Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fire and drought--is brimstone next?

After the recent election, I vowed not to join the ranks of those who preach gloom, doom, and the end of America as we know it. Yet two national happenings really disturb me tonight. They are not directly related to the election, but eventually they are.

The first is the terrorist at Ohio State. Call me a bleeding heart, but to my mind he was a miserably unhappy soul, displaced, probably facing academic and social pressure. And he lost it. No sane person does what he did. News reports called him a shooter, but as far as I have heard no gun was involved—a knife and a car are lethal enough. Spouting anger at the U.S. for what our country has done in the Middle East, he was the perfect recruit for ISIS. Doesn’t sound like they got to him yet, but they would have. May he rest in peace that he couldn’t find here, may his family learn to live with this tragedy, and may his victims recover without many scars, either physical or emotional.

Most terrorism and mass shootings in this country are not done by Muslims, but the perception persists that Muslim terrorists are responsible for all violence. There is the occasional disaffected one—the Boston marathon bomb detonators, for instance. But we can’t blame terrorism on Muslims alone. And maybe it’s time, as a lot of the country has said, to re-examine the Middle Eastern policies put in play by Bush and Cheney. Certainly it’s time to study gun control, but I’m not hopeful about that.

On a personal note, I have a granddaughter headed to college next fall. Statistically she’s safe—but you can’t help but think that yesterday’s victims probably also felt safe. As soon as that thought went through my mind, I realized that I have a  twinge of fear sending off the elementary school children. Jacob goes to school across the street from my house. One day I came home to see fire trucks at the school—of course, it was nothing except it caused a wave of fear to go through me.

The other event that I can barely watch on TV is the fires in the area of Gatlinburg TN. I have only been to Gatlinburg once years ago and my memory is clouded but I recall it as a touristy town with slow-moving traffic. We bought a wonderful heavy pottery dinner service and I used it for years—I think my brother now has it. On the way across the mountain, it was single-lane, one-way traffic—a long, slow ride—and of course one of my children developed an urgent need for the potty. My dad drove stoically, eyes ahead, without comment, while I tried to placate the child. The other thing I remember is a black bear mama and two cub prowling through garbage at a shelter turnoff; a woman with a young child got out to show the child the bears—as far as I know it didn’t turn out the other way, but how dumb cab some people be?

So I have no wonderful memories of Gatlinburg, but my folks retired to Tryon, North Carolina, the other side of the mountains, and we all loved that area.. I checked Tryon today and they had heavy smoke drifting in from fire in western North Carolina--the Highlands—but no immediate threat of flames. Watching the flames eat brush, trees, and houses in Gatlinburg was devastating—I don’t think I could stand to see Tryon go up in flames.

And of course here I differ dramatically with climate change deniers. I think the dramatic changes in our weather patterns speak to the urgency of that problem…and here again I have little immediate hope.

And there you have it—two tragic instances in the last two days that speak to larger threats facing our country. No, they won’t be addressed in the next session, but I still have hope for the future. Join me in praying for America.


Victor Wadsworth said...

Trump demanded both Secretary Hillary & President Obama identify the words Islamic Radicals but our enemy is actually identified as hate. It is he that does not know the face of our enemies & if you cannot identify your enemy, you cannot defeat them. Both Secretary Hillary & President Obama know the face of hate and they know that beating hate is not as simple as bombs and bullets, it is also changing minds.

Judy Alter said...

So agree with you.. If e could live by love and now haate . . . several years ago I lectured a grandson on why we never use the word hate. He listened patiently, and then asked, "Could I saw I hate it when my collar's too tight? Because, you know, dislike just doesn't do it for me."

Randy Eickhoff said...

In regard to gun control, Judy, I do not believe in it EXCEPT (and that's a big exception) for (1) assault weapons or those guns designed for and used by the military. There is no reason that I can see for such weapons to be made available to the general public. Absolutely none. From my perspective. And (2) Convicts and people with mental problems or who are taking mood-altering medication (such as myself) have no business owning any guns. I do have a few but they are collective 19th century Old West and most cannot even be fired. As to those that can, I do think that to do so is dangerous as they would probably explode. I use them solely for decoration in my Cowboy Room which is filled with antiques from my childhood. When I was young, I was an avid hunter BUT after returning from Vietnam I cannot stand to shoot anything and think to do so is appalling. In fact, the last time I shot a pistol was just recently at a shooting range when my daughter and her boy friend asked me to go along as an "outing" for me. He was going to teach her how to shoot and all safety in doing so. He asked if I would like to try and shoot and I did so once, scoring a perfect score. He shook his head and said he'd never seen anything like that before and I obviously did not need any instruction. I got a huge laugh out of that. Before then, I had not even shot a gun in nearly 40 years with one exception: I was writing a book (FALLON'S WAKE ) and wanted the hero to use a special pistol so I asked a friend of mine who was/is (I've lost contact with him) if he could recommend one. He did and took me to a military range (he's a retired soldier) so I could experience the pistol. FALLON'S WAKE came out in 2000 and turned out to be a best-seller. BUT since Vietnam, even the thought of doing so doesn't sit well with me. I guess I'm truly an odd individual with just a bit of hypocrisy regarding guns.

Judy Alter said...

Two huge exceptions Randy which is properly applied would have prevented most of the U.S. mass shootings.