The title of this post is actually a quote from my new friend and auther, Tom McCaffrey on his website The Wise Novelist. Tom wrote The Claire Trilogy and I cannot recommend it enough. The problem I have with this philosophy, which is great, is that I hate going to the gym. Also be prepared for this post to get dark.
I just learned that my LOA doesn't end next week, I have a few more weeks to get my shit together, which is not long enough because I never get my shit together. My to do list (I don't make lists) is more like a word map of anxieties than a manageable list of tasks that should be easy to accomplish. I slept until after noon today with only brief moments of consciousness in order to provide basic needs to my dog Boo. And I took my morning meds.
Now for what is paralyzing me for real today:
As I mentioned previously, I have great difficulty compartmentalizing but this most recent school shooting in Texas has me horrified. As I live in Florida, the response of our senators is disgusting. From the live updates on CNN:
In separate interviews with CNN, Florida GOP Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott defended the need for AR-15s and semi-automatic weapons, dismissing calls for expanded background checks. Rubio instead said he would try to force a vote today on a measure to bolster school safety in other ways.
In a back-and-forth with CNN, Rubio contended that expanded background checks would not solve the problem and said even if Washington banned AR-15s, a killer would find a different weapon.
“Listen, at the end of day, you're arguing about what they're using to commit this, and the truth of matter is these people are going to commit these horrifying crimes whether they have to use another weapon to do it; they're going to figure out a way to do it,” Rubio said.
What the fuck else would I expect from the "government representatives" of this fucking state? Then on top of that, I get this from my daughter's school superintendent.
Back in the day I was trained in elementary school for attacks from above (hide under your desk when the air siren screams) and fire drills. In high school we had bomb threat training. Now, our children are trained how to barricade themselves from a shooter and teachers in many districts are encouraged to carry guns. How is this progress? With over 200 mass shootings in 2022 as of today, and school shootings on the rise dramatically since Columbine, what the fuck are we doing to protect our CHILDREN from this? The GOP response: More guns because only "crazy maniacs" will use those guns for harm, and if they can't get the big guns, they'll get little ones and it will happen anyway. "Thoughts and prayers" help as much as snake oil does for cancer. In other words, not at all.
Where is the compassion for human life and the drive to protect it? Why is everything reactive instead of proactive? What are we doing about the toxic masculinity that teaches gun violence is a cathartic answer to the stress of living in this country? How the fuck do I protect my children from this culture?
I'm counting the minutes until V is released from school today knowing she will go to my parents and be embraced with love by my moms. And I do not know what to do. Last night V and I were frustrated with each other, today I just want to wrap my arms around her and keep her there. Forever.
There is a very strong "Us vs. Them" attitude here in Florida. When I first moved down here, my father encouraged me to date. I had broken up with someone I truly loved before the move, and was significantly depressed. So I set up a POF account (don't do that, just don't) and was very honest in my profile about who I am and what matters to me. Including that I'm a progressive liberal and conservation/animal rights/human rights advocate. I wish I had kept the screenshot of one of my first responses... I was told, in a three paragraph screed how I had moved to the wrong state and should be in California with all the other "fruits and nuts" and wait for the state to fall off the continent with the next big earthquake because if I didn't like guns and trucks and confederate pride I didn't belong here.
On local Facebook pages I see posts aplenty about how "Northerners" moving here for less taxes and better weather (I'd argue the weather is not a draw for me) are "ruining" the state. And to be truthful, I do believe the great influx of people moving here IS ruining the state, but for ecological, infrastructure, and educational reasons. Development here doesn't seem to be controlled AT ALL, and the only reason my development is building a new school is because a mother who moved here on the initial promise of plenty of schools drug up the initial building contract promising a school in our midst. That's it! They got called out on their own legal contract and acquiesced to local pressure.
Not to mention that "Florida Wo/Man" is a REAL THING. The people here are damn good at making bad decisions. Attempting to rob a fast food joint with an ALLIGATOR is a thing that happened here! Even in my "good development" in the "best county" in Florida, there's a rash of bicycle thefts that result in the bikes being thrown into retention ponds. And someone was shooting people with a bb gun out of a car. They shot an elder lady walking a dog.
I live between Jacksonville and St. Augustine (I believe both were locations of crimes in Criminal Minds). My father is a retired police Sargent from a large city near NYC in NJ. He has stated more than once that the murder close rate in Jacksonville is abhorrently low. He has mused that retired law enforcement officers should set up an independent task force to actually solve those cold cases. I wish he would set that up, he would find equally amazing retirees and definitely make a difference. My father also believes in on the street patrol (hoof it, don't drive it) with officers recruited from the neighborhoods, to increase the trust between civilians and LEOs. When my father was a patrolman in the 70's in a very diverse city, he had friends EVERYWHERE. As a "punishment" one time he was sent to sit in a vehicle near a potential "hot spot" all shift, every shift. It was near where we lived. Every shift he received free full meals from the people he knew there. When asked how it was going, he replied "great!" And his commanding officer realized my father could make the best of any situation.
I don't know how to make the best out of the current social climate. I'm not interested in hearing that there are good parts on both sides of the gun control debate. There aren't. Like most parents, I want my children to grow up and have the lives they want. That used to be a relatively easy dream. Of course there has always been violence and accidents happen, but this... This is chaos.
This fear washes over me and I cannot shake it. I'll try to read. I'll play with Boo, I'll hold V until she tells me "Mama, let go!" and my dreams will be filled with screams and blood and helplessness.
And tomorrow I'll tell V how much I love her as she goes off to school and hope that today is not the day someone enters her school with a high powered gun, and hope if it happens, she's smart and quick enough to survive. Parenthood in 2022 should not be like this!
Change does come from within, and the individuals and families that have had enough of this will eventually prevail (Hope springs eternal...) but will it be soon enough? I do not know.
I'm Kirsten. Some things you could label me with; tattooed, geek, mama, animal lover, weirdo, nerd, writer, movie and TV addict, lazy, ambitious, insomniac, feminist, LGBTQ+.