The Perfect Storm

Posted From Taipei Taiwan

Kathy and I are once again demonstrating how nuts we are. I will begin in this post at Denver International Airport and will probably finish it some where over the Pacific on our way to Bali via Taipei.

 

About four weeks ago we received a brochure from a cruise line for a trip from Bali to Aukland,NZ with port calls in Tasmania/ Australia. It was on our bucket list and the price could not be beat and so here we are. 

 

I was actually going to place all sorts of witticisms in my epistle but events of the past few days called for a different course of action. Maybe 35,000 feet is the proper viewing port as I try to process the carnage. I have thought in so many ways as a dad, grandparent and resident of this place we call planet earth. Don’t take me for a moralist but rather an observer. And Houston we do have a problem.

 

I searched websites on human behavior for insight. To be sure it is framed by a multitude of forces such as family, events and to a large degree by social mores and customs. What seeds have we provided to grow as a people and a country?

 

We are enraptured by violence. We see it on our streets, TV’s, movies and laptops. As I watched events unfold I switched from channel to channel. I hit the wrong one and got Maury Povich. There were 6 participants all yelling and screaming at each other, cursing and all the time the audience was egging them on. Give us our daily bread.

 

Our gun fetish is beyond the pale. Go to a gun store and really get scared. You can buy all manner of mayhem. Background check? Concealed weapon permit? Not a problem. I have often wondered if my right to live trumps your right to bear arms. 

 

 Right now we are a nation of hate. It starts in downtown DC. Obama, Boehner, Pelosi, Reid, McConnell, Cantor. Ideologues have thrown away reason and we all suffer for it. We are pissed at the muslims, the immigrants, liberals, conservatives. Not just annoyance but bitter hatred. 

 

To this wonderful cocktail we add a healthy dose of mental instability. Years ago in the name of economy we shut state hospitals and cut back on local programs. We turned these poor souls out onto the street and today they are our homeless or kept by friends and family who are ill equipped to do so. Stigma prevents any treatment and without intervention,well you know how it ends.

 

 

We speak of rights and of A number one is the right to bear arms. We want free speech. We want the ability to do drugs or make the decision on life or death. I guess my real question is “Are we ready to take responsibility for those rights?” Is there any culpability or can you just go out and go nuts? Good Question.

 

We thrive on ambivalence and grey areas. The cloudier the issue the more it is open to personal interpretation.I am for improving the system just don’t let it rain on me. Everyone interprets things to their own ends. 

 

But then the crazies shoot up Aurora, Portland and even a sleepy Eden like Newtown. Rural and urban America are suffering the same destruction. Everyone says ,”How could this happen?” Just look around. We have all put the ingredients in this soup that tastes so bitter. We are worried about one person,ME.

 

I opened the classifieds in the Denver Post prior to last Friday. I was just running a trap. Lo and behold I came upon the firearms section. There listed for all to see were approximately 20 weapons of mass destruction of every description. Rugers and Lugers. AK’s. High capacity magazines. We now have 285 million firearms in the US for 325 million inhabitants. From my cold dead hands? You might get your wish.

 

Last Friday probably could not have been prevented. We can’t lock down everywhere. But we better change our way of doing business. We have to address mental illness that affects 30 million Americans. We better get real about guns that took the lives of over 10,000 of us last year. We have got to get away from this “anything goes” mentality. 

Despite this dire treatise I am by some strange reason optimistic. After 9/11 we were so together and we squandered it on vengeful wars and short memories. After every tragedy there is a brief  spurt of reformative energy. Then we tally up who we are going to piss off and the price becomes too high. Can’t afford to blow your political capital, you know.

 

If you like the way we have become then go for it. Let the cards fall where they may. If you are a hunter, have a gun. Leave it at that. If you can’t kill it with one shot, don’t shoot. If you think violence should be the norm you are quickly getting your wish. 

 

I hope and pray some one comes to their senses. That they have the guts to stand up and do what is right rather than politically expedient. We can start ending the hatred by striking a deal on the madness called the fiscal cliff. We can begin to allocate resources to get people better rather than filling up armories with superfluous weaponry. We can really understand we have to start treating one another as human beings and not just lines in a balance sheet. 

 

Me.? I am going to keep banging away. I am going to keep looking for a leader. A hope. I will look up not down. I will find a way. I just can’t let this all go on.I hope you can’t either.

 

As Always

Ted The Great

 

Factoids

Google “Killer Games”. You will see a variety of games to be downloaded free. Anywhere from 75,000 to 150,000 hits per site

There were actually 14.612 murders in 2011. 66% (approximately 10,000 were attributable to guns. In Great Britain there were 58.

Approximately 30,000 deaths were attributable to suicide by firearms.

 

5 thoughts on “The Perfect Storm

  1. Okay it is time to do something. I believe in the right to bear arms and our fore fathers felt strongly enough about it to include that in what this country is all about. But – when that was written a rifle had to be loaded with gun powder, packed and then a lead ball inserted into the barrel (or something like that). Even in movies this takes 15 – 30 seconds? Now people are buying guns that shoot multiple rounds per second! I don’t think that matches up with what our fore fathers had in mind. Ted your right – if you are a hunter and have a gun great but one shot is all you get. If your going after an Elk with an AK47 your nuts and should not be allowed to have a gun! We have to get rid of these assault rifles and magazines that carry stupid amounts of rounds. This is not a difficult decision to make. Now I know this won’t eliminate these horrible acts but let’s use some common sense here.

    Have a great trip – we will miss you guys at THE wedding!

  2. Thought you would like to see this from Father Paddy:

    The Battle with Darkness –
    Our Celebration of Light –
    God’s Beauty Abounds!

    I am writing in the wake of a horrific act, and a terrible tragedy befallen a community in Newtown, CT and, indeed, the whole country. This morning, December 14, 2012, innocent beauty, and images of God were destroyed. Beauty was maimed by the darkest of human behavior. News reports tell of 20 children and 7 adults, including the gunman, losing their lives. Such darkness numbs the mind and heart. It blinds us from seeing God in the ‘Incarnations’ of His own beauty – you and me. We are hindered from seeing God’s image in our redeemed human condition.

    It is Advent and we look forward to the joy of the Christmas season of grace. But how do we welcome God in the beauty of a boy born in Bethlehem? How do we celebrate the promise of God who gave us His Son that we might conquer the darkness of sin and self-hate, and turn the world in the direction of God’s goodness given the evil visited on the people of Newtown? I suggest we do so by standing in solidarity with the parents and families of the ‘little ones’ and adults who died. Maybe then our hearts will also break, and ‘scream’ to God for mercy, understanding, justice, love and peace!

    In spite of the darkness there is beauty and light! God still abides! Such beauty and light, expressions of God, reside in our children. So hold tightly and lovingly your children. Let them know that God’s beauty and presence abounds in your embrace of love. I wish you all the blessing of Jesus born a child in Bethlehem.

    Fr. Paddy

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