Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gun nuts and glam nups...

It's been an interesting week.  A few days ago, I had a conversation with a friend about Kaitlin Bennett, a young, sexy, recent college graduate who loves her guns.  Bennett recently graduated with a biology degree from Kent State University, an Ohio institution immortalized in the 1971 song "Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young.  "Ohio" was inspired by the events of May 4, 1970, during which four Kent State students protesting the Vietnam War were killed by the Ohio National Guard.

This song is a classic... and it's still all too relevant.

Now that she's a graduate, Bennett is allowed to carry her weapons on school grounds.  Prior to her graduation, she was not allowed to pack heat while she was on the university's campus.  I guess she was in a celebratory mood when she brought her AR 10 assault rifle to an on campus photo shoot, as she slung it over her back while she carried a graduation cap that read "Come and take it."

I read up on Ms. Bennett.  She was a founder of the Kent State chapter of the libertarian group "Liberty Hangout."  Besides opposing gun control measures and advocating for a right to carry on campus, a recent post on the group's philosophy argues that "taxation is theft" and, "voting is violence and democracy is the oppression of those who dwell within the minority opinion."  I also read that she doesn't fear "bad guys" because she has a gun and isn't afraid to use it.

My friend, who is very much in favor of maintaining her second amendment rights, is a bit younger than I am and was apparently unfamiliar with the song "Ohio".  So when another friend, older than both of us, referred to the song, she was momentarily confused.  She wondered if it was a reference to another shooting.  We were having this conversation less than twenty four hours before Friday's shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.

Friday morning, which would have been Friday afternoon where I am, 17 year old Dimitrios Pagourtzis stormed into an art lab, murdered ten people, and injured at least 13.  Pagourtzis surrendered after about fifteen minutes and waived his right to remain silent.  He had apparently considered killing himself, but decided not to.  Meanwhile, the families of ten people are in mourning this weekend.  Other families are worried about their loved ones who were wounded by yet another mixed up young man with a gun.

Bill and I were talking about this on our way to visit a waterfall yesterday.  I told him again about how I'd always wanted children, but now I'm kind of glad I don't have them.  You see, given the circumstances of our situation, having a child would have required a great deal of effort and, most likely, money.  I know people who wanted to have children so badly that they spent a lot of cash on fertility treatments.  Some of them got their wish and had their babies, but they went into debt and made a lot of personal sacrifices to make it happen.

Imagine expending that much effort to have a child, only to have that child capriciously blown away while he or she is sitting in a classroom.  As absolutely horrifying as it must be to lose a child in that way, imagine the anguish a parent who went to that much effort to bring a child into the world must feel.  It all seems extremely wasteful on so many levels.

I was still kind of reeling from that conversation and the sight of the majestic waterfall when I watched Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle tie the knot yesterday.  I know a lot of people don't like Britain's royal family.  Some people think they are a waste of taxpayer money.  I must say, though, that I was profoundly moved by the wedding.  I thought it was very well done.  I thought the music was exceptional and the sermon, delivered by Bishop Michael Curry, was very meaningful and hopeful. The whole message delivered was one of love and inclusiveness.

I've been around long enough to see a lot of royal weddings.  I think yesterday's wedding was the most extraordinary one I've seen yet.  I also think the message was badly needed, as Britain gains an American family member and Americans reel from all of the rampant racism, gun violence, and government ineptitude that has been going on for the past couple of years.  I will admit that the royal wedding was a good distraction from the sorrow of school shootings and misguided young women who think they need to carry an AR 10 assault rifle on a college campus where there was once a notorious act of gun violence.

And I also can't help but think of the natural beauty Bill and I saw yesterday, as we hiked through the pristine Black Forest to see a lovely waterfall.  I couldn't help but thank my lucky stars, yet again, that I get to live in a country so beautiful and so out of love with violence.  The longer I stay out of America, the weirder America seems to me.  And it's weird, not in a good way, but in a grotesque, macabre way.  There seems to be so many warped, angry, desperate people there who think nothing of shocking people by toting an assault rifle to a college campus for a photo shoot or toting weapons to a high school campus to wantonly extinguish young lives on the brink of adulthood.

I'm glad we still have enough hope to have these traditional, glamorous, royal wedding ceremonies... but I'm sorry so many young people have lost hope and feel they must end their peers' lives and either ruin or end their own lives.  Pagourtzis has now ruined his life.  And... although many gun nuts like Kaitlin Bennett argue that a "good guy" with a gun might have been able to stop him from his rampage, there were none to be found in time to save those ten people who died.

But... at least the royal wedding was beautiful.  My favorite part was when 19 year old Sheku Kanneh-Mason played his cello.  His music was absolutely exquisite... something akin to what I'd expect to hear at the gates of Heaven.  Sadly, too many young people are reaching those gates before their time.

Given the current racial divides in the United States, I can't help but be glad that the massively talented Sheku Kanneh-Mason is from Britain... where it's not nearly as likely that he'll be shot or arrested based on his skin color.


  1. I loved the wedding and thought the music from the cellist was sublime.

    Even though it's not all that far and not as different from the U.S. as I would like, I'm glad to be moving to Canada for a few yeas. I'm glad to have dual citizenship so that I'm not constrained by the status of a visa and can stay as long as I choose.

    1. I was wondering where you would be heading next.

  2. P.S. I thought Meghan's mom looked beautiful in her pale green dress.

    1. She did... it was a great wedding. Hope the marriage is just as successful.


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