Tuesday, October 24, 2017

deep breathing

He sat there, bottom lip hanging low, eyes red, not what I had expected.

He bent over, rocking back and forth in the chair.  Barely audible voice.

What happens when a child cries and you're not allowed to hold him?

What happens when the world breaks a child early, quietly, for no reason.

And your job is to sit across the table from him and tell him it gets better.

Breathe in, you count one two three four.

Make your belly big, blow it up like a balloon.

Breathe out, count for me.

Let it all go.

This doesn't work, he whispered.

And he's right.

Breathing through it won't make it better.

It won't ease the pain.

But she had said, "pain doesn't like calm".

And I have to believe this.

That within us is a quiet place, and the quiet place protects us from the pain, maybe.

Maybe the quiet place can get bigger, so it's not so hard to find.

And we can run there, when all else goes to hell.


His eyes filled with tears and his face pour with spit and snot.

He wasn't scared of me, just uncomfortable.

I didn't do anything wrong, but could I please stop talking about it?

They wanted a pill to make it go away and I stared at him.

Cracked open.

No facial hair.  No deep voice.  Skin smooth and face full.

She knew what he had been through, she whispered.

She took the pill that made it go all away.

Debilitated, was the word she used.

Her high expectations were clear.  Performance was important.

Paramount, perhaps.

And when we expect so much, when we demand so much, it can eat us.

So little warmth.

Maybe because the world breaks us ruthlessly.

And unless we are surrounded by those who teach us how to rebuild,

Sometimes we stay living in the rubble.

Whole face flushed and wet, he rocked.

And my arms hurt.

Do I want that role?  The role that can't comfort?  The role that can't soothe?

How do I learn how to soothe, provide relief, in any way except for listening.

Deep breathing doesn't make the pain go away.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

gun control

"I have the right to protect myself and my family how I choose".

"The only answer to a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun".

"You'll be thankful for people who carry when you're in a situation where your life is being threatened".

"It's not a gun problem".

"You can't take my rights away". 

"Criminals are obtaining guns illegally so changing legislation won't stop them anyway".

"Now is not the time to politicize human suffering".

These are just a sample of the statements I've heard, read, and listened to from people over the past couple of days.

I am infuriated.

I woke up Monday morning to the news that another mass shooting had occurred.

My first inclination was to be frustrated because so many people were already mourning and "praying" and asking how to help, while they'd been ignoring Puerto Rico for a week.  How, I will never understand, do we grieve harder for those who are victims of violence than we do for victims of natural disasters? How do we mourn the things we can prevent when things out of our control are terrorizing us as well?  It seems misplaced.  But I digress.

My second inclination was to sit back and listen because I knew we didn't know the whole story yet.  I knew narratives would begin to be spun and rumors would spread and facts would be misconstrued so I waited.

And it happened that way.

Now we know some of what happened, although my gut tells me we will never know the whole truth.

But what has grown out of this is another debate about guns.

And I have had it.

Had it up to my ears.

Here is why.

At the end of a week where everyone fought and condemned others for kneeling during an anthem, prioritizing a piece of cloth and a song written for the British, we are now prioritizing pieces of metal over human lives.

Hear me out.

I am a solutions woman.  I believe in finding answers and implementing interventions.  I don't want "I'm sorry"s when I don't feel well.  I want answers.  I want remedies.

So during a tragedy like this, I 100% do not have patience for thoughts and prayers.

They are useless unless they are married to action.


Not because God isn't real.  Not because I don't believe in a higher power.  Not because I'm telling you not to believe in Jesus or rely on your faith.


Sitting back and doing nothing is more than likely how a 64 year old man got through a high security hotel to the 32nd floor and set up an arsenal of illegal weapons and murdered almost five dozen people and traumatized hundreds.

I am being engaged, just barely, by people from the pro-gun side of the argument who are saying on a loop the list of statements I shared already.

"We don't want mental health restrictions because what if I felt depressed a few years ago, but don't feel depressed anymore."  


"don't you think Bipolar Disorder is a little bit of a gray area?" 


"we already have to jump through hoops. We already have to get background checks, what more do you want?"

But when I flip the script and ask for solutions, no one has any for me.  "Okay then, so what's the answer?"


Except for the article I read this morning, which suggested it's not a gun problem, it's a heart problem.

It's not that America has a problem with guns, the article said, its that we don't have Jesus in our hearts so we can't behave right.  We can't act right because morals are driven by religion and despite what the Left believes, moral code cannot exist without a religious framework.  The author believes we are falling apart because we've deviated from our "religious" foundation.

When I ask for solutions I am blocked, comment threads are deleted, and the loop sets back in motion.  \

"It's not a gun problem!"


Is it not?

This is all being categorized and labeled as a problem with the Left.

We politicize everything.

Because as I'm learning, politics is a bad word.

We don't want it in our sports.  We don't want it in our schools.  We don't want it in our gun safes.  We don't want it in our healthcare.  We don't want it in our entertainment.  We don't want it in our mourning.

Unless we want it to control your marriage or your vagina or your uterus or your wallet or your Visa.

Then we want politics.

Otherwise, leave politics out of this.

To some, advocacy and policy are mutually exclusive to compassion and empathy.

In my world, you cannot advocate well without empathy and empathy on a macro level is worthless without advocacy.  In my world.

So here's my question.

Because I refuse to entertain the idea that our forefathers who were imperfect men, slave owners, rebels, and newbies to the whole policy thing.... knew everything.  Refuse to accept they could write an everlasting, eternal, flawless document.

This is where I laugh out loud, since there are amendments.  

Americans were afforded a right, centuries ago, and they're getting defensive about it.  They don't want their rights to be taken away.

So my question is,

Am I supposed to just pray?

Send Judah to school every morning and pray that everyone's heart would be pure and Christ-like so that no one makes a dangerous decision?

Take him to the movies on Christmas and pray no one is so depressed on the holidays that they take others lives and their own?

Just pray about it?  Pray for the hearts of America and sit back and let you have your guns, with no accountability?

People are going to hurt people.

People are imperfect.  I'm beginning to believe people actually are evil.  That we err on one end of the spectrum or another and the more I see and the more I learn, the more the dark parts of people are apparent to me.  People will use whatever is available to them to wreak whatever havoc they can on whomever they can.

I do not trust strangers to have mine and Judah's best interest in mind in case of emergency.  

I do not trust people to not be irrationally afraid of my big, brown child.

I do not trust people to not use poor judgement.  

I do not trust people to aim well.

Making guns illegal is not the answer.

But ask yourself something.

Why do you want your guns?

I read where someone argued that she uses her guns to hunt for food.  And that this was her only source of sustenance and gun control would ruin her livelihood.

I've heard some complain that the government can't control us that way.

I've heard some say they trust themselves so much with their weapon they trust that in the middle of crisis they'd turn into Rambo and save the day.

I've heard them say they have guns for fun.

Why do you want your guns?

How do you feel when we talk about making guns harder to get, or holding you accountable for owning one?

I am sure there are extremists out there who want guns eradicated.

I am a realist.

This is not my agenda.

But since I'm asking you for a solution, I will also offer mine.  Because while waiting for the NRA, second amendment proponents to answer me... I've been met with silence.

1) background checks.  I understand this is already in place.  I want it enforced.  By every seller.  And for sellers who don't enforce it to somehow be persecuted.  I am not educated enough on this piece and have no problem admitting that.
2) mental health clearance.  I understand HIPPAA law better than most.  Doctors should have to issue a letter of clearance, without divulging PHI, in order to obtain a firearm.  We have to have physicals for work.  Drug test for work.  Be licensed to drive a car and held accountable when we don't maintain these requirements.  Someone with persistent mental illness should not be allowed to obtain a firearm.  This is not the same thing as situational depression or even generalized anxiety.  Educate yourself.  Find a balance.  I also stand firm that in order to be a LEO you shouldn't have persistent mental illness either.  But that's another story.
3) situational awareness, crisis intervention, cultural competency and deescalation training.  yearly.
4) a gun safe required for gun, at registration.  Maybe even trigger locks
5) no assault, automatic or militarized weapons

If you want to argue that this would increase the occurrence of illegal gun sales and the black market, I would also argue that the same thing is happening currently with the war on drugs but you don't want to do anything to change that.

When you're ready to legalize a few street drugs, let me know.

I have zero patience for inaction.

I have zero patience for the double standard.

You can pray all you want for the hearts of Americans who aren't behaving.

But there is reliable evidence that Philandro Castile had a conceal and carry.  And you saw what happened to him.  To bear arms is not every man's right.  This is the white man's right.

I do not feel more safe knowing that white men and women are carrying firearms everywhere we go because they feel afraid.

The same way you shouldn't spank a child when you're angry, you shouldn't be wielding a weapon when you are afraid.

You should be held accountable for your skill when you are in possession of something that was designed to take the life of another human being.

You should be held accountable.

If you are resistant to being held accountable, then you are the problem.

If it's a heart problem, America, how do you propose we fix it?

If it's not a gun problem, it's a people problem, what's your solution?

Doing nothing is no longer an option.

Doing nothing is killing us.