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Posts Tagged ‘School shootings’

“The big issue is the access to the weapon itself,” a CNN anchor said about the recent Oxford school shooting. It’s been over 20 years of school massacres, and our legislators haven’t figured it out yet? IT”S THE GUNS – and also parents who buy guns for their 15 year old boy.

I feel like I’ve been living in a war zone. Random gunfire sometimes at night, random explosions from demolition down the block that shake the house, and right across the street a crew is stripping the facade off an apartment building with a water problem. Generators buzz in my ear all day, punctuated by large objects dropping into the dumpster outside my living room window.

Add in Covid, and it’s non-stop stress living in the city. Our quiet, cozy cottage won’t be ready until sometime in March, so we just grin and bear it.

But hearing about another Parkland, another Sandy Hook, another Columbine tested my reserve. As an ex-school board member, I finally heard someone explain what happened on the day his parents refused to take their little shooter home. The day he murdered four students. Their child had been drawing violent, bloody images and searching online for ammo, so he was sent to the school’s guidance office!

The Oxford Supervisor, a guy probably making 6 figures, said that there had been NO disciplinary actions involving the shooter, so he never spent a day in detention. So what? Let’s face it, kids draw crazy stuff, but if teachers reported this boy it had to be pretty bad. I trust teachers. Of course, the school wants to avoid liability now, but why didn’t they alert administration then? If a Principal had been called, and not a Counselor, he would have had his bag and locker searched, and then the police would arrive and confiscate the gun.

His parents would have helped him check into the local juvenile facility – and four students would be alive today. Their parents shopping for Christmas presents instead of coffins.

If staying awake, worrying about kids and guns wasn’t enough, last night we had two weather fronts come through Nashville – we were trumpeted to bed with thunder, and the lightening was blinding. Bob got on his iPad and checked the radar, “Oh, this will be over in 10 minutes,” he said. Mind you, he knew I had a dream the night before about a tornado, but so far we were only under a tornado “watch.” Which means the wind and temperature conditions are ready and waiting to start spinning a vortex around you, so activate that amygdala! WATCH OUT.

We are currently puppy sitting the Bride’s Frenchie who looks like Winston Churchill, so let’s call him “W” or “Dub-ya.” He is one brave and chill pooch, who didn’t understand why Ms Bean was pacing and whining. Luckily, W’s snoring eased us into sleep, but when Bean started rambling again around 4 am, combined with wind and thunder, my post-tornado-stress kicked into hard drive?

I quickly went to my safe space.

Nope, I wish. We don’t have a safe space in this city farmhouse flanked by an apartment construction zone with flapping tarps and yellow crime tape strung like party lights.

What I DID do at 4:03 am was gather the pups and head downstairs for some coffee and local TV, and lo and behold, our tornado watch had turned into a “Tornado Warning!” But before you start worrying, don’t cry for me since I’m here to tell the tale. This second storm was moving fast, about 55 MPH, and the warning didn’t include our county. Two adjacent counties had debris flying around, so the cute weather girl in a tight-fitting dress told us to stay vigilant. Because a “warning,” unlike a watch, means they’ve spotted a tornado!

I wish we could calibrate the likelihood of a mass shooting as well as we follow storms to predict tornadoes. If you’re worried about a student searching for ammo, you watch him. And if he starts drawing bloody, violent images, you warn the right people. Better yet, don’t buy metal detectors for our schools and ask our teachers to carry weapons. Pass real gun control legislation. Enough is enough.

Warning: Street Closed

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Before and after our Zoom Pilates on Wednesday, I made the mistake of listening to the SCOTUS discuss Mississippi’s attempt to uphold a ban on abortions at 15 weeks.

At first, I was happy that Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked if this was not, after all, a religious question. “YES” I yelled at poor Bob. Don’t let these Christian conservatives determine the argument; this is not about when life begins – it’s about when certain groups of people believe that life begins. Besides, some Catholics and Jews (and Sikhs and Muslims and Hindus and….. and…..) would answer that question differently. The separation of church and state is fundamental to our democracy.

In reality, this court case is about the government trying to control a woman’s body.

“The right of a woman to choose, the right to control her own body, has been clearly set since Casey and never challenged,” Justice Sotomayor said, referencing the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which affirmed Roe, in response to comments by Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart.

“You want us to reject that line of viability and adopt something different.”

I was impressed. I was hopeful. Then Justice Amy Coney Barrett started to ask questions. And she was wondering if so-called “Safe Haven Laws” wouldn’t suffice for a woman experiencing an unwanted pregnancy.

What exactly was she getting at? It dawned on me that she was referring to a theoretical mother carrying to term, and then just dropping her baby off at the local fire department, like a Door Dash order, no questions asked.

Having both biological and adopted children herself, Barrett spoke as if she had a direct line to God, which she probably thinks she has! Whatever could be the problem with carrying and delivering a baby, only to immediately give it up for adoption? She thinks that would be the easiest choice, which means either she’s been totally indoctrinated by her fundamentalist faith, or perhaps she is exhibiting psychopathic thinking. And she sounds so sweet…

Yes, choosing to have an abortion isn’t easy. And it’s even harder if you happen to be marginalized to begin with – a woman loses the possibility of a child – one she was too young or too poor to raise… or maybe one that was a result of being raped. Or maybe she is carrying a child who would never survive because of genetic abnormalities. But being forced to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth, and then relinquish a child to adoption, let’s just say that’s another kind of hell. It’s a Handmaid kinda hell.

“The trauma doesn’t just affect mothers, either. Researchers have a term for what children who are adopted, even as infants, may suffer from later in life: “relinquishment trauma.” The premise is that babies bond with their mothers in utero and become familiar with their behaviors. When their first caretaker is not the biological mother, they register the difference and the stress of it has lasting effects.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/03/opinion/adoption-supreme-court-amy-coney-barrett.html

My sister Kay recently told me how hard it was for her to travel to my foster parents’ house during our Year of Living Dangerously, and stay with me for the summer while I got used to my new caretaker/parents. The Flapper slept and cared for my father in the dining room after his brain surgery, He was only 47 when he died. My crib was in Kay’s room, she was just 14 years old at the time. Still, she always told me she loved me and that I was her real baby doll. I can still hear the pain in her voice when she talks about leaving me in Dover, NJ and returning to Scranton.

Did I suffer from relinquishment trauma? Certainly my sister and the Flapper did. And the mother of Bob’s newly discovered niece absolutely felt that loss deeply so many years ago. Her name is also Kay, a woman who has become a friend, who searched for her child (Dicky’s daughter) for years after her conservative, religious parents sent her away to give birth over 50 years ago. She would never forget her daughter.

Maybe I held on too tight to my children. Certainly my early life as a foster child factored into my choice to stay at home and raise them, to give them a sense of belonging. But I also wanted my daughter to feel as if her future was unlimited. She could be free to do anything she wanted! And she is currently working at steering her group into granting paid parental leave for everyone, male and female, doctors and NPs. I’m so dang proud of her.

We won’t know the outcome of the SCOTUS case until next June probably. We have a lot of work to do until then, to fix gerrymandering and the filibuster, to assure the right to vote, to pass gun control laws so that our children and grandchildren won’t have to fear their school rooms. But we are Americans and we can do hard things.

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It’s been a very busy first day of Spring. I took my first Nashville Yoga class after breakfast, and joined a T’ai Chi bunch before lunch! I learned quite a bit, about tuning into my body and tuning out the noise of the city. And this city can be pretty noisy; Great Grandma Ada told me even the NYTimes was writing about the Demolition Blues here in the Music City. Right down the block we’ve had intermittent blasting through limestone that shakes the house, makes me jump, and has Ms Bean running around in terror.

It’s like a war zone, I feel a bad case of PTSD coming on. Between Mr T’s morning rambling via Twitter, and the Federal Trade Commission investigating Facebook (ps here’s how to clean up your account https://www.slashgear.com/facebook-personal-audit-privacy-app-sharing-19523634/) – the random, bomb-like explosions have thrown me over the edge. The whole existential crisis of a possible nuclear showdown pales before the everyday reality of our current climate.

Hence my plan for Zen Tuesdays.

Now for the other six days of the week… While I was saying “Namaste” today, we learned of another school shooting today, this time in Maryland. The 17 year old gunboy is dead, and the girl he targeted is in critical condition. There’s another teen boy who was targeted. Enough is enough. It certainly feels like we’ve reached a tipping point towards gun reform, although I’ve felt that way in the past too. But somehow, this time feels different.

The Tennessean published an opinion piece on Sunday that was co-authored by the Bride and her friend, another Emergency Physician. They are calling on state legislators to repeal the Dickey Amendment which curtails research and funding of gun violence. Oh yes, NRA, we’re coming for you!

It is time to treat gun violence like the public health emergency that it is, and to let the scientific community conduct the necessary work to find solutions.

Unbiased medical research has led to the eradication of smallpox, the dramatic reduction of injuries and death due to motor vehicle collisions, and lifesaving advances in the care of those injured in combat.  

 We can – and should – add the prevention of unnecessary gun-related deaths to this list.     

   

It was signed by 128 TN physicians!! Mostly ER docs who see the results of unfettered access to guns. https://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2018/03/15/opinion-gun-violence-national-public-health-emergency/426997002/

Let’s face it y’all, grandpa’s rifle is NOT the same as an AR-15, and even here in the South minds are being changed. The massacre in Las Vegas shook the music industry to its core, and now teenagers are planning a March on Washington to bring their message home. Our children deserve to feel safe in school, freedom from fear is our God-given, Rockwellian right in this country. The police don’t want these guns on the street, and we the people don’t want them either. It’s about time our legislators listened…

I think the explosions have stopped. Our neighborhood has been strangely quiet for a few days now. We managed to plant our lilacs yesterday, and now they are predicting snow. Happy first day of Spring to everyone from our little Irish Star Wars colleen!

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“The world breaks everyone…”

Another school shooting, this time in Ohio. Another teen died this morning, making two so far. We hear there was a football coach who chased the student/shooter out of the school, that he and another teacher had donned bullet proof vests they kept in a closet. And of course, the media is focused on the perpetrator, TJ Lane who is 17 years old and described as a “quiet” kid by some and an “outcast” by others. He attended an alternative school, for at-risk students. It was most likely a half day program – mornings at the regular school campus, afternoon bus to the vo-tech or alternative campus. Have we learned anything since Columbine?

Well, the book Columbine by Dave Cullen was surprisingly cogent and illuminating. It’s not about the stereotypes, outcasts, jocks vs goths or greasers and preps, depending on your decade. It’s about depression and pschopathology. It’s been reported that 6% of American teens suffer from clinical depression – that adds up to 2 million kids! Until we can revamp our educational system to serve ALL our young people, and not by shuttling the disconnected off to another campus, we will have to rely on teachers to buy bullet proof vests. Until we control how, where and who can buy guns, (sorry GOP) we will unfortunately continue on our wild west path.

My heart goes out to these families. And not just the victims, but to the Lane family as well. And now the President is being criticized for being “snobby,” for articulating what every single parent wants for their child – achieving a post HS degree. To survive high school with your confidence intact is a noble thing. The survivors in Ohio will have to fight to return to some kind of normal. We all navigated our way through adolescence in different ways. I was the song and dance girl, Bob was the brainiac, the Bride was brilliant and carried a big field hockey stick, and the Rocker? He was my music man who couldn’t care less about the hierarchy.

“…and afterward many are strong in the broken places.” Here is the rest of Hemingway’s prose that Clinton didn’t read: “But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” Thanks Ernest.

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