whole. My president, who I love, is just as wrong and chicken shit about this issue as every other person has been willingly complicit in perpetrating the lie of exactly what the second amendment to the constitution really means.
Twenty-seven people are dead (last count). Are we really going to sit back and as a society no nothing once more? What the fuck? I know people in the Newtown/Danbury area of Connecticut. Some of these dead could be people I know, or children of people I know. How can we do nothing to stop this from happening again? My heart aches for every person who has died in one of these mass killings, and my heart knows that we need to restrict guns in order to stop this kind of killing. We are always going to have crazy people in our society, there is nothing we can really do about that. And there is no way for us to know when a previously sane person is going to go off the deep end. But there is something we can do to keep guns from people. Is it severe to do it? Yes. Have severe restrictions been successful in lowering the deaths at the hands of gunmen in other countries? Absolutely. What is wrong with this country that we can't take the same brave steps that others have taken?
I'm a girl from New Jersey who moved to New York but found it too wet and mosquito-ridden to stay. Moved to New Mexico. No, I am NOT planning to live in all the "New" states.
I'm a software consultant by day. I am a dog-lover, gardener, photographer, writer and absolutely love my new home of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I plan to spend as much of the next few years exploring the west, enjoying my dogs and loving life. I also will do whatever I can to get things going in the right direction for this country. Top of the list: fewer guns, stricter gun control laws. My life, the lives of my family and friends, of your children and the lives of all Americans trump anyone's right to easy access to guns, or the need for handguns or high-powered or high-capacity weapons at all. The unmitigated gall of thinking that carrying them as though we all still lived in the Old West is the beginning of the end of civilization, not any kind of a right. Unless you are in the militia. That would be today's law enforcement for any of you who are confused.