Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shots Down in Tucson

Here it is, minutes before my birthday starts. I was indeed born on January 13, at 12:45 a.m. But that was Eastern Standard time. Here in the mountain west, we're on Mountain Standard time and that is two hours earlier. So, the exact anniversary of my birth happens at 10:45 p.m. on January 12, and that is about 15 minutes from now. I wanted to write this blog entry and get a few things out in the open, so I can have a relatively stress-free birthday, as much as that is possible when you're looking at number 59.

2011 is certainly off to an inauspicious start. We were barely one week into the new year when all hell broke loose in Tucson, a delightful, unassuming and somewhat old-fashioned desert town about a hundred highway miles south of here. Briefly, some nutjob with an automatic weapon mowed down a bunch of people at a public event featuring the newly-reelected U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Gabrielle took a bullet through the brain and somehow, miraculously, survived - albeit with extremely serious injuries. Six innocent people lost their lives - suddenly, horribly and with absolutely no warning - ranging from a grandmother who knitted quilts for the needy to a nine-year-old girl who, from all reports, was bright and happy and intelligent and had a wonderful life in front of her. That is, until the madness and sickness of one armed individual brought it to an end.

It's been a remarkable four days around here. It seems as if the state and the entire nation is in shock and mourning. The last time I remember experiencing a phenomenon like this was on September 11th, 2001, when the entire nation suffered an enormous trauma that changed everyone's life permanently.

President Obama and his wife came to a memorial service in Tucson today to reassure everyone that the nation is supporting them in their time of tribulation. It was a very good speech he gave, full of platitudes and folksiness and sincerity. Really, I'm sure he does feel sadness at the loss of life. It's impossible not to sympathize with the father of the young girl, who is visibly in unbearable pain. It's been a week of everyone saying how we should pray to God and rely on our "faith" to get us through this terrible ordeal.

I, however, would have a couple of questions for God. Such as, why did He allow this to happen? He could have stopped it with a blink of his Divine Eye. People say it's due to the madness of this one person. Again, I would ask God why did he create mental illnesses to make his beloved children do horrific things to each other? And while we're at it, why did He create juvenile diabetes and blindness and AIDS and brain cancer and leukemia? What purpose do things like that have on His Earth? Why do babies die minutes after birth and why do elderly people live in a vegetative state for years on end? And if humans were made in His image and likeness, why did He make them so imperfect and full of faults? Why did He give His damaged, dysfunctional creations qualities such as free will and the intelligence to create everything from automatic weapons to atomic bombs? And then, when one of his creations wreaks havoc and chaos and pain using these wonderful gifts, we're all supposed to come crawling back to God and pray for His blessings and His favor? Really? If I were cynical (and I'm sure God has a good reason for making me that way) I would think something wasn't exactly kosher in the universe.

But as usual, in the midst of a great tragedy there are weird, funny-pathetic things that happen. One is when John Boner, I mean Boehner, got up in front of Congress to make a statement about the shootings and ended up crying and blubbering and choking up again. What is WRONG with him??? Are we going to have to put up with his unseemly sniveling and whining every damned time something happens around here? I really think it's a good idea that men are sensitive and can express their emotions, but he is just creepy and over-the-top about the whole thing. He is obnoxious and really makes my skin crawl.

Also, everyone's been unloading on Sarah Palin for inciting and fomenting violent action with her tedious, empty-headed blathering and especially her use of gunsight cross-hairs on a map of her political opponents on the SarahPAC website right before the midterm elections. Apparently she can't even be bothered to tell her own lies anymore, because she sent some brainless stooge from her office on to some ridiculous right-wing talk show to claim that they weren't "gun sights," but rather "surveyor marks." This is so stupid and absurd that it is very, very insulting. When that didn't work, she posted a bitter, mean-spirited and narcissistic video on that respected information platform, Facebook, and tells everyone that it's not her fault at all, and she's been accused unjustly of being a bad person, and how "reprehensible" it is that people are using a tragedy to make political points against people who disagree with them. No mention of the shooting victims by name, it was all about her and how awful people are to her. Well, the only "reprehensible" thing is that a worthless piece of crap like her still exists in this world and still spews her stupidity, bigotry and bile every possible chance she gets. She could take a bullet to the brain and no one would notice any difference.

Just to let everyone know the kind of state in which we live, Arizona gun sellers and merchants have reported a steep increase in business, as people are buying more and more guns in the wake of the Tucson shootings. Apparently they are afraid that this senseless loss of innocent lives will wake some people up to the absurdity of the so-called gun "laws" in this state and something will be done to curtail the sale of automatic weapons and extended ammunition clips, which really have no other purpose than to kill as many things as possible in the shortest amount of time. Now wouldn't THAT be a horrible thing to do?

So there is much talk about "toning down" the political rhetoric in this country, in the wake of all this human tragedy. I'm thinking that will last about a week, and then it will be back to business as usual. Palin and Beck and Limbaugh will be back soon enough, feeding little dollops of ignorance and idiocy to their sheep-like followers, because that's how they make their money - by separating the world into "us" and "them," and then blaming "them" for everything that has ever gone wrong in history. I'm not changing either, and as I start my 60th year of life on earth, I am getting tired of the bullshit and am not in a mood to cut any breaks.

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