Source: Google images
Have you ever noticed that the United States population as a whole seems to suffer from some sort of societal forgetfulness? Something bad happens, we’re saddened and then life goes on. Too often life goes on without us doing something to prevent that bad thing from happening again. It’s a rather perverted way of national living but that does seem to be our mode of operation: a desired, collective amnesia.
Perhaps we do it as a form of mental health preservation or perhaps we do it because to do anything else would go against our belief in ourselves as the best, the brightest, the grand, great hope for the planet.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not denigrating the US, I’m simply saying that we need to yank our heads out of the sand and realize that in the case of gun violence we are not the hope, we are the problem. We are our own worst enemy. We are killing ourselves; we are killing each other in horrific ways and numbers.
We have to change the thinking, change the laws, and change the lawmakers who refuse to pass laws that can assist in halting the carnage. Sometimes politicians have to finally step in (or we elect new ones who will). We must find the ways, the means, and the backbone to stop people from killing each other and killing the most innocent among us in our schools. If politicians are too selfish, too ignorant, or too afraid to grasp that concept, it’s time to vote them out. Period.
Wikipedia has a list of school shootings. The list changes often, being constantly updated. Here are a few of the school shootings in the US since 1966:
That’s a partial list of US school shootings. School shootings. Ninety-two – and the list keeps growing. A list of shootings – killings – in places that should be – must be – free from violence and murder.
There should be only one enemy in a school, college, or university and that is ignorance. A school must be a neutral zone as far as hate, fear, jealousy, and violence are concerned. Certainly, and more than anything else, students are not the enemy. Regardless of hair, clothes, race, ethnicity, disability, music, piercing, cars, political leanings or anything else that someone will use to set themselves apart (or use to fit in), a student is not the enemy. And neither are the teachers, the staff, or the administrators.
Here’s an interesting question: what will teachers think when going to work this morning? Will they wonder, “Who has a gun?” Each of those women and men will have a number of thoughts and feelings known only to them. But do you want to know the great thing? Today they’re in that classroom still optimistic about the future. In classrooms around the world, they are still teaching. And they will be again tomorrow. And we will be there with them. Our job is to make it safer for all of them. And we have to do it now.
The entire list from 1764 to now is at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States
The above uses information and quotes from Wikipedia, Associated Press, ABC News, Baltimore Sun, previous columns, and additional news sources
Grigori Rasputin (Wikimedia commons; public domain)
Karen Carpenter, back in the early seventies, sang a song which had the line “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” It always struck me as rather sad, that line, because neither rainy days nor Mondays ever particularly bothered me. I like rainy days.
Now I suppose that had I been raised in a place that rained a great deal I would feel differently. Then again, maybe not. I lived in South Florida during my middle and high school years and it rained there a lot. During the rainy season, from about the beginning of June until mid-September, Florida could be swimming in the rain (excuse the pun). The days were hot and muggy and then, most every afternoon, came the downpours.
The car windows would steam up with condensation, the roads would get deep with water, and, if you weren’t careful, you could drown the engine and find yourself stuck in a busy corner. This would especially happen if you tended to drive old clunkers as I did when first learning how to drive.
Looking back over my life so far, I have noticed that I tend to remember things based on the car I had at the time. The very first car that I called my own was a 1964 Renault with rather large patches of rust. The car was cream-colored with a red interior. It was a horrible car, but it was mine! Friends and I would load it up with radios, blankets, food, and Cokes and head for the beach. Unfortunately, it leaked water around the windshield, had a push-button transmission that sometimes worked, and the poor Renault didn’t last very long at all.
My next car was a Hillman. These odd cars were made in England and my father found this particular one from an old gentleman who lived down the street. It was a four-speed, with gear shifter on the steering column. You moved the shifter in the opposite way you learned. Why? England, of course. One of the rear doors had to be wired shut, and water made the car break down constantly. You would think that an automobile manufacturer in a country as wet as Great Britain would see to it that the engine compartment would stay dry. But not Hillman, any puddle at all and the engine conked out. This car lasted about as long as the Renault, which is to say not long at all. But I liked it and my friends and I drove it everywhere. I don’t remember who I sold the Hillman to, but I hope that by now they have forgiven me.
As a teenager I always wondered why my father would suggest old cars for me, his favorite (okay, only) son. Now, of course, I know why. I was a car destroyer. If there was a sand dune to drive over, a swamp to drive through, a street to slide down in the rain, I would be there. I have always had a love affair with cars; I didn’t want to shine them, I wanted to play with them.
The Pontiac Catalina
I was into my third car before I reached seventeen. This was a four-door Pontiac Catalina; a red monstrosity that at one time had air conditioning that worked and an automatic transmission that didn’t leak. By the time I got my hands on it, however, the tranny leaked like a sieve, and the air hadn’t worked in years. One good thing this car did have was one heck of an engine. This multi-hundred cubic inch V8 engine would roar and take off down the road like a race car from your wildest dreams.
The Pontiac didn’t last long, either. It sucked down the gas, the transmission needed too much work, and the end came soon.
The Volkswagen Bug
By now I was ready to graduate from high school and would need a more reliable car. So Pop and I went looking and found a sky-blue Volkswagen. This car was almost new, in great condition, and would be, or so we thought, perfect.
In that Volkswagen I had four accidents, put in a new engine and replaced the front end more times than I care to count. That car was repainted so often that, well, let’s just say that the body shop never had to order that color. They kept it on hand for me. It took four cars to get me through high school. I’m not proud of that fact, but there you go.
What does this have to do with social media? Simply this: the time I used to spend calling, driving, searching and scrounging for a part can now be accomplished (usually but not always of course) in a matter of minutes texting and scrolling through websites on my phone. Need a funky old part for a funky old car? Even the car dismantlers are online. How cool is that?
Photo: CARS Image Encyclopedia