Tag Archives: Op/Ed

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.


Speak Up and Listen

This video is now going on a couple of years old but so many still don’t get the message, and it’s a powerful one.  Full loaded with the reality of the day-to-day existence that many of us live in, it is a force to be reckoned with.

If you are one of those who do not recognize what is culturally known as “privilege”, ask yourself what this same exact message would look like with a white man and a black woman at the mic.

Denial of these issues doesn’t make them go away, it makes them seemingly invisible yes, but it makes things worse exponentially as it continues to escalate and choke out light and life under the surface where no one can see it back building until it erupts.

The Time Is Now

If you don’t see or think that there have been drastic changes in our seasons and weather patterns then you are **CHOOSING** to be ignorant. There were only scant yearly differences prior to the industrial revolution and it keeps changing as we go along.


For the over 35 crowd, do you remember when we had snow in December, no damned ice storms, hurricanes like Andrew, Hugo, Katrina, Ike, Sandy… What’s next??

It is time for all of us to stand up and take the responsibility and ownership for maintaining this planet.  It’s the only one we have.

I wish you peace and prosperity, 

Maggie ॐ

Congratulations, But We’re Not There Yet

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of progressive changes here in America. While some show us just how far we’ve come, others let us know just how far we still need to go.  I was reading the latest piece here on The Kinfolk Kollective (brilliant writer btw, check her out) about Viola Davis and nonsense (read bullshit) that ensued.

While I did not watch the awards, I saw the immediate spreading the joyous news of Viola Davis’ well deserved win on social media.  I think she’s an incredibly talented actor and I was very happy that she received her due in this well earned recognition.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for 'How to Get Away with Murder' onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Later I saw her speech, along with the very short and spread out list of other firsts and I was saddened to realize how little progress we’ve made in this area. To be honest, since I’m not a fan of the awards shows or their history I had no idea until this moment how far behind we were in this arena.

I remember seeing Halle Berry’s acceptance speech in my younger years thinking “cool, we’re there” and being completely oblivious to the fact that we are so far from it in this vein. Viola really hit the nail on the head when she pointed out you can’t win awards for parts not written. It’s a simple problem with a seemingly simple solution.  Right?

But of course no one can have their 15 seconds forget 15 minutes, in the sun before critics and assholes feel the need to tear people down with their own Ignorance.  This phenomenon was never more apparent than when a Tweet by an unnamed white actress (only because I refuse to offer any publicity with her name attached) who felt that Viola should have allowed someone else to write her speech for her. Are you kidding me?

So here we finally have the first African-American woman in this country to win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama, and this person felt, either out of jealousy of the win or personal discomfort because it didn’t align with her life of privilege, that it should have been censored or desensitized for those who prefer to speak out of their asses because their heads are buried deeply in the sand.

If I can offer a brief but meaningful segue  – One of my favorite movies is A Time to Kill starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and the ever powerful Samuel L. Jackson. The 1996 movie is based on the book of the same name by John Grisham, and is a story told from the defence attorney’s perspective as he digs deep to defend his client (Samuel L. Jackson) accused of murder after killing the men who repeatedly and brutally assaulted his young daughter.  McConaughey’s closing speech as Southern defense attorney Jake Brigance is one that will stop your heart and give you the deepest understanding of racial divide that you never saw coming. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to watch it here.

After you regain your composure, feel free to join in the singing “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from the Broadway musical Avenue Q and be sure to invite and include almost everyone you’ve ever known to join you in the chorus. There’s no shame in realizing that down deep you have some racially disparaging leanings at your core.  Of course you couldn’t.  You didn’t realized that you’ve been groomed this way from birth and while you may wash away some of it, there’s a couple of places you didn’t know were even there.

American society historically has been very racist and it didn’t stop with the end of the Civil War. In fact, slavery didn’t even end with the war. If you’re not familiar with Juneteenth look it up.  Don’t be surprised if you’re not familiar with it. It’s an event that is not taught in schools.  Why?  I don’t know.

I didn’t learn about the racially motivated Internment Camps to restrict the freedoms of Japanese-Americans during World War II either.  We learned a fraction of the relocation and atrocities committed against Native Americans by white settlers and Americans, too grievous a list to reference here.  Then again until the casinos opened, most folks thought that Native Americans were more historical figures than living peoples.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I guess that’s what that actress was hoping for with her tweets.

American History books would have us believe that this country was settled in harmony with only a few gunfights, a really cool railroad, the creation of the pony express and some really funny clothes and mustaches, then a few battles as part of the Civil War and once the war was over, we all continued living together happily until the 1950’s when we became a society divided again (for some unknown reason that nobody remembers I’m sure…) leading to Rosa Parks being the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement with the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Every generation does a little bit better, but we have to strive for it to keep progressing as parents, as industry, as a society, as a country.  Dr King said it best in his historic I Have A Dream speech “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.  While I have always been moved by, believed in and agreed with that sentiment, we need to remember it just as much now as on that historic day in August 1963 on the the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

I am constantly judged by those who see me as a caucasian woman, when the reality is that I am a genderfluid individual who only racially identifies as human, formerly married to an Afro-Cuban man for 10 years (which was illegal within my own lifetime btw) and is someone who has family and friends in every color of the rainbow and every position along the gender spectrum.   That’s not to say I’m not free of prejudice, not even close.  What it means that race and gender are not my identity nor is it my sole scope of experience for viewing the world around me; and as I recognize these flaws within myself, that awareness allows me to target it for removal like radiation directed toward cancer cells.. but only if I choose to do so.

Hate is a cancer of the human soul and prejudice is only one of its symptoms.  As we’ve seen in the past year racially motivated crime at an all-time visibility.  Understand that because of our changes in technology, these injustices are more visible than ever before, and with it comes the demand for accountability and change.

Please recognize that these are far from the only injustices that are occurring.  Young vets coming back are dealing with having to fight not only for their earned benefits but the continuing the fight they’d thought they’d left being as it haunts them constantly, creating an unprecedented veteran suicide reaching record numbers that this country has never seen before.

Transgendered individuals, both adult and youths are assaulted and murdered daily, make up a majority of the homeless population as backs are turned on them at every turn and maintain a suicide rate of over 40%.  These two things in particular you don’t see on mainstream news because they don’t feed the fires of racial tensions and controversy, instead they breed empathy and compassion.  That doesn’t sell advertising.

The honest truth of the matter is that it’s going to take many more generations of Americans to water down and weed out experiences known as daily reality for many, many people in this nation both past and present, but it takes work, and a lot of it.  There is no room for complacency, the old adage is true “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”.

We as a nation and a society need to be proactive in repairing the current wounds and old scars of injustice for ALL of our citizens, not just the majority and the underserved need to be sought out.  Trust needs to be built, that’s the hardest part, and the nightly news makes sure to work against that because that’s how they get viewers and sell advertising.

So please look to the disparity around you and know that you can be the catalyst for change.  Compassion and empathy can make the difference in whether someone continues living or chooses dying.  Never forget that Rosa Parks wasn’t some visionary radical, she was a woman tired from a long day at work whose feet hurt.  Even the smallest pebbles can create the biggest ripples, you can be a superhero, all you have to do is use your powers for good.