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Friday, 30 May 2014

Rewind the Week – 30 May 2014

Yesterday I gave you an update on the development of Three Rivers Village. Working on that project is taking more of my time now and the need is growing.

With that, I have been struggling to figure out how to better apportion my time – for the Village, to keep up this blog and also get my bottom out of this desk chair now and then.

Today's post is an experiment in that direction.

As you can see above, it is titled Rewind the Week. What I intend to do is scour comments from the previous six or seven days and re-publish some that I think are compelling, provocative, informative, stand out in some other manner or seem to be worth more conversation by us.

Of course, the writers quoted will be credited. It's important to know who's saying what.

Some weeks, there might be only one strong idea. Other weeks there may be several. Some serious, others not so much. I don't know yet; I'm making this up as I go along.

If I can do this well, I hope to inspire and encourage further thought and new ideas among us while giving me a way to publish something new that doesn't take much research, brain power and, particularly, time on my part.

As I said, it is an experiment and even if we all like it, it may not appear every week. Or maybe it will. For now, let's see how it goes.


There was a lot of strong, angry, even enraged response from you to the Not One More post about the shootings last week in Isla Vista. For that reason and the fact that the media has already lost interest, it is worth our further attention.

Not a few readers are discouraged, tired of writing Washington about serious issues that are never addressed:

“I also contacted them shortly after the Sandy Hook shootings and you see what good that did,” wrote Nancy Leitz. “But, I will keep trying and will not get discouraged until they GET RID OF GUNS!”
“I will add my cards to this effort,” said Cathy Johnson, “though I am not particularly optimistic about the effects.”

Darlene feels similarly:

“Although I am discouraged, I think we have no recourse but to fight back with our limited weapons. So proclaim 'NOT ONE MORE' to one and all.”

Those three women and the rest of us who are dispirited by lack of leadership in Congress are, of course, correct that it appears no one listens to the citizenry. Most particularly, no one with the power to change gun policy pays attention.

Here is graphic of The Columbine Effect from the knowyourmeme website that perfectly depicts the life cycle of the gun debate (larger, more readable image at the website):

ColumbineEffect370

Too true, too true.

This comment from Priscilla was echoed by several others whose Congressional representatives appear to follow her senator's lead in their disinterest in guns and crime:

“As a Florida resident, possible 2016 presidential contender Marco Rubio is my U.S. Senator. Unlike my other representatives including the White House, neither 'gun control,' 'firearms' nor 'crime' are among the listed topics on his online email form. The closest was 'social issues' or perhaps 'other.' Telling.”

And, I had no idea there are a bunch of revolutionaries reading this blog. I'm with you but how to rally the country?

“The oligarchy is owned by the NRA and will make all kinds of statements for the press, but will do nothing to change the status quo,” wrote classof65. “We need a revolution. Soon.”

Annie picked up classof65's song and added her voice:

“I read our comments, and have to agree that we have been writing and making our feelings known to no avail. And it's disheartening. Then, I see Classof65 again about the revolution.

You know, Class is right,” continued Annie. “I don't mean and would hope not violent and bloody, but what really important reforms have been accomplished without people going to the streets to demonstrate, sit in, protest and generally make a very big noise? Votes for women? Civil Rights of all kinds? Vietnam?

“It took a long time in each case and the courage and determination of many to get out in public saying things similar to 'Not One More.'"

Writing from Canada, Vera has a different take on the need for gun control:

“Actually it's naive to think that banning guns will solve your problems. Up here in Canada we just had 5 college students stabbed to death by another crazy student. We had a guy on a Greyhound bus get decapitated by a schizophrenic guy, another 50+ woman stabbed and killed the toddler next door, she says.

“The root cause of many of these crimes is actually untreated mental illness not guns and that's what needs fixing.”

I don't disagree about mental health issues but I don't believe that is a reason not to change our nearly unrestricted laws on guns that in one go can kill so many more (and do in the U.S.) than a knife.

All right. Now it's up to you. Have your say and don't forget that on the internet there is no space restriction.

Just, please, break up comments longer than half a dozen lines into paragraphs with a space between them. I don't read long chunks of unbroken text nor do most people.

And if you are so inclined, let us know what you think of this experiment in Rewind the Week.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Chlele Gummer: Rufus and the Games


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

I think the question to ask is ---

Why don't the people rise up and demand action?

When they have ----- it only lasts a couple of day or at most a week
and then fades ----why?

How are the ""powers that be" able to ignore the masses?

Excellent idea for a weekly (maybe) post!

I think a large part of the problem is that we on the side of sanity dint really agree on what we want. Some of us want to fulfill the gun nuts' prophecy and take away every privately owned gun; others would be happy if automatic weapons became unavailable.

Some of us would be satisfied with stricter ownership rules, and others just want better enforcement of the rules already in place.

This sort of disagreement suits the NRA right down to the ground. "Divide and conquer," and all that. Until we agree on the best course of action, we won't be able to focus on the evil at the center.

Change, inevitable change. Why not? Let's go with it. Can't fight it, and besides, it probably is for the best. Good luck.

The basis of our democracy is us electing legislators who best reflect the views and interests of their constituents. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, these electees forget why they are there. Any independence they might have had disappears in favor of following "the party line". At one time "THROW THE SCOUNDRELS OUT" had meaning. Now it's "Replace this scoundrel for another."

One vote for rewind. I don't always have a chance to read comments, but when I do, I am usually impressed with your readers' civility, clarity of thoughts, good points and interesting ideas.

1. Mental health: Care for those who are mentally ill is at the core of the problem.

2. Veterans: It's not just the kids with mental health problems. Think PTSD. Thing the dying WWII vets that have never talked of their experiences. And too, The VA issue. Many of us, my husband and I among them, are vets.

3. Guns: See #1 and #2.

Rewind the Week - excellent idea as there are many pertinent and interesting comments on your themes that merit further discussion.

The problem for me in some areas is that, as a European, I have no direct experience of the American way of life. Of course, I am horrified by the mass gun crime as much as I am bewildered by a country that allows anyone to bear arms. The same goes, incidentally, for a rich, powerful country that doesn't provide universal health care.

The most I can contribute to some discussions is to offer and compare my own country's and adopted country's ways and I'm not sure whether that's relevant or interesting for other people.

I really can relate to Bruce's comment about elected legislators and their forfeiting independence for the party line. This is so true for the UK.

I shall look forward to a different Friday and do my best to contribute meanwhile.

This is a good idea, Ronni, for splitting your valuable time and state of mind.

I also think revolution of some sort will be coming. Though remembrances of Occupy Wall St. reflect the power of those who don't want the status quo to change. That's not enough to do nothing now, however. Trying peacefully is a first step.

Does society in this age create mental illness? There's too many people for our planet to sustain and more coming on board. That and a growing economic disparity are creating fear and desperation for a decent, basic life in too many lives.

While democracy might be the most equitable type of government, it needs its checks and balances, a strong responsible government, or it spins out of control. We must make our voices heard and the votes count. Over and over and over...

"Up here in Canada we just had 5 college students stabbed to death by another crazy student."

As horrific as five deaths are, thirty-five deaths by gun would have been even worse.

Oh dear, now I'll feel obliged to be "compelling, provocative, informative, stand out in some other manner or seem to be worth more conversation." At least part of the time.

Meanwhile, I've been talking guns with a commenter who, while always civil, insists he needs guns to protect himself from "the result of people who mistakenly think the law is obligated to protect them."

Tough to be optimistic when you can't even find some common ground with a thoughtful person your own age who is willing to discuss it.

Maybe we're complaining to the wrong people. If we know that our representatives are bought and paid for and our voices are ignored we need to find a way to have a bloodless revolution.

In addition to writing our representatives, how about writing all of those talking heads and pseudo journalists and hold their feet to the fire. They are the voices that the uneducated listen to. Join Mark Kelley and Gabby Giffords in their fight for stringent gun legislation.

If we start at the beginning by arousing the public and keep at it then, and only then, will the politicians do something.

I recently read an article written by a mental health expert complaining that focusing on mental health when talking about gun law reform is a straw man. She has a valid point, but that's for another day.

Mass shootings are, of course, done by deranged individuals, but how about all the kids that shoot their siblings accidentally, the enraged spouse that kills his partner in a fit it anger, the kids killing each other daily over gang control, etc, etc.? These deaths are far more numerous than those of the mass victims. They occur on a daily basis.

When the hue and cry over the most recent mass carnage starts to die down, write letters to the editor and to the journalists and pundits.
Remind them again of the latest shooting and remind them of their duty to keep the story alive. This should be a crusade. NOT ONE MORE.

Pied raises a good point. I'm always surprised by people who seem otherwise quite progressive who staunchly defend their right to own a gun. But they're not the ones out there shooting unsuspecting strangers. More likely they're the aging men who take their own lives when they've had enough. That's a whole other problem.

Guns will never go away in this country, but do we need to sell them by mail order? Or at gun shows? Why do we have gun shows? People who want guns for a collection can find them easily enough.

Mental illness IS the culprit and that's a tough nut to crack in a free society.

Nor do I think my opinion is the majority. Aside from those who oppose gun restriction (at least 50% if you believe polls), there are the apathetic - or busy. Combine the two and I think that's the majority.

I think 'Rewind' is a stellar idea!

A good post, indeed, and your Rewind Friday is definitely a winner.

Young people need help. I saw it when I taught high school. There are just so many problems that they face of which they have no control. Some seek to control by bullying, some with drugs, and some with weapons. We need to help these young people see a different way of controlling their lives.

I enjoy reading the comments here regularly, though I don't always take the time to comment. The creation of Rewind Friday as a forum for more sharing of readers' thoughts on various topics is a great idea! I hope to participate more actively and look forward to continuing to read the thoughtful comments of others.

As for the continued incidents of violence in our country, I hardly know what to say any more. I agree that mental health issues mostly underlie these events, and I need to try to remain hopeful that progress will be made in the area of services that might identify people in need of intervention and provide some helpful counseling and treatment. Life is increasingly difficult for so many, young, old and in-between. If we can each be more sensitive to this, and be a little kinder in our transactions with everyone with whom we come in contact, regardless of how small and insignificant the act might seem, perhaps it could help change someone's entire mood and have a positive ripple effect that begins to change the tone of society.

I think Rewind is a great idea.

Darlene, I think contacting members of the media including op-ed commentors and columnists is a great idea.

Steve Lopez, LA Times columnist, is one journalist I respect. His latest column, "Ignoring the Insanity of Gun Violence," is one everyone should read. It can be found here www.latimes.com/local/la-me-0528-lopez-gun-20140527-column.html#

Steve's credibility is backed by the awards he has won (including being a Pulitzer finalist for his series on elder care) and by the attention his stories get from local and state politicians.

Maybe we need to scare ourselves out of this NEED for, and attachment to, guns by passing a "revealed weapons law." Everyone who has a gun must wear it visibly when outside their home. To the store, the hospitl, church, beach, bar, red carpet at the Oscars, track races at the Olympics, etc. Need something outrageous to create a level playing field and to illustrate the insanity of it all.

Oh, Judith, even Wyatt Earp made the cowboys check their weapons when they came into Wichita to celebrate the end of the cattle drive! I sincerely hope you were writing tongue in cheek.

I live in a super-red state (Tennessee) where they recently passed a law allowing people with permits to carry guns to wear them into bars. Now that's just looking for trouble.

My husband and I live out in the country and we have guns for self-protection only. I'm not crazy about the idea, but I am also afraid out here in the sticks. We are considering moving back to the Denver area next year (we've been away for ten years)to be closer to our kids, and I'm sure we'll sell the guns when we do.

I like the Rewind idea.

As for the revolution, I watched and applauded the Occupy Wall Street movement and I was not surprised when the local governments in each area pushed the demonstrators out.

We must somehow push for campaign finance reform to get back to the government representing the citizens instead of the corporations and PACS.

Oh, and Pamela (LadyLuz), I for one hope that you continue to read this blog and to respond with examples of how these issues are handled, well or poorly, by Great Britain or any other European countries with which you are familiar. It is fascinating to me how others have approached the same problems we have in different ways.

Great idea, Ronni - a chance for us to talk to each other.

Seems to me the revolution has already started. You can feel the push for change, and it's coming from the people.

Trouble is, there are two versions of democracy - one going forward and one going back. Till we figure out our direction, we're stuck.

I sure hope the going-forward folks win.


Great idea, as is clear from all the serious and cogent responses from above. This ought to be interesting.

And I must add, at this ta

I was going to say that there is one dynamic that seems to recur: adolescents looking for attention.

Surely school psychologists (or SOMEBODY) could find a way to be proactive about identifying such kids BEFORE they go off.

That would take care of a good portion of it. Read their posts, if nothing else!

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