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seattle school shooting,Bremerton Washington, Amina Bowman, Armin Jahir Elementary, NRA, gun discharge

Throat Punch Thursday,Seattle, school shooting, Washington, Amina Kocer-Bowman,  Armin Jahr Elementary School

Seattle school shooting

Seattle School Shooting ~ You read that right. In case you weren’t already terrified enough of letting your kids out of your sight after Anders Behring Breivik or Levi Aron, nothing like a Seattle school shooting to remind you. According to Bremerton police, Wednesday, 2/22/12, a gun was brought to a Armin Jahr Elementary, in a 9 year old’s backpack.

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Sandy Hook victims names, Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown Connecticut, Adam Lanza, Mass shooting, gun control

I woke up this morning, then, I remembered what today is the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.  It’s 11 days before Christmas. It’s the third day of Hannukah. It’s also the 5-year anniversary of one of the most heinous mass shootings in the history of America. The day 26 innocent children and adults were brutally murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary.

My girls gleefully squeed this morning when reminding us that TODAY is the day that we adopted our puppy, Lola. She was a Christmas surprise for our girls in 2012 after a particularly hard year; we lost a baby, we lost our family dog and we moved away from everyone we ever knew. But, I know today is something else.

Five years ago today, a man murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. On Dec. 14, 2012, a 20-year-old named Adam Lanza fired his Bushmaster rifle through the school’s locked front door and commenced a killing spree. At the time, it was the second deadliest mass shooting in US history. What seemed to shake the nation the most was the age of the victims, children who were just six and seven years old. On December 14, 2012, my daughters were 5 and 7-years-old. The Sandy Hook events shook me to my core.

Sandy Hook, Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown Connecticut, Adam Lanza, Mass shooting, gun control

Today is December 14th. A day that changed the way I parent forever; a day that changed me. Today, on a morning just like this in the small town of Newtown, Connecticut, parents dropped their children off at Sandy Hook Elementary and kissed them goodbye like I did on that same morning in a sleepy town in Indiana.

You drive off, probably listening to Christmas music with your heart all full of that feeling of positivity and cheer we all feel at this time of year because it’s in the air. People are nicer, friendlier and generally, the world is just slightly better.

I remember dropping our girls off and the Big Guy and I took the day off to finish our Christmas shopping. In fact, we spent most of the day playing with a certain puppy and the rest was spent wistfully having lunch and laughing as we ducked in and out of stores thinking of how happy each this or that would make our daughters on Christmas morning. All the while, we counted ourselves lucky that our children were safe at school.

It wasn’t until the pick-up line that afternoon that we actually heard the horrific news of what happened to those 20 beautiful children and the 6 adults who tried to protect them and my heart broke as all of my faith in humanity drained slowly from my body, as I held it all together at pick-up. It wasn’t until after bedtime that night that I could fully digest the scope of what Adam Lanza did that day.

Lanza then entered a first-grade classroom where Lauren Rousseau, a substitute teacher, had herded her first grade students to the back of the room, and was trying to hide them in a bathroom, when Lanza forced his way into the classroom.[44] Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino (a behavioral therapist who had been employed for a week at the school to work with a special needs student), and fifteen students in Rousseau’s class were all killed. Fourteen of the children were dead at the scene; one injured child was taken to a hospital for treatment, but was later declared dead. Most of the teachers and students were found crowded together in the bathroom. A six-year-old girl, the sole survivor, was found by police in the classroom following the shooting.The surviving girl was hidden in one of the corners of the classroom’s bathroom during the shooting. The girl’s family pastor said that she survived the mass shooting by remaining still, and playing dead. When she reached her mother, she said, “Mommy, I’m okay, but all my friends are dead.” The child described the shooter as “a very angry man.A girl hiding in a bathroom with two teachers told police that she heard a boy in the classroom screaming, “Help me! I don’t want to be here!” to which Lanza responded, “Well, you’re here,” followed by more hammering sounds.

Lanza next went to another first-grade classroom nearby; at this point, there are conflicting reports about the order of events. According to some reports, the classroom’s teacher, Victoria Leigh Soto, had concealed some of the students in a closet or bathroom, and some of the other students were hiding under desks. Soto was walking back to the classroom door to lock it when Lanza entered the classroom. Lanza walked to the back of the classroom, saw the children under the desks, and shot them. First grader Jesse Lewis shouted at his classmates to run for safety, and several of them did. Lewis was looking at Lanza when Lanza fatally shot him. Another account, given by a surviving child’s father, said that Soto had moved the children to the back of the classroom, and that they were seated on the floor when Lanza entered. According to this account, neither Lanza nor any of the occupants of the classroom spoke. Lanza stared at the people on the floor, pointed the gun at a boy seated there, but did not fire at the boy, who ultimately survived. The boy got up and ran out of the classroom and was among the survivors.

Hartford Courant report said that six of the children who escaped did so when Lanza stopped shooting, either because his weapon jammed or he erred in reloading it. Earlier reports said that, as Lanza entered her classroom, Soto told him that the children were in the auditorium. When several of the children came out of their hiding places and tried to run for safety, Lanza fatally shot them. Soto put herself between her students and the shooter, who then fatally shot her. Anne Marie Murphy, the teacher’s aide who worked with special-needs students in Soto’s classroom, was found covering six-year-old Dylan Hockley, who also died. Soto and four children were found dead in the classroom, Soto near the north wall of the room with a set of keys nearby. One child was taken to the hospital, but was pronounced dead. Six surviving children from the class and a school bus driver took refuge at a nearby home. According to the official report released by the state’s attorney, nine children ran from Soto’s classroom and survived, while two children were found by police hiding in a class bathroom.[41]:14 In all, 11 children from Soto’s class survived. Five of Soto’s students were killed.[62]

I was mad. I was devastated for those who lost their lives but even more so for the parents and family members who, just like me, dropped their beloved everythings off at school that morning and that very night sat sobbing with empty arms. It was so unfair and so horrific that I almost couldn’t allow myself to believe it.

I’ve never been one to live my life in fear but that day and every single day since I’m afraid every time my children leave my arms. Every morning I send them to school, I pray God sends them back to me. Every time I hear a siren, I hold my breath and hope it’s not a shooting at their school; that a man with a gun having a bad day doesn’t decide to take his hatred for the world out on my children. His collateral damage will be my complete undoing.

I think often, almost daily, about the parents and children of Sandy Hook. I can’t imagine what the world must look like to them. I don’t know how they’ve survived these past 5 years. I’m assuming with a lump in their throat and a fight in their bellies.

I know they will never get justice because they will never get their tiny loved ones back and each passing year is a reminder of what should have been. I imagine this time of year has lost all of its glisten and glean for those families and in its place moroseness and sorrow has settled in. I wish there was a way to bring their children back to them but I know that is impossible. But what we can do is make their deaths not have been in vain.

We must continue to fight for stricter gun control laws. No one’s right to bear arms should outweigh a parent’s right to hold their child in their arms; to watch them grow up and spend a lifetime loving them.

My husband dropped our girls off at school this morning. I kissed and hugged them all just slightly longer than I should have this morning and I began to pray the moment they walked out the door. Please let them return to me. This is my daily prayer that I say with earnest but even more so on this morning, December 14th because I know there are the parents of 20 children whose hearts are being shattered all over again this morning.

So please, whatever you are doing this morning, wherever you are in the world, whoever you may be, stop and pray for those families who lost their children and those children and brave staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary who went to school on a day just like today, five years ago and never got to come home. Pray that those parents have the strength to continue carrying on and they can someday get some peace.

But don’t just pray, do something. Fight for the safety of our children. Stand up for better mental health coverage and stricter gun control. Make good choices and remember that while you are listening to your Christmas music, doing your last minute shopping at Target and drinking your latte, there’s a mother in Newtown sobbing uncontrollably; there’s a father whose loss has turned to bitterness and he doesn’t know how to fix it; there are a brother and sister who will never get to hear the laugh of their little brother again. There are gifts that never got opened and holiday celebrations that had to be repurposed into funerals.

I’m begging you, if you are weary from all of these mass shootings, tired of innocent children being nothing more than collateral damage to a system that continues to value an outdated right to bear arms over its children and tired of being constantly afraid that your children won’t come home because guns are too readily and easily accessible stand up and fight like your life depends on it ( because it might) for stricter gun control and legislation to regulate the purchase of parts to assemble semi-automatic weapons because even though we do have weak gun control laws in place for purchasing guns, there are none for buying the parts and assembling your own at home. Think about that for a moment and do something.

Whatever you do today, never forget the 26 innocent children and adults who went to school on a day like today and never got to come home because a sick man had easy access to guns and rained down devastation on the world. Hug your children tight.

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Charleston Shooting, racism, tolerance, church shooting, South Carolina, Dylann Roof

The Charleston Shooting was not an isolated case. It’s not even the first time RECENTLY that unwarranted violence has happened in Charleston. It was the brutal murdering of 9 innocent African Americans for no other reason than being black. The Charleston Shooting is not just something that happened to the American people. This is something that we allowed to happen by being complacent and silent and doing nothing more than bitching about the ongoing state of civil rights in America for decades. We could have prevented this had we stood up, fearlessly and relentlessly against racism.

Innocent people were shot and killed by a man who thought he was justified in walking into a Charleston, South Carolina church during services and murdering them because he felt that he was entitled to, after all, he didn’t see these people as human. He saw them as “other”. He saw them as less than and because you are on your high horse now…you are still culpable. We all are. We allowed this to happen, yet again.

Dylann Roof is a monster but we allowed the monster to exist. We tolerated his behavior like so many others before him. We allow our fellow human beings to be treated like animals. We don’t stand up until it is in rage when it is staring us back in the face. Then we settle back into our new normal and we move on with our lives. What we need to do is get outraged and never stop being outraged at this blatant racism and hatred and never stop until it is eradicated.

Racism isn’t  just limited to African Americans. What about Latinos? What about women? What about the Jews? What about every single minority in America that has to stay quiet and behave and have condescension and disgust shoved down their throats as they are dared to say anything other than, “Thank you, may I have another?” Because to do anything other than that could result in retaliation. Mutiny. Revolt. Civil war. But we’re getting to a point where something has to change.

Have you been to the south? In the south, the confederate flag flies proudly. People have no qualms about using ethnic slurs out in public, loud and some ignorantly proud. I know this happens everywhere in the United States but in the south it is particularly tolerated. Racism is so hateful to me that I have moved beyond wanting tolerance, I am demanding equality for all human beings.

Caucasians feel as if the minorities are stealing their country, their jobs and their women from them. But I have news for you; America is made up of every single race in the world. There is no “pure” race. There is no superior race because we are all mixed and we are all humans so like it or not, we are all equal in our value as human beings. Are some people better than others? Sure, but that has nothing to do with race, religion or sexual preference and if you think it does, then, my friend, you are not one of the better people.

Jon Stewart said he is sad. The entire country is momentarily wrought with sadness. Me, I’m sad but mostly I’m pissed off. I am fighting mad because I can’t understand how in 2015 this is still happening? How can we look ourselves in the mirror knowing that we are allowing this to happen over and over again, even making excuses for the behavior? How can people still treat other PEOPLE as less than?

What kind of upbringing did Dylann Roof have that made it all right in his head to walk into a house of God and murder innocent, unsuspecting, defenseless people? How do you pull a trigger and snuff out a person’s life for no other reason than the color of their skin? What kind of monster must you be? Look in the mirror, if it takes anything less than the rest of your entire life to get over this…you are part of the problem.

Stop feeling sad and starting feeling mad. Start feeling indignant and lower your tolerance for this kind of bigotry. I feel sick and vulnerable walking around in a world where at any moment someone can shoot someone else dead, rape them, maim them in public, no less, and suffer no real fear of consequence.

Prison is not a deserved consequence because it is too good for this type of murderer. He has already done the damage. He has already destroyed 9 families. That can’t be undone. The prisons are filled with young African American men put there by a society who thinks they belong in cages. I hope they put Dylann Roof in general population and I hope that he gets the justice that he deserves.

Our current racial situation is dire.

 

“Gaping Racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend that it does not exist!”

 

“I’m confident though by acknowledging it, by staring into that and seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do jack shit!” Jon Stewart

I’m starting to feel like the civil rights victories of the 60’s were nothing but a ruse to pacify the unsettled and uncooperative militants who had the balls to fight for equality. I’m beginning to feel like equality in the United States is a farce.

The problem of race in America is not a new one. Our country is a menagerie of different people from different countries from around the world. The only thing we have in common is that we are all from some place else. We are every shade of the rainbow. In theory, we should be the happiest and most evolved place in the world. Instead, we still hate what we can’t personally identify with. Rather than embrace difference, we try to eradicate it. I say no more.

Please don’t let your outrage at this racist murderer fade. Don’t let the Charleston Massacre be forgotten. Don’t let these innocent men and women have died in vain like so many before them. We’ve been here before, let’s not be here again.

What will you do to help heal the gaping racial wound that exists in America?

How do we prevent another Charleston Shooting?

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school shooting, gun violence, gun control, Nashville Covenant elementary

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

I’ve been so sick this week. Down with an awful stomach virus. Projectile vomiting so much that I’ve been bedridden. But I’ve seen the news. Three 9-year-olds and 3 faculty members dead in Nashville, Tennessee. Did I ever tell you guys that I was briefly an elementary school teacher in Tennessee? I was. I gave it up to take care of my own girls. Right before the pandemic, I was back in the classroom again. I’ll never go back. You couldn’t pay me enough money to risk a school shooting in a country where guns outweigh children’s life.

Do you know how much teachers love their students, especially those little ones? People don’t become teachers because they don’t care. It’s a calling. Teaching is a job you do out of love. It’s hard and thankless but we are rewarded in 1000 tiny ways by those precious children and that’s why teachers do so much for so little. But now, they’re supposed to be expected to risk their own lives just to educate someone else’s child?

Just another day in America

I’m not even shocked anymore. I’m angry and disgusted at our country’s constant failure of our children, our teachers and parents. No mother or father should ever have to drop their children off at school, at their own risk which is exactly what we’re expected to do. No teacher should be expected to use her body as a shield from the gunfire. No child should have to know the protocol to survive an active shooter situation.

Every morning since my daughters started school, I drop them off at the front door of school and say a prayer that they are still alive when I pick them up. Every morning, I feel sick to my stomach. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard sirens and called the school to check on my kids or driven there just to be sure. I live in constant fear. I’ve lost a pregnancy and I don’t think I could survive losing another child.

I don’t know about you but I didn’t create, a house and push my precious girls out into this world through excruciating pain just so someone else could so callously disregard their lives. I mean FUCK YOU those are mine. I did the work. No one else has the right to destroy what I created. They exist. They matter. This is human life. Not fucking collateral damage. One life is too many but in the United States, we’re being sent the message by our politicians that our dead children are a small price to pay for the right to bear arms. Maybe we need new politicians who care about all of the “we the people” and not just the gun enthusiast.

Just Another Day in America

The thing that pisses me off the most is that politicians place a higher value on guns than on human life. Because guns are a more lucrative business. Guns make money. The NRA has money to burn and throw around Washington. Only our children’s lives are worth more than any money. They are priceless. The saddest part is that we are all becoming desensitized to it. We hear that there’s been a shooting and we get sad and then we move on to the next day and the next group of unsuspecting children who get slaughtered while learning their ABCs.

What about the excruciating pain of a mother and father’s broken heart? Have you ever had the misfortune of hearing or expelling your own primal scream into the world? There is a howling that comes only when you lose a child. It’s unmistakable and un-recreatable. It comes from deep within and it is the breaking of a human being. It sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before. When that happens, both the child and the parent are destroyed. Parents and their children are invisibly tethered for life and when our children are ripped from this world, a part of us dies too.

Incredibly, there is more to be gained in gun sales and by appeasing gun aficionados for politicians to even care or consider any kind of common sense gun control. What is boils down to is that the politicians believe our children’s lives are expendable. Well, I believe I speak for all parents when I say, no child’s life is expendable.

How many children need to die to make them care? Whose child needs to die for them to care? Because from where I sit, it looks like money is more important than our children’s safety and lives.

Just Another Day in America

No wonder so many of our children are suffering from anxiety and depression. The law mandates that we send them into a fucking war zone every morning with no protection. A child should not have to practice active shooter drills. A 9-year-old shouldn’t have to fear for her life every morning when she goes to school. How can our children even breathe? They know they’re at risk. RISK? They are risking their lives to get an education.

How do we even make it make sense to our children when it doesn’t even make sense to us? What are we supposed to say when our child is looking at us to be their savior and we can’t protect them? How are we supposed to live with the guilt of sending them to the slaughter? We have to fight harder.  

Just Another Day in America

How many mothers need to drop their sweet children off at school and never get to pick them up before we care enough to stop the government from putting guns before babies? When will the government fight as hard for our school-aged children as they do the unborn ones?

I’m pissed off and you should be too. If you want things to change, you have to be willing to fight for change. Wishing won’t work. You’re going to have to put your money where your mouth is. You have to fight like your child’s life depends on it, because it does. We have to be relentless so that our children are safe. Our politicians are failing our children, we don’t have that luxury.

Lift your voices to protect our children. School shootings are unacceptable. We need to draw a line in the sand for our children’s sake. Children being slaughtered can never be just another day in America. Every time it happens… it’s the worst day in America.

Imagine for a moment the unthinkable. Imagine that the child never comes home again, the smile you’ll never see again, and the tiny arms around your neck are those of your child. Be brave. Take a stand. Scream at the top of your lungs. Tell Congress to stop glorifying guns and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines now! You can start by signing this petition at MomsRising.Org

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mass shooting, gun control, LGBTQ, Orlando, Florida, Pulse, Shooting, Gay Community, Pride, Omar Mateen, Eddie Justice, Mina Justice

My heart has been breaking since learning about the mass shooting that took place at “Orlando’s Premier Gay club”, Pulse, early Sunday morning leaving 49 victims dead and 53 wounded. I’m saddened and sickened for so many reasons. I could write about ISIS, terrorism, bigotry, racism and hate but what saddens me the most is that 49 mothers and fathers lost their child last night because a lunatic with a gun decided he wanted it to be so.

49 unsuspecting people thought it was just another Saturday night. Actually, it was a pretty special night, it was the eve of Pride Day. If ever there was a night to celebrate as a LGBTQ person (or a human being for that matter) it is the night when we all feel like there is a little less hate and lot more love and acceptance in the world. A day when we feel closer to a world of human equality and further from separation.Today the entire world feels vulnerable and helpless; victimized and terrified. We are angry that this was allowed to happen again but don’t let the anger turn to hate. Hate is what got us here to this moment of childless mothers and fathers, in the first place.

That’s what I was feeling yesterday, as I rode the 15-hour drive home from Boston and saw all the smiling, celebratory faces of my friends, celebrating at Pride Parades and block parties. I felt the pride all last week while I was in Boston and glorious rainbows adorned all of the buildings and landmarks around the city. I could feel the acceptance in the air, it was palpable.

But last night, the ugliness of hatred and stupidity reared up its head and stole the lives of 49 children from their parents. No, they were not small children like the victims of Sandy Hook but anyone who has a child knows that our children are always “our children” no matter how old or how big they get. It is our most primal instinct to protect them and love them as fiercely as our hearts will allow; to give our lives in place of theirs without hesitation or thought.

When I read the story of Mina Justice and the texts that she received from her terrified son, Eddie Justice, while he hid in the bathroom from a gun wielding bigot, afraid for his life, my heart shattered into a million pieces. It’s horrid that any one person had to die so senselessly in such a brutal way for no reason at all other than for being who they were meant to be and loving who they were born to love. But to see his own words in the texts to his mother; to know his fear was almost too much to bare. I can only imagine what his mother must have been feeling.

As a mother, I wanted to crawl into the fetal position and die. I wanted to run to this mother and hold her and tell her that it was all going to be alright. That her son was fine. Like this was some primetime drama and at the end, everybody would walk away just fine and the bad man would be apprehended but that’s not how it happens in real life.

In real life, bad things happen to good people. Terrible unthinkable things happen to unsuspecting people who’ve done nothing more than live their lives, openly and freely. Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, lose their loved ones because bad people with no scruples are allowed to obtain guns because, apparently, the right to bear arms trumps the right to live in our United States.

We are becoming desensitized to the point where when we see shootings on the news, it’s no longer shocking unless it’s a mass shooting.

People are outraged, screaming that terrorists are targeting and murdering the LGBTQ community and I agree with their outrage but for me, it’s much simpler. Someone murdered 49 children, his name was Omar Mateen.  He was an American-born man, a domestic terrorist, who called 911 before carrying out this ghastly task and pledged his allegiance to ISIS, while referencing the Boston Marathon bombers. He then chose to gun down 50 innocent people. This is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11.

Mateen somehow managed to carry an assault rifle and a pistol into a packed club around 2 a.m. Sunday morning and started shooting, he murdered 49 people and wounded at least 53. After a three-hour standoff, while 350 people were trapped inside the club desperately calling and messaging friends and relatives, police crashed into the building with an armored vehicle and stun grenades and killed Mateen.

Omar Mateen was 29-years-old, lived in Fort Pierce, Florida and had been interviewed not once but twice, in 2013 and again in 2014, by the FBI but was found both times to not be a threat. They were wrong. In the past two weeks Mateen legally purchased a Glock pistol and a long gun, ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Trevor Velinor told reporters.

Authorities spoke with Mateen’s father and ex-wife and both said that Omar Mateen was not particularly religious but his father said that recently, Omar saw two men kissing in Miami and it offended him. His ex-wife says that she thinks he was bipolar but was never formally diagnosed. Sounds to me like he was a bigot with a gun; a bully.

49 moms and dads are beside themselves trying to figure out how to live without their children alive to love. 49 childless mothers are sobbing primally because their world has been destroyed. 49 childless fathers are looking at the door expecting their child to return, knowing they never will; feeling a void that is so massive that it feels as if their heart will crush beneath the weight of it.

Today the entire world feels vulnerable and helpless; victimized and terrified. We are angry that this was allowed to happen again but don’t let the anger turn to hate. Hate is what got us here to this moment of childless mothers and fathers, in the first place.

Channel your hatred, anger, helplessness and vulnerability into change. Donate blood. Be kind to strangers. Treat people as humans. Don’t judge people for who they love, the color of their skin or the God they worship. Be a voice for the mothers and fathers who cannot speak or barely breathe, those who lost everything because one evil man was able to possess a gun and with that gun he chose to murder people just because he could.

We have to say no more, stand up for those who need protection and be the change we want to see in the world. The time for  expecting others to make things happen has passed. We have to vote, risk and force the change. Next time, it could be one of our children.

What would you be willing to risk in order to prevent another mass shooting?

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florida school shooting, gun control, alan feis, Nikolas Cruz, Parkland Florida, High School shooting

Yesterday, 17 unsuspecting students and adults, including Aaron Feis, were murdered in a South Florida school shooting massacre by 19 -year-old, Nikolas Cruz. Gun control failed us again. The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, 19, pulled the fire alarm shortly before 3 pm at his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. As the students and faculty exited the building, he started shooting at them like fish in a barrel. But that wasn’t enough for Nikolas, he followed the people running back inside for cover and targeted those huddled in classrooms hiding. Then, he blended in with the students exiting and evacuated the school. He was arrested later that day in Coral Springs.

They’re calling it the “Florida School Shooting” to differentiate it from the other recent school shootings because they happen so frequently now. This is how we measure life and death now, by geographical location. Quick somebody drop a pin so we know where to send the SWAT team next. I’m not being funny. I am utterly disgusted at how little life means to the people of this country. We’ve done nothing since Sandy Hook. Gun control is still the same shit show it ever was.

You know, the world makes fun of helicopter moms but we’re just being rational in an irrational world. How are we ever supposed to let our children go out into the world without worrying ourselves into an early grave? No wonder so many people homeschool now because at least there you can keep your child safe. Thank God for men like Aaron Feis.

Are you there God? Where were you on Ash Wednesday 2018 when 17 people were murdered by a disgruntled ex-student, Nikolas Cruz in the Florida School shooting? What makes a person hate the world so much that they want to kill anyone and everyone that is not as miserable as they are? Don’t tell me mental illness. It’s meanness. It’s calculated. It’s evil and its people killing people with guns because they can because everywhere you turn guns are readily available. If you can’t buy the gun you want, you can buy a gun and modify it. If they won’t sell you a gun because by some miracle your crazy ass is on a list, you can build it by buying parts on the Internet. Why is this not regulated?

Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 cases of premeditated murder. News at 11. It was said on one newscast so matter a factly that you would have thought they were talking about a baby monkey being born at the local zoo. What kind of world are we living in? Where is the outrage? Where are the grief-stricken parents of the living students with pitchforks and torches demanding that our government do something? I mean, of course without a whole lot of people make a whole lot of stink the government is not going to do shit because they got paid a whole lot of money not to.

Former classmates said they were not surprised at the identity of the suspected shooter. Cruz loved showing off guns, student Eddie Bonilla told CNN affiliate WFOR.

“We actually, a lot of kids threw jokes around Iike that, saying that he’s the one to shoot up the school, but it turns out everyone predicted it. It’s crazy,” Bonilla recalled.

Why did no one call the police on this kid? He was clearly exhibiting unstable behaviors.

Cruz had once been expelled from the high school over disciplinary problems, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.

 

He purchased the gun legally. He passed the background check. At 18 you can buy an assault-style weapon but you have to be 21 to buy a handgun. Let that sink in for a minute.

I find it interesting that as they were interviewing former classmates of Nikolas Cruz they were saying things like yeah, sure, Nikolas was the guy most likely to shoot up the school. He had lots of guns. The faculty at one point forbid him from carrying a backpack because of the fear that something exactly like this might happen. Yet, here we are. It happened and instead of anyone stopping him, they all just shake their head and go, we knew he’d do something like this. What the f*ck?

“This has been a day where we’ve seen the worst of humanity. Tomorrow is gonna bring out the best in humanity as we come together to move forward from this unspeakable tragedy,” Runcie said.

This is supposed to be our consolation. Humanity is going to be “better” for a few days.Celebrities are going to tweet out their prayers and condolences. Regular people are going to feign outrage without actually ever doing anything about it becoming themselves willing parts of the problem. Yeah, like the days and weeks after Sandy Hook. Nothing has changed. There are more school shootings than ever. I mean, what are the statistics for the likelihood of your child getting shot or murdered at school these days?

What’s worse, our government makes sure that these weapons are available because it’s a “constitutional right”. So when it’s your kid, or your wife or your husband or mom or dad who gets shot in the face and murdered just living their life tell me how important the freedom to have guns really is. I dare you to. I wouldn’t stand too close to me when you did it.

I keep seeing images of the teacher with ashes on her head, the hero Aaron Feis and a girl with a mylar balloon. It was probably one of the best days of this teen girl’s high school life and now, it will always be one of the worst days of her life. It’s traumatic and I think it’s the worst kind of monster who attacks people at their most vulnerable. Why do these shooters never open fire where there are trained people ready to protect themselves? Because they are cowards and they are afraid. They want to exact horror by murdering innocent, unsuspecting people because then they have the upper hand. Better yet, be a real man, come pick a fight…hand-to-hand with someone your own size and get your ass kicked the way it deserves to be. But they won’t because they are cowards of the worst kind.

But you know who are the bigger cowards? The politicians who allow the NRA to buy their votes. They value money over human life. Worse still the parents who fight for the right to bear arms and then send their children into the world to be slaughtered by people with guns. If not for yourself, do it for your children. Unless we are going to train and start sending every student to school with a weapon to protect themselves or impose real gun control, then we need to all be sterilized because I’d rather not bring a child into this world than to bring one into this world to be murdered by an NRA enthusiast.

We live in a world where every drop off good bye could be “the goodbye”. I know this. You know this. We choose our words more carefully. We hold tighter. We coddle. We spoil because any minute could be the minute someone sprays the hallways of the elementary school with bullets and paints the walls red with the blood of babies… our babies..my babies and your babies. Anyone’s babies because that is the truly scary part, no one is safe. Not even the child of a parent who is a staunch supporter of the NRA because a gunman with a semi-automatic weapon doesn’t stop to ask.

How do you explain to a parent who’s lost everything that your right to bear arms trumps their child’s right to life?

It feels like I’ve written this piece a few hundred times before because I think I have. Why have I? Why does this keep happening? Why does our government stand by and do nothing but come up with sound bites and excuses? Why do we the people accept this? When is enough too much? When it’s our own child whose tiny body lays limp and lifeless in the quad? When it’s our child who cowers and hides for hours as some person with a gun plays a sick game of hide and seek where if you’re found… you’re dead? When it’s your child, who even if they’re lucky enough to survive they are damaged forever. They are not the same child you sent to school that morning and that child may not have died but they are never coming back.

Nikolas Cruz, Parkland Florida, High School shooting

We live in a world where our children have to think fast enough to put their backpacks full of books on before running for their lives just to try to avoid getting shot in the spine. They have to remember to bob and weave. They have to stay silent and stifle tears and terror while their friend a foot away is shot dead in front of them. They have to play dead and pray the shooter doesn’t issue a kill shot to the head “just to be sure”.

Do something!! Stop waiting for your government to figure it out. Demand that they do something to protect our children. When is enough ever going to be enough? How many children have to be slaughtered in the streets, how much blood has to be on our hands before we have the balls to stand united and demand that there be stricter gun control and regulations on parts being bought? We need to make it impossible for everyone to get guns. It shouldn’t be a right, it should be a privilege and if you don’t earn it, you don’t deserve it. If you are not mentally equipped and stable enough to own and trained to operate a weapon, you should not be able to purchase one.

I know gun advocates like to say they need guns to protect themselves from intruders and government. To you I say, 1 you are more likely to be shot with your own gun from an intruder and 2, no gun can protect you from a corrupt government.

But amidst all of this horror, remember the victims like Football coach Aaron Feis who died while using his body to shield three female students. He threw himself in the line of fire to spare them. He suffered a gunshot wound and died after being rushed into surgery. The thing is he shouldn’t have had to die.

“He died the same way he lived — he put himself second,” Lehtio, a student and football team member, said. “He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”

 

Don’t let the Florida School shooting and the lives of Aaron Feis and the other 16 people who died yesterday have been in vain. Take action. Demand our government to change our current gun control legislation.

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19 second, third and fourth graders and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas were gunned down by an armed mass shooter, 18-year-old, Salvador Ramos a student at Uvalde High School. The massacre happened at Robb Elementary School, where children between the ages of 7 and 10 study, occurred at around 11:37 local time, this morning. Ramos was killed at the scene by police.

Uvalde is a small, close-knit community where moms typically walk their children to school. In a town filled with humble, hard-working people with a population of 16,000 residents, nearly 80% of the population is Hispanic.

Ramos bought two assault rifles just days ago when he turned 18. This morning, he shot his grandmother before his massacre at Robb Elementary. While he fled after shooting his grandmother, he got into a car wreck near Robb elementary and then ran into the school and started shooting.

His grandmother is still alive and receiving treatment in San Antonio.

salvador ramos, robb Elementary, uvalde texas, gun control, what happens tomorrow

Again, I am sitting here alone with my thoughts on a day when 19 children were gunned down in a Texas elementary school. Why? How? How do we allow this to keep happening? This morning, 21 families sent their loved ones to school and they will never see those sweet faces again. They will never feel the pull of those little outstretched arms around their necks. Never hear their laughter ring out at something silly. Never get to tuck them in and say good night ever again. Those parents will never get to watch their children grow up and become who they were meant to be because some asshole was able to easily get his hands on guns, walk into a school and snuff out those precious lives. We are all responsible. How many more children have to die? How many parents have to lose the most precious thing on this earth to them before we say no more?

salvador ramos, robb Elementary, uvalde texas, gun control, what happens tomorrow
Xavier Lopez

What makes me the most upset and angry is that 10 years ago ( and many times since) I found myself crying over other people’s children. I send my girls to school every morning since Sandy Hook afraid and praying that when I return to pick them up, they’re still alive. What the fuck kind of country do we live in? A country where Republicans care more in theory about unborn babies than they do about the safety of those children already living? A country where we believe it’s a political decision what women can and can’t do with their bodies, where we don’t respect a woman’s right to govern her own body but we believe it’s more important to coddle those who don’t understand the constitution and believe that every person is entitled to the right to bear assault weapons and callously and randomly murder our living, breathing children?

https://youtu.be/dVtMgHmDRio

America, what are we going to do to protect our children? What are you willing to sacrifice to keep your child safe? I don’t know about you but there is nothing I wouldn’t sacrifice for mine. Our children go to school every day knowing that an active shooter is just as possible as a tornado. They have drills for both. Our children live in a world where they know that just existing puts them in peril and they know that some of you are willing to make that sacrifice, as long as you can keep your right to bear arms. What about my right to hold my child in my arms? What about every parent’s expectation to live their life loving their child and watching them grow up as we grow old?

My eyes are burning from crying. I held it in all day until my girls went to bed because I can’t let them see how terrified I am. How broken and raw the thought of losing them makes me. How my heart is shattered for the moms and dads who are going to bed tonight knowing that from this day on, their life will never be the same. From this moment on, they will be changed. There will be a hole in their life and a void in their hearts that will ache every minute of every day for the rest of their days. It will never get better. My heart breaks knowing that nothing will change and in a few days, there will be another shooting and someone else’s child will not be coming home and it will go on and on because we let it. Many Robb Elementary parents are still waiting to find out if their children are alive or dead.

No parent should have to lose their child in such a way and we have the power to stop it. We just need to prioritize our children’s lives above a right ( ironically, that was written into the constitution at a time in history when civilians needed to be at the ready to protect their families from enemies domestic and foreign because there was not a big enough army) to bear arms. We are no longer lacking sufficient armed forces. What we are lacking is humanity and general respect for the lives of others.

We don’t need to bear arms we need to raise better humans with fewer guns and more kindness and compassion. We need to condemn hatred and bigotry. We need to care more about people and less about being right or getting our way. We need to love more and be more tolerant of things, people and cultures we don’t understand. We need to destigmatize mental health and make it the norm to seek support. Most importantly, we need to protect our innocent children from being murdered while doing nothing other than existing.

I am angry because this was senseless and preventable. Yes, we could have stopped this. It’s the guns. The guns are readily available to anyone over the age of 18-years-old who wants one and can afford it. You say don’t give guns to the mentally ill. Do you think mentally ill people disclose they are mentally ill when trying to purchase a gun? No, in fact, since we live in a country that stigmatizes mental illness they simply avoid seeking help. That’s the protection plan. They don’t disclose. If the guns were not so easily accessible if it were more difficult to access firearms maybe the children of Sandy Hook would be going into their senior year next year. Maybe the babies at Robb Elementary would be heading off to summer vacations and camps and all the other things that little kids do in the summertime. Instead, 22 families will be planning funerals. 22 families will be crying themselves to sleep. 22 families have been broken like so many countless others at the hands of a man with a gun.

Who shoots little kids? What have they ever done to anyone? What is so wrong in your head to make a person want to shoot up random strangers (helpless children) because whatever is going on in their own lives isn’t easy? Most of us don’t have it easy. Life is hard and made exponentially harder when we have to constantly worry that something tragic and potentially dangerous can happen to any of us at any time, especially in a world that values getting their way over doing the right thing.

So please keep your thoughts and prayers, they won’t bring those babies back and they are of no comfort to those grieving parents. If you want to do something to change the narrative, lay down your guns. Implore your representatives to push for common-sense gun control. No one is hunting with an assault rifle. No one needs an arsenal of weapons at the ready. A child’s brain is not fully developed until 25-years-old, why are we allowing teenagers to buy assault rifles? Unless, an 18-year-old is in the armed forces, being taught how to properly use a weapon to protect his country, there is no reason he needs a gun. And in no world is owning a gun more important than children getting to live and grow up.

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Unarmed suspect shot by police officer, Walter Scott, Michael Slager, North Charleston, South Carolina, Shooting, Police, brutality, racism, fear

Yet another African American man, Walter Scott, has been shot dead in the streets. Hearing this saddens me but seeing the video infuriates me. How many people have to die before we change what we will accept from law enforcement, from the justice system and from ourselves?

A 50-year-old black man was pulled over for a broken taillight in North Charleston, South Carolina. The officer, Michael T.Slager, tasered Walter Scott who had warrants out for his arrest for not paying child support. Scott ran after being tasered. The police officer followed in pursuit on foot and then shot the unarmed man 8 times, in the back. Would he have done the same if it had been a 50-year-old white man?

Then, it appears from the video, that the officer drops the taser by Scott. The same taser gun that the officer said the man had on his person; the very reason he felt threatened enough to shoot him. To add insult to grave injury, Walter Scott was left lying on the ground; face down, bleeding out while not one of the officers attempted to perform CPR on him. Officer Slager is being charged with murder. I’m glad. Still, there is no explanation for these events that can make any of this right for me. If seeing is believing, I’ve seen enough.

My belief is this white cops are shooting black suspects because they are afraid of them. I don’t know if it’s because of some residual guilt over the inhumane way that most Caucasians have treated African Americans throughout history, instilled racism from their upbringing or just plain old ignorance that allows them to treat black people as less than and still sleep at night. Whatever the reason, I believe that some white people are genuinely afraid of black people simply because of the color of their skin.

On the flip-side, I believe African Americans run from Caucasian officers because they are afraid of them too; afraid that their fear will cause them to overreact and use excessive force.Fear that their lack of respect for their basic human rights could put them in imminent danger. If history tells us anything, they’re not wrong. We’ve seen it happen. It’s not unimaginable. This is just my theory.

How many more Walter Scott incidents can we tolerate?

Everything about this sickens me, however, it no longer shocks me. This is nothing new. The only thing that’s changed is that everyone has a camera with a phone that takes video and social media allows us to share these stories instantaneously with remarkable reach. This has been happening for centuries and anyone who believes it hasn’t is fooling themselves. We are being forced to face the reality of our brutality. You can no longer be blissfully ignorant about the world because the truth is caught on video and shown to us. To say you didn’t know it was happening today, is to be a liar.

I grew up in an African American neighborhood and in my world, this is how the cops have always treated African Americans. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. The world is an unfair place where fear causes men to do unspeakable acts in the name of self-preservation. Fear is a very effective motivator, even when it’s completely unfounded.

I’m not saying that all cops are racist or bad people. Quite the opposite. There are many law enforcement officers who risk their life every single day to serve and protect their community but there are a few small men with narrow minds, who function on fear and power and have guns. These are the ones who make me afraid. The ones who can be more compassionate to a dog in the street than a dying man lying in front of them. Those who lack humanity and human compassion scare me the most.

We know there is a problem. No human being should be shot dead in the street. I don’t care what color, creed, race, religion or sexual preference you have. We need to change. How many mothers have to lose their children? How many children have to lose their fathers? How many lives have to be snuffed out before it all adds up to too much?

In my book, one dead human being in the street is too many. We have to stop letting fear and ignorance govern our reactions. Collectively as the human race, we need to say no more and develop a zero tolerance policy for the brutality and abuse of power that we currently accept as status quo. This is unacceptable. This is not the world that I want for my children. Our children deserve better.

What are your thoughts on the Walter Scott shooting?

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GoPro, LCD, Father's Day, tech, Best Buy

Do you have a GoPro? Father’s Day is coming up this weekend and some dads, like the Big Guy, are complete techies. He loves to have all the latest and greatest gadgets. Believe me when I say there is a list a mile long of great Father’s Day gifts that my husband would like to have but at the top of his list is the GoPro HERO+ LCD.

I have a GoPro HERO4 Black and I love it.

It’s been the best thing for documenting our family adventures since I got it. The only thing that I wish it had was an LCD screen. While the camera itself is amazing, I always wished that I could have the instant gratification of seeing what I was shooting as I was shooting it but I was willing to overlook it. The new GoPro HERO + LCD has everything, great quality and instant gratification.

GoPro, LCD, Father's Day, tech, Best Buy

We all know that Best Buy is the destination for the latest cameras and camcorders, and now that includes the new GoPro HERO+LCD arriving in stores just in time for this Father’s Day.

The new GoPro camera is perfect for capturing sweet family moments, long summer breaks and every journey that lies ahead. It is the perfect gift for the man who wants to capture incredible moments and relive them on the spot with the LCD display.

You can help dad capture his adventures and relive them with the new GoPro HERO+ LCD—featuring:

  1. 1080p60 video, 8MP photos and built-in Wi-Fi, plus the convenience of a touch display.
  2. Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® connect to the GoPro App for shot preview, total camera control and easy content sharing to Instagram, Facebook, and more.

GoPro, LCD, Father's Day, tech, Best Buy

Great Father’s Day Offers include:

  • HERO+LCD (Sku 6954009) with free 32GB Extreme Plus memory card (Sku 9387066). Valid 6/14-6/20
  • Free $50 Best Buy Gift Card with purchase of the GoPro HERO4 Silver (Sku 8374096) or GoPro HERO4 Black (Sku 8374078). Valid 6/7-6/20

What’s at the top of your dad’s Father’s Day list?

Disclaimer: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free but all opinions of the GoPro Hero+LCD are my own.

 

 

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#yesAllWomen, Elliot Rodger, women's issues, misogyny, sexism, rape, shooting spree

I had no idea that #YesAllWomen movement began this weekend. I spent the weekend with my family, celebrating my daughter’s 7th birthday. Her birthday was Wednesday and we were busy every single day until her birthday party held on Saturday. 15 tiny, beautiful little girls surrounded me; little girls who still think they can do and be anything. They giggled and laughed and we played and had cake and I had no idea about what had just happened with Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old student at the University of California Santa Barbara.He went on a shooting spree and killed 6 people before killing himself.

In the weeks leading up to the killings, Rodger posted a series of angry, bathetic YouTube videos and a hundred-and-thirty-seven-page autobiographical “manifesto,” declaring his hatred of all women for the rejection and disdain he claims they dealt him throughout his life.

I had no idea that there were other mothers who were mourning the loss of their daughters for no other reason than a mad man who felt that women deserved to die because they had rejected him. Misogyny is running rampant and no one is stopping it. Not anyone in specific, just all women in general and even men just for having sex when he was having none. This was avoidable, had anyone cared to listen. If anyone ever cared enough to listen when people ask for help.

Director Peter Rodger and his wife Moroccan-born French actress Soumaya Akaaboune said through their lawyer that they contacted police several weeks ago after seeing a series of YouTube videos their son posted which made references to suicide and murder.

I blissfully unaware soaked in every moment of my time with those girls on that beautiful Saturday in May. Not until tonight, when the girls have all gone home and my littlest girl is snuggled in bed tight next to me did I see the story and watch the video and here I sit ugly crying. Not because I am scared for my girls, for all girls, but because I am mad. I am fucking pissed off. What gave him the right? Who’s protecting our daughters?

 

What a spoiled, disgusting animal Elliot Rodger was. He thought like so many other men that women are here solely for his pleasure and when they did not accommodate he decided that they must face a day of retribution and annihilation for no other sin than being born with a vagina. This spoiled child made himself, judge, jury and executioner.

The sad fact is that the world is full of men who feel indignantly wronged by women who dare refuse them. There are men that feel that women owe them everything from their time, to their love to their very life. There are men who feel like we owe them our hearts, our bodies and our respect but they don’t feel that they need to give those things in return. In some men’s eyes, women are no better than property; a piece of furniture, a toy or an old sock. We belong to them. We belong to the world that doesn’t respect us, value us or love us enough to fight for us and they have beaten us down for so long that we let them without so much as batting an eye.

We do not buck and strain and resist, we passively walk with our heads down, quickly out of harms way for fear that what lies between our legs makes us a willing participant in the victimization of our own flesh. We can’t walk alone in the dark or leave a drink to pee. We can’t smile at a man without him taking it as consent to have his way with us. This is nothing new. Most men believe it; women accept it and it sucks for all of us.  I am a mother of daughters and I refuse to accept this fucked up status quo. This is my line in the sand. I say no more.

I do not want another little girl to go through life running from men for fear that they will be attacked. We cannot raise our girls to believe that what they wear or say or drink makes victimization their fault. We cannot accept fear as normal. We need to teach our girls to be strong; to fight back, to stand up and to value themselves for who they are, not what lies between their legs.

Sexism is nothing new; the ideas that perpetuate systematic marginalization, outright violence towards women, rape culture, and the demonization of women who dare to stand up for themselves has been around since the beginning of time. A strong woman is a threat. A strong woman is too much trouble. Women are here to be seen and not heard, to service men in every way; this is what some believe. Not me. I am a fucking human being and I am sick of everybody from the UPS guy to the local preacher to the old man on the golf course and every single stinking asshole who ever pushed up on me in a bar in between who thinks they have the right to use women and abuse women because we are here for their disposal.

He wanted to abolish sex, thereby equalizing men and ridding society of women’s manipulative and bestial natures, and to lock women in concentration camps so they would die out. (“I would have an enormous tower built just for myself, where I can oversee the entire concentration camp and gleefully watch them all die,” he wrote. “If I can’t have them, no one will, I imagine thinking to myself as I oversee this. Women represent everything that is unfair in this world, and in order to make this world a fair place, women must be eradicated.”) His idea was to imprison a few select women in a lab, where they would be artificially inseminated to propagate the species.

We have all endured catcalls and men openly touching themselves in front of us while licking their lips like we were steak. I’ve personally had strange men expose themselves to me in broad daylight, men I dated force my hand and my head to places I didn’t want to go, had male employers corner me in small solitude rooms and make unwanted advances. I’ve had drunken frat boys try to force me out of my clothes, put their hands up my skirt and drunkenly dry hump me in plain sight. No one helped. I’ve dated men who kept pushing past where I felt comfortable and didn’t care that I said stop. It breaks off little pieces of your self-esteem, it chisels away at your sense of safety and soon you feel as worthless as they make you believe that you are. When I’ve spoken up for myself, I’ve been called a cunt, a bitch, a tease and a dike because if I didn’t submit to their will then obviously it was because something was wrong with me.

I have held my breath and my tongue more times than I can count and I can’t anymore. What Elliot Rodger did was shocking but not surprising. I watched his video and physically became ill at the callousness with which he spoke of massacring women because he felt rejected and alone. He had no care for their lives, it was completely narcissistic and outrageously removed from humanity. He equated women with animals to be slaughtered and why wouldn’t he? Our own government has done so on several occasions.

Look at us. See us! We are people. We are not property. We are not animals. We are not inanimate objects put on this earth solely to bend to the will of man. We are more than sperm receptacles and objects of desire. We have thoughts, dreams, goals, wants and needs. It frightens me that this man did this with no remorse, no second thoughts. It was like a spoiled child who wanted a piece of candy and had been denied and decided that the entire population needed to be eradicated because he was mildly inconvenienced. Worse still, he is not the first who has done this and he will not be the last. This makes me sadder than any words could ever convey.

When you lie awake and think about the horrors this man wanted to inflict on women, please remember that #YesAllWomen matter.

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