Water, Water Everywhere and Not A Drop to Drink

“It’s easier to get free wi-fi than it is to get free water and people act like there’s nothing wrong with the world”. – Fidel Littlelight
Homeless - bottle of wather
Rick Wood gives food and water to a homeless man near his tent under an overpass near downtown Birmingham, Saturday, March 29, 2014. (abc3340.com)

Water has turned into a huge commodity. As a former retailer I can tell you that water is one of the most profit bearing items in a store.  I used to be able to get cases of water for less than $2 each (making the cost of each bottle roughly 9¢ a piece) and the suggested retail price was 99¢.  That’s a heck of a margin huh?  

In fact, have you seen a water fountain recently? Probably not.  Usually only in schools and hospitals anymore, with an occasional sighting at an office building (leftovers from days gone by).  They’re getting harder to find, aren’t they? Now imagine you’re homeless.  Where do you get a drink of water?

I understand that even if it’s within your means, many people are not comfortable handing cash to the person with the sign at the intersection and I don’t disagree.  Sadly there are scammers out there and there is no way to determine who is legit and who just figure it’s a great way to make a buck.

Shortly after I stopped living in a shelter I was back living with my parents.  My mom needed to go for a therapy appointment due to an injury, so I dropped her off and used her truck to go grocery shopping.  When I got back, there was a man in the parking lot begging for money from everyone he could find talking about how he, his wife and child were now living on the streets and hungry.  When he approached me, I let him know that I had no money but that I had just gotten done grocery shopping and walked him to the back of the truck asking if he had the means to cook and started pulling out groceries for him.  He thanked me and turned down my offering of food, then proceeded to go skittering off to the fast food drive thru next door to return to his quest for cash.

Please do not take what I’ve said as a reason to never help someone with a sign.  There are many, many needy people who need our help and cities and municipalities are really aiming to put the homeless population out of sight and out of mind.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to read my piece on the homelessness – Insights into the Dark  – I would ask you to check it out when you have a chance.

16-oz-water

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to challenge everyone who reads this to buy a case of bottled water. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just whatever you can find at the best price, and keep it in a cooler with a little ice. As you’re driving around town doing errands and you see someone with a sign, sleeping on a piece of cardboard or a park bench or under an overpass – offer them a bottle of water.  It’s a small kindness that goes an incredibly long way.

I think a case of water at Wal-Mart is around $3.50 and at CVS you can catch it on sale for $2.  While you may not be willing to hand someone cash, offering them a bottle of water that cost you 9¢-15¢, that would cost them a dollar or more at the nearest shop is a huge help.  Can you think of any other way to help that many people for under four dollars? 

It’s a frugal way to help and it’s a great way to help your fellow-man.  Thanks for listening.  

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

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The Pain and Heartbreak of Invisible People

Today I offer you a poem and a story, and sadly neither are intended to make you smile. There are no pictures and there’s also a good chance that it will probably make you somewhat uncomfortable.   

However, uncomfortable is what leads to change. Uncomfortable is what makes us say “no more”.     I keep hoping that more people every day will become more and more uncomfortable, so they’ll look outside their comfort zone and see the need around them, and feel compelled to affect change.

Hello, my name is Anna and I’m six years old
I live with my mama and papa
They can’t always afford to feed me as often as they would like
They can’t afford to buy me clothing very often
We don’t have a house, but we have shelter sometimes
I used to have a brother but he died
I love my parents, and I know that love me too
They try so very hard
We are part of your society
a part you either don’t see or won’t see
I probably won’t be here very much longer
I just wanted to say hello

Hello my name is Anna and I’m ten years old
My daddy died, Mama says someone shot him
Mama has lots of friends, she says that’s how she pays the rent
I used to have a brother but he died too,
Mama said we couldn’t feed him anymore
I worry about my Mama she puts needles in herself
But she says” don’t worry baby God is coming for us all”
I know that I’m supposed to believe in God
and I guess I do
I just haven’t seen him in my neighborhood
Mama’s calling for me now I have to go make her lunch
anyway I just wanted to say hello

Go Ask Alice
This was published in 1971 and still brings light to the dark subject of drugs and homelessness. This book can be read here online or it can be downloaded

Hello, my name’s Anna and I’m fifteen.
I know what my mama did to raise me,
I understand now because I have a daughter now
and I call her Ella… I’d do anything to make sure that she has enough
food and clothes, but things keep getting in the way.
it’s so expensive, and they want so much from me.
I love my little girl but sometimes when she cries when she’s hungry
I just want to get away…
so I do…

Hello, My name is Ella or so I’m told,
they said that my Mama named me after my grandma,
but I never knew her
They tell they she loved me very much
but I never knew
I should have had a daddy
but they never knew
They are closing the home tomorrow
because they have no money
I ask where will I go
but nobody knows

Hello, My name is Ella and I’m 12 years old,
for as long as I can remember
I’ve been sold from pimp to pimp                                                                          for cigarettes or pool wagers or on  a whim,
I am chattel, I am worthless.
I don’t even care enough to despair

Hello, My name is Anna
I’m a corpse under a bridge,
I’ve been here for weeks
and no one seemed to notice,
I wonder why that is
~ Anonymous

Rape is about violence, not sex.  If a person hits you with a spade, you wouldn’t call it gardening would you?

I lived with a woman named Susan in the homeless shelter I stayed in, along with her husband Dave and their daughter, April (she was 8 maybe?).  Dave had a massive stroke that left him confined to a wheelchair, having to be fed and changed, and unintelligible speak to anyone other than his wife or daughter.  In fact, everyone originally thought he was her father because he had aged so much from all that he’d been through medically.  Sadly she didn’t know enough to apply for social security.

They were a single income household and Susan stopped working when she found out that she was pregnant. They lost their home, most of their possessions, their cars.  And now Dave was an invalid who couldn’t take care of himself.    With limited skills and experience, the only place that would hire her was McDonald’s.  Susan would take care of Dave as soon as they woke up, along with getting April off to school.  Susan would leave to go to work, then when April came “home” after school, then she’d be her dad’s caretaker until Susan got “home” around midnight, walking both ways because the car they had been living in had been repossessed.

On the way “home” one night Susan was stopped by three rough looking men, one of which had been kicked out of the shelter previously for being an asshole, and he blamed her.  She had asked him to watch his mouth around her daughter and he wouldn’t and got nasty with her, so she told the guard and asked that he try to handle it.

Then he got into it with the guard and started an altercation, needless to say, he was out for good. Not necessarily a good thing in Colorado in the winter(oh well); he brought it on himself but of course he blamed everyone but himself.   So here she was, alone, walking “home” and suddenly surrounded by these three street thugs.  The one with the vendetta and two of his buddies.  They decided to drive train on her because gang-rape is a worthy punishment for asking the guard to make you stop talking in 4-letter words around someone’s young daughter.

I couldn’t sleep at night back then either so I was wide awake as always when she came in later than usual.  Her hair messed up, her uniform was a mess, dirty, ripped in places with some blood on it, and a face that was stained with tears.  We all knew something was wrong, and it wasn’t hard to tell what that something was.

We tried suggesting to her to go to the hospital to get checked out, but she refused, almost in a panic attack, saying that she couldn’t go because if they admitted her, then that would leave her 8-year-old daughter there to take care of her father, and not only was that not something she wanted to do to April.  The big problem was that because since neither April or David was self-sufficient, not only would they not be allowed to stay at the shelter, but children’s services & adult protective services could be called to take both of them away.

A couple of us asked her if they could help her get cleaned up, We all offered to help her family in her absence, I even told her that I’d drive her so that everyone wouldn’t be nosy if an ambulance showed up, but she just said,  “no, I just need to be with my family right now”. And just as Susan said, she climbed into her bunk between her daughter and her husband and cried all night.  The next morning she told David what happened, we could see it in his face when she told him. He sobbed for 3 days straight

Her pants were ripped pretty badly when she was attacked, so we all chipped in to buy her a new pair of work pants so she could still work.  By dinner time the next day, the entire shelter knew what happened. After that, the guards let a couple of the guys out each night so they could walk her home.

Lockdown was at 10, lights out at 10:30. And if you didn’t have a pre-authorized pass signed by your employer,  it didn’t matter if you had Jesus himself with you for backup, and you *still* weren’t getting in.  The guards couldn’t leave while they were on duty but would let the (rougher) guys go out every night passed lockdown so they could go get her and bring her back. And the guys all took turns, this way if anyone was watching they’d know that there were more than two guys backing her up.

Sunday night was something that well all looked forward to.  That’s when we all went to Church in Manitou Springs, where they served dinner… real food, not the crap we were used to.  You had to be there on time because they only had so many portions.  The soup kitchen in town had those big giant pots, and if they had a significant amount left, it went into tomorrow’s meal, but not at the church in Manitou Springs.  It was good food, sometimes it was the only good thing that happened to us for the whole week.

I still had my car,  a small Chevette knockoff.  I would earn gas money from people to take them places. On Sunday nights it was great because I was always guaranteed to get three guys in the back seat, with me & my boyfriend up front with me. They all gave me $5 each and gas was still 99¢ a gallon back then so it was a great income for someone who couldn’t find a job.  I also did it for the ones who went to the plasma center during the week because they were not up to walking back.   I lost my job because they found out that I was living in the shelter so this was the only money I was making, by being a taxi to my fellow “shelter rats” (as we were called).

Anyway, we all were sitting down with our plates…  it was loud, filled with happy talk because of a real meal and a change of scenery, dishes, silverware, and glasses all clanking and banging. The pastor would have everyone bow their heads and he’d say grace then we could eat. Well he said grace, we dug in and within a few minutes, you could hear a pin drop.

“…and then the angels of justice and mercy came for Susan.”

It was about a month after Susan was attacked and the three guys that raped her made the mistake of coming into the Church basement for dinner. The two guys behind him knew their world was going to change when they turned around to leave and there were two guys barring the door. The leader, I don’t remember his name from 31 years ago, but I do remember his face. He was the blackest person I’d ever seen. Skin the color of espresso, the only thing that gave him away in the dark was his teeth and his eyes.  He was wearing a black leather jacket and black pants which gave away how he got around at night (like a ninja) and on his shoulder a heavy chain with a metal padlock on it.

The pastor came out and asked what was going on and one of the guys told him. He looked at those three, grossly outnumbered and said, “I’m sorry we’re full and there’s no more to eat” (which was true) but elicited a very forceful no.  The pastor told him “Well then, I’m sure the boys will you help you find the way to your car.”  The guy spoke up telling the Pastor that he didn’t have a car. So the pastor glossed over his response and said “God doesn’t care if you have a car or not, he cares about *other* things like how you live, how you treat people, and so on.  Boys, If you wouldn’t mind, could you please take these late-comers out to their car, I have to go check on dessert.”

They hadn’t even made it out of the basement when everything jumped off. He rolled his shoulder to drop the chain to put it in his hand but it got snatched away from him while his face stopped someone’s fist from running away. The guy who grabbed the chain from him swung it…

I was “caught staring with the dumb look” (as we used to call it.)  I’d never seen a cheekbone before, or any bone for that matter (other than watching Deliverance, but it was not the same.)  I was just completely stunned at just how white it was, but that was of course in contrast with the espresso colored skin and the bright red blood that was now going everywhere. The next blast was a right hook that cold-cocked him.  It was at that point when he was dragged out into the parking lot and his friends (who were still conscious at least) took off.  When thug #1 came to a couple of minutes later, he was freaking out about how he got there and the amount of blood ( a bit dazed don’t you know) and he got his ass kicked. He suddenly came to his senses, stood up and then took off as quickly as he could like his friends did.

Our guys came back in just as the pastor came out, who took one look at them and said “boys, it was very nice of you to help those gentlemen with their car trouble, but you’ve all gotten so dirty, you need to all come in the kitchen and wash up all of you, you need to be presentable for dinner.” (read: Just in case the police showed up.)

I was there for another couple of months but that guy was never seen around town ever again to my brief knowledge.

I really do hope that Susan and David, along with their daughter April were able to move on and move up. I hope they were given access to the services they needed to survive and with any luck, they were able to get help for all that they had endured. 

So, why did I tell you this long-winded story you ask? 

The reason for this is to use light to see those who are in the shadows, to see those who are normally invisible to the population as a whole.  The homeless are a large part of our country’s landscape as well abroad.  We see the pictures of the homeless during the Great Depression.  People standing in lines a block long.  People living in tents We don’t see that, just the occasional person standing at an intersection with a cardboard sign, we don’t see them.  So if there is such a homeless problem, where are they?  Why don’t they look the same?  Easy, back then are programs now like SNAP, Welfare, and WIC that didn’t exist back then.  There were no homeless shelters, just people living in Hoovervilles.  No food pantries, no soup kitchens per say, there were soup lines (the  bonus there was you could fill a soup pot up so that you could feed your children, and bread lines.  Can you imagine?

The problem is that these people along with myself at the time and even now as a disabled person, is that we are/were invisible. I swear, I would love 10 acres of land, cover it with tiny houses, solar panels on every roof, mandatory recycling, a place in the middle with a laundry room and hot showers (just in case you’re too tall or just fluffy like me), wifi for the community, since nowadays places will only take applications online. A community center with a couple of computers for kids to do homework, gather up books for a take a book/leave a book library, the same goes for DVD’s and we would have weekend gatherings so you could get to know your neighbors and further know that you’re not alone, you’re not the only person that this has happened to and you just have to get up, dust yourself off. And they’d all have to pitch in taking care of the community…. emptying trash, raking leaves or cutting grass or shoveling snow, helping someone with a handyman project, etc and with the goal that this is temporary, you get your life back together or create a new one and you move up and let that tiny house help out the next person or couple in need.

Well if anyone has an extra $150K lying around and can’t think of what to do with it, give me a call…

In the meantime, thanks for listening and please, don’t have invisible people surround you. Look for them and you’ll see.  And once you see, you’ll have them in your heart and want to help

We’re Suffering and It’s Real, Too Real In Fact

Image result for free images for blogs fibromyalgia

Once again I saw another human at the end of their rope because a friend, loved one, co-worker or any other allegedly sentient being on the planet did a number on them about their fibromyalgia.  

The stories are always the same… “you’re an attention seeker”, “you’re lazy and trying to get out of _____”, “it’s not really *a thing*, it’s just lazy doctors who want to dump people in a pile when they don’t want to find out what’s *really* wrong with you – or – there’s nothing wrong with you, everyone feels that way from time to time.”

Related image

Speaking on behalf of our brothers and sisters, here and across the globe. Our pain and symptoms are very real, regardless if you “buy it” or not.  We do not need you to be patronizing, to offer us lip service, telling us what *you think* we want to hear, or have you be downright defiant and dismissive of what we are going through by claiming it to be “all in your head”, or that it’s a “b*llsh*t excuse the doctors use when they don’t know what’s wrong. To some degree. that last one is correct.  

Image result for free images for blogs fibromyalgia

Doctors used to write off symptoms that they could not find the root cause, lumping them in a pile named fibromyalgia.  As a result, what’s happened is that someone finally noticed similarities in all of the patients’ symptoms in that pile. After that, they started recognizing that this is a real, somewhat treatable, currently incurable disease/condition.   It is unknown as to whether the cause of the symptoms are in the nerves or if it is in an area of the brain sending wrong signals which cause our symptoms or environmental sources. I’m inclined to believe it is the latter two, but I don’t know any more than anyone else.

Why are some people allergic to something and some else, even in their own family sometimes, are able to binge on.  I was born with several health problems including a severe intolerance to lactose and in those days (no old jokes please) there weren’t the options that there are now.  My sister came along 5 years later, spent 3-4 days a week in the hospital under an oxygen tent.  Once they were afraid that her heart could wind up damaged from all the epinephrine they were giving her, they finally agreed to allergy testing.

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Out of the 204 things that she was tested for, thankfully she was *only* allergic to… 196 of them.  Only… sheesh.  And guess what, none of ours overlapped and still haven’t.  I have spinal diseases, she had cancer,  She’s allergic to morphine and it doesn’t even work for me.  The list of differences goes on an on.   The same is true for fibro, we’re all alike, and we’re all different.

I read somewhere that fibro can be caused by a traumatic experience where you got hurt. For me that makes total sense, that’s when mine reared its ugly head, but you could put 200 people in a room and only perhaps  7% of us would be able to point to it as when fibro walked into our lives like a person you can’t stand who now won’t leave your house.

Read More about the
100 Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Personally, I think we’re all f*cked to some degree because we are all members of what I refer to as  the Pop-Tart generation. So many things were not on the landscape until the 60’s with the ‘fortified with  vitamins and minerals”, why did it need to be fortified in the first place? Pop-Tarts were fortified with 5 vitamins when they started and now it’s 16 and calcium and fiber? Why was Tang nutritionally better than orange juice? Cold cereal was introduced, prior to this it was oatmeal, Cream-of-Wheat or grits, and we all know what the ingredient list looks like on the side of the box of cereal.  We started running public water to more families, fluoridated of course. Our bodies have been beaten like a bad boxer with no end in sight.  

We need acceptance, acknowledgment, better treatment, and a hope for a cure. Empathy and the willingness to take us our word for it won’t cost you a thing; much like manners, this is free to use and available 24/7 if you choose.

Thanks for listening

Maggie ॐ 
“Art and Giving are Food for the Soul”​

Why are you whispering? Check Them Before You Wreck Them!!

Editor’s note:  I received the same message today that I received last year.  Oddly enough, today would have been my mother’s 75th birthday.  She’s gone now, thanks to metastasized breast cancer.  If you do nothing else for yourself, please do the and share it with the people in your life.


It’s that time of year again, and by that I mean it’s the time for slacktivism in the name of breast cancer. While the games haven’t surfaced (yet), There’s a different one currently going on.  I woke up to see a notification on messenger from my friend’s daughter that said the following:

She sent the words, I made the graphic.

As per my usual stance, I had to tell her no because these things make me angry but assured her that I would get a reminder out.  If you’re new to following me, I must explain that I get really angry with the slactivism.  You see both of my parents died of cancer.  My father died of a mesothelioma (the ones that the attorneys advertise) and my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer just 6 months later.

She went through months of medication and radiation, constantly in pain from the literal burns to her skin.  6-1/2 years later, and after yet another clean bill of health from her bi-annual checkups from her breast oncologist, we went on the vacation she’d always dreamed of to Alaska. She had fallen getting in and out the boat she boarded to go salmon fishing.  She caught a nice one too, over 2 feet long!


When we got home her shoulder suddenly started getting worse instead of better.  That’s when they found a spot on her liver.  They did further testing and revealed that a tumor was in her liver and not on it as it appeared initially and was progressing pretty rapidly.   With the confirmation, they gave her 4-6 months to live, but she died one month later when the tumor had grown so large that it literally caused her liver to rupture/explode.


Oddly enough her death certificate lists the cause of death, not as liver cancer, but as metastasized breast cancer, meaning that breast cancer returned had spread.  We knew that the breast cancer could come back in the breast and we knew that it could spread to other areas of the body, but none of us knew that it could spread to other organs while it wasn’t present in the breast, making it that much more serious and why we should be diligent about keeping ourselves alive and healthy.


Now for those who haven’t been around someone with cancer, there are several forms of treatment; chemo and radiation being to the two biggest.  Radiation therapy causes a burn to the skin that’s like the worst sunburn you’ve ever had. It was brutal, and it hurt her so badly, just putting a t-shirt on was painful and putting on a bra and going to work, much less going to work all day.  Think about working with the worst sunburn you’ve ever had and then multiply it several times.  It can also cause other issues like lumps under the skin (doesn’t that sound like it would be pleasant to add to the already wonderful situation.

Chemotherapy is another type of radiation therapy but instead of being topical (directed to the skin from outside the body) it is invasive, meaning taken internally.  And because it’s an invasive therapy, it means that it can have side effects anywhere in the body instead of it remaining in the area targeted like radiation therapy does.  There’s too long of a list for me to cover all the side effects of chemotherapy;  if you’d like to see them and learn more please visit the National Cancer Institute’s Chemotherapy Side Effects series, there are 18 documents in total.

Educating yourself and others are what needs to be done to finally win this battle.  Cancer has claimed *BILLIONS* of lives.  There is nothing to whisper about behind the scenes. Preventing cancer is not in poor taste, it’s not obscene.  For the record not only do men have wives, mothers, girlfriends, sisters and daughters who have, have had or possibly will have this and they need to know about this too, men can also get breast cancer.  Tell me the last time you saw a game of tag about that?

So speak up and speak out.  Stop whispering and playing online games, and thinking you’re off the hook because you bought something with a pink ribbon on it in the past 20 years.  We need to save the people, not the tatas.

So please, check them before cancer wrecks them.  If you’re a woman who is sexually active, consider doing it with your partner since chances are they are more intimate with your boobs than you are (or at least they try to be).  The Five Steps of a Breast Cancer Exam

So remember…

 

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie ॐ 

 
  Maggie Valera
“Art and Giving are Food for the Soul”

 

P.S.  While we’re talking about it, guys need to be reminded too.

 

 

Someone is falling down on the Job, and it’s not who you think.

I got up too early this morning.  As usual, I was checking out Facebook over my first cup of coffee or tea and something really caught my attention.  It was a Facebook post by a woman I’ve never met named Julie Marburger wrote this and a friend of mine shared it.

www_facebook_com_julie_d_knight
Julie Marburger’s desperate plea to get people to do their job.

This really fired me up.  The closest I’ve ever been to teaching was in Girl Scouts (both girls and adults), which is a one-shot 1-2 hours, a weekend of teaching leaders how to take their girls camping, none of which is equivalent to someone in a classroom with 30+ kids for a 6-1/2 hours with, if they are lucky will equate to about 4 hours of actual learning because of disruptions and the critical to get them refocused and on track.

When the bell rings they are not done then spend the next few hours (and time at home as well) putting together lesson plans, grading papers, reading essays, creating tests and other handouts, and shopping for supplies they need for themselves, their classroom, and their students.  All that and a crappy paycheck too!  It’s no wonder why districts are running short on educators. This is how Julie articulated her point…


 

This is yet another example of why I don’t believe in children.  They are adults in training, as a parent, it is your job to prepare them to live and function in society when they turn 18.  

The word “children” is continually used as an excuse… They’re just children…Kids will be kids.  Let me be the first to say this if you haven’t heard it already, kids will not be kids, kids will be adults.  Sooner than you think.

If they cannot survive independently they will be the ones living in your basement until they’re 30, can’t hold down a job, can’t maintain a relationship, all because YOU ARE FAILING THEM AS A PARENT!  

Seriously, how can you even consider sending them to college if they can’t handle basic life skills?  And if you think they’re irresponsible now, just wait until keggers and beer bongs are introduced to them.

When you send your child to school, they are there to learn.  It is your job to teach them respect and proper behavior before they leave home to go to school. The more a teacher has to correct bad behavior, that is time away from teaching them what they need to know.  

It is not a teacher’s job to raise your child. It’s not daycare, it’s not a damned circus and it can’t be a free-for-all. Do your job so that your child can succeed in life, and don’t blame a teacher for your child’s poor behavior and inability to pay attention, respect materials and learn.

The more that caring educators get burned out and leave the more the requirements to be hired will lessen in order to get people into the classrooms and the more your child will be taught by people showing up for a (meager) paycheck.  This too is why we’re seeing more online schools will become the norm because a teacher can take 60 students instead of 30, the algorithms can help grade test and the teacher can get more done while at work because they won’t have to keep kids in line and focused.

You know those people who work the drive-thru that don’t give a damn about their job or your order? If things like this continue, prepare to see them on Parent/Teacher night.

 

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie ॐ 

Time’s Up – We Need Change

Bear with me, this is a bit long with no pictures, no affiliate links, etc.  Links are bold, italicized, bright blue and are done so purely for reference purposes only – Maggie

A number of years ago due to my work situation and a related assault, my ex-husband insisted that I get my carry permit.  When I got my concealed carry permit, I had to have fingerprints on file with state & fed, a federal background check and fire 100 rounds along with a 12-hour class.

For some of the people, in my opinion, it was a joke.  You have to fire the gun but there’s no proficiency required. Then a few years back I had a former friend invite me to her house (she didn’t know that I was licensed) for Concealed Handgun License training.

She lived in a rougher area of town but in a pocket of a nice, quiet,  residential area, in other words – no shooting allowed.  She then proceeded to tell me that it was only going to be 4 hours and when I asked about the shooting requirement, she said that if anyone wanted range training that he would meet them at the range. That’s bullshit, only to be made worse by the fact that the “instructor” was a county sheriff’s deputy.

I’m not dogging on Concealed Handgun License holders, far from it, but I don’t think that it’s thorough enough and I can’t see where that training or something like it shouldn’t be required when purchasing your first firearm and require renewal testing every couple of years, like a driver’s license.  Frankly, it took more training to become a Leave No Trace trainer, and to be a trainer of adult volunteers for my area Girl Scout council!

Before anyone opts to flame me about the second amendment, please understand that I’m suggesting training for the shooter, not licensing of the firearm.  Even a shooting range that I used to go to required all new customers to go through a half-hour training about proper gun safety, shooting stance as well as their specific policies.

As for the recent mass Florida (which is where I was licensed), I personally believe that charges should be the ones who knew and did nothing with an accessory charge. I heard on one of the news broadcasts that the FBI notified the school about this kid being a credible threat but didn’t follow him, the teacher can’t carry, etc…

Every school has counselors, guidance counselors, etc.  was he sent to the counselor’s office for sessions to evaluate his state?  I mean up and above the shooting, this kid was constantly having issues before being finally expelled, how did this school handle him?  Did they take steps to deal with him or did the fail him isolating him with a progression of detention, suspension, and expulsion

In lieu of this, my view has modified considerably.  Many states had enacted what’s called Duty To Rescue laws, which are largely applied or prosecuted, but they are specific to a one-on-one situation.  Clearly, it’s not necessarily applied to the situation, but I think some variation of it should apply here.

I am of the opinion that teachers should be *allowed* to carry – but that doesn’t mean that they would be required.  Just the enactment carries with it a deterrent because any potential shooter would not know who (if any) teachers can shoot back.  Further, I also feel that schools should be fenced with an armed guard posted at the entrance during school hours to restrict who comes in during the school day. 

The schools in my area all had the (ridiculous) sign stating that visitors must sign in at the office, but I was able to enter from side entrances, walk in and past the office and in one school the office was down the hall and around the corner.  Anyone could walk in unnoticed.  I also feel that schools should be fenced with an armed guard posted at the entrance during school hours. 

When I first started elementary school in Queens, NYC, the classrooms were/could be locked from the inside, there were phones in the classroom that connected to the office.  I’m not if it connected to the PA system then but that technology is available now.  The doors had glass with chicken wire in them further preventing someone from breaking the glass but allowed teachers to see what was going on outside the classroom without being at risk.

Rather than having a security guard, which was only happened during my public school career when I was in high school, we had an actual police officer.  They had the training and know how to handle situations, be it a shooter, someone getting violent, etc rather than the minimum wage security guard with a uniform and minimal or no training.

Using the past few school shootings as an example, were their classrooms equipped the same way, at the first sign of trouble, the kids could pile up at the far corner of the room or along the wall with the door and be completely out of danger with the exception of anything coming through the wall.  

Without similar precaution I also feel that schools should be fenced with an armed guard posted at the entrance during school hours, monitoring and restricting entrance to the school; preferably police or military.  That would be an employment boon for reservists and a perfect solution for much of veteran unemployment   Hell just making someone buzz you in would be a vast improvement.  

I now think that  AK-7, AR-15, M-16, etc purchases be a licensed ownership requiring extensive training and evaluation. Look at Commercial Driver’s License training or better yet a pilot’s license and how extensive the required training is before licensing not only it is a very involved piece of machinery, but the potential for harm.  You can get a driver’s license once you’re an adult without drivers ed (a whole other conversation) but you’re required to have additional training and road practice for a motorcycle license. 

So why isn’t there training for the safety, handling, and usage for automatic weapons?  Trainers have time to evaluate a potential owner during this process and if necessary refuse to sign off on their training and refer them for further evaluation.   I applied for disability and the first step was spending an hour with a psychiatrist that was contracted by the Social Security Administration, why can’t this be an option for those who are “iffy” during their extended training.  Hell I’m still trying to figure out what happened to the Brady Bill, I mean how in the world was that allowed to expire??

Image result for Second Amendment

Yes, the 2nd Amendment mandates that we have the right to have firearms, which was sidearms and long guns. The founders could not anticipate the eventual development of automatic weapons.  Remember, at the inception of the Constitution being the law of the land there was no military to protect the civilians – everyone was a civilian at the time.  So the second amendment was intended to allow civilians to band together to protect our country from foreign invaders (aka the British), as well as to protect the Constitution and make sure that we remained a democracy and didn’t turn into an autocracy or oligarchy, in other words, to protect us from the government

Frankly, someone should have anticipated this and acted on it during the first period in our country’s history that dealt with mass shootings, which was prohibition using Tommy guns.

As I said, my views on this subject have changed considerably.  As with most people, these school shootings have initiated conversations and thoughts of what can be done to prevent them.  I am no exception.  However due this recent school shooting, the numerous warning signs as well as an actual law enforcement agency warning, my thoughts are now not only thinking of the shooter, but the staff and surroundings, and the elements needed.

I hope this current polarized country can find some common ground to bring these to halt and allow something to come out of these that promote change and at least offers something positive to come out of this so that these individuals haven’t lost their lives for nothing.  Again, this is just my opinion, in hopes of joining the discussion to enact change.

May the victims and their families find peace.

Maggie ॐ 

I’m amending this because I neglected a few comments

First, most of the mass shootings have taken place in Gun-Free Zones so there’s no way that anyone can defend and possibly remove the threat.  This is not just anyone open carrying (in those states that allow it which I find to be ridiculous) but it’s concealed carry license holders as well.

In an attempt to make the point of my concern, let me share the story of Nikki Goeser whose stalker shot her and fatally wounded her husband while in a restaurant where she was forced to leave her weapon in the car and her stalker knew that she’d follow the law, leaving her wide open for assault with no chance to defend herself.

My second point is that background checks are done, but what they amount to is a rap sheet.  It is a list of arrests and convictions.  Kudos for not getting in trouble…yet.  But what about the stuff you’re doing that you haven’t gotten caught for…. alcohol or drug addiction, domestic violence, chronic road rage, fluctuating mental illness issues that aren’t remaining balanced through the use of therapy and medication, etc… ?  It’s got to be more than just a print out from the police department.

How Far Can We Let This Go?

Just yesterday I was watching a movie, Boycott.  It’s about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and how the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr became the leader of the civil rights movement.  It’s storytelling was perfect, and for me very powerful to truly (virtual) meet the men and women who shaped the landscape of this nation as powerful.

Then this morning I learned a new word on the landscape of the internet and its one that’s really hard to object to. The word #RepubliKLANS and it’s being used to refer to those “really fine people”, on one of the two sides, you know, the ones who carried tiki torches and now have shown up armed.

Armed Trump Supporters in Az. Confront, Ask Native American Legislator If He “Is Here Legally”

I’m so, just… stunned.  What happened to the war on terror?  Doesn’t domestic terrorism count?  Any guesses what happens to the school bullies when they grow up?

How long before we sink into the cesspool that we’re being led to? All it takes is 45 declaring Marshall law and deputizing those “very fine people” and then start designating groups that are enemies of the state.  It leads to a vision of Joseph McCarthy meets Adolf Hitler.

How long before this country is so damaged and dysfunctional that the all the underlying divisions erupt and shatter our country completely?  We’ve seen this in history and we know the outcome; it’s time to stand together as one nation and start thinking of country, responsibility, and our direction.  Yes, our country’s founding principles were based on Judeo-Christian beliefs, but more importantly, our Constitution is based on the Magna Carta.

Comparing the Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution

 

Our majority sees the problem, yet we’re not banding together (enough) to see this plague on our nation eradicated.  Who will lead the charge?  Clearly, we need one, and soon.

Maggie  

My virtual gallery, combined with personal ramblings & opinions, ideas, food and DIY

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