Starting tomorrow, August 1, 2018, it will be legal in this country to download the instructions for printing guns in your own home on a 3D printer.
The blueprints will be available online and need only be downloaded to one's computer; then add the "ink" - a liquid plastic mixture - to the printer, mouse-click to "print" and, voilà , you'll soon have the snap-together components of this snappy, minimalist little number known as The Liberator,
...or even an AR-15,
...or any of a number of hand guns and rifles, the schematics for which will be available tomorrow for free on the website for Defense Distributed, whose founder, a 30-year-old self-proclaimed gun-rights anarchist named Cody Wilson,
...recently posted on Twitter this photo of a grave,
...the significance of which being that acquiring plastic 3-D printed guns requires no background check and the guns are "untraceable, unregulated and unregistered." (1)
And hence, uncontrollable.
"Ghost guns," they're called. Anyone will be able to make one. Any criminal, any would-be mass-murderer, any gang in any country, any terrorist or terrorist group. Anyone who, for any reason, wants to be able put a bullet into another person or themselves.
...who has opted to use his God-given gifts to teach the world how to fabricate plastic guns that metal detectors won’t spot and "can be easily broken apart, reassembled, and smuggled onto mass transportation." (2)
Apparently Donald Trump just found out about the issue of DIY printable ghost guns and has tweeted that he'll look into it,
...although, as usual, he he doesn't have the details right.
Earth to Donald Trump: It was your administration that last month legalized the online posting of printable gun instructions. Here's he back story:
Back in 2013 Cody Wilson, then a 25-year-old law student at the University of Texas, started a non-profit company he called Defense Distributed, the purpose of which was to develop digital firearms files, which he did, then posted online his file containing the software for making the Liberator,the printable hand gun he designed.
Within a few days the U.S. State Department ordered Cody Wilson to remove the file, which he did, but in the course of the few days it was up the software for making The Liberator was downloaded over 100,000 times.
Two years later Defense Distributed filed a lawsuit against the State Department. The U.S. State Department under Barack Obama held that the gun instructions could not be posted online as they they posed a national security risk and violated international regulations concerning arms trafficking.
However Wilson kept up the litigation for years, arguing that his rights to free speech and to bear arms were being violated.
And though the federal government had been winning the litigation every step of the way, though there was no way the courts were poised to ultimately rule in favor of Defense Distributed, this past June Donald Trump's State Department under Mike Pompeo did an about face and settled with Cody Wilson, not only allowing him to publish his gun blueprints online, but agreeing to pay his $40,000 in legal fees.
I repeat: The U.S. State Department paid Cody Wilson's $40,000 legal fees for the lawsuit brought by Cody Wilson against the U.S. State Department.
Yesterday eight states sued the Trump administration for an emergency ban on Defense Distributed posting its the 3-D gun instructions.
The attorneys general of twenty states have appealed to Secretary of State Pompeo to block the gun plans from appearing online.
The only response so far has been Donald Trump's tweet:
He's looking into plastic guns being sold to the public. He already spoke to the NRA about it.
Me looking good - I mean, seeing good - in my new glasses.
After procuring my glasses I grabbed myself a cart and roamed the store, contemplating, as I occasionally do while shopping at Walmart, the commonplace - yet marvelous, when one stops to think about it - phenomenon of being able to buy glasses, groceries, medications, clothes, shoes, toys, household items, gardening supplies, haircuts, really almost anything one would need,
...all in the same store, at prices that almost everyone in this country can afford.
...and a comparable item found at twice the price in a more upscale establishment aren't both made at the same factory in China).
Walmart is a place where everyone shops now and then, some of us more frequently than others, which we can now do with a better conscience since several years ago the company instituted considerable improvements in pay, benefits, and opportunities for advancement for its employees - which subsequently ended up boosting Walmart's sales as the more satisfied workers became more conscientious workers, which led to higher rate of customer satisfaction, which led to more customers shopping more often at Walmart.
As for me, I buy my jeans exclusively from Walmart,
...and the only sandals I wear are Walmart's Earth Spirit brand.
If I'm going to sew I buy my material from Walmart,as I did to make the shimmery dress I wore to my nephew's wedding last month (see post from 6/29/2018),
...and this is the very Walmart fabric I bought to make slip covers for my son's dining room chairs.
But there's something else about Walmart - at least the Walmart in my neck of Columbus, Ohio - that I find appealing aside from the low-priced availability of so many of life's necessities and little pleasures: the diversity of the shopping populace,
...and sharing space,
...as we go about our individual errands.
Walmart has been criticized for killing small businesses and locally owned stores, especially in small towns. True, and that has been an unfortunate outcome for some small business owners.
But on the other hand, anyone can walk up to the bakery at Walmart and order a cake for any occasion they wish; nobody will be refused service at the pretzel counter; everyone can use the bathrooms.
I guess it would be a stretch to say that my Columbus, Ohio Walmart is America at it's best.
But being there is for me a reminder of what actually makes America great.
Movies, movies, everywhere, but not a one that I felt like seeing.
Still, it was Friday night, go-out-to-the-movies-night for cinephiles such as myself, as is Saturday night, too, and sometimes even Wednesday or Thursday night in the rare week when the local cinematic pickings happen to be good and plentiful, as they were not particularly this past week.
But before giving up and surrendering to the idea of spending Friday night going for a walk or reading a book, or scrounging through Netflix or conversing with my mate, who is, nonetheless, a good conversationalist and current on everything,
... I scraped and scrolled one last time through all the local theater listings, and opted to try a movie called "Sorry to Bother You" that I hadn't paid much attention to when it came out last week because it looked to me at first glance like a stock mainstream comedy.
Boy, is this movie not a stock mainstream comedy.
"Sorry to Bother You" is more of a...well, I don't know exactly how to describe it...maybe a brilliant, hilarious, horrifying, metaphorical, metaphysical, realistic, thought-provoking, cautionary comedy that's really only half cautionary, the other half depicting what's already happening in our country.
"Sorry to Bother You" is in truth pretty entertaining. And pretty terrifying.
Or, as Tom said walking out of the theater, "That was a really good movie. I wish I could unsee it."
The story line - or story zigzag would be more accurate - revolves (and revolves and revolves) around a young man named Cassius Green, Cash for short (one of the film's numerous metaphors), masterfully played by Lakeith Stanfield, behind whose deep, soulful eyes appears to abide all the world's travails.
Down on his luck and his options and living in his uncle's garage with his performance-artist girlfriend, Detroit, also masterfully played by Tessa Thompson,
...Cassius Green snags a job as a telemarketer, discovers he has a gift for trompe l'oreille - or, fooling the ear
...leading to his promotion to the position of power caller, which involves moving from his depressing cubicle in the basement to a luxurious space upstairs, from which he is required to push commodities of quite a different nature from the mundane items he'd been hawking below.
And so the pilgrim Cassius Green progresses through the twists and turns of the plot while we the audience learn, twist by turn, what this film is about: race, racism, corporate greed, humanity's propensity for falling for seduction by dream and glittery promise, and the ability of cash to buy anything from people's souls to their bodies, from our government leaders to our justice system.
"Sorry to Bother You," though engagingly funny, is without a doubt disturbing. But in our country today mayhaps it's one's civic duty to be disturbed.
That movie so rattled me that I decided I had to become politically involved in my own country, .and soon after I began working for Obama's presidential campaign.
Ten years later "Sorry to Bother You" has had the same effect on me.
So go see this movie. In a least-case scenario it'll entertain you. In a best-case scenario it'll compel you to at least get out and vote.
I just finished reading "The Long Road," a novel by Daniel Oliver chronicling a bright, ambitious young man's struggle with mental illness.
This book is good, it's powerful, a page-turner. And yet what makes the novel so compelling is the eloquent yet matter-of-fact style in which it's told, its lack of unnecessary flourish, the seeming normalness of the main character's life, a life lived as much on the surface of daily events as everyone else's until suddenly one day it isn't.
The story is realistically narrated in the first person by the protagonist, a hard-working engineering student named Hank Galloway who is back in school in his mid-20's after leaving a budding finance career in Charlottesville, North Carolina and moving to California with aspirations of working for NASA after he finishes his studies. The opening scene of the book finds Hank speeding down the California freeway in the middle of the night, breathless with anxiety and mental confusion that land him, against his will, in a psychiatric ward.
The reader then follows the journey that began that night on a dark highway as Hank attempts to carry on with his life and achieve his goals burdened with a mental illness that his doctors and therapists seem unable to diagnose and that Hank tries to deny and ignore as it lies dormant until it attacks suddenly, wreaks havoc on his studies and relationships and pulls his goals further from his reach.
The character's road to recovery will be indeed a long one requiring, among other things, learning to accept that his chronic illness, though one of the mind, is an illness all the same that needs to be acknowledged, accepted and attended to with the same vigilance and care as would a chronic physical ailment. Hank also realizes that he must scratch the surface of his relationship with his controlling, abusive father and his submissive mother in order to come to terms with his illness.
The story likewise delves into the phenomenon that even abused children usually nevertheless retain their relationship with their parents as adults, not psychologically separating their desire for their parents' love and acceptance from the abuse they suffered during their childhood at their parents' hands.
“The Long Road” gets into the weeds and details of living with a mental illness, of psychiatric treatment in a hospital ward and long term treatment with medication and therapy. The author, who drew his inspiration for his novel from his experience as a physician assistant in a psychiatric ward and his own struggles with mental illness, knows his subject well.
In truth we all live in our minds and ultimately we all see and hear not what our eyes and ears tell us, but what our minds tell us. And so an unwell mind can twist and skew one's thinking, one's perception of reality and relationships of all kinds: physical and spacial, societal and personal.
"The Long Road" is not one young man's story; rather it is the story of many millions, and well-told. With mental illness so prevalent – yet often misunderstood - among the population I would recommend this book as required reading for everybody.
"The Long Road"
By Daniel Oliver
is available on Amazon
In case you're not worried and distressed enough that Donald Trump, after sowing seeds of hostility between the United States and our closest allies, has shown that he's a jelly-spined puppet in the hands of Russian dictator and puppet-master Vladimir Putin, to whom he handed a spectacular victory yesterday at the expense of our country...anyway, if all that isn't enough to give you a sick, nervous flutter in the pit of your stomach, then open today's newspaper to the third or fourth page - or scroll far down to the bottom of your news website of choice - and look for the small headline about the young Russian secret agent who was arrested the day before yesterday and charged with using politically powerful Americans to sway United States policy towards the advancement of Russian interests.
And though as of today this story is still relegated to the hinterland of the 24-hour news cycle - Thanks to Donald Trump, as always, monopolizing the headlines, this time with his own Russian folly - its implications are huge - and terrifying.
...whose handler was a ruthless Russian criminal in the employ of his government named Alexander Torshin,
...came to the United States two years ago on a student visa with the purpose of becoming involved in our Presidential election and subsequently infiltrating American politics. This she was able to do with the help of a traitorous American operative who met with her in Moscow and helped her target politically powerful Republican officials and business men.
And the biggest, most prized target was then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Mariia Butina became a player in what the New York Times called "a multi-faceted Russian effort to sway the election through computer espionage, personal overtures and the assistance of American intermediaries."
...and cozied up to a National Rifle Association big wig named Paul Erikson,
Mariia Butina and Alexander Torshin with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at an NRA convention.
During the 2016 election Butina tried twice though Paul Erikson to set up a meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin but Jarrod Kushner rejected the idea. She met and was photographed with with Donald Trump Jr. at an N.R.A. dinner.
According to the New York Times, "Ms. Butina viewed the N.R.A. as a powerful force for shifting Republican policies...the largest sponsor of the elections to the U.S. Congress and as a sponsor of the Conservative Action Conference." Mariia Butina and Alexander Torshin were invited to events hosted by Republican-affiliated groups, including two National Prayer Breakfasts in 2016 and 2017. Through her N.R.A. connections and right-wing Christian Evangelical connections Butina was able to infiltrate other conservative organizations with the purpose of steering the Republican party towards a pro-Russia agenda.
The main assignment towards which she was working was the establishment of "back channel" lines of communication between Russian operatives and American politicians so that, according to the Times, "these lines could be used by Russia to penetrate the U.S. national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of Russia."
And with the help of the Republican politicians, N.R.A. officials, and Evangelical Christians with whom she ingratiated herself she might well have succeeded to this end if not for the work of our intelligence community and our Justice system, so frequently and harshly maligned by the man who is supposed to be our leader, the chief defender and steward of our nation's well-being.
We've spent so much time as a nation worrying about attacks by Islamic terrorists on our shores, as well we should, the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers in New York having stressed the importance of vigilance.
And yet here's the irony: Terrorists may have the ability to hurt individual citizens, but terrorists can never bring down our country or destroy our American Democracy. They have not the means for that.
Someone like this does, and so is far more dangerous and terrifying than any terrorist.
And here's one more thought worth pondering: Which is the political party Russian intelligence has gravitated to as the most likely conduit for infiltration into our government? For influencing policy away from the good of the American people and towards the advancement of Russia's interests? Which is the party whose members Putin's operatives have
targeted - correctly so, as is now evident - as low-hanging, easily plucked fruit?
Hint: It's not the Democrats.
One of the many gems to be found in Columbus, Ohio is the downtown neighborhood known as German Village.
And the gem within the gem, as every book-lover in Central Ohio knows, is the The Book Loft of German Village,
...a beautiful 32-room book store,
...the rooms of which are an amazing maze of book-lined nooks,
...and rooms, large
...the books spilling over onto tables outside on the patio.
In truth, a trip to The Book Loft used to make me feel a little anxious - in the days before cellphones - as I imagined getting separated from whoever I was visiting the store with and not being able to find them again.
Fortunately that never ended up happening. Most of the imaginary scenarios that give me anxiety don't end up happening.
Still, a little over a week ago, Sunday, July 8, I found myself at The Book Loft of German Village once again feeling a little anxious. But this time I wasn't anxious about getting lost in the store, but rather about getting lost in the middle of my open mic book talk,
...at the yourbookmybook.com Authors at the Loft event.
It wasn't that I'd never spoken or performed in front of a crowd before, but rather that this was my first book talk in front of a live audience,
...not counting last year when I MC'd the Authors, Winners, & Wieners event at Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace (See post from 9/30/2017).
...with a little stand-up thrown in.
When I arrived at the Book Loft last Sunday morning at around 10:30 some of the guest authors - most of whom I knew from previous book events we'd done together - had already been assigned their book-selling spaces on the patio.
And soon thereafter the Book Loft was packed with the usual Sunday crowd, inside the store,
As it turned out I was given a space inside the store,
...some prime real estate at the top of the second-story landing in the heart of the fiction section
...from where I handed out hundreds of bookmarks, chapter samples and pieces of candy,
...and sold half-a-dozen books, half of them after my book talk, which went fine after all.
In fact, once I got into it,
...I was actually pretty chill.
Miguel Lopez, media production manager from yourbookmybook.com filmed the book talks.
Here's the link to mine in case anybody's interested in seeing it:
In truth I was happy enough to have sold six books. I mean, considering all the competition.
Friday night a week ago, July 6, the Gahanna Area Arts Council (see post from 3/5/2018), held it's premier First Friday Arts in the Alley, an event the purpose of which was to promote community interest in local creatives (those who create),
...and to transform Gahanna, Ohio, already a delightful place in its own rite,
...into a thriving arts community that celebrates its artists, musicians, poets, performers, writers, and creators of all genres and media. Being myself a member of the Gahanna Area Arts Council,
...or maybe more of a part-time member; er, maybe a part-time occasional hanger-on-type member...Anyway, I'm on the email list and so I the received the GAAC announcement that the organizers were looking for local creatives to represent at First Friday Arts in the Alley festivals in July, August, and September.
And so I bought a space for each date - $60 altogether for all three events, a phenomenal deal, thought I - from which to sell my creation.
As my $20 fee clinched me a huge spot - 10' x 10', just for me - I decided to go big with my display, of which I did a practice-set-up in my living room.
On the evening of the event I arrived at my designated space in a meadow bordered by the back of the alley off Mill Street, the main drag through the neighborhood known as Olde Gahanna,
...where other artists and vendors were already setting up.
There were also some representatives of community organizations,
...the representative of which, a friendly, super-nice guy named Kevin, helped me and others set up our spaces.
Now, as I was setting up my space and observing others setting up theirs, I noticed from the corner of my eye some unusual activity going on nearby.
It was, indeed, a giant rubber duck. With metal rings attached to its middle.
After the duck was inflated there was a flurry of activity around it as workers fiddled with it then set up easels and photographs.
...and so I had no time to walk over and check out the duck, as I had to woman my table.
Eventually Tom - who'd arrived with me but had to run back home to pick up some provisions I'd forgotten to bring - returned to man the table for me for a while and I was able to stroll around the grounds and have a look at the displays of some of the other artists and vendors.
As I strolled around the festival - which I was finding quite delightful - it occurred to me that that best real estate of the evening was the spaces that were located at the end of the alley close to Mill Street.
...which was where the crowds were mostly congregating,
...until I realized that, though most of the action was in the alley or near the front end of the meadow,
...of necessity passing by my table on their way.
Towards the end of the evening I had time to go look at the duck myself and learn its story.
The description on the easel read:
And I thought to myself, What a wonderful world this could be.
At the end of the night, after everyone had packed up and the rubber duck had deflated down to two big bright yellow mounds, Tom and I decided to grab a bite at the Gahanna Grill,
...which somehow looked kind of magical.
Dear Future Cyberarchivist who, while sifting through ancient internet postings from bygone centuries in search of history, has come across this blog chronicling the events and observations of a typical day-to-day life in the first quarter of the 21st Century AD:
This is a troubled, turbulent time in the history of mankind. Civil wars, religious wars, persecution inflicted on the weak by the powerful and ruthless in the name of religion, tribalism, nationalism, patriotism, and any other number of divisive -isms have turned a sizeable area of our globe into a theater of suffering. In my own country the political polarization is so severe that it cripples the progress of our nation and sometimes borders on hatred between members of opposing political parties. Long-standing world alliances that have kept peace, cooperation and amity among democratic nations for more than half a century are dangerously close to unraveling and ambitious dictators are gaining in power and influence on the world stage because of the outrageous capriciousness and avarice of the leader of the world's most powerful nation.
The only thing that ever seems to unify mankind is an occasional terrible tragedy that joins us in our sorrow.
Then the day before yesterday a miracle happened.
The day before yesterday, July 10, 2018, saw the whole world rejoicing as one, the joy not portioned out to winners over losers, nor to one nation, ideology, theology or political persuasion over another.
The day before yesterday was a day when we could all be happy together, and in our world-wide happiness bound together as well, even if only for a day, not by our tribal interests but by our humanity.
For, as everyone on the planet knows, 12 boys from a small town in Thailand, members of a soccer team called the Wild Boars, and their soccer coach had been lost for ten days,
The world watched, waited and worried as Thai Navy Seal divers, with the help of experts who rushed in from around the globe, spent five days planning and setting up a rescue system of ropes and tethers, oxygen tanks and stretchers, a problematic, precarious and dangerous undertaking during which one Thai diver died when his oxygen ran out.
Massive pumps were engaged in an effort to drain out as much water as possible from the narrow cave channels:
The mission was a race against time, as the monsoon rains were expected to resume at any time and more flood water could end all hope of rescuing the young soccer team and their coach. Parents around the world felt the pain of the parents whose children were trapped in that cave as we all thought of our own children and worried about the boys, ages 11 through 16, fearing that they'd never make it out alive.
And yet, by some miracle, along with the ingenious engineering of the rescue system and incredible skill of the Thai Navy Seals and a group of international expert divers - 90 divers from Thailand and around the world in all - they did make it out alive, all twelve boys and their coach.
On Sunday, July 8, five days after the boys were found, the dramatic rescue began. No details were available of how the rescue was being effectuated, but that day the news broke that two boys had been rescued. A few hours later came word that two more boys were safe.
The following day, Monday, July 9, amid reports that the rains were moving in and the oxygen level in the cave was falling by the day and would soon drop to a dangerous level, four more boys were rescued. This left four remaining boys and their coach still in the cave.
In the meantime no one was told, not even the families of the boys, which boys had been rescued and hospitalized and which were still in the cave. And so it was hope mixed with anxiety as the world continued to watch, wait, and pray for the five left in the cave. That all thirteen would survive was surely too much to hope for.
And then on Tuesday, July 10, came the news: All the the boys and their coach had been saved.
This news seemed nothing short of miraculous. My own heart swelled with happiness at the news an I was among I'm sure the many who spent the day offering prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude for the safety of the boys.
...and in the images of their heartsick mothers,
...and in the images of their heartsick mothers,
...I saw myself.
The details of how the boys were rescued were unclear for the first day after they were rescued. At first it was reported that the boys were led out on tethers by divers.
But the today it was confirmed that, following a brilliant plan devised by members of the rescue team, the boys were sedated, outfitted in scuba diving gear with oxygen tanks and tied to stretchers that were passed from team to team along the length of the cave until they reached the exit where they were handed off to medical personnel and transported to the hospital.
Photos of the the heroic divers hauling a stretcher under water through the cave.
Perhaps as amazing as the rescue of the Wild Boars is the means by which they survived in the cave before the rescue.
Apparently the boys' coach, a young former Buddhist monk, kept the boys calm and brave during the ordeal by having them practice meditation and by carefully distributing what food there was among the boys, declining to eat any of the food himself. Medical experts have theorized that it may have been the meditation that kept them alive and well, as it lowered their breathing rate, saving precious oxygen, and kept them from being overcome by fear or panic.
Now the Wild Boars are all safe and recovering in the hospital,
And so, dear Cyberarchivist, the world is now a happier place.
At least for today.
"It's Hallmark meets the Sopranos in this fun and engaging read."
"Lots of sass, drama and wicked humor."
"The characters were hilariously and perfectly flawed."
"Cleverly plotted and exceptionally well written... part drama and part slapstick comedy."
"Funny and thought provoking and entertaining!"
"A rollicking good yarn."
Last Wednesday, the 4th of July, I did something I hadn't done in 57 years: I participated in a 4th of July parade.
In truth, once I outgrew the thrill of entwining the spokes of my bike with red, white and blue crepe paper on July 4th and parading with all the other kids on their patriotically papered bikes through our Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood, I subsequently lost interest in parades in general.
The view from the front yard of my old house,
I don't believe I've been to a July 4th parade, either as a participant or spectator since my children were young enough to care about swooping up the candy that it is de rigueur in these parts for marchers and float-riders to toss at the crowds as they pass by.
...which I had, in fact, made a Facebook ad for:
So I figured, eh, sure, I can march in the parade and promote the arts in Gahanna, especially since the Scoutmaster would likewise be in the parade with his cub scout den on the float that they'd made in our garage.
So on the morning of July 4th I decked myself out in the most artily patriotic trappings I could find in my closet: a pair of red scrub pants that my daughter Theresa gave me (because, according to Theresa, scrubs are the most comfortable pants on the planet and so I should have a pair);
... the blue moisture-wicking shirt I haven't worn since I walked the 497-mile Camino de Santiago de Compostela a couple of years ago (see www.and lightenyourpack.com);
...me in my blue shirt, trying to ward off gnats on the Spanish Meseta on the Camino;
...a sleeveless white blouse over the blue shirt and my royal blue tennis shoes with the turquoise laces.
I then walked the mile from my house to the parade staging area,
...and sought out the Gahanna Area Arts Council group,
...only to find, surprisingly and somewhat embarrassingly, that I was dressed 'way artier than anybody else in the arts groups.
However, there were plenty of other paraders rocking the red, white and blue.
In any case, the colors were well-represented in all the floats, vehicles, and marching groups as we lined up in the parking lot then waited for our turn to enter the street and join the parade.
Tom's cub scout den, looking forward to water-spraying the crowd.
...and joined the parade.
Though by the time we joined the parade, around 11 am, the temperature was close to 90 degrees, still the street of our suburb was lined with hundreds of spectators,
...who were more than happy to be water-sprayed by the cub scouts and soccer teams who gleefully sprayed the crowd as their floats passed by.
Though for me the biggest treat as I marched and handed out my flyers was watching the children as they scrambled to gather up the candy tossed from the floats and by the marchers,
...in a peaceful celebration,
...of our beautiful, diverse nation,
...left me with a warm, 4th-of-July feeling and gratitude for being here among this crowd of my fellow Americans on this day.
After the mile-long parade walk, feeling dehydrated and heat-prostrated, Tom and I stopped at the Gahanna Grill (open, thankfully, on the holiday) for some nourishment and hydration.
Happy 9th of July, everyone!
A couple of days ago I read on CNN about the 7-year-old Guatemalan
girl - one of the 2,000 refugee children taken away from their parents when the families stepped across our southern border seeking asylum - who after two months in detention in Michigan was reunited this past Sunday with her mother in Florida.
Reading this family's story, seeing the photographs, watching the video of the moment of the reunion of the mother and her child,
But there was something else in this article that struck me, a message that this mother, tears streaming down her face, wished to send to other mothers: "If you're thinking of claiming asylum here, find another country. The laws here are harsh. And people don't have hearts."
Those words stung, as I'm sure they were intended to, and I found myself grieving not only for the suffering of the refugee parents and children who had the bad luck of asking for amnesty during a brief ill-fated six-week period of "zero tolerance" from May to June, but for the fact that our country is now being seen by some of the most vulnerable people on the planet as a land of harsh laws full of heartless people.
Those words made me sad because in truth there is no law of our land that calls for young children to be taken from their parents and then carelessly lost in a chaotic operation with no system in place to find them.
That is not American law. Tearing apart asylum-seeking families was merely a capricious passing whim of this man-child who's always seeking entertainment and gratification,
...this particular whim being carried out by two of his more virulent sycophants.
And so it's not our laws that have turned our country into a theater of cruelty in the eyes of this mother and the world. Our laws are not of themselves harsh. We are a democracy, and as a nation hold high the pursuit of fairness, decency and justice, though this pursuit is ever on-going, always a pursuit in progress.
And whatever our disparate political persuasions or differing interpretations of our laws, I don't believe that Americans as a whole want to see immigrants, even undocumented immigrants, treated cruelly. None of us likes that over 2,000 children and babies were taken from their parents, some put in cages, some sent to places of detention over a thousand miles away from their parents with no agency in place to reunite them. None of us wanted to see that happen.
Because the truth is that we Americans do have hearts. We have big hearts. We are warm, friendly, out-going, generous, engaging people. We like to help others. We are, for the most part, good people, and we like to be seen as good people in the eyes of the world, which isn't hard, as we Americans really are, as individuals, likeable. And for the most part we mean well. And as a country, though far from perfect and with many wrongs notched into our history, we usually end up doing the right thing, eventually, even if it's as a last resort.
Which is why it hurts to see my country being chastised as a harsh place full of heartless people.
And yet what other impression could that mother have at this point?
Still I hope she knows of the outrage that has flamed all across our nation over what was done to her child and 2,000 others.
...and that the angry, sorrowful outcry continues from sea to sea.
I wish this mother could know that there are millions of Americans who wish with all their hearts that they could do something for all the separated and lost children and for the other mothers and fathers who continue to suffer what she's suffered.
I wish she could know that, contrary to how we've been represented,
...we Americans really do care.
Most of all I wish that all the children who've been taken from their parents might somehow, someway, survive what was done to them. I hope somehow, some way, they all make it.
And I hope that somehow, some way, this mother, her husband,
..and her children,
...are granted asylum and allowed to stay here in the United States to work and pursue a better life.
And I wish that somehow, someway, on some 4th of July years down the road this mother and her family would find themselves celebrating being a part of this wonderful country and one of its good, caring, big-hearted people.
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library
I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.