Archive

Monthly Archives: April 2013

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I ask yet again: O spring, where art thou?

Links

Faith & Religion

God is pissed off and so am I – Pastor Phil Jackson on gun violence

I don’t want to be a good Christian anymore – Micah

Christians and Humor: some thoughts on making it work – Rachel Held Evans

Mixed up faith – Sarah Moon

advocate: standing up for those who can’t say it themselves (yet) – Kathy Escobar

God does not have low self-esteem – Matt Appling

Culture, Society & Life

Salman Rushdie – Whither moral courage?

How Reddit became a national scapegoat – Jesse Brown

Terrorists speak for themselves – Emma Teitel

WHY AREN’T YOU WATCHING ‘THE GOOD WIFE’?!?!

Politics, Economics & Law

What the Speaker’s ruling means – Aaron Wherry

Justin Trudeau: The man who makes Stephen Harper tremble – Paul Wells

Is Harper exploiting cyberbully panic to reboot the Internet spying bill? – Jesse Brown

Time to change the message on gun control and Why do we let politicians lie on TV? – Chris Selley

SK Court of Appeal: No Charter right to strike until the Supreme Court says so – David Doorey

Gun control shows how Washington really works – Ezra Klein & Evan Soltas

“Maybe the Court should have said…” (former SCOTUS justice on Bush v. Gore)

How not to rehabilitate a failed President – Steve Benen

Bush is Back! (at least sorta, kinda, reluctantly) – Tom DeFrank

Random & Weird

Silencing techniques – Kristen Rosser

The disapproval matrix: understanding haters – Ann Friedman

What I’m reading…

    

What I’m watching…

   

What have you been listening to, watching, reading, etc.?

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I’m nearly two weeks into my recovery from law school, and I’m exhausted. Actually, I don’t think I’ve even begun to feel the full extent of my exhaustion.

It’s been a rough eight months, and that’s putting it rather mildly.

So I’m taking some time to relax. But I also can’t help but reflect on the past couple of years.

I’ve come to the conclusion that law school was somewhat of a disappointment.

Over the last couple of weeks, my Facebook feed has been full of people rejoicing about finishing law school, and those status updates usually contain something like, “Finished law school! It was the BEST three years of my life! Looking forward to starting my career!”

For them, law school was kinda like this:

I don’t begrudge them that (well, maybe I do). But law school was NOT the best three (uh, four) years of my life, which isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it. But overall, I expected something more.

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The night before law school began, this is how I felt:

But needless to say, I’m a little stressed right now. I’m tired from all of those nights I worked and am pretty nervous about starting law school. I spent some time today reading some ‘Top Ten Lists’ which helped to calm my nerves. I know I can handle the schoolwork part; I’ve been in school so long that writing papers and exams is a breeze – as long as I don’t procrastinate. However, I’m paranoid about this whole Socratic method where apparently the teachers call on anyone at anytime to answer a question. And I have it on good authority that at least 2 of my 6 profs are some of the worst on faculty. Then there’s the ‘mooting’ thing which scares me to death; I can sing in front of people but speaking in front of them can be an issue – especially when it’s for school. But mostly, I’m just worried that I’m going to be a sucky lawyer.

And then I went to my first day of orientation. After that, I felt like this…

Today I had my first day of law school orientation. At some points I thought, “I LOVE it here!” At others I inwardly cried, “I DO NOT want to come back tomorrow!”

This seems to be the normal reaction to the first day of law school.

We were welcomed and re-welcomed, commended for getting into law school and told that getting in was the hardest part. I beg to differ.

My midterm December classes are worth 20% while my finals in April are worth 80%. I will probably fail one of my midterms; in one 1L (first year law) class section last year, EVERYONE failed the property midterm.

I also learned that the U of S can give out a grade of F— (yes, F triple minus).

Uh oh.

I understand the ‘scare tactics.’ I know I’m going to have to study like I’ve never studied before. And I will be EXTREMELY happy if I keep my average above 75. I don’t know if that’s a good goal or not, but it’s my goal. Apparently marks go up in 2nd year, as 1L is a learning year, where you figure out all the concepts, how to study and research and how to properly communicate in legalese.

However, I don’t feel that overwhelmed. I’m intimidated, but it’s all doable.

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For me, law school was a means to an end. I was tired of having a bunch of degrees yet not having one that would really help me earn a decent living. I wanted a profession of some kind, and being a lawyer seemed like a good fit for me.

I am glad I went to law school. It challenged me academically. I now have a degree that’s transferable and useful in many fields because if I hate practicing law, there are many other ways in which I can use it.

But the experience of law school was less than desirable.

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This year, a second year came up to me and asked who I was. I had to inform him that I’d been around the college nearly twice as long as he’d been. Hell, I was one of the Law Review editors and people would ask, “Who’s that?” The most embarrassing moment was when I went to buy tickets for my grad banquet and the sellers had no idea who I was.

At grad, my table was on the outside corner of the room, which seemed like an apt metaphor. I suppose that’s what you get for going on an internship and not graduating with your starting class…

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The three best experiences of my law school life by far were the Jessup Moot, my internship at the Legislature in Regina, and being at the helm of the Saskatchewan Law Review, which is funny, because at various times throughout those experiences I was ready to tear my hair out.

But in all of those situations, I was basically left to my own devices to supervise myself and others, meaning we basically shaped our own experiences. Maybe that says something about me.

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Over the last two weeks, I’ve been grieving a little bit. I came to that conclusion after I read this.

When I was finished my last exam, I wasn’t that relieved. I was excited for the first couple of hours, but that excitement quickly turned into anger and sadness. It wasn’t what I was expecting. At all.

You see, this past year did not go according to any of my plans. I wanted to join the inner city legal clinic and get some practical experience. I wanted to do another moot. I wanted to be involved in more social activities, etc.

Instead, I found myself being knocked to the bottom of a well and spending most of the year having to climb back out of it.

A lot happened in a small space of time. The stress was nearly unbearable at times, the sadness overwhelming. And when I finally made it to the finish line, by body said ‘enough,’ and my mind and emotions took over.

In September, I honestly didn’t know how I’d make it through the school year. It seemed an impossible task. To have made it, to have lost so much along the way and yet gained so much was emotionally and physically draining.

It’s going to take a while to recharge.

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The best thing about law school was that I made two good friends, people whom I hope will be in my life for a long, long time.

And by far, the biggest lesson that law school taught me was that it doesn’t matter so much if you don’t know the answer. Furthermore, chances are you aren’t going to know the answer. What matters more than anything is that you know how to go about finding the answer.

I think that has translated in to a big life lesson for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last four years. Some of it I knew, but hadn’t reconciled with it yet. Other things were new to me and eye-opening. Regardless, I learned that I could make my way through the fog – through the doubts, the fears and the unknown – and not just survive, but eventually thrive.

Maybe law school wasn’t the disappointment I thought it was.

Capture

Yes, it has been a good week for those who believe in the supremacy of Parliament.

Monday saw a win for now-departed Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) Kevin Page, who basically won his reference to Federal Court regarding whether or not the Conservative government would have to provide him with the information needed to satisfy an opposition request relating to last year’s budget.

While the Federal Court’s ruling did not demand that the Conservatives provide the PBO with the documents immediately, as the PBO did not actually make such a request, it clarified the PBO’s mandate and reiterated the long-standing rule that if you create a law, you have to abide by it (imagine that).

The fun part is about to begin as the Interim PBO plans to ask the government for the documents requested by Thomas Mulcair and the NDP.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is no fan of the PBO, even though he created it and appointed Page. During Question Period yesterday, Harper referred to Page as a partisan. I’m not sure what Harper thinks he can gain from this fight. It continues to reinforce the image of his government as a bully and that it has something to hide.

The fact is that MPs have very little information about how our taxpayer dollars are being spent. We need a PBO to help our MPs dig through the partisan nonsense and figure out where our money is going. I guarantee that if the Conservatives were the opposition and the NDP were the government, they’d be crowing about the need for transparency and accountability.

Funny what happens when you hold the reigns of power…

That leads us to Speaker Andrew Scheer’s ruling yesterday on Conservative MP Mark Wawara’s question of privilege. Here’s a quick rundown of what was at stake:

“The Chair [Speaker] is being asked by the Member for Langley [Warawa],” the Speaker explained, “whether the practice of whips providing the Speaker with the names of members who are to be recognized to speak during Statements by Members represents an unjust limitation on his freedom to speak, to the extent that such opportunities are not afforded to him on an equitable basis.”

The 15 minutes set aside each day for MPs to stand and speak about any matter of local, national or international concern is governed by lists: lists determined and provided by the party whips for the purposes of guiding the Speaker as to who should be called on to stand and speak during those 15 minutes. There are lists as well for Question Period. If your party whip does not wish you to be there, you are not on the list. And if you are not the list, you do not stand to make a statement or ask a question.

It has been this way, more or less, since 1982. “Even if not enshrined in the Standing Orders, generally the House has been well served by this collaboration and the lists have helped the Chair to preside over this portion of each sitting day in an orderly fashion,” the Speaker offered.

At this point, I rolled my eyes and thought that was the end of it. Scheer basically concluded that because the Speaker’s authority is based on rules created by Parliament itself, he couldn’t go beyond that unless Parliament changes the rules.

Then came this bit:

It is, in the Speaker’s estimation, still he who possesses the authority to determine who will speak next. And it is, in all cases, for the members of this place to, as they say, catch the Speaker’s eye.

“Members are free, for instance, to seek the floor under ‘questions and comments’ at any time to make their views known. They are also free at any time to seek the floor to intervene in debate itself on a bill or motion before the House,” the Speaker noted, reminding members of how the rest of each day’s proceedings are conducted. “Ultimately, it is up to each individual Member to decide how frequently he or she wishes to seek the floor, knowing that being recognized by the Speaker is not always a guaranteed proposition.”

And here the one sentence of these 2,700 words Andrew Scheer spoke that mattered most.

“The right to seek the floor at any time is the right of each individual Member of Parliament,” he said, “and is not dependent on any other Member of Parliament.”

Here is the principle—the unalienable right—that trumps both the list and the list-maker.

In other words, I (the Speaker) abide by the list because that’s what you fools give me. If you’d get off your asses and stand up, I could recognize you. Until then, I’ll go by the list because that’s the order in which you get on your feet.

SO STAND UP, PARLIAMENTARIANS. STAND UP AND MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD.

I find it inexplicable that MPs have been operating under the assumption that they are beholden to those lists provided by party whips. Once again, as an MP, you do not represent your party; YOU REPRESENT YOUR CONSTITUENCY. You are a free agent, of sorts, able to do whatever it is you need to do to represent your fellow citizens. Parties are simply a means of organizing MPs in order to get Parliament’s business done. Parties do not rule Parliament; MPs do.

While I am flabbergasted that things had to go this far in order for MPs to learn what the hell their job actually is, at least the matter was settled.

So what happened in QP? Green Party Leader Elizabeth May got on her feet after every question/answer series in order to try and get a chance to ask a question. Unfortunately she didn’t get a chance to speak. Question Period has its own rules in that each party is to be given a certain number of questions. As for Warawa, he got on his feet during Members’ Statements and was recognized, although it seemed kind of planned. And his statement was about a Langley talent show. You’d think that after all that, he’d use the occasion for something a little more profound (no offence to the Langley talent show contestants).

So there you have it. Two important rulings which demonstrate that Parliament isn’t dead yet. It’s up to MPs now to take these rules and run with them. If they don’t, things will remain as is, and I think we can all agree that that’s unacceptable.

Yesterday, this beautiful poem was shared:

life is complicated

there are complexities that are difficult to identify

your experiences and perceptions are unique to you

disappointment, disillusionment and fatigue have all played their part

and you left the church

maybe you’re sick of fighting

maybe you can no longer believe

maybe the inconsistencies were too heavy

maybe you bought into something that no longer rings true

my friend, hear me when I say:

you are not disqualified

you are not forgotten

you are loved

you are needed

God is not limited to what you’ve experienced in church

God is not restrained by the immaturity of His people

and just because you left the church, does not necessarily mean that you left Him

your questions are valid

your doubts are real

let us walk in them together

because I know He calls for you

the thought of darkening those doors may be sickening

the judgmental looks and awkward conversations

do not be dismayed

prodigal or not, God welcomes you

where we go from here, I do not know

what church looks like in your life remains to be seen

but one of the most earnest prayers I know is:

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

this journey is to be walked together

and you are not alone

let’s stumble along this path together, falling towards the light

I have left the church at various stages of my life.  There have been times where I’ve felt so disconnected I wondered how I might ever find my way back.

I’ve now realized that finding my way back is not the point; the point is to move forward.

I don’t want to go back to those days when I didn’t have questions, where I believed what I believed because I was supposed to, when I somehow felt better than others for going to church.

How arrogant was I?

Really, it was a means of protecting myself, because I felt that if I lost my beliefs, I’d lose my faith.  And as Kathy Escobar points out, the loss of one does not necessarily lead to losing the other; it’s not a slippery slope or a zero-sum game.

Honestly, I’ve never been happier faith-wise than I’ve been in the last year, even though I’ve wandered off the set path I was on, into the murky forest of unanswered questions and grey, foggy areas.

I’m forging a new path, a new way, a new ‘me,’ and a lot of that involves experimenting, trial and error.

I am lucky in that I’ve had a supportive church family which has aided my spiritual growth in a lot of ways.  But that doesn’t mean my church is perfect.  Churches can’t be perfect because they’re made of people, people who aren’t perfect.  And yes, churches often equate perfect religion with perfect faith, even though the two aren’t necessarily related.  Believe me, there have been times over this past year where I’ve sat in my pew, biting my tongue over what has been said.  And I’m sure people have done the same when I’ve said something.

But for me, my church family is really an extension of my family.  And I am blessed in that way.

Others, unfortunately, have not had the same mostly positive experiences I’ve had.  They’ve been part of churches that have hurt them so badly that they will bear scars for the rest of their lives.  Some people simply can’t get over the hypocrisy between what is practiced and what is preached.  Yet others just don’t have faith in anything anymore and would rather go it alone.

And that’s okay.

God does not live in a church, because a church is just that – a building.  Going to church every week does not make you better than anyone else.  Not believing exactly what your religion says you should believe is okay; you need to figure out your faith for yourself.  And if you have no idea what you believe, or if you even believe in anything at all, that’s okay, too.  The trick is to stop comparing your journey to others.  It’ll never be the same, and it shouldn’t be because you are different.

So whatever church means to you, live that.  Be true to what your heart and soul are telling you and you’ll find what you need.

The best thing about having a DVR is that I no longer have to watch all of those commercials for ‘Hannibal’ or ‘The Following’ or whatever horror movie is on its way to a theater near me.

I am increasingly angered that we are being subjected to such violence and gore, but I am particularly incensed that violence is tolerated at increasingly grotesque levels in the media, particularly against women, while swearing and nudity continue to be taboo.

For instance, this past weekend the Junos were on CTV, a broadcast network.   There was a viewer discretion warning during every commercial break prior to returning to the Juno broadcast. Every commercial break.  Last night,  a beaten and bloodied woman was tied to a rack and then dismembered ALIVE during the first few moments of a ‘Hawaii Five-O’ episode and there was no warning. None.

Last summer, I went to see ‘The Hunger Games.’  That movie was rated PG-13.  Prior to the start of the movie, a trailer for a horrifying thriller ran, which scared the living daylights out of me (although it doesn’t take a lot to scare me).  Why must such terrifying trailers be run before a movie aimed at CHILDREN?

Last year, the film ‘Bully,’ a documentary about bullying, was initially rated R.  The film’s director fought, and eventually successfully appealed, the classification since he wanted the movie to be able to be viewed in schools.  It was eventually rated PG-13.

‘Blue Valentine’ received an NC-17 rating, the strongest rating, due to one oral sex scene, even though there was no violence in the movie.  The film’s production company successfully appealed the rating and the movie was subsequently rated R.

What’s the moral of these stories: bad words and boobs are bad, while violence is AWESOME.

Remember Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction?  People freaked out over the prime time showing of a nipple.  A NIPPLE.  Come on – 50% of the world’s people each have a pair.  Yet we don’t have a problem showing all kinds of violence against women of increasingly disgusting proportion just so we can watch our favourite actors use technology that no police department has to  solve crimes and have the odd romantic entanglement.

It’s just so hypocritical.  Jon Stewart, as always, says it best. (and of course you can’t watch the video in Canada because our networks can’t seem to make previous seasons available, and we’re much more worried about copyright laws than the proliferation of violence throughout the media).

Not only do I have a problem with the constant violence on TV.  I have a problem with who that violence is directed towards.  A lot of the time, violence on TV is directed at women.  But simple violence isn’t enough; usually the women has to be degraded, beaten, bloodied, maimed, raped, dismembered, etc.

WHY??

I mean, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council recognizes that violence against women is such a problem in reality that it has its own code regarding it:

7.1 Broadcasters shall not telecast programming which sanctions, promotes or glamorizes any aspect of violence against women.

7.2 Broadcasters shall ensure that women are not depicted as victims of violence unless the violence is integral to the story being told. Broadcasters shall be particularly sensitive not to perpetuate the link between women in a sexual context and women as victims of violence.

These are pretty broad provisions, and I’d think the second is violated on an almost nightly basis.

I agree that there is a major difference between what is referred to as ‘torture porn’ (e.g. the ‘Saw’ franchise) and the usual violence (I hate to use this phrase, but unfortunately it’s true) depicted against women in NCIS, CSI, etc.  And yes, violence against women on shows like ‘Law & Order: SVU’ can be “compelling” and educational.  But the fact is that violence against women on TV has skyrocketed.

In 2009, the Parents Television Council, a hardcore conservative organization that I would not normally take seriously, released an important report which found that:

  1. Incidents of violence against women and teenage girls are increasing on television at rates that far exceed the overall increases in violence on television.  Violence, irrespective of gender, on television increased only 2% from 2004 to 2009, while incidents of violence against women increased 120% during that same period.
  • The most frequent type of violence against women on television was beating (29%), followed by credible threats of violence (18%), shooting (11%), rape (8%), stabbing (6%), and torture (2%).  Violence against women resulted in death 19% of the time.
  • Violence towards women or the graphic consequences of violence tends overwhelmingly to be depicted (92%) rather than implied (5%) or described (3%).
  1. Every network but ABC demonstrated a significant increase in the number of storylines that included violence against women between 2004 and 2009.
  1. Although female victims were primarily of adult age, collectively, there was a 400% increase in the depiction of teen girls as victims across all networks from 2004 to 2009.
  1. Fox stood out for using violence against women as a punch line in its comedies — in particular Family Guy and American Dad — trivializing the gravity of the issue of violence against women.
  1. From 2004 to 2009 there was an 81% increase in incidences of intimate partner violence on television.

I can only imagine what the statistics would show since that report was released; no doubt they’d have increased again significantly.  What happened to character-driven shows?  ‘Mad Men’ seems to be the only show currently airing that’s both critically-acclaimed and rarely displays violence.

There’s something so profoundly wrong with us when we’re far more worried about our kids seeing someone else’s naked body, which I think has resulted in so much of the body shaming and body issues that we all have today, than we are with the prevalent violence we see after 7 pm.  Then again, what type of entertainment do we expect from a country whose Senators are much more concerned with using every possible tool they have to prevent increasingly-rare terrorist strikes than with implementing urgently needed gun control legislation?

It’s amazing that 15 years ago, there was so much hubbub about this Dixie Chicks’ song and its violent message.  Ironic, eh?

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O spring, where art thou?

Links

Faith & Religion

Eleanor Barkhorn – Why People Prayed for Boston on Twitter and Facebook, and then Stopped

DL Mayfield – Why Dove Makes Us Feel Great in All the Wrong Ways

Evangelicalism’s silent majority

Colby Cosh – Church: The happiest place on earth?

Kathy Escober – losing beliefs, not faith.

Matt Appling – Create or Destroy

Zach Hunt – Everything Happens for a Reason

Morgan Guyton – Guns, Sex, and the Total Depravity of Everyone Else

Kristen Rosser – What About ‘Women Be Silent in the Church?’

Loren Seibold – The Trouble with Famous Adventists

Elizabeth Esther – A former religious extremist explains how radicalization happens

Maddow Blog – This Week in God

Culture, Society & Life

Andrew Sullivan – Evil is UnpredictableTerror in America, and Shooting Holes in the First Amendment

Tim Wise – Terrorism & Privilege: Understanding the Power of Whiteness

Zachary Karabell – After Boston: Toward a New, More Balanced Outrage

Wonkette – What Happens Next Time We’re Attacked? (warning: language)

Conor Friedersdorff – Why the Media Treats Right-Wing and Islamist Terrorism Differently

Ann Friedman – Beauty Above All Else: The Problem with Dove’s New Viral Ad

Alexandra – Dove Real Beauty, self-esteem and One Direction

Emma Teitel – The moral universe of Anonymous

Mike Rice, Sean Hannity and the Real American Discipline Problem

Politics, Economics & Law

Paul Wells – Stephen Harper’s search for the root causes of terrorism, On Attack AdsTrudeau, the Conservatives and Earned Media

Kady O’Malley – Is Brad Trost the next Mark Warawa?

Aaron Wherry – Let he who is not full of it cast the first aspersion

Chris Selley – It’s official: The New Democrats are the new Liberals

Roland Paris – Baird’s Honesty Gap

Gabrielle Giffords – A Senate in the Gun Lobby’s Grip

Luiza Ch. Savage – NRA 1, Obama 0 

John Dickerson – Why Newtown Wasn’t Enough

SCOTUS: A Case of Foreign Abuse? We Can’t Touch That

Random & Weird

20 strategies to soothe and stave off stress

What I’m reading…

“I regretted the minute I pressed share”: A Qualitative Study of Regrets on Facebook

         

What I’m listening to…

   

(Well, Lori McKenna’s album actually only comes out tomorrow…)

LOVE this group.  So inventive.

What have you been listening to, watching, reading, etc.?

Yesterday, a series of car bombs killed at least 55 people in Iraq.  The bombings are more than likely linked to elections which will be held throughout Iraq in the coming week.

Yesterday, two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, killing 3 people, including an 8 year old boy.

Guess which incident received more press?

I ask this not to be caustic, because both incidents are horrifying and inhumane.  I ask this because we need some perspective.

I am normally the queen of overreaction.  But for some reason, the news of yesterday’s events in Boston only surprised, where it normally would have terrified me and set my thoughts running in a thousand different directions.  Maybe it’s medication I’m on, or maybe I’m becoming desensitized to this type of news (which is, in and of itself, a scary thought).  Or maybe I just saw this for what it was: a tragic, yet rare, event.

I was not the only one that felt this way.  The Atlantic blog ran a piece asking everyone to “keep calm and carry on.”  And they’re right, because the fact of the matter is that far, far, far more people in the United States get killed by guns than by acts of terrorism.

After the Newtown shootings, I wrote this:

Where to begin?

Personally, I am disgusted.  Appalled.  Yet I’m not completely shocked; as President Obama pointed out, this happens all too often in America lately.

I’m angry, an emotion I feel far too often lately.  I am angry at the person who ruined thousands of lives within minutes, at a country that values its right to bear arms more than the lives of its fellow citizens, at a culture that lets nine year olds play ‘Call of Duty,’ at the media for prying for all of the gory details, and somewhere deep down inside, at God for allowing this to happen to CHILDREN.

I am frightened.  Life feels more fragile than it has in a long time.

Culturally, I am troubled.  We live in a society where heaven forbid we swear on TV or show a little nudity, but it’s completely okay to have ‘Criminal Minds’ on at 8:00 in the evening, show bloody murdered and raped women on ‘CSI’ and ‘The Good Wife,’ and allow violent movies to be rated PG-13 while a few f-bombs get an R rating.

We are an angry and selfish people.  We look for instant self-gratification, we don’t want to examine and battle with the bad parts of ourselves and we have no idea how to deal with our pain.  I know, because I am one of them.

We look at mental illness as weakness.  We stigmatize those who suffer from it.  We treat it like a personal fault rather than an illness, and it IS an illness.  We don’t have near enough resources to deal with the overwhelming amount of people who need help.  We don’t support them.  We pity them and categorize them as beyond help and ignore them.

Politically, I am sickened.  Awhile ago, after yet another US mass shooting, I read an article about how all Second Amendment jurisprudence on the right to bear arms is based on a complete and utter misreading of American history, largely propagated by the NRA (of course I can’t find the article now).  I’m sure you’re not surprised.

There is no common good anymore.  Citizenship means nothing.  We are individualistic and materialistic.  Power and money reign.  The needs of those with access to resources trumps the needs of those without.  We have a very fucked-up sense of what ‘freedom’ means.  This about sums it up:

“But I really want someone who advocates against gun control to balance the scales for me, to go ahead and try to explain to me why the inconvenience suffered by gun owners and prospective gun owners under much tighter restrictions on the purchase of guns and ammunition outweighs the death of children in their classrooms, a place where they’re not just supposed to be safe, but to thrive. Explain to me why their suffering is worse than that of the people who died, and lost family members, in the rampage at Aurora, Colorado, where they were drawn to a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises out of enthusiasm, because it’s a time when parents with infants can see a movie and trust that they’ll sleep through the screening. Please, balance out for me, the loss of Gabby Giffords’ potential with impatience at a waiting period, or frustration at not being able to fire a certain number of bullets per minute. Because this is the choice we make, every time. And I’m terrified to watch us make it again.”

I have no doubt we will.

We are also ignorant. Are these types of shootings not terrorism?  We define terrorism as violence by ‘others,’ mostly Islamic extremists.  But really, what is the difference between 9/11 and the events in Newtown except for scale?  Certainly there are different motives and religious factors involved, yet terror is at the heart of each event.

In the coming days, we will no doubt hear politicians speak strong words against terrorism, vowing to punish those who needlessly took three lives.  Patriotism will soar, and those who don’t follow the script will be vilified for being unpatriotic.  Indeed, President Obama already took some heat yesterday for not referring to the bombings as acts of terror.  These events bring out the worst in us because our need to be comforted always outweighs the need to hear the truth.

Again I ask: why are bombings terrorism and mass shootings just murder?

The FBI, Homeland Security and countless police forces all over the country will go on high alert, and dozens of false alarms will sound.  We’ll be told to be vigilant, and the number of arrests and people detained on suspicion of participating in terrorist activities will skyrocket.

Yet people will still be able to buy guns over the internet without a background check.  And politicians and citizens will continue to defend their right to own assault rifles and buy magazines that can get off 30 rounds in a minute, even though the vast majority of the public supports gun control measures.  And some media types will continue to denounce the advocacy of Newtown families as part of some hidden agenda by the left wing, even though those families are simply fighting so that others will not have to endure the same hell they’re going through.

Since Newtown, approximately 3500 people have died due to gun violence.

In the last year, 88 people were killed in 16 mass shootings.

Yesterday, 3 people died.

While no senseless death is okay, we tend to have a blind spot when it comes to bombings.

It’s best we remember that while we are bombarded with well-meaning yet sensationalist media coverage over the coming days.

Slaw

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stuff antonia says.

lipstick, sacraments, espresso, & grace. not necessarily in that order.

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THE COURT is the online resource for debate & data about the Supreme Court of Canada

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