Monday, December 31, 2012

Newtown: Reflections and Thoughts

No words I could ever write could do justice in paying tribute to the lives lost on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, CT. Rest in Peace: Nancy, Charlotte, Daniel, Rachel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Dawn, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Anne, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Lauren, Mary, Victoria, Benjamin, Allison

We were running late that day and I'll never forget. I trusted him to grab his hat and jacket and his  backpack hung over the side of the kitchen chair. I reached for the keys, my 2 year old and the kitchen door all at once. A clock was ticking in my head. I just wanted to get to the bus stop on time. And we did. What a relief to see all the scarf-wrapped parents and their bundled up kids who blew cold smoke from their mouths at each other, never keeping still, while piping in and out of the chatter that rivaled the songs of the early morning birds above them. And just as I saw the bus approaching, I called out to him to make sure his jacket was zipped up and to grab his back pack, it was time to go. But he forgot his book bag. He looked at me just as disappointed as I was. We had worked so hard on his homework the night before, I told him. And I reminded him before we left out the door. He needed to pay better attention to Mommy, I scolded him. I led him to the line filled with his friends and classmates and patted him on the head. The day almost started without a hitch, but at least we weren't late. I told him to have a good day and always listen to his teacher. The same words I've recited every day since the beginning of every school year. I told him I loved him. I got back in my car and headed back home. My first grader was safe and exactly where he was supposed to be. Then a few short hours later, I learned that 20 children were dead. Shot to death. Murdered in their classrooms in an elementary school in Newtown. My neighbour called and asked if I had heard, but I was busy doing housework and didn't even have the television on. She raced over and we sat and watched and we shook our heads. The details were sketchy at first and later we found that the media had reported a few things that were inaccurate, like the shooter's name, his age, they even said his mother was a teacher at the school. The one thing they had right was that 20 children, 20 first graders were dead. All I wanted to do was run to my first grader, pick him up from school. Maybe he wasn't safe, maybe he wasn't right where he was supposed to be.

But if a 6 or 7 year old child isn't supposed to be in school on a Friday morning in December, where is he supposed to be?  The hours passed and soon so did the days. There were now pictures of these babies, gorgeous and happy, we could see them all and visualize what they were like in life, all the while knowing the horror of how they died. There were the brave stories of their teachers and principal who died trying to protect them. Our hearts as a nation are broken. Those classrooms were my son's classroom. Those teachers were my son's teacher. When I look at those faces, I see my own 6 year old. I see his school class picture and they all look the same. They are 6 and 7 years old. There are no hard lines of a wrinkled, tired face. No signs of struggle or knowledge of the world as a dangerous place. Just toothless smiles and fantastic dreams. Innocence to the nth power. Angels on earth.

Of course gun laws need to be passed, and any pro-gun, NRA card carrying extremist that can't admit that isn't worth debating with. Of course we need to look into mental health and the way the system is failing some of our sickest individuals. Even President Obama said when describing the worst day in his presidency, that there isn't any one answer. But this land is a place where mass shootings occur. A place where the mall, the movie theater, the buildings where we work, and the institutions where our most precious little lives are being groomed and graded, our schools, are simply not safe. Any gunman on a suicidal mission, with a grudge or a vendetta, a history of mental illness or an obsession with guns and violence can just start shooting and we are left to ask why while we deal with the carnage after he kills dozens of people and then himself. He leaves us with no answers, attending funerals, and losing grasp of the most important issues so we can argue about the ones that will get us nowhere.

Put a metal detector at the door of every school, I say. Pat down every visitor. Whoever doesn't like it, don't try to go to any American school. While some people in this country fight for their 2nd amendment rights to carry a weapon, you're missing the point. No one wants to take away your guns, we just want evil people with guns to stop taking away our children.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Unbelievable Tragedy

The details are still so unclear, and I feel bad for this family, I really do, but some things are worth talking about, even if it's prematurely. I just want to dig a little deeper, as I'm sure the police are doing as we speak. The most I know is this: a woman suspects there is someone breaking into her home, or at least attempting to. She doesn't call 911, she calls her brother who lives next door. He shows up with a gun, confronts the "intruder" who allegedly brandishes a knife towards the man. The man feels threatened and shoots, multiple times, killing the would-be burglar only to find out this criminal, this home invader was his own adopted son. What? How did this happen and why?

This took place at 1:30 in the morning. Why didn't Dad know his son was out of the house? And why was the son allegedly trying to break into his own aunt's house? According to police reports he was dressed in all black and even donned a ski mask at the time of his death. Shot several times, including once in the head, the boy lay dead in the driveway, his identity unknown until the ski mask was removed . It was only then that his father realized what he had done. He had killed his own son. I wonder if the police were called before this man pulled his trigger. Were they en route? I can't stop asking myself how. How did this happen? What a horrible way to lose a son. At 15 years old, even if he was troubled (not saying that he was), he still had plenty of life to live and get it right.

Should his father be charged? Or is living with the fact that he took the life of one of his own punishment enough for the rest of his life?

At this time, no charges have been filed.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Standing My Ground on Trayvon

Trayvon Martin didn't have to die. That's what makes his case that much harder to discuss and debate every day. From the very beginning I have tried everything to take race out of the equation because to me, George Zimmerman's race did not (and still does not) matter. He's white, he's Spanish, he's half and half, who cares? He's a man with a gun who shot and killed a teenager who he thought looked suspicious. He is a wanna be cop, a little boy trapped in a 28 year old's body, playing cops and robbers on a rainy night in Sanford. He wasn't going to let this "a**hole" get away. It matters not if Trayvon was 5 foot 3 or 6 foot 7. He is dead for no reason and Florida's self defense law does NOT apply in this case. We need to stop all the extra rhetoric and focus on the injustice at the heart of this case. Zimmerman should be arrested and prove his story in a court of law. Let a jury decide if he in fact was in fear for his life and was justified in pulling that trigger. (I can't imagine too many people equating fists to the bullets in a gun.) As one legal expert stated on CNN, "you have to match deadly force with deadly force". So if Trayvon got fed up with Zimmerman following him as he walked home with his Skittles and iced tea, and he turned around and argued with him, eventually punching him and getting the upper hand on him; does Zimmerman have a right to match his punches with a bullet to the chest? Probably not. Most likely not. Absolutely not! But this is what needs to be debated, everything else is a distraction from what Trayvon's parents and the memory of their son deserves. Arrest Zimmerman now. The foundation is set, the world is watching and we will not look away for a moment.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Way I Feel About Whitney

What do I say about Whitney? Twitter bullies might suggest that none of us thought twice about her until it was announced that she passed away. How unfair and positively untrue! I often find myself trying to imagine what it must be like to be rich, famous and incredibly talented. Being that I am only one of those things, it's a fantasy I play out in my head (mostly when I'm watching MTV Cribs or an episode of Behind the Music.) Believe it or not, I sometimes add in one more element to the dream; what if I were rich, famous, incredibly talented and an addict? Because if at this income level I can afford to buy a bottle of wine at least once a week and a couple shots at the bar to celebrate anything and everything (Superbowl Sunday, Happy Hump Day, I woke up this morning, etc.), would I become an alcoholic if I had millions at my fingertips and my minions at my feet to supply all that I demand? I would imagine that someone who dabbles in recreational drug use might upgrade their status based on their financial ability. Whitney told Oprah she'd been experimenting since before "The Bodyguard", and her habit grew stronger right after the film's release. One has to wonder if the wild success of "I Will Always Love You" had anything to do with that. So we have the riches, the infamy, the talent, the addiction and let's add one more ingredient to this recipe for self-destruction: pressure to out-do perfection. Some people might drop everything and hop a plane to Africa to meditate, others might start smoking cocaine-laced marijuana.

Whitney Houston was America's sweetheart, the ultimate diva, the brightest star of her day, the tragic stereotype, and the tabloids' mistress. See, around here we dispose of you when we're done with you or in some cases, when you run around acting like you're done with yourself. And around here, we then hoist your corpse on the pedestal that you fell off of in the end. No, I can't tell you the first time I heard Whitney Houston sing, or what my favourite song of hers is. And the reason for that is simple. In my life, Whitney Houston always was and always will be. Every song she recorded was her best song. I can't tell you much about 1991, but I remember the Star Spangled Banner. Let me tell you something, Whitney Houston's talent is a reason to believe in God, otherwise we all would be able to sing effortlessly and reign over our crafts supremely. And Whitney Houston's talent proves further that God is real, because without Him there would be no devil to recognize her weaknesses, tempt her and twist her, and take her away. May she rest in peace.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

End Scene!

Teen Mom is one of many shows on television that should have been a one season experiment, a documentary-style look into the lives of young mothers and their triumphs and struggles as they raise their babies over the first year of their life. And then the people at MTV should have moved on and explored another subject, (similar to their True Life series). Watching some of these girls self destruct for the whole world to see is starting to feel disturbing and just plain wrong. I know it's been a bevvy of controversy since the day it first aired, but back then I saw the vision and understood there could be a need for this type of content to air; a young girl out there might learn from it, another might make a choice to never be in these girls' positions, it could have even acted as a guide to parents bringing up an often ignored and uncomfortable topic. But what started off as 16 and Pregnant and has now blossomed into Teen Mom has become a misrepresentation of what the real world is all about. The focus has become less on pregnancy prevention and the importance of finishing school and more about the dysfunction and what I think are unrealistic examples of what the life of a teen mother may become. It seems every time these girls snap their fingers, they're driving a new car, renting a new house, and starting a new job. God knows life just ain't that easy. While it may have been a good idea to use this show to deter young impressionable women from having sex and making poor choices, it's becoming apparent that the folks at MTV have gone down the same path that leads to the Real World and Jersey Shore (without the red cups and distasteful sex scenes). But as with any series that may make you shake your head and pray for our future, there will be a lot more where it came from as long as we the people keep watching. Carry on, MTV...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

We Just Mobbin' Like That

The Mob Wives are back for a second season and they've promised more fights and more drama than the season before and the premiere episode delivered just that. If you've been following Renee on Twitter, than you know she's has been tweeting over the off-season about getting her face peeled, her body lifted, and all kinds of other various plastic surgeries. So there was no surprise when she was laying in a hospital bed after getting fat taken from here and putting it where? Back there. After sitting up too swiftly, she tore the stitches in her back and lost so much blood, she needed a transfusion. As a result, Renee ended up laying on her ass instead of getting a bigger one. Drita is taking boxing lessons to deal with her aggression and ward off any temptation to put someone in the hospital. Karen is still harboring feelings about the fight on the rooftop with Drita and last but not least, we have Carla. Carla's storyline at this point, is so low key and non-existent, I don't really have much more to say besides, she's still being filmed for the show.

The current trend with a few of our favourite reality shows is adding new characters either at the beginning of the season or somewhere in the middle. You blink your eyes and there's a new drama queen swooping down upon the city like a well-scripted, intentionally planted natural disaster. Mob Wives' latest addition is Ramona Rizzo, aka Karen's play cousin. This girl is nothing but trouble as she helps to cultivate the hatred and animosity Karen is feeling toward Drita. And when Renee has a "Celebration of Life" party after healing from her surgical scare, Ramona is the one who turns up the heat when Drita and Karen decide to try to talk things over outside (on the balcony of all places). It was Ramona who spoke up in opposition to the impromptu meeting on the balcony, before Karen could even accept or reject it. It was Ramona who jumped in between the two women and starting waving her hands around, bringing up her personal problems with Drita which had nothing to do with the conversation Karen and Drita were having. I'm not condoning violence, but I can see why Drita felt backed into a corner and ultimately decided to throw the first blow.

In any event, although I'm still a fan of the show and what it could possibly bring to the world of reality television, the way all of these women acted at Renee's party was shocking and immature and probably just a preview of what we should expect throughout the rest of the season.

Friday, January 6, 2012

See No More Evil

Jaycee Duggard, kidnapped, raped, abused and held captive for 18 years, only to return to her family who never lost hope. A full grown woman, a mother, a child who never grew up but was subject to such grown up things. Stephanie Mack, wife to Bernie Madoff's son, Mark, who after all the press and pressure of being the prodigy of the most hated man in America, committed suicide while his young son slept in the next room, leaving his wife to forever live in the menacing shadows of hatred and the inability to forgive. Diena Thompson, mother of Somer Thompson, the Florida girl who at age 7 was snatched while walking home from school, then sexually assaulted and dumped in a landfill like trash. These are the women Americas needs to hear from and should give a voice to. These are true victims who have a story to tell, who may change the world one person at a time, who can possibly prevent children from being kidnapped or murdered. They deserve a platform, an opportunity to say whatever is on their minds. They are the ones who should be given laptops and cameras to record their thoughts and then publish them to the masses.

And then there's Casey Anthony. It's been six months since the young Florida mother has been acquitted of killing her daughter, Caylee, a case and trial we have all come to know in one way or another. After being virtually unseen and unheard since her infamous exoneration, videos and photos are beginning to surface and circulate showing Casey Anthony with a new look and uplifted spirits. She is beaming about acquiring new electronics and elated to finally have something of her own. She talks of her future and the prospect of better days to come. And the media goes insane. They have a field day with the footage. They want to analyze where she was broadcasting from, her lawyers are back on TV, and the trial of the decade has come back to the forefront. According to Ms. Anthony's lawyers, they have no idea how the "video diary" became available and are speculating that her brand new laptop was somehow hacked and the footage leaked to the public against her will. Whether she was hacked, and her personal diaries leaked, whether she posted the video herself, it could all be a conspiracy to get her in line for an interview, a book deal, or a movie even. I don't like it and I wonder when the rest of the world is going to open their eyes and realize that her time should be up. A woman who, although she is free and under the law can never again be prosecuted for killing her child, obviously had something to do with it. She hid Caylee from her parents, she partied and got tattooed, she dodged everyone's questions about where her little girl was, and the common theme throughout it all: she lied! And she never stopped lying. She lied even when there was no reason to and then she lied some more. Why would anyone want to hear anything this mythomaniac has to say?

Let her release a million videos, we should all turn our heads and cork our ears. Even those who are the least bit interested in what she has to say should know that they will never get the truth, therefore, listening in on her "private" thoughts would be for naught! She fabricated the events surrounding the death of her 2 year old daughter, that's where my arousal rests. The networks should run as fast as they possibly can in the other direction and focus on women who have positive, constructive stories to tell, triumphant women who fight for freedom and for the truth. That way, Miss Casey Anthony will no longer be able to lie to the world, the only one left to listen and be amused then, would be no one but herself.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

No Black and Blue? We Don't Believe You!

The current theme of the last couple of weeks of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has been Taylor and Russell Armstrong's marriage and Camille's outburst regarding the now deceased Russell's abuse of his wife. During an intense confrontation at what was supposed to be a dainty get together for a spot of tea, the women decided they didn't believe Taylor's off-camera confessions to them that she was in an abusive marriage. They were confused by the fact that Taylor still made appearances with her husband and continued to stay with him while accusing him of doing her bodily harm. These women, who are all grown and, I would like to think, educated should know better than that. There are plenty of women who are in disastrous relationships who dote on their spouses and still smile at every event, entering the scene hand-in-hand and blowing kisses for public view. These are the same women who when asked, "Why did you stay with him?" are quick to answer as the tears stream from their blackened eyes, "Because I loved him!" For Kyle to say she doesn't know what to believe because she's never seen bruises is such an ignorant statement. It may be that Kyle has no experience with such an extreme and dire situation, but she must know that if a woman is being beaten by her husband, when it's time to hit the streets, she's not going to rock her black and blue contusions along with her Louboutins and Louis Vuitton handbag. She's going to hide the signs of abuse and try her best to cope by smiling through the pain. Or maybe she may not leave the house at all, until she's healed and doesn't have to make excuses about any clues to the domestic violence. So to say, "Until I see it, I don't know what to believe" is such an unsympathetic statement. What kind of friend would second guess or question such an admittance? And what friend actually wants to see the smoke before they believe there is a fire? The other recurring theme has been the Housewives saying over and over that Camille was just repeating what Taylor secretly told all the women over time when she blurted out that Russell was hitting Taylor. The only difference here is, Taylor made her confession off camera, outside of the viewers' sight. Until Russell committed suicide over the summer, we would have never known he broke her jaw or that he slammed her around. Camille was wrong to say such things out in the open and in front of the Bravo cameras. It was off-topic at the time anyway and it did indeed put Taylor in a dangerous situation with Russell. Some may say that by Camille opening that door, Taylor was able to see her husband for what he was and gain the strength to leave him, but the filming of this show and the secrets it was going to reveal could have also led a man to take his own life.

New Year, New You?

Happy new year, Readers! I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks and much appreciation for logging in and reading along. It's 2012, and some people think we only have 11 months left to live, so we better get cracking. And for those of you who are pressuring yourselves with New Year's resolutions; stop it. If something about you needs to be fixed on January 1, it probably needed some fixing long before this holiday. Spend all 365 days of the year self-analyzing and critiquing your motives and actions. Negativity can be changed and bad habits can be dropped any day of the year, so be good to yourselves and don't rush into anything you may not be able to handle because failure could potentially bring you down more so than the problem that you were resolving to fix. Now let's get back to reality!