Disgruntled

0

January 23, 2023- I awoke this morning, preparing to head for the second of ten consecutive workdays. Opening the shades, after completing my early morning routine, I saw-a light blanket of snow! This led to a check of the website of the school district, where I am assigned this week, and revealed a two-hour delay in the school day, followed 30 minutes later by the school closure announcement. We do not mix icy roads and school buses, whenever it can be avoided.

I thus had ample time to reflect on the events of the weekend-four sets of mass shootings: Two in Louisiana and one each in California and in Arizona, causing a total of 21 innocent deaths and at least 20 more injuries. Today brought 9 more dead- Seven in Half Moon Bay, CA and two in Des Moines, IA. The Half Moon Bay shooter was said to be “disgruntled”.

In all the back and forth between “sides”, as to how to address the mass killings, there are salient points made about the ease with which firearms may be obtained, by someone with a deadly agenda-which is almost always of fairly long standing. There are equally salient points made about mental illness attending these events. No one who is right of mind is going to shoot, stab, poison or run over another human being. There are few points being made about the spiritual aspects of the problem.

Most of us have been disgruntled with others, or with the “system”, at one time or another. Those who have been disgruntled with me, of late, have chosen to either use their words or distance themselves. Ditto for my being upset at other people. Fair enough; who among us can please everyone, all the time. There is a reasonable expectation that being upset at another person does NOT mean that person should forfeit life and limb. Those of us with a spiritual grounding, a belief in the Eternal, tend to pull back from our worst impulses-to the extent we entertain them at all.

Motor vehicles, firearms, ordnance, bladed implements and toxins are all readily available in our society. Regulating them, especially hand-held weaponry, would likely help some, in reducing the death toll-as it has in Australia and some European countries. More fully focusing on the many aspects of the mental health issue will take a plethora of resources-and if done correctly will vindicate those expenditures.

Yet, one thing and one thing only will put our society over the barrier that keeps matters uncivil: There must be encouragement of spiritual education-as parents, children and communities see fit, so that each human life is viewed in the manner with which it is endowed by the Eternal. Emotional release that is achieved by ad hominem or heterogeneous attacks needs to be discouraged. This does not mean a Kumbaya Nation; it means that, despite how some people aggravate one another, it does not end in death or dismemberment.

It means a retreat from fatalism.

The Way It’s Always Been….

10

May 24, 2022- Fifteen people, who probably started their day with thoughts of a looming summer, ended it outside their bodies-gone to a higher realm. Fourteen of them had barely scratched the surface of this life. The fifteenth had so much more to offer, in the way of helping young people build their lives.

For that matter, an angry young man-raging for God knows what reason, chose to take that anger out on the helpless, the innocent. He might have chosen to state his anger in a productive way, taking the long road of peaceful protest and resistance to authority figures whose agenda seems to be the chipping away of legitimate rights for people of colour and others-but he chose to sow chaos and pain.

The reactions, far and wide, to the Uvalde massacre have been largely typical: Those who fear the loss of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are taking the lead, already, in politicizing the tragedy. Blaming their political opponents, calling for locking up the mentally ill and placing armed guards in the schools are reactions that have been offered so many times that they have become cliche’, almost cartoonish.

So, what do those who want to see the carnage stopped, be we liberal or conservative, suggest? I can only speak for myself, from a place outside partisanship.

I am not in favour of repealing the Second Amendment. I am in favour of making sure that one and all understand the U.S. Constitution, in its entirety. That takes Civics Education. I am in favour of firearms safety-handling, firing and cleaning, being a prerequisite for anyone seeking to own and operate a weapon. I had that opportunity as a child, and as a young adult-and took advantage of it. So did my late wife and so did our son. True firearms training entails having respect for the firearm.

I am not in favour of locking up anyone whose behaviour is erratic. I am in favour of locking up firearms-and other deadly weapons that may be carried into public spaces-and I am in favour of this being done-first by the legitimate owners of said weapons, or if they refuse or fail to do so, by lawfully constituted agencies of public order. I am in favour of a National Registry of firearms owners, with identification cards. This last is not 100% foolproof-no system of identification ever is- but it will greatly lessen the likelihood that a crazed individual-whether on the political right or left, or of no clear ideology at all, will be able to wreak havoc.

I come to this conversation, honestly, having actually taken action that helped prevent a school shooting-twice. The first involved locating, seizing and turning over to the police, a long rifle and a pistol that were intended to be used in a targeted attack on an elementary school. The plotters were identified, arrested and received proper retribution. The second involved notifying the police of an active threat against one of the staff members, at another school where I was an administrator. The police then took possession of two weapons, which the owner admitted he was going to use on the staff member and his family.

We have no choice but to pay attention-to our surroundings, to our family, friends and co-workers and to the pain that is being inflicted. We can learn Civics, firearms safety and acceptance of responsibility.

This is the way it has actually always been. The rest is mythology.

Indy

2

April 16, 2021-

I have had the good fortune to have called many places home.

When good fortune meets the people of those communities, I feel the greatest joy.

When, on the other hand, tragedy strikes, it hurts my heart equally as much. Indianapolis was my home for a scant five weeks, in 1969.

I learned the skills needed to run a successful postal operation, and in particular, the skills needed to handle accountable mail. Only for the hiring freeze of early 1972, did I turn aside from being in the Registered, Insured and Certified cage, and follow through with a career in education. End of digression.

It was a maturational five weeks, at Fort Benjamin Harrison, in the leafy near suburb of Lawrence, and I began the slow, halting process of taking on a man’s responsibilities. Indianapolis has had a piece of my heart since then.

Many return visits have come to pass, since then; all of them have been times of welcome. So, it was with intense sorrow that I read, this morning, of the slaughter of eight people at a Federal Express site, not far from the old “Fort Ben”.

The debate about gun ownership will go on, and on. I know one thing, though. I was taught firearms safety, respect for a weapon and what it can do, at an early age. The men who taught me that respect would be aghast, livid, at the laxity with which the mentally ill are allowed to possess and use firearms, at will.

They were the true patriots of their time, and they cared enough to demand discipline-especially when it came to matters of life and death.

Heal, Indianapolis, as Boston, North Charleston, Atlanta, Blacksburg, Orlando, Sutherland, Fort Hood, Tucson, Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Aurora, Boulder, Jonesboro, Roseburg, Parkland, Newtown, Columbine and countless other communities have been healing, for so long, in the name of living in a free society that struggles to understand what freedom really means.