Category Archives: Real Life

Dead Lions and Babies

There is no privacy, so secrecy, no place to hide. Big Brother is real. Big Brother is us. We’ve given away our privacy to every app we install on our phones, every website we subscribe to online, every company we purchase from, every content provider we meet. If we don’t give it away, our friends do it for us every day by inviting us to play online games, including us in their selfies, and congratulating us publicly for every milestone. The footprints of everyone’s life journey are all over the internet.

William Shakespeare could have written “As You Like It” today, and the words would still ring true. “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts…“. We truly are all actors on a public stage; we’re also watchers, reporters, and critics.

Ed Hall
Artizans Syndicate
Jul 29, 2015
MStreeter
Savannah Morning News
Jul 31, 2015
Adam Zyglis
The Buffalo News
Aug 1, 2015



Walter Palmer, a dentist from Bloomington, MN, found out just how public his life is when he became the latest recipient of the digital equivalent of a public lynching. You know the story. He is a world champion animal killer who paid an enormous amount of money for the privilege of killing an endangered animal, Cecil the Lion, just because “killing is fun!” and stuff.

It’s not just  the editorial cartoons, passionate reports of this story by celebrities, and (improbable) extradition to Zimbabwe to stand trial for this illegal hunt that troubles Mr. Palmer. The court of public opinion has judged, found him guilty, and has reacted with reviews on his Yelp and Google listings, demonstrations outside his clinic, and a long list of fake and retaliatory social media profiles created solely to punish this man for his crime. As a result, Palmer has gone underground to hide; a privilege reserved for rich hunters, and not for the innocent creatures they kill.

Joe Liccar
The Examiner- Gatehouse News …
Jul 31, 2015

Horrible as this shooting was, and regardless of what we think of Palmer, this is merely a distraction from a much worse crime: Planned Parenthood’s harvesting organs of intact (born alive) babies before killing them. (Warning: some of those links contain disturbing content).

The issue that is always hotly debated is whether abortion is murder.  No one can tell precisely when life starts.  Can a 20 week fetus survive? A 21 week fetus/baby was delivered and lived. Can a 20-week fetus feel pain? This report says they do. In an age when extremely premature babies live and thrive, when do we stop calling them a fetus (and therefore, just a lump of cells) and a baby – a viable human being? Since it’s not always easy to pinpoint the moment of conception, or actual fetal development, how do we differentiate between the two?

I’ve always lived by the motto, “to each her own” when it comes to abortion. Now, I wonder whether by doing so, I’m enabling women to kill a child that could be loved and raised by a family who desperately needs one. Am I supporting Planned Parenthood’s black market harvesting/killing/profiteering by saying nothing? If it is murder, when is murder okay, and when is it not? If we can kill an “inconvenient” 5 month old child just because it hasn’t taken its first breath, can we kill an elderly person before they are ready to breathe their last, for the same reason?

Yes, the killing of large game, just because one has a lot of money and has become proficient with a bow and arrow is unacceptable. But let’s not forget there are bigger issues that need attention. If Planned Parenthood loses the spotlight, we miss an opportunity to stop the death of a future generation, just because there is a lot of money to be made.

 

Not safe anywhere?

Century 16 theaterThe shootings early this morning at the Aurora theater remind me of how fragile life can be. It can be gone in a split second, when you least expect it. All of the people in that theater had anticipated a great time, and were enjoying themselves tremendously, until something happened to change their lives forever.

We lived within 10 minutes of Columbine when those shootings happened, and it shook me to my core. The fact that the Century 16 is a half-hour’s drive doesn’t make it feel any less close to home.

It’s all so very tragic and sad. And I can’t stop watching the videos, listening to the interviews, and grieving for those involved. Their lives, and the lives of their families and friends, will never be the same.

I called my daughter as soon as I heard. Even though I logically knew she was nowhere near the scene, I had to hear her voice and make sure she was okay. Fortunately, none of her friends were there either. So many mothers are in pain right now, and having nearly lost my own child, I can empathize. I know there is nothing that can ease the agony of a dead child. The pain stays with you forever.

And then I think of the mother of the shooter. To know that someone she carried inside her, that she nurtured for many years, and of whom she was most likely very proud, could do such a thing would have to have torn her world apart. Reports that state that she knew they had the right person makes me wonder what she knew. Could she have done something to prevent this? Had she tried to get him some help? She’s probably asking herself these same questions. She’s probably blaming herself for not trying hard enough; for not pushing him to get help when she knew he needed it.

I don’t blame her. Any loving mother would encourage a troubled child to seek counseling. She’d try hard, and repeatedly. Unfortunately, the stigma given to mental illness often stops people from reaching out. My heard aches for her, as well.

I have no inside information about what was going on in his head. However, if he dropped out of school, something was wrong. He was on the path to a rewarding career, and then stepped off. It’s hard to believe that anyone in their “right mind” would do something so horrific. He might have been extremely depressed, to the point where he was completely out of touch with reality.

What’s the answer? It’s not gun control. Nor is it to issue weapons to everyone and reliving the Wild West. It’s absolutelyNot putting metal detectors in movie theaters. They don’t make us any more safe. They just remind us to be afraid. Afraid in the same way as the TSA screenings, which have never resulting in the capture of a single terrorist, but have completely disrupted the lives of travelers, reminding of that evil is all around us, all under the illusion of “safety.”

One answer is to de-stigmatize mental health issues. If more troubled individuals could seek professional help without the possibility of public ridicule, and the risk of losing jobs, standing in the community, or whatever they fee is at risk when they admit they need help, more of these troubled individuals would be taken care of, without injury to anyone else.

This may not be the only answer, but it’s a start.

Fathers should be immortal

A couple of weeks ago, I flew down to Texas on about 12 hours notice, because my dad needed me. That’s the first time in my life those roles were reversed, and it’s huge. I needed him, too. I still do, and always will.

My dad has always been a larger-than-life cowboy in every sense of the word. He is honest as the day is long, reliable – if he says he’ll do something, it always gets done, no exceptions. And he has a soft heart for beautiful women, his children, and horses. I can’t remember a time I didn’t look up to him as a role model. I get my strong will, determination, and self-reliance from the example he humbly lives every day.

bedroomI stayed at his house that was never my home, in a room with stuffed animals and a gun cabinet. As The Bloggess would say, it’s Texas, y’all. And that’s my dad. He’s soft and warm, a gentleman with a heart of gold, who will protect his family with every resource and ounce of strength in him.

As we talked about the ugly thing in his lung that frightened us both, that we needed to talk about, but refused to name, I soaked up as much of him as I could.

We talked about wonderful times before I was born, and fascinating things I never knew. And I realized, like everyone, that we never had enough time to really get to know each other. He was always “Dad” and I was always “Daughter” and we stuck to our roles. I know he loves me unconditionally, and I breathe because he is alive. As my eyes well up with tears, I fight them back because DAMMIT, he’s fought so many hard battles before, and has always won. He beat basal cell carcinoma, and then a melanoma that would have taken a weaker man to the grave. He survived a major brain aneurysm, and fought his way back to independence.

And now this.

Yesterday, the doctor confirmed our fears. Cancer has struck for the third time.

I told him how lucky he is. If he hadn’t had pneumonia two weeks ago, they never would have done the scan that showed the tumor. It’s small, and they think surgery will take care of everything. He’s the toughest guy I know. If anyone can get through this, he can.

But part of me understands how tired he is. And how frightened my big, strong, man of steel must be. I wonder whether he believes he can win another battle. Because, if he doesn’t think he can win, he won’t fight. He may think this is a battle that’s not worth the effort. I will support him, no matter what he decides.

My grandparents lived into their 80’s. Dad just turned 81. We talked about that two weeks ago. I think he’s looking at the end of his road, and wondering if this is the time to ride into the sunset.

I’m just not ready to wave goodbye.