fiction, music, politics, true crime, Trump

Trump… the doddering old fool who simply won’t go away…

I’ve had an idea for a satire story rattling around in my head for the past few days. I shared it with Bill the other day, and he was enthusiastic about it. In fact, this morning, he offered an idea of his own– characters I could create and flesh out for the story. In the past, that would have been enough for me to sit down at my computer and start typing. I would compose the story as it came to me, and I would do it not for money or fame, but because it was a lot of fun.

Now, I’m finding it a bit harder to be motivated about creative writing. I’ve already written about this trouble I’ve been having recently, with having the desire to sit down and focus. But, at least the ideas are coming back to me. I do think I would enjoy writing something snarky, funny, and fictional. I don’t know who would read it, but I think I would delight in writing it… especially if Bill helped me. We can be pretty entertaining when we’re working together. I think I’ll take some more time to come up with more of a plot. If one ever develops, I may put up yet another one of my fictional stories in this blog. Maybe it will be a good way of escaping the horrors of the news cycle today.

I noticed, as I was waking up, that there was yet another shooting in the United States. This time, it was at Greenwood Park Mall in Indianapolis, Indiana. Four people died, including the shooter. At this point, I see that two people were injured during the attack, which was evidently stopped by a “good guy with a gun”. The “good Samaritan” was a 22 year old man who was lawfully carrying a weapon and managed to stop the shooter just as he was getting started.

I’m glad that there was finally a “good guy with a gun” who was available and willing to use his weapon to stop the latest gun toting freak from killing more innocent people than the three souls who were unlucky enough to be in his range. At the same time, I’m horrified that people feel like they need to carry guns wherever they go, because we have unhinged nut jobs who want to hurt and kill people. I don’t see how anyone can feel relaxed in the United States right now. There doesn’t seem to be much of a rhyme or reason to these incidents. They are completely unpredictable, and that is terrifying.

In other news, a friend of mine commented on a pretty cringeworthy video of Donald Trump dancing at a rally held in May of this year.

He’s a doddering old fool.

The comments on the above video were divided between the willfully ignorant Trump supporters, who can’t wait for him to be re-elected, to people like me and my friend, who are devastated at the idea that he might win again. Personally, I doubt Trump will ever be president again, although he won’t stop trying to be re-elected until he’s dead. Why do I think this? It’s because I think the most powerful people in the Republican Party don’t want him to be re-elected. They’ve already seen what he does when he’s in power, and they don’t like it.

Trump doesn’t take direction from more experienced or smarter people. He doesn’t follow orders. He acts on his own whims. He’s a loose cannon who thrills people who don’t really care about his shortcomings, but just find him entertaining and charismatic. Yes, that crowd can bring in the votes to get Republicans in power, but there’s a price to be paid for their loyalty. Quite a lot of those folks are willing to break the law to force their wills on everyone. I don’t think the likes of Mitch McConnell or Lindsey Graham necessarily want to consort with the Proud Boys. They want rich, compliant, religious people who will believe their lies about family values and less government overreach, as they hide the real motives for their policies behind noise that keeps everyone distracted.

Besides, Trump has proven that he’s not loyal to anyone but himself. If he gets back into office, there will be no controlling him. He would like to be a dictator who never leaves office. I don’t think that’s what the Republican Party really wants. They want someone who will do their bidding. I think they would rather have Ron DeSantis as president. I also think DeSantis would really suck as the POTUS… but at least at this point, I think he would be more willing to cooperate with other politicians. Trump just wants to be the most powerful man on Earth again. He doesn’t give a fuck about anyone but the man looking back at him in his gaudy, gilded mirror. Moreover, he would certainly not perform better than Biden has. He would just bluster more. People want to hold Joe Biden responsible for all of the bad things in the world right now. But the fact is, inflation, high gas prices, and violence are global problems.

Boy, do I wish Trump supporters would wake the fuck up…

It makes me sad to see how blind people are to who Trump really is. And if he was terrible in his first term, he will be absolutely insufferable in his second. What I hope happens is that he will run as an Independent. People will vote for him, and that will take votes away from DeSantis. I also hope that the Democrats have a different candidate, other than Joe Biden. I appreciate Biden’s work, and I don’t blame him for the problems we’re having right now, which are clearly global issues, but we need someone younger, more dynamic, and with more courage. Biden is simply too old to handle the job.

But mostly… I sit here thinking sometimes that the people who wind up getting murdered might be the lucky ones. They don’t have to sit by and watch this colossal shit show anymore. It’s depressing to see how messed up the USA is, and how it’s not getting any better. But… I try to maintain some hope, since I know there have been many very dark eras in history. They eventually passed. This will, too.

I think the whole abortion debate is keeping everyone distracted from the big picture. While we’re all outraged, arguing about women’s rights, which I agree are very important, there’s other stuff going on that we aren’t paying as much attention to right now. I fear that those things will become more apparent later, as people start to realize how the abortion bans are going to make huge problems that will affect everyone. The bans are going to lead to higher healthcare costs, more provider burnout and shortages, more incarcerations, and more mortality and morbidity. Moreover, people will not stop fighting or arguing over this issue, so it will keep a lot of folks distracted from the big picture– you know, things that will make life more equitable for everyone, not just rich, white people.

Ah well… at least I’m 50. Before long, I’ll be old enough to exit this nightmare. For now, I think I’ll enjoy beautiful music, Bill’s company, and whatever else brings me pleasure. And maybe I will get around to writing that satire piece that is stuck in my head. Usually, these things end up being so compelling that I just sit down and do it. At least there are still boys with beautiful voices around, to remind us all that the world is full of wonders. But it’s easy to forget that, when we have people like Donald Trump refusing to ride off into the sunset or to Hell, where he belongs.

Here’s a little “Deep Peace” for everyone. We could all use it.

I sure do miss the days when I was complacent about politics. I miss the days when I didn’t care about politicians, because they all seemed to be the same, regardless of the party. Donald Trump is a completely different beast. He’s done criminal things. He owes billions of dollars. He would never get a security clearance if he were a regular person, looking for a government job. Why so many so-called God fearing, red blooded Americans want this obvious morally deficient con man and criminal back in the White House, I will never know. I wish they would wake up. You want to vote Republican? Fine. But let us, please, get someone in office who has a moral compass, for the good of EVERYONE.

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Germany, music, News, social media, YouTube

Time to change the subject…

Yesterday was quite a day. It wasn’t a bad day, per se. We had beautiful weather, and I was productive, with new posts on this blog and the travel blog. I also made a new music video, which was very suddenly inspired after lunch, as I was listening to my HomePod. The Cox Family’s beautiful version of “I Am Weary, (Let Me Rest)” came on. I like to sing that song and realized that I hadn’t recorded it yet. I also realized that there were three chords in the song and I could play it on my guitar. So that’s what I did…

I think it turned out nicely, even with my amateur guitar work.

Originally, I tried to make a live video to go with this. I even put on makeup! But after four takes, I just couldn’t get the video to look right. I get pained looks on my face when I sing, and I just felt too unattractive and self-conscious. So I used photos of the Rhein River and my dogs who were… resting.

I didn’t share this video far and wide, nor did I really promote it. I did share it on the Recovery from Mormonism board, because there are people there who seem to enjoy my videos. It was kind of disheartening that the first comment was from someone who wasn’t logged in, and they decided to provide links to the original song. I thought about asking the person what they thought of the video I made, since that was the topic I started. Then I realized asking what they thought of the topic at hand would make me sound egotistical and entitled, so I ignored the person’s comment. There was one other comment. It was from the resident legal all knower, who enjoys arguing with people and telling them they’re “wrong”, even on matters of opinion. Her comment was about the Cox Family, too. I kind of wish I could just delete the thread, now. I guess I won’t share links on RfM anymore.

Well, at least Bill liked the video. He was visibly excited when I was done recording. No, he wasn’t “excited” in that way. 😉 The below post from Facebook gave me a good chuckle. I don’t think Planet Earth is where this fellow lives. Why is he so obsessed with looking at other men’s junk?

Religious people are fucked.

A couple of days ago, Bill and I attended a little fest in Hofheim, which I included in my post about it on the travel blog. As I heard about the shootings at the Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, it occurred to me how fortunate we’ve been, living in a country where most people aren’t armed. At that little fest we attended, people were singing and dancing to live music, arm in arm. They weren’t hurling insults at each other, based on their religion or political beliefs. And I never once worried that someone might get shot. In fact, I felt very safe, as the fire brigade was there, showing off their fire engines. We also ran into a very charming gentleman with an organ grinder, playing and singing music to kids and making balloon animals. It used to be that way in the United States. Unfortunately, it’s not like that now.

As the day wore on, I found myself drawn into Twitter again, reading irrational comments from abusive people who compared anyone pro-choice to people like Jeffrey Dahmer and Adolf Hitler. I don’t understand why these folks don’t have an issue with gun toting nuts roaming the streets who open fire on innocent bystanders at parades, but they can’t abide a woman having an early abortion of an embryo, which isn’t yet sentient and has no concept of life, death, pain, or terror. But these folks aren’t known for their brain power or reasoning skills, are they?

I ended up waking up at 3:15 am to go to the bathroom, and when I noticed I had a shit ton of notifications from strangers on Twitter, I decided to delete the app. I’m going to have to make a conscious decision not to visit Twitter often, because it’s far too toxic and abusive, and I have to safeguard my mental health. That’s also where Ex lurks, and while her tweets are good fodder for my blog, they aren’t very good for my mental health, either.

Speaking of Ex… or not really speaking of her, but her granddaughter… The little girl turned 3 yesterday. Younger daughter sent us a video, showing off one of the gifts Bill sent. It was a little pink princess tent, which they had already put up for her. I was the one who suggested the tent. I figured she’s the only girl now, and she might like to have a little tent as she gets a bit older. It will make a place for her to play with her toys, take naps, and read books, if she likes reading. Apparently, the tent was a big hit with big brother, too. He got on the camera and showed off a new toy he got. Bill also bought his granddaughter a little STEM garden toy, that teaches kids about how to garden. It might be a little advanced for her now, but she’ll probably love it when she’s a bit older.

Bill’s birthday is also coming up. I bought him a pair of Keen sandals. He’d asked for them, having worn Keen shoes for years. The Keen shoes are very comfortable, but they don’t breathe. The sandals don’t have that problem. I have worn Keens for over ten years now. They are my favorite summer shoes. I can’t wear their other shoes, though. In the winter, I wear Danskos. So much for stylin’, although neither of these shoes are inexpensive brands. They just aren’t particularly sexy. I dress for comfort.

Anyway… I don’t have it in me to write a screed today. I need a break from the usual topics. I found myself, once again, getting very angry about the lunacy coming from the United States. Sometimes, living over here makes me feel a strange sort of “survivor’s guilt”. I’m really feeling a lot of disdain for the United States now. It’s gotten absolutely crazy.

Another July 4th is down the tubes. July historically sucks for us, so hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come in 2022.

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mental health, modern problems, true crime

Americans are both awesome and awful people…

There has been quite an interesting array of news stories lately. Last night, I read a truly heartwarming story about a young man in Alabama who showed up to work the morning shift at a Waffle House on his graduation day. He’d had the day scheduled off, but his mom had to work and couldn’t take him to the ceremony, and he is not in touch with his dad. So he went to work, instead.

The 18 year old, whose name is Timothy Harrison, wanted to walk across the stage to get that diploma he’d worked so hard to earn. But since there was no way to make it happen, he resigned himself to going to work and making some money, instead. Timothy’s boss, Cedric Hampton, wasn’t having it. He and the assistant manager, as well as other co-workers and a couple of customers banded together to see to it that Timothy could have that rite of passage experience that is so important for so many.

By the time I’d finished reading this uplifting story, I had tears welling in my eyes. I was truly moved to read this story about good people doing great things. Americans love to help an underdog, and they are capable of great support and largesse for people who have a good story. Timothy Harrison’s story was so good that he also got a full scholarship from Lawson State Community College, whose faculty members got wind of his work ethic. Now, instead of following his plan continuing to wait tables at the Waffle House and, perhaps, later joining the military (which isn’t actually a bad plan for many people), Harrison will be going to college to study business and computer science.

As you know, I have nothing against people who join the military. It’s a great career for plenty of folks, my husband included. BUT– it’s not for everyone… and thanks to the kindness of Timothy Harrison’s “Waffle House work family”, Harrison will have another choice that could potentially change his life’s course forever. And that change could have significant ripple effects for other people in Timothy’s life. Thinking about that made me feel great and hopeful for the future.

But then I woke up this morning and read another sad and senseless story about violence over face masks… I was reminded that Americans can be awesome. They can also be awful!

Although a lot of people are ditching the masks as COVID-19 infections are waning among the vaccinated, not all areas are yet finished with the mask requirements. Such is the case in Decatur, Georgia, where Victor Lee Tucker, age 30, had stopped to pick up groceries at a Big Bear Supermarket. Mr. Tucker was not properly wearing a mask when he approached the cashier (now identified by police as Laquitta Willis, 41) to pay for his items. Tucker and the cashier got into an argument about how he was wearing his mask (according to the Washington Post, Tucker was wearing a mask, but not correctly). He got pissed off and left without buying the items. But then he immediately came back and shot the cashier, killing her.

Tucker also shot 54 year old Danny Jordan, the off duty police officer who was moonlighting as a security guard at the store. Fortunately, Jordan was wearing a bulletproof vest, which probably saved his life. Another cashier was slightly wounded by a bullet that grazed her. She was treated at the scene, while the cashier and Tucker, who was shot by the guard, were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. Tucker is listed in stable condition. Deputy Jordan, who was shot twice, went to Atlanta Medical Center, where he is also listed in stable condition.

I have not made it a secret that I despise the face masks. I think that while they are helpful in preventing the spread of virus particles, they also cause a lot of problems for many people. For that reason, it’s my hope that they go away soon. Too many people are being inconvenienced by the masks, but more troublingly, people are also DYING over enforcing their use. Imagine trying to avoid getting COVID-19 and dying anyway because you asked someone to wear a mask properly and they shot you! Edited to add, June 16th– the indoor mask mandate was in effect in Decatur, Georgia on Monday, when Willis was killed. It’s due to expire next week.

But people definitely shouldn’t be killing and dying over the face mask issue. Of course Tucker was absolutely wrong to kill the cashier over something so utterly stupid. He probably shot her because he felt the need to “protect his freedoms”. Maybe he felt like the mask was oppressive and was finally fed up with being “oppressed”. Maybe that was why he felt justified in killing an innocent person. But that was an erroneous notion on his part. And now, he will lose his freedom and be forced to wear a prison uniform and, it’s very likely, a face mask, along with all the other stuff prisoners are forced to wear.

In all seriousness, it does make me sad to think about Tucker going to prison over this. He’s a 30 year old man, who had his whole life ahead of him. I don’t know what kind of a person he is when he isn’t losing his cool and blowing hourly wage earning cashiers away over face mask rage. I’d like to hope he’s not all bad, as I don’t think most people are all bad. But it’s hard to understand why someone would be so unhinged that he’d just callously snuff out some innocent lady’s life because of a face mask. It’s tragic and ridiculous on so many levels.

Personally, I think if I were in the States, I wouldn’t confront anyone over the masks. It’s just not worth it. Our culture is so strange– people are encouraged to be “nice”, and we hate confrontations and conflict. And yet, so many of us are carrying weapons! And so many are apparently on the edge of insanity! Would Tucker have killed anyone two years ago, before COVID-19 face mask requirements was a thing? I honestly think that the risk of getting the virus may be lower than the risk of being shot in some parts of the USA. There have been so many stories about people killing and dying over face masks! It’s crazy! It baffles me that so many Americans seem to enjoy busting people over the masks. The New York Times called it a “new American pastime.” I think I’d be too scared to say anything to someone about the masks. I’d rather just get away from them.

I don’t know if the cashier was required to enforce the mask policy or she just decided to on her own. I would certainly never say that she shouldn’t feel free to enforce the mask requirements in a private business. BUT… there is a real danger in doing so, as her story, as well as so many others, have shown. I hope there will come a day soon when the mask requirements go away so this particular issue won’t be something people continue to die over.

And that makes me think of something else… does it seem to you like America has gotten way more extreme? It seems like fewer people are moderate nowadays. I feel like I run into more extremely “woke” people and extremely conservative people than I used to. I still tend to be pretty middle of the road– leaning a bit more left lately, but not extremely so. But the past five years, which I have not spent in the States, make me a little scared to go back home. I feel like today’s America is not the America I knew.

According to the Washington Post, 2020 was the deadliest year for shootings and, so far, 2021 is even worse. Within the first five months of 2021, 8100 people in the United States lost their lives to gun violence. Much of the violence seems to come from frustration and anger over the pandemic situation and all of the problems that are affiliated with it. The Washington Post reports that the violence started to edge upwards from April 2020, when the virus started to become a real problem. I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to “normal”… but it sure is sad to me that a deadly virus killed so many people and so many citizens are also dying because of gun violence… or they’re being hit and run, like my old friend Matt was last month. The week Matt died, another person was also killed in a hit and run in the same area. It’s also a problem on the rise, perhaps caused by very angry people who have no regard for other people.

Well… at least I was able to start this post with a feel good story. I wish Timothy Harrison much luck as he embarks on what could be a very bright future. I hope he avoids gun violence and the virus. I hope he goes to school and sets the world on fire as he puts his promising work ethic to the test in a tough world. I, for one, would not want to be young again for anything! But I have high hopes for Harrison and his Waffle House family. His story, coupled with the cashier’s story, really show how awesome and awful Americans can be.

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true crime

Women in Alabama ought to be up in arms!

Alabama is in the news again for its increasingly misogynistic views and policies regarding females, particularly those of color. In May of this year, Alabama’s female, Republican governor, Kay Ivey, signed an unconstitutional bill into law that outright bans most abortions at all stages of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the Internet is abuzz today due to the case of 28 year old Marshae Jones, who was five months pregnant with a girl last December when she was shot in the stomach during a fight with another woman. The fetus did not survive the shooting, which would have been sad enough. What really has people alarmed, though, is that Ms. Jones has now been charged with manslaughter and was just released from jail on a $50,000 bond.

How can this be, you ask? Well, police say that Ms. Jones started the fight that got her shot in the stomach. She did not take steps to keep herself out of harm’s way. Because she was pregnant, they conclude that she should have done all she could to protect her unborn fetus. Since she allegedly started the fight that ended with her being shot and her unborn child’s death, police reason that she should be charged with manslaughter.

But I say hold on there, coppers… what about the woman who did the shooting? Ebony Jemison, who was fighting with Ms. Jones in the parking lot of a Dollar General store over the paternity of the unborn child, was initially charged with manslaughter in the death of the fetus. That charge was dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her. So evidently, Ebony Jemison is now free, even though she shot someone. However, based on reports, she did shoot in self-defense, as she was evidently trying to get away from Jones when she fired her weapon.

Now… having read about this case, I’m pretty dumbfounded. Do I think Marshae Jones was right to get into a violent altercation with another woman over the father of her unborn baby? No, not particularly. Pregnant or not, I think it’s stupid to get into violent fights with other people, particularly if they’re packing heat. However, losing a pregnancy should not be a crime. I’m sure Ms. Jones had no idea she would be shot and her unborn child would be killed. This situation, like others involving pregnant women that have resulted in incarceration, seems to put pregnant women at a different legal status than other people. That’s not fair, and it could set a horrible precedent for other women who might lose a pregnancy that others might deem was due to their negligence.

Complicating matters is the fact that Ms. Jones is a black woman, and I think we know what kind of record Alabama has towards promoting the rights of people of color. This situation is appalling on many levels and reeks a bit of The Handmaid’s Tale to me. Before you know it, pregnant women in Alabama will wind up practically incarcerated by their own accord, trying to avoid being arrested for losing a pregnancy.

The officer who was quoted about this case, Lieutenant Danny Reed of the Pleasant Grove Police Department, had this to say: “When a five-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child. That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.” There’s something about that statement that totally skeeves me out. He sounds like a legalistic cretin who hates women and wants to control them.

I’m glad to see people are outraged about this and saying “Hell no.” This is a slippery slope we really don’t need to be on. I’m also glad to read that prosecutors may choose not to prosecute Marshae Jones for the death of her unborn daughter. It’s not that I don’t think what Jones did was stupid and the loss of her baby was avoidable. It’s just that this could really cause problems for a lot of other pregnant women. Pregnant and breastfeeding women in the United States are already under a microscope, with people calling the cops on them if they think they’re doing anything to harm their unborn fetuses. I’m reminded of Tasha Adams, the woman in Toad Suck, Arkansas, who was arrested when a waitress called the cops on her for drinking while breastfeeding.

Pregnant women should NEVER be prosecuted for losing a pregnancy, regardless of whether or not it was her fault. That’s is a dangerously slippery slope and it will cause a lot of problems. Where do you stop? Should we prosecute women for smoking, drinking, walking after dark alone, or not wearing a seatbelt while pregnant? Should we prosecute them for getting into car accidents, falling down stairs while wearing high heels, or eating food that makes them sick? You see where I’m going with this? And again, I really doubt Ms. Jones knew Ms. Jemison was going to shoot her.

Incidentally, this case predates Alabama’s new law against abortion, so it has no official bearing on this case. However, the fact that people in Alabama want to force women to be pregnant when they may not want to be is a good indicator of how women are treated there. Makes me glad I don’t live there myself… although they obviously could use some more blue voters.

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true crime

In Spain, you can be sentenced to prison for being an asshole…

But in America, we let any nut with a chip on his or her shoulder wield weapons.

Okay, so maybe this is an oversimplification of things. However, I couldn’t help but take notice when I read a news story about YouTuber ReSet (otherwise known as Kanghua Ren) who made over 2000 euros on a video he made in 2017. Mr. Ren, who was 19 years old in 2017, filmed himself offering an Oreo cookie filled with toothpaste and a 20 euro bill to a homeless man sitting outside of a supermarket in Barcelona, Spain. The man, who was probably really hungry, ate the cookie and vomited.

Chinese born Ren, who acknowledged that maybe he went a bit too far in carrying out this prank, then quipped, “This will help clean his teeth– I don’t think he has cleaned them since he became poor.”

The video got plenty of views, which helped Ren make some money. He had made the video, in part, as a response to challenges set forth by his followers, who evidently wanted him to raise the bar on being an asshole and taking advantage of vulnerable people. However, a lot of people found his dirty trick completely reprehensible.

The homeless man, in his early 50s and identified as Gheorge L., was born in Romania and was once a shepherd before he wound up in Barcelona. He has a daughter. Mr. Ren offered her 300 euros not to file a lawsuit after having filmed himself visiting her father again, offering him another 20 euro bill.

Clearly, Gheorge’s daughter was not moved by the offer of 300 euros. Mr. Ren was forced to answer for his callous behavior in a Spanish courtroom. Noting that Ren had done other videos depicting himself being cruel to vulnerable people, Judge Rosa Aragonés found Ren guilty of violating the moral integrity of the homeless man. She sentenced Mr. Ren to fifteen months in prison and handed down a 20,000 euro fine, which is to be paid to the homeless man.

Because this is Mr. Ren’s first offense, and the sentence is less than two years, he is unlikely to go to prison. However, he has also been ordered to shut down all of his social media channels, including YouTube, for the next five years. I guess this means Mr. Ren will have to find another way to make some cash.

It’s interesting to read about this case, especially in the wake of the most recent shooting in the United States. On Friday afternoon, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, 40 year old DeWayne Craddock, who had just resigned his position as a city engineer that morning, brought a weapon into his former workplace and started firing indiscriminately, killing 12 people and injuring others. Craddock, who died in the shootout, was reportedly a “nice guy” who had quit his job for “personal reasons”. And yet, there he was with a gun on Friday, ending the lives of 12 people, including Keith Cox, who led seven people to safety before he was killed. Before he went on his rampage, my guess is that most people didn’t think of Craddock as an “asshole”.

In Europe, a person can wind up in trouble with the law simply for being an asshole. Granted, what Kanghua Ren did could have been dangerous. It’s not recommended to eat toothpaste and his victim did vomit after eating the Oreo cookie. But ultimately, what he did was mean spirited and cruel, and that was what he was punished for. He wasn’t punished for potentially poisoning someone.

In the United States, it takes a whole lot to deprive people of certain rights. One right far too many Americans enjoy is the right to bear arms. Lately, the shootings have become so common that I no longer really feel shocked when I hear or read about them. Something is causing ordinary people to simply snap and start murdering people.

Christi Dewar, who was employed at the Virginia Beach utilities office and had worked there for thirteen years, said that Mr. Craddock was well dressed and soft spoken. She had no reason to fear him. She said he was a bit introverted, but gave no signs of being the type or person who would go on a shooting rampage. But on his last day living, Mr. Craddock came armed with handguns, high capacity magazines, and a silencer device. He cracked off at least fifty rounds at his former co-workers before he was finally taken out himself. Dewar says that she thinks all of the government buildings need metal detectors and security guards. She says she would happily tolerate daily searches if it means never having to go through another shooting. I would rather not give up more of my personal liberty in the name of stopping gun violence. I don’t think metal detectors and security guards will necessarily protect anyone. Security guards are people too, and if someone is that determined to kill, they’ll still kill… even if it means killing someone else who has a gun.

Seems to me a better solution is to stop making guns so accessible to everyone, make it easier for people to access and afford mental health care, and make eliminating classism and racism a priority. Also, I think there should be more emphasis on not being an asshole. Here in Germany, a person can be fined for flipping someone off, particularly if that person is in a position of respect, such as a police officer or government official. Of course, that doesn’t mean people don’t shoot the bird on the Autobahn. I have seen it happen. But there is an emphasis on not harming other people here– and not being uncivilized to others.

It’s been nice to live in Europe for the past few years, even though I’ve been watching my country disintegrate from afar. It makes me heartsick, and worried about what it will be like when we do move back home. I mean, yes… you can have neighbor disputes in Germany. You can have issues with your co-workers, your landlords, and other people. You can even end up being murdered in a particularly passive aggressive way in Europe. However, random acts of violence against perfect strangers is a lot rarer here than it is in the United States. There are a lot of pissed off, fed up, angry people there who are on the verge of snapping and have lost their senses of decency and humanity.

Anyway… while I’m not sure I think sending a prankster like Mr. Ren to prison is all that constructive, I do think it’s commendable that he’s been held accountable for being mean spirited. Maybe Americans can learn something from Mr. Ren’s case. It’s entirely possible that Europeans have simply had more time to become civilized than Americans have. Maybe, if the Earth is still around in 1000 years, America will be more like Europe is now. Or maybe Europe will be more like America is now. Glad I won’t be around to find out for sure.

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