Time to Wake Up!

This is my first stream of consciousness post. Normally I take lots of time, ruminate on my words, maybe even fret a bit on how those words will be perceived. But after the most recent school shooting in this country, which occurred on a day normally reserved for symbols of love (Valentines’ Day), my concern is not for which words I choose but rather sharing my raw thoughts.

Today, after reading some of the outrageous tweets by our “so-called” leader and listening to the CPAC Convention speech by Wayne LaPierre, NRA (National Rifle Association) Chief, I have to vocalize the question my hubby asked me today. “Is our country going bat-shit crazy”?  LaPierre feels that we need to arm every American, that “it takes a good guy with a gun to take down a bad guy with a gun”. Yes, let’s arm our teachers so they can get thrown into the shootouts (imagine an emoticon for outrage here). As I watched this NRA Chief blame the media and the FBI and take no responsibility for the gun laws we currently have in this country, and not even mention the loss of these most recent innocent 17 at the hands of a gunman, I feel the fabric that has for so long held this country together, slowly unraveling.

I cannot imagine anything more heart-wrenching than to receive the news that your child was gunned down by a student with an automatic rifle, a weapon used in wartime. You watched this beautiful child a few hours earlier head off to school with her friends, after giving you a big hug and kiss goodbye, saying she would see you later that evening for dinner. And now this child, who gives your life meaning, that beautiful, creative child, lies dead in the classroom of a building that should have been a safe haven. How do you grapple with that all-consuming grief? She was not my child, but when I watched a mother, who had just finished making funeral arrangements for her 14-year old daughter, scream at the leader of this country to do something, it took my breath away. Her grief was palpable and echoed the cries of all those many people who far too often succumb to gun violence in this country.

I have heard lots of hollow words tossed about by those in this country who have taken “blood money” from the NRA, many focusing on the fact that we need to fix the mental illness issue in this country, and yes, that is a complex issue that needs so much more attention. What seems to be an easier fix, one that can be addressed now, is to make certain that those with mental illness cannot get their hands on a weapon. But instead, recent relaxed gun laws make it easier for these same individuals to get a weapon, in record time I might add.  Right now we can expand background checks, increase the age of people allowed to purchase weapons, and extend the waiting period for getting a gun, which are all easy fixes. Then, let’s have a conversation about getting rid of “bump stocks”. No, let’s not. Instead how about we just not allow anyone in this country, except those in law enforcement and the military, to purchase automatic weapons? Today, in some states in this country, you can purchase an AR15 automatic weapon at age 18. Seriously, WTF?!

On the heels of yet another gun tragedy that has shaken this country to its core, we watch as our children become the leaders that we should have been. The changes that we adults have not been able to bring about may well rest in the hands of our children. I have watched how eloquently and passionately these children have spoken to the media and to our leaders, immediately after the deaths of their friends, some who literally had to walk by their dead friends to escape their hiding places after the carnage. Although I get goosebumps each time I re-watch these interviews, and I feel such a sense of awe and wonder at their maturity, I too am saddened that they have to be the ones to carry this torch. Why should our children have to wage this battle? Why can’t our elected officials do the easy work to enact laws to protect our citizens? If any of us wondered about what kind of leaders this next generation of children will become, we should wonder no more.

For those who have not had the chance to listen to the song “Shine” that the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida wrote and sang after the Valentines’ Day gun massacre at their school, go here. It will bring you to tears.

And for those who wonder what our gun culture is compared to other countries, here is an interesting news article.

Our children are telling us it is time to wake up. Will we answer that wake-up call?

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33 thoughts on “Time to Wake Up!

  • It’s so heart breaking, but I sense that’s it’s gotten bad enough that things will start to turn around and the madness will stop. Children and teachers are planning a walkout April 20 and saying they won’t return until something’s done. Plus perhaps there will be a bit of a change with your mid terms. One can only hope.
    Alison

    • Taking our country back at the mid-terms is what we are working for. I have been volunteering at the local level to try to make some changes. I cannot believe the country I am now living in.

      • I’m sending plenty of supportive energy. It must be heartbreaking for so many of you. Another way to look at it is that often things get worse, become exposed, before change can happen. There is so much that can’t be swept under the rug any more, so much that’s beginning to break down. It’s a reason to be hopeful.

      • I do agree with you Alison. It seems many of us have been sleepwalking for too long. It was easy to get complacent when we had President Obama in office. Times have certainly changed. This administration has helped me to find the activist inside!

  • I’m glad you have posted this, LuAnn! These kids are wonderful. They have been attacked in their own school, we are being told that some of those kids who spoke so fervently, after the shooting, were actors, the NRA is trying to knock them down, Trump is more interested in blaming the FBI’s lack of action, on Trump’s problems, but I AM SURE, that these kids will NOT give up. More power to them!!! I wish them the best, and hope our countrymen will listen!

  • There is no reason, whatsoever, for ANYONE who is not in the military or law enforcement to have access to an assault weapon. Actually, I abhor the idea of assault weapons altogether, because their only purpose is to slaughter large numbers of people.
    I hope these brave young people can make a difference. God knows, those of us who have been lobbying and voting for sane gun laws haven’t been able to turn the tide. What will it take? How many more tragedies? The stupidity of our current leaders is appalling. Arm all of our teachers? Seriously? Good Lord, if things keep going this way we’ll have shootouts on every street corner. More weapons do NOT create peace or freedom from fear!
    Yes, we need better mental health care. Meanwhile, can’t we at least keep guns out of the hands of those who are mentally ill?
    Don’t censor what you write, LuAnn. Just keep speaking your truth. We all need to do the same.

    • Laurel, I have to say that stream of consciousness writing is very cathartic. I may have to do more of it or not, as I might lose some followers. 😉 Seriously, I cannot believe what we are living through in this country Laurel. It is madness!

  • LuAnn bravo to you for speaking out and standing up. As a northern neighbour I will say I often ask similar things to your husband. It seems no less than insane. The pain of these losses is unimaginable. May more find the courage you have to stand up.

    • Sadly it will rest on the shoulders of our children, those same children who are being slaughtered at the hands of those touting automatic weapons. I honestly don’t know what is becoming of this country. I don’t recognize many people I thought I knew well. It is so gut-wrenching.

  • You spoke about the exact things John and I have discussed. It is scary to think about all that has gone on over the last year. I really wonder about the quality of many of the people in our country, especially those in charge!

    • I no longer recognize the country we live in Pam. When we cannot even put our children’s safety over our personal power and greed, what does that say about us?

  • Morning Joe just showed an outtake of the CSPAN conference. This made me sick. These people blame every, and I mean every, organization, person, news cast, etc. for the horrible state of our country but them. It is so disgusting. Here lies one of the biggest contributors to our country’s problems. Our “not-my-president” is the poorest excuse for a leader Paul and I have ever seen. He gives lip service and thinks that is enough. I pray that this time, it isn’t enough. Our weak, spineless Republicans in office need to be replaced in all aspects of government. They too just give lip service and find excuses for our problems…which of course all began with President Obama. Get a life!
    I am totally with Laurel. There is absolutely no place that assault weapons are needed in our daily, non-military lives. How many rabbits, deer, etc. does a person need to kill at one time? I have asked that question to people we know that own guns. None can give me an answer. They just look at me like I am nuts and smile. It scares me to know that these people own a gun.
    Paul and I are retired school teachers. We have a daughter that teaches math in a high school in Ohio. None of us chose teaching as a profession so we could carry a gun and one day use it on our students. That is one of the dumbest, most asinine proposal we have ever heard. And…”They may get paid a little more.” Trump is insane. On a TV show we were watching yesterday, they did a poll of teacher who would feel safer if they could carry a gun…guess what! 100% that is 100% said NO! I do not want to carry a gun.
    Oh boy, Luann, your raw post has hit a nerve for sure. So sorry for the rant. Thank you so much for being a woman I truly admire. Your spunk at rallies and speaking out makes me want to be the woman you are. Don’t worry about losing followers. If you lose them, it isn’t because you aren’t telling the truth; it is because they can’t take the truth!

    • Marsha, if you were here right now I would give you the biggest hug! I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story. Many years ago, when we lived in Phoenix, Terry wanted to give back to the community so he decided to become a volunteer with the police force. He went through the same defense training and weapons training as the officers. I wasn’t keen on the whole idea but wanted him to make these decisions on his own. One night, after coming back from a training session where he was put through a simulation (virtual reality) program, he announced he was leaving the volunteer program. In part of his simulation, he encountered an agitated woman, who he said he almost shot (with his simulation weapon of course) because in her agitated state she was reaching into her purse and pulled out what looked to be a gun! How easy would it be for a teacher to shoot an innocent child in this type of situation? A more idiotic suggestion for protecting our children I cannot imagine! What is happening to our country? Why can’t people see how dangerous the man at the helm is? There is a Netflix series called “Dirty Money” that has an episode on tRump, which I wish those who voted for this madman would watch. Those who think he is a good businessman would see the truth behind that self-proclaimed myth!

      • I would accept that hug with open arms! I admire Terry for knowing when to say enough is enough. He knew where to draw the line before something awful happened. I pray for our military, fire and police men/women every night. I don’t know how they do what they do. Amazing people for sure.
        We don’t get Netflix but “Dirty Money” sounds like an accurate description for that man. But those who voted for him wouldn’t even understand the significance of that show. If you saw his performance at the CSPAN, you would think it was an presidential election year. He is insane. He again talked about the crooked Democrats, how great he is, how bad, awful Obama was, and in a nutshell, how all the US problems are due directly to the Democrats. The crowd went wild. So disgusting. They get more ignorant by the day.
        I just pray that Mueller keeps digging and digging. I don’t care what he charges any and all of them in the White House with….just get them out of there. But….bobble-head Pence isn’t much better. Watch him sometime when he sits behind or besides Trump. All he does is make his head go back and forth. Looks like a bobble head…hehe

      • I agree that we would have to go so far down the line with the Republican party right now to find a reasonable person. I don’t even recognize the GOP party any more.

  • Well said as usual Luann.

    It is incredibly difficult to work for the common good of all of our citizens when one of our two parties have opted to represent only the monied interests. It is made even more difficult when they have decided to willfully lie daily to gain their objectives and do everything in their power to encourage the ignorance of the population.

    Their motivating forces are greed and the acquisition of power at all costs. They are aided internally by pure unadulterated extremist propaganda from Fox, Limbaugh, Alex Jones, etc. We learn now that they are aided externally by Russia. They do all this while laughably claiming the moral high ground and proudly thumping their bibles all whilst wrapped in the flag.

    They have accomplished one goal and that is the first part of divide and conquer. Whether or not our democratic republic is conquered remains to be seen but it likely hangs in the balance. The only solution is to vote out every member of the GOP at the national and local levels of government and keep them shut out until there is some sign that they are no longer enemies of this country. The mid-term elections are critical to see if there are enough people who care and will get off their asses and vote. Based on our experience in all of the elections since 2010 I’m not sure what the outcome will be.

    Jim

    • Very well said Jim. I agree that change has to happen at the ballot box and must happen in the mid-terms. I have been volunteering to help one very qualified local candidate, a woman running for Congress who has spent her career as a public school teacher in a low income community. She is the type of passionate woman we need, not some millionaire who can’t relate to the needs of our citizens.

  • Your Journey today regarding the state of our country, really gave me pause to reflect on my feelings about it. After rereading your Journey several times, I came up with this thought, that says it all to me. In my lifetime, two guys stand out above all others, as really being Straight Arrows. They are your “Terry” and my big brother, “Dwight”. They never complain or stand in judgment of others and they always have such a positive attitude towards life. But this time I think Terry summed it up perfectly when he asked you, “Is our country going bat-shit crazy”? In those 7 words, I feel that Terry said it for all the rest of us that cannot believe how our society seems to be going down the drain. The only thing I feel now is what Jimmy Valvano, a famous college basketball coach while he was dying from cancer said, “Don’t give up; don’t ever give up!” RogG

    • This latest shooting stopped me in my tracks Roger. Each day I have been trying to remain hopeful but I was so outraged that our children are paying the price for the power and greed of our elected officials. Terry has become increasingly fearful of where this country is heading. I still have to hope that we will right this ship and it has to happen at the mid-terms. The words of Michelle Obama echo in my head every day. “What else do you have if you don’t have hope? What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?”

  • Very powerful thoughts LuAnn, and crystal clear writing. I absolutely love the USA but the attitude to guns is a sickness. I don’t know why the people with the power to change can’t actually feel the pain of those parents. If they could they wouldn’t be able so susceptible to greed and power, and so blind to the madness. I don’t think Presidents can do much, Obama showed incredible compassion but was toothless, the problem is much much deeper rooted. I think those poor kids are just regarded as collateral damage in a war that most of us can not fathom.

    • Sadly I have to agree Mike. Our compassion, our desire to provide this country’s citizens and her environment, have fallen victim to incredible greed and power. I feel the moral fiber of this country has a huge gaping hole in it. Thanks for stopping by Mike.

  • You took the words right out of my mouth! Why an 18 year old can buy a AR gun…. Is beyond my imagination!

    The children are going to get this done and I sure hope Congress is paying attention!

    • I hope they are too Nancy. I am all for safe gun laws but our country is out of control, especially compared to others, and the gun violence we have is evidence of that.

      • Exactly! I understand that people want guns for hunting, defense and target shooting etc. However it should not be so easy to get a gun and yet be 18 an able to purchase a gun?!?!

        We were at a flea market in Arizona and men were buying used guns. No kind of background check was involved … that I could see. How scary is that?!?

        Simple measures can be put into place. Easily!!! If Congress could just get up off their wallets.

      • I am shocked how easy it is to purchase a gun in this country. And you are so right Nancy about Congress making decisions with their wallets. It is all about power and greed.

  • As you noted in your recent email LuAnn, I’ve taken an (unplanned) hiatus from the blogosphere for several weeks but I’ve been saving your posts from the last month to savor and this morning seemed like the perfect time. A month has gone by since you wrote this one and NOT ONE THING HAS CHANGED. Its truly unbelievable and Terry’s question, “Is our country going bat-shit crazy?” looks like it’s been answered daily with a (whispered by many) and a resounding “Yes” by those braver, including thousands of courageous kids. It’s not so hard to envision a civil war in the US at this point in time when I see the growing division within my family (thankfully Richard’s side are saner) and the growing list of topics that we can no longer mention, let alone debate. Last year we skipped our annual visit back to the US and a stay at my sister’s because I couldn’t stand the thought of listening to FOX news droning in the background and my dutiful Skype conversations with my 82-year old mother who talks about “those Muslims” and parrots her fundamentalist minister, leaves me angry at myself for swallowing my words and keeping things “civil” when our calls conclude. I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughtful “stream of consciousness post” but might have to disagree on your statement about the fabric of our country slowly unraveling. To me, it looks like great chunks of fabric are being scissored out and that we could hear the sound of a huge ripping apart at any time when every day brings about some new outrage and assault on the values we cherish and our democracy. Anita

    • So glad to hear from you Anita, and I always appreciate your thoughtful, honest commentary. Since it has been a month since I wrote this I must agree with you that the fabric of our country is not slowly unraveling any longer but is being savagely ripped apart. Thankfully I cannot stay tapped in 24/7 like back at home but when I do check in I am sickened. Our entire families on both sides are tRumpers and your mother sounds exactly like Terry’s mother. She knows better than to say anything to Terry any more about politics but still tries to add it to any conversation I have with her. Consequently, I don’t speak to her often and remind her when I do that this is a topic we strongly disagree on and won’t be discussing. It is looking more and more like an exodus from our country could be in our future. I hope your hiatus from blogging has been restful.

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