“Our Hearts Our Broken Today”
This is what’s in my head. If you don’t want to know, don’t read it. You have been warned.
I am facing tragedy for the second time this week. Facing tragedy as a human and as an American.
I nearly lost a colleague, a man whose work I admire, at the Clackamas Town Center shooting this past Tuesday. I woke up this morning to discover kindergarteners murdered in their class rooms. I am the father of two children, and every day I am fortunate to take them to school, to watch them walk into a building that is old and graceful and warm and welcoming, and I am naive enough to not fear for their safety.
Willfully naive enough.
So were the parents in Newtown today.
Think of them.
It’s going to be hard. It’s going to hurt. But think of them.
Think about the mothers and fathers who took their five year-old by the hand after Cheerios and toast with grape jelly and maybe some special holiday peppermint hot cocoa, and walked them to school, to what was probably the last day of school before the holiday break. Think of them. Imagine them. Imagine the last look they had of their child. That last moment, their daughter turning her head and smiling or waving or running back for a last hug.
Think about that child’s excitement, and imagine how only three, four months ago, that First Day of School, and all the fear and uncertainty and unknown. Of the parents who told their children it would be all right, that they could do this, that they would be there for them when they came home.
Of the adults who lost their lives because they were in a building that exists to serve our future, our collective future, as a society, as members of the human race. Of their parents and spouses and siblings, of their plans for Chanukah tonight or New Year’s Eve. The parties they were planning, the promises they’d made, the sorrows and joys they were facing.
Imagine it. Don’t brush it aside. Close your eyes and breathe for a moment and take it in and let it hurt.
Because it fucking hurts.
This is a link to a petition asking the Obama Administration to “Immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation to Congress.” As kellysue has pointed out, once this petition receives 25,000 signatures, the Administration is obliged to act on the issue. They’re clearly planning on doing so already, but the more signatures, the louder our need, the clearer our voice.
Write to them. Individually. Use a stamp. Typing up a letter and addressing it and mailing it is visible effort, and it brings that much more weight to your words.
Tell them you want Newtown to be the last time in American history where children went to their free education only to die, where their parents sent them off and will never recover from, never be able to forget this day.
Tell them that if they do not find, cannot muster, the political courage to stand up to the lobbies and the zealots and enact comprehensive gun reform and standardize mental health care support in this next session of congress, you will - you absolutely will - be voting for someone with that courage.
And tell them to close their eyes and imagine what it was like to be that mom or that dad today, and what it will be like to be them tomorrow, or the next day, or on Christmas, looking at presents that will never be opened, or a year from today, or ten years from today, or thirty, or fifty.
Do it now.
Let it hurt.
But use it.
Do you want to know why Greg Rucka and Kelly Sue DeConnick are my heroes? This is the first reason among many.
In one of the few studies of the issue — there have been none in the United States — two abortion clinics in British Columbia found that 73 percent of patients wanted to see an image if offered the chance. Eighty-four percent of the 254 women who viewed sonograms said it did not make the experience more difficult, and none reversed her decision.
That generally has also been the case in Alabama, which enacted its law, the first of its kind in the United States, in 2002.
“About half of women opt to view them,” said Diane Derzis, who owns the Birmingham clinic. “And I’ve never had one patient get off the table because she saw what her fetus looks like.”
In some instances, the ultrasounds have affected women in ways not intended by anti-abortion strategists. Because human features may barely be detectable during much of the first trimester, when 9 of 10 abortions are performed, some women find viewing the images reassuring.
“It just looked like a little egg, and I couldn’t see arms or legs or a face,” said Tiesha, 27, who chose to view her 8-week-old embryo before aborting it at the Birmingham clinic. “It was really the picture of the ultrasound that made me feel it was O.K.” FUN FACT: mandating ultrasounds/sonograms does exactly nothing to the abortion rate (via stfuconservatives)
Second, it is truly remarkable what ends people’s careers in Washington - and what does not end them. As Hastings detailed in that interview, Petraeus has left a string of failures and even scandals behind him: a disastrous Iraqi training program, a worsening of the war in Afghanistan since he ran it, the attempt to convert the CIA into principally a para-military force, the series of misleading statements about the Benghazi attack and the revealed large CIA presence in Libya. To that one could add the constant killing of innocent people in the Muslim world without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight.
Yet none of those issues provokes the slightest concern from our intrepid press corps. His career and reputation could never be damaged, let alone ended, by any of that. Instead, it takes a sex scandal - a revelation that he had carried on a perfectly legal extramarital affair - to force him from power. That is the warped world of Washington. Of all the heinous things the CIA does, the only one that seems to attract the notice or concern of our media is a banal sex scandal. Listening to media coverage, one would think an extramarital affair is the worst thing the CIA ever did, maybe even the only bad thing it ever did (Andrea Mitchell: “an agency that has many things to be proud about: many things to be proud about”). Petraeus scandal is reported with compelled veneration of all things military | Glenn Greenwald (via wilwheaton)
Or maybe the solution is simply to give Texas and other secessionist-conservatives what they really want: free passage to the land of all their conservative fantasies. Send them all off with gratis one-way tickets (I’m happy to earmark some of my socialist tax dollars for the effort) to a country with: a small federal government with limited power and meager influence over the private lives of its citizens; extremely weak trade unions routinely sabotaged by the federal government (i.e., a “pro-business environment”); negligible income tax; few immigrants, legal or otherwise; a dominant Christian population, accounting for some 70 percent of the people; no mandatory health insurance or concept of universal health care; a strong social taboo surrounding homosexuality and a constitution that already states, “All individuals have the right to marry a person of their choice of the opposite sex”; and a gun culture so ubiquitous that you can find automatic weaponry displayed openly on the streets of its capital city and in many households.
Sound like a Texan secessionist’s dream? Well, it’s no dream. This country already exists. It’s called the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Chuck Thompson, “Go Ahead and Secede, Texas. I Dare You.”, The New Republic (have to admit, I didn’t see that last sentence coming - well done!)
This entire scenario is a window into the type of man Mitt Romney is at his core. When there is nothing to lose, and the cameras are not rolling, he is a ruthless individual. Mitt Romney cuts off campaign workers credit cards, leaves workers stranded - Detroit liberal | Examiner.com (via moreleftthannot)