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Je suis ignorant

I guess you could classify this under social commentary, but I don’t think I’ve earned that right as I don’t participate enough in society.

If I’m ignorant when it comes to a topic, I admit it.  If I’m ignorant when it comes to a topic, I try not to have an opinion until I’ve educated myself.  And I mean IMMERSED and researched.  All sides.  All information I can find.

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My first reaction, as a writer,  to the horror that occurred in Paris was to post ‘Je suis Charlie’ on my Facebook along with R.I.P.

charlie

Afterall, ‘Freedom of Speech!’ right?

I know what I’m told.

I know what I read.

I don’t know where people who tell me things learned the ‘things’.

I don’t know what is true and what is false when I am reading something.

Unless I know the person a story is about personally, and they’ve confided in me their motives and I’ve seen how they not only talk, but walk in life – I can’t believe anything I read or hear.

My friend Jake posted something today that had me chiming in.  In lieu of screen shots, I’ll share the link, then the back and forth out of respect for keeping his full name and profile pic anonymous.

Here’s the link

Here’s the back and forth:

Me: (After not even reading the whole article) I love this comment:” #JeSuisAhmed, the policeman who died defending a magazine’s right to insult his religion and culture” Yeah. just horrible all around.

Jake: It’s so reactionary, so fucking ignorant

Jake: How is it that we can’t differentiate between martyring someone and enabling terrorist martyrs ?

Me: I’m lost now. I’m really not sure how I feel about any of this. I truly liked and agree with that comment.

Jake: It’s not easy – it’s so damn disturbing

Jake: Sorry I think I am not helping – I am angry at social media for simplifying this

Me: Bottom line for me – I’m torn. I think about the WWII cartoons of Jews … and how horrific that all turned out. Then I think of how radical the extremists are and no matter how offended they were, they still don’t get to come in and kill someone to edit them. They threatened, he stood his ground, they followed through. They don’t get to dictate that way. On the other hand, I think the press goes beyond freedom of speech sometimes and crosses over into the realm of ‘hate crime’ with their satire. Especially in the opinions of extreme believers. UG. It’s all so bonkers. Je suis Ahmed & Charlie. And open to hearing others opinions about it.

Jake: We have the luxury of witnessing violence without facing it often – I support everything you are saying here – and that’s exactly what i hoped for – intelligent thought, based in experience – and I know you have more than most

Me: wow. Thanks.

(I should clarify, this is a man who has traveled, whose opinion I value – who has, like me, experienced things outside of one country.  He’s an artist and a writer and an dear friend. So my ‘wow thanks’ was sincere.)

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But I don’t deserve it.

I have nothing much to add to this conversation but my own struggles with what is black, what is white, what is grey – and most of it is grey.  I can only share my confusion at the world.

My frustration with religion.  My awe that there are people out there that believe SO strongly in something they are willing to die for it – be it not heeding a death threat or blowing themselves up.

I do not have that kind of Faith in anything.

I don’t.

I could go on and on and on.  About almost envying that amount of Faith – about how there are extremists in ALL religions and beliefs.  Westboro Church, do they get freedom of speech?  Who decides what is appropriate and what is not appropriate?

If we’re against someone killing because they believe so strongly that they are right, does that mean we are against the death penalty?

I’m going to stop, because I’m ‘Tangent Queen’ as we know.

I know that I don’t know enough yet.  Not to feel confident in having faith in a response or an opinion.

But what IS the difference between:

This

germanprop

And this:

charliemag

My ‘social commentary’ final thoughts:

There are extremists in every genre of society.  I do not judge a belief system by the actions of a few.

I love life, liberty and humanity.

There still is SUCH good – Please watch this video filmed in Istanbul (grateful  to have visited there years ago) and let’s take a mental bath! (Ironically, this was posted on my wall today for a different reason by my dear friend Betty.  So glad I watched it.  Please watch to the end if you can – for reasons …)

I know I could use a hug right now.

#Je suis CharMed.

Mercy for me – justice for others

I don’t subscribe to that.

I find myself living to the contrary.  Justice for me and mercy for others.

I have a hard time accepting mercy or even believing I deserve it.  I hold myself to making amends and am pretty hard on myself.

But others …

Some of this might sound a little like I’m siding with, or making excuses for some pretty awful people.  Please bear with me.

I hope I can make my point well.

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It breaks my heart when I hear about a young person committing a horrific crime.  Yes, even Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  He’s still a teenager!

It’s a proven fact that the brain is not fully developed until aged 25. 

The ‘thinking through’ process isn’t there yet.  Not completely.

What he participated in is atrocious, but I can’t help but mourn the loss of his life too.  A bad decision, (to put it mildly) perhaps born from peer pressure,  constant teachings from someone he trusted and looked up to – has taken any future he might have had.  Gone.  In the blink of an eye.  No do-overs.

Adults too – Consider this scenario, having gone to dinner – perhaps an impromptu celebration, someone has a glass of wine too many. They get in their car, and end up killing someone.  This is was not premeditated – the person is not a murderer.  I wonder about their lives before – odds are they were a great parent,  gave to charity, were of service, had friends they supported, family they cared for.  Their future, Gone.  In another blink.

Even when I’m behind someone who’s driving erratically in front of me – I stop and think “Well, maybe they just got into an argument with a loved one, or perhaps they’re running late to work and this is the last chance before they lose their job.”  I don’t get angry.  I slow down.  I consider there is more to the story than I’ll ever know.

But when it comes to me …

I like to think I’ve forgiven myself for the things that haunt me still.  If God forgives me, I have no business not following suit.  But it’s difficult.

I’ll be honest – when things go awry, there is a part of me that thinks I deserve it.  The part of me that has grown so much spiritually, glares at the illogical part of me that believes this then rolls its eyes.  I know better.  But it is still a part of my thinking. 

I pray sometimes for help forgiving myself. 

I feel more for others than I do for me. 

I have an obsession with the mentally ill.  I’m fascinated by the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of behaviors I don’t understand.  I watch shows like Lock Up and the like, and I see a vacancy in murderers eyes.  I think, they are capable of such atrocities for a reason.  Probably partially born that way, then environment pushing them into the wrong direction. 

What if they had love?  What if they had services to treat their mental illness?  How could they stand a chance without those things?

Of course, I mourn for their victims too – but I do find myself thinking about all involved. 

And it’s just such a shame – and such a loss.  Those men behind bars were once someone’s babies.  They were small and innocent and hopeful once.  Then lost.  Or perhaps never stood a chance.

And if my heart can be open for them, why not for me? 

Another thing to contemplate and pray on.

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The Help and how I almost didn’t.

Ug.  I swear, tomorrow, I’ll find adorable kittens or whip up some comedy for you.  But – I must share what happened yesterday and today.

It is ironic that as I sat outside reading ‘The Help’, I heard something that would lead me to an internal struggle whether or not to do exactly that.

My home sits on a lot across from another home.  Our area is so quiet, that I can hear laughter or a sneeze from neighbors in close proximity to me.

It wasn’t laughter I heard yesterday though, but an argument that quickly escalated to screaming and eventually “Stop!” and “Why do you always do this?”.  I tried to keep reading.

Who knows?  They could have had a few too many beers watching football and were just having a really, really loud argument?

Still, memories came flooding back and my stomach was in tight little knots.  The soles of my feet felt cold and tingled.

Fighting scares me.  My inner child had already assumed the fetal position – while my outer ‘grown-up’ re-read the same sentence several times before giving up.  I placed my bookmark between the pages and  hoped the argument would soon stop.

But I knew better.

Or worse.

You can tell when the screaming abates and starts up in another room along with panic sounds and thumps.

Do I call the police?

Do I stay out of it?

What about retaliation?  After all, we live so close to each other!

I have my son to think of, my dog.  What if there’s payback?

WHAT AM I THINKING?! Of course you call!

But I can’t.

I go in and think about it.

What if I’m wrong?  What if he goes to jail – and then they can’t buy the kids Christmas presents?  The kids?!  But, I hadn’t heard them …

I come back out to sit and see if it’s over.

Instead of audio, I now have a visual.  I see a lady emerge from the house with shirtless children, telling them “Because daddy won’t let us in to get dressed, because daddy tried to kill mommy”.

OK.

Now I’m calling.

Had I known the children were in there the whole time, I would have called right away.  (This was not an assumption I could have made – I hardly ever see them, they seem to be there part-time?  They never play outside. Only time I hear them is when mom is yelling at one of them).

Now, while I’m pretty sure that woman has been physically abused, I am angry with her.

I am angry because that had better be her LAST walk from that house after telling her little ones what she just told them.

If she forgives her abuser, and goes back – those children get to be in a house with the monster that ‘tried to kill mommy’.

I understand adrenaline.  I understand she probably wasn’t thinking straight – and KUDOS for taking the children with her out of the house – but you DO NOT tell your children something like that unless you never plan to put them back into the home with that someone who ‘tried to kill mommy’.

In my opinion.

When I used to argue with my ex-husband, we were as quiet as possible.  When the kids showed concern, we would always tell them ‘people disagree sometimes’ or make them feel safe in some other way.

He never hit me.

But I have been in an environment like the one I finally called the Sheriff about.

And there were nights I wished someone would have called the police.

My report was anonymous, until this morning.

The deputy called me as I’d just finished getting ready for work.  Could I meet him East on a cross street?

“You mean, just before the boat?”

“Affirmative”

(Couldn’t have just said ‘hey, meet me by the boat?’ Civilian here – and a geographically challenged one at that!)

They had found the woman yesterday, and she had confessed it was not the first time he’d done that to her. 

Now, I don’t know if she was wavering, recanting or what, because it turned out they wanted me to be a ‘victim’ of disorderly conduct.  To build a case? I don’t know.

“Did the altercation bother you?”

Of course it bothered me!!  Those poor kids!

“I’ll do whatever I need to do to help the kids” I hear myself say.

I’m then asked to write a report, in my secluded , anonymous spot in the middle of the damn street. 

Cheese and rice.

Could have just hung a sign on my house that said, ‘she’s the one that called it in’.

I am writing my statement and worried about retaliation, I am writing and I’m sad because although she was told NOT to return to the house, the Sheriff is pretty sure she did.

I am mad at that woman for keeping her children in that environment.

But … who am I to criticize?

We never know how we’re going to react in the face of such a happening.  We like to think we know what we would do, we know what we’re SUPPOSED to do.

But trust me.  As an educated, strong, woman who after a rape, took a long hot shower before going to the hospital, we do not always DO what we know we should!

We know better and yet, stress, panic, fear, shock, will take away every single after school special lesson and public service piece of advise we’ve seen on a topic and we just won’t always do the right thing.

At least when I finally called, I knew I had.

I realize I sound pretty harsh when it comes to the woman – I just get so wound up when it comes to children.  I DO wish the mom love, and safety, strength and hope and to know she is worth more than that! 

She has a shot at changing her life, it will be hard, and it will be scary.  The unknown always is. 

But I know people who read this blog that have done it, and people in my life who have done it. 

Until she does it – those children (who are little girls by the way) are stuck in that sickness – soaking in that relationship – having it become their normal.  I pray the mom is given the strength to do the right thing.

 

But what does that make me?

I had an ‘interaction’ with a customer last week that left a foul taste in my mouth.  She had come in to drop off paperwork and in her brief time in the office, put down three races.  My jaw was literally on the ground. 

I ABHOR racism, homophobia, sexism – insert any other prejudice-ism here ____. You get the point.

She was a total stranger.  We were total strangers to her.  So that fact that she was comfortable using her vile descriptive ‘names’ she had for ‘them’ in front of us in a business environment was quite shocking and I knew, then and there, I did not like this woman.

She came back today – wearing perfume that was SO very cloying and … well, you know that particular ‘scent’ a perfume gives off when it’s expired?  Yeah, that was intermingled as well.

I got to thinking though – me sitting there, judging her and her nauseating perfume – was that any better than her judging others?

If she was a sweet, kind, non-racist person – would her perfume be any less cloying?  (Honestly probably not, it was pretty bad). OK, would I have tolerated her perfume if I hadn’t already decided I didn’t like her?

I really try NOT to hate.  I try not to judge.  I trust until I have a reason not to.  I love until I have a reason not to.

If her opinion came from ignorance, then that’s forgivable, and is it really my business?  She doesn’t need me to forgive her.  She doesn’t need me to like her.

In my opinion.

What she does need to do is watch what she says around me though, because I think that NOT saying something in response to words of hate is the same as condoning it.  I will, very professionally of course, say something.

 

Broken or evil?

In the news was a story about a missing 10-year-old girl.  The news now tells us that a seventeen year old boy has been arrested in connection to the abduction and murder of that little girl.

The teens mother called the police and he turned himself in.  I know in my head and my soul that was the right thing for her to do, but for the life of me – can not imagine or begin to fathom her pain!

It makes me think of one of my favorite quotes by W.H. Auden

“Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table”.

I then think of the definition of evil. Profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, esp. when regarded as a supernatural force.

Are people who commit murder evil?  Or are they ill?  I’m not talking about self-defense, I’m talking about taking someones life intentionally for no apparent justifiable reason.

Each one of us is capable of murder. But we’re wired to NOT.

So what is happening when there’s nothing in your head, heart or soul that shouts “NO!”  And what must it be like to go through life that way?

I’m not excusing, justifying or siding with murderers, please don’t get me wrong!

But I struggle with this.  If someone is born without the ability to understand right from wrong,  void of the ability to empathize or sympathize and is capable of taking someones life  – aren’t they too victims?  Wired differently – from birth.

It boggles my mind.

When I’m in public, especially a large chain store – I wonder who just smiled at me, who just brushed past me.  I passively interact with hundreds of people, and among them, statistics dictate there MUST be a sampling of child molesters, rapists, murderers …  that man who held the door open for me, does he go home and beat his wife?

I drive to work and see children waiting at various bus stops to go to school and wonder which ones didn’t sleep well the night before due to abuse in the house.

Bullies.  Well, of course I hated them as a child.  But I know now they’re projecting their own pain onto others.

There’s just so much more than meets the eye.  Definitely a topic I probably shouldn’t dwell too much on.  But I am fascinated by human behavior.

What courage it took for that mother to turn her son in.  I don’t know if I could have done that.  I think a part of me would be in such denial – my first instinct would probably be to want to grab my ‘baby’ and run!  Run away with him and try to make him well!

She did the right thing.

My heart aches for that little 10-year-old girl and her family.

My heart aches for the confessed murders family.

But is it wrong that my heart also aches for that 17-year-old who can never undo the life changing horror he committed?