Friday, June 17, 2016

A Volunteer Gardener with a History of Mental Health Problems

Not actually all that amusing, is it?
I'm not being funny. That quote, from an article in the Guardian describing the alleged murderer of a British MP, seems to sum up my feeling this week that the world has gone crazy. Not that the world hasn't always been a crazy, violent place, but this last week...

There was the murder of that girl singer on The Voice by a deranged fan, the horror of Orlando, and finally--because no week is complete without hearing about some atrocity perpetrated on a child--the snatching of a toddler in Florida by an alligator.

Now, granted, I don't know how anyone could be shocked or shattered to find the world an unsafe place after Sandy Hook in 2012. If the slaughter of twenty kindergarten children didn't wake you up to the fact that no one is safe anywhere, I don't know what would. If it's open season on little kids, why wouldn't it be open season on everybody else?

It's going to be a very long haul until November, and the best thing for me--and for readers of this blog--is that I avoid watching the news because I've developed the unhappy and unproductive habit of screaming at the TV. Especially when it comes to discussion of the 2nd Amendment.

Here's the thing. I come from a gun-owning, gun-loving family. I've got a disproportionate number of military and law enforcement genes bobbing around in my bloodline. I grew up with guns. To some extent I even buy into the myths and legends of gun culture. But when idiots start talking about how all this could be prevented if only everyone was packing... ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Besides which, we already DID that. Been there and done that. It was called the Wild West, and why in God's name, would we want to return to the 1800s? Are we also supposed to give up in-door plumbing and electricity? For the love of God. Why would any society look at one of its most violent periods and think, yeah. That's the direction. BACKWARDS.

Heck, why stop there. Let's go back to being Cave People and just slam our fellow citizens over the head when we have a point to make.

I have to be careful what I say here though because I probably sound more bitter than I intend. I don't think I'm bitter so much as exasperated. Because while people love to talk and post pictures and quotes and so forth--Oh! somebody wrote a song! Somebody made a film!--they seem largely incapable of ever getting around to pushing for actual change. Ya know, like through legislation. Through law. Because all the touching photos and moving quotes on Facebook don't actually change anything. We're all preaching to the choir and I'm so sick of it.

 It's not that I have nothing to say about Orlando, but that I fear if I begin I won't be able to stop.

So I'm going to press the pause button. I'm going to leave it at this: If you really do care about some of the events of the past week, please make an effort to vote. Educate yourself and then get out there and vote. Because it really does matter--and for those of us in the States, November could make a difference. Yes, the world is a crazy, violent place, but it always has been. It's up to us to decide how crazy and how violent it will be during our own lifetime.


  1. I love, love, love this post! If all a person does is bitch, then not vote because "my vote doesn't matter anyway", they are part of the problem. That is one of the ways this country got into the problems it's in. Nobody cared enough to take the time and trouble to vote. I am so sick of all the nutballs. On both sides of the aisle. This won't stop until we make it stop. And we make it stop by voting! Thank you for this post.

    1. I hear people say things like, there's no point. All politicians are the same. There's no difference between Clinton and Trump.


      No difference?

      Really? Have these people turned on the TV lately?

      No difference. LOL. There's an evil part of me that hopes they get Trump -- because very often they are the people who will suffer the most under a Trump.

      Unfortunately the rest of us would suffer too, and I would just be writing more exasperated blogs, so...


  2. I agree that all US citizens should vote in the November elections. You're also right that the world can be a violent and crazy place and always has been. I fall back on poetry in weeks like this and have been re-reading The Second Coming by W B Yeats

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.....

    Jo Cox, the murdered MP was the best, with conviction and passionate intensity and we need more politicians like her.

    1. "The falcon cannot hear the falconer."

      True. It seems like no matter how just the cause, if the only tool for change is violence, then anarchy will follow.

      Cox seemed, from the little I read, like a very bright light. Such a terrible thing to see that light pinched out.

  3. Heck we've got a little local election coming up in two weeks. I'm voting then, too.

    I am just as weary of Facebook. I dive into my private groups and hang, then go elsewhere. Thankfully I don't have a TV so screaming at it is not a problem.

    1. YES to voting in the little elections! So easy to think those don't matter, when in fact they matter enormously because, among other things, they so often affect whether we'll even be able to vote in the larger elections without standing in line for thirteen hours. So important to vote on the local level.

  4. Just going to parrot Johanna..."YES. Yes., yes, yes." Everything you said.

    I guess I'll add that I just listened to Wayne LaPierre on a Sunday morning news program, and it left me wondering what produced that sort of messed up logic? How did that man get there, and in a position of authority?

    Like you, I'm hoping my vote will make a difference this year. More than ever we need to step up to make a change. Einstein was right. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    1. I read and watch a lot of true crime and it's still hard for me to understand how someone resorts to killing another person (other than striking out in the moment of blind rage -- that does seem only too horrifyingly believable).

      We can't just chalk it up to mental illness, unless the diagnoses applies to society in general. Is it lack of education? Inability to communicate? Or are we as a culture just becoming increasingly psychotically narcissistic?

  5. Hi Josh, long time no talk. Love you blog post. the only thing I'll comment on is the Wild west assertion. In fact, the West was no where near as wild as people assume. One of the first things nearly every western community did when it grew big enough to be a town was pass stringent gun control. In most cases that meant you checked you weapons in to the nearest sheriff or marshall's office on the way in to town and collected them on the way out. The whole OK Corral debacle occurred when the Clantons refused to turn their guns in when they came to Tombstone looking for trouble. There was no such thing as open carry or the even stupider conceal carry right. They recognised guns for what they are, trouble in the wrong hands.

    1. Yes. We were no sooner done pioneering than we began homesteading.

      We began to try to shape the West to match the other civilized parts of our world.

      This macabre idea that it would be a safer world if everyone ran around with guns a paranoid delusion.

      These lunatics are creating their own self-fulfilling prophecy.

    2. By the way, nice to hear from you again, Pat!