Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Going places...

I've finished my latest travel blog series, Cheap Thrills in the Czech Republic.  To be honest, I'm not sure why I write these blogs.  I guess they're mostly for me to look at down the road, when I'm no longer living this lifestyle.  I'm sure there will come a day when this nomadic lifestyle will be in the past.  I've always enjoyed telling and writing stories.  Some people enjoy reading them.  Most others don't really care.  I keep writing anyway, since otherwise how will I make my mark on the world?

Like a lot of people over the weekend, I've been paying attention to the news.  I happened to hear Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, speak to the public about the shootings that took place at her school.  I was amazed on so many levels listening to Ms. Gonzalez.  She's so bright and articulate and her voice expressed the fear, frustration, and anger that so many young people must be experiencing right now.  It's hard enough to navigate youth without worrying whether or not you're going to be killed while studying at your school.

Emma Gonzalez is going places... if she survives.

I remember what it was like to be eighteen.  It was a time of excitement and hope, but also fear.  I wondered if I would be accepted to college, since I had aimed high.  I applied to four schools and only got into one; fortunately, that turned out to be a great place for me to go to school.  I ended up loving my experiences at Longwood.  I would even say going there changed my life in a profound way.  It was like I was meant to go there.

Longwood always seemed like such a safe place.  It was in Farmville, Virginia and the name of the town described the place's mood to a tee.  I never would have expected anything violent to happen there.  Certainly nothing like that ever happened when I was a student there in the early 90s.

And yet, in September 2009, Farmville was the site of a quadruple homicide perpetrated by one Sam McCroskey, a young man from California who'd had an online relationship with Emma Niederbrock, the teenaged daughter of Dr. Debra Kelley and her ex husband, Mark Niederbrock.  McCroskey had come to Farmville to accompany Niederbrock, her mother, and a friend, Melanie Wells, to a "horrorcore" music festival in Michigan.  After the festival, they'd come back to Virginia and McCroskey attacked them with a maul.  When Mark Niederbrock later came to Kelley's house, McCroskey attacked him with a maul, too.  All four were bludgeoned to death at the hands of this guy, who now sits in a supermax prison in Virginia, far from his home in California.

I remember being profoundly blown away by the violence of this crime, perpetrated by a nineteen year old who could have been mistaken for my husband at that age.  And yet, it's just one of many violent crimes by angry, mentally ill, dangerous young men.  It's getting to the point at which I can't remember a time when something like a school shooting was shocking.  Well... at least McCroskey didn't use a gun when he committed his murders.

Getting back to Emma Gonzalez... there she was, speaking to the masses.  Her voice was strong.  Her words were full of truth.  Her mood was resolute and angry.  She has every right to be pissed off.  Every kid in America should be.  This is their time to be young, make mistakes, and be protected.  But here they are, enduring drills in which they learn what to do if someone shoots up their school.  There's talk of arming teachers, installing metal detectors, giving up more freedoms that are taken away when someone proves that they can't be trusted to be civilized.

When someone wigs out and goes on a murder spree, everyone else pays the price.  However, for some reason, Americans still demand the right to carry weapons.  The pro-gun people insist that they want to be armed in case they run into a "bad guy".  They want to be able to fire back.

This showed up on my feed yesterday.  It was shared by a friend who carries a weapon and attends safety trainings.  I wish everyone who carries guns were that sensible.  Sadly, too many of them aren't.
While I can understand wanting to be armed when the bad guys attack, I also think that a regular person with a gun firing on a "bad guy" could end up facing tragedy.  This also showed up in my feed yesterday.

Yes, this is from a "liberal" Web site, but I think it makes a lot of sense.  Who's to say that you won't be mistaken for the shooter if you pull out your weapon and start firing?

I was very impressed by what Emma Gonzalez had to say.  I think she's going to go places, if she manages to survive young adulthood without being shot by some lunatic with a gun.  I used to be more in favor of the Second Amendment, but I now believe that something really must be done about the ease at which gun enthusiasts can purchase weapons that can kill so many innocent people.

I have to admit, this makes a pretty valid point...

No one needs to own an AR-15.  No one needs an assault rifle to protect themselves or hunt for food. It's time for stricter gun laws.  Americans have proven that we can't be trusted not to kill each other.  Children have the right to be able to go to school without being blown away by an angry young man. And even the small towns, where nothing ever happens, are being hit by the violence.  Count me among those who have had enough of this shit.


  1. No one needs an assault rifle. Count me in, too.

    1. Yeah. I think the gun fascination in the United States is very weird. I don't look forward to moving back there.


Comments on older posts will be moderated.