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Kitchens: What is happening around us?

Posted: October 4, 2017 - 2:18am

This morning, as we were sitting down to breakfast, my youngest son came in the kitchen and said, we were "up to 50 pronounced dead and over 300 wounded.

I stopped chewing mid-bite, and replied, "Where? What are you talking about?"

"Vegas," he muttered glumly, gazing down at the phone that has become a part of so many people's anatomy.

My husband and I looked at each other, shook our heads sadly, finished eating, and turned on the news, as we drank a second cup of coffee.

Apparently, some individual, someone we used to call a "homicidal maniac," mowed down as many innocent people as he could, attending an outdoor country music concert.

High from a perch in his room at the Mandalay Bay Resort, a place I have actually seen, he was able to use his arsenal of weapons to wreak complete and utter chaos on what could have been a sweet memory for those who'd come to see their favorites.

Nobody ever expects this kind of thing to happen. We may nervously giggle, and glance cautiously around if we're at a public event, but like a bad car wreck, we think it won't happen to us.

Insurance rates, endless personal injury attorney ads on TV, and just the odds alone, tell us differently, warn us that accidents can, and do, happen frequently, despite our stubborn insistence we're invincible.

Maybe that misguided view does have its merits. After all, we certainly wouldn't want to be paralyzed with fear to the point of agoraphobia.

But we have to face some hard and difficult truths.

You can make fun of my words, protest heatedly, and generally, disagree with me, but some statements cry out to be said, no matter how politically incorrect they may seem.

As long as families, and all we hold dear connected to them, are no longer valued or respected, as long as children run the home, and parents abdicate all their duties and responsibilities, as long as a policeman can be shot in cold blood because the person he's pulled over is afraid of being caught with drug paraphernalia, as long as I can't, in good conscience, ever again suggest teaching as a career to a young person, as long as disability is paid to people who aren't disabled, as long as the language on television, at the movies, or in albums, is so vile, words and images spouted cause me to have nightmares, as long as so many Americans turn their backs on God, JUST WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?

My husband quietly pointed out to me, in his calm and collected manner, that at least such a horror did bring out the good in others. We did see everything from first responders, to ordinary citizens, struggle valiantly to be of service to their fellow man, and for that I am forever grateful. But I heard over and over, from countless journalists, the cry of "Why? What could possibly be the killer's motivation?"

Naturally, as humans, we all want are answers, but then I immediately thought, "What difference does it really make?"

Boston, Orlando, Columbine, and so many others, now are a part of our often sorrowful history. Did we know, or even care, what made the shooters do what they did?

Suffice it to say, the man in Vegas was crazy. He was evil. He was disappointed in life. He lost at the blackjack table. Whatever kicked him over the edge, doesn't really matter. There is never any cause for taking another life, except in self-defense, war, or execution, in my opinion.

I know you may be weary of constant references to my days in the classroom, but given that they constituted such a huge percentage of my life, it's pretty natural for me to consider them occasionally.

I had a student, one among several over the years, who tried, unsuccessfully, I might add, to manipulate me with every excuse known to man to explain why he didn't have a two-month assignment, on which I had walked everyone through, step by step. He didn't even have the parts I had already seen and graded.

A dog, a little sister, rain, something about a raccoon, chronic and debilitating disease that seemed to disappear at the sight of a football, all were attempted and deflected. I guess I was the "Wonder Woman" of writing assignments. Nothing except the fact that he didn't do it, or have it, when I asked for it, made sense. And the devil himself doesn't even try to make excuses.

 

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