Category Archives: In the News

The Zimmerman Case: I’m Not Sure We’re Entitled To An Opinion

Before nodding off to sleep last night, I checked in with Facebook.

“Not Guilty!”

“Please pray for these poor parents!” (insert picture of Trayvon’s parents)

“Don’t worry. Justice will eventually be served!”

“Finally! A not guilty verdict!”

There were status updates for the verdict. There were status updates against the verdict. But many of my Facebook friends had an opinion and they weren’t shy about voicing it.

But me? I don’t have an opinion. I don’t feel like we are entitled to an opinion. Except for George Zimmerman, that is. Because he was the only person who lived to tell about it. Which is incredibly sad. Because I would love to hear Trayvon Martin’s side of the story.

So, here’s what I/we know. A young man was walking through a neighborhood. Another man, concerned for the safety of his neighborhood (or so he says) , deemed the situation suspicious. An altercation ensued. A death occurred.

That’s it. That’s all we know. Because every eye-witness account is contradictory. Because there isn’t conclusive evidence either way. Because every family member and every friend of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin thinks their friend or family member is innocent.

We could listen to evidence and opinion and conjecture all day/week/year long. But we’d never hear the real story, what really happened. Even if we heard it from Zimmerman and Martin themselves, we’d have to sift through their words to guess at whose version is the truth.

Sound bites on the nightly news. Op-ed pieces floating around the internet. We never get the whole story. We get sensational headlines. (Who even reads the entire article anymore?) We get biased interviews. We get rants and raves from attention seeking journalists, experts and by-standers.

I feel for the jurors. The incredible burden of finding the truth. Their task was beyond difficult and heart wrenching.

I feel for George Zimmerman if he indeed, feared for his life and felt he had to pull the trigger. A man is now dead at his hands. What a burden to bear for the rest of his life.

And I feel for Trayvon Martin and his family. A life cut short. A grieving family. Their burden is beyond comprehension for most of us.

Burdens all around.

But no opinion here.

I’m not sure we’re entitled to an opinion.

 

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Filed under In the News

A Call To Post. A Call To Help Us Remember The True Heroes.

Stop the madness! Quit inadvertently glorifying the cowardly Boston Marathon bombers by posting their pictures with every Facebook post, blog post or every news story, cheering their capture. Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled we got the bastards. But I don’t want to remember their faces. I don’t care what they looked like. Their lives mean nothing to me.

Let’s remember these faces. The heroes. The victims. The winners.

The ones who matter.

Martin Richard (age 8), Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi

Martin Richard (age 8), Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi

Officer Sean Collier

Officer Sean Collier

Former New England Patriots player Joe Andruzzi carries a woman from the scene on Exeter Street after two explosions went off on Boylston Street near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013. (Bill Greene/The Boston Globe/Getty Images)

Former New England Patriots player Joe Andruzzi carries a woman from the scene on Exeter Street after two explosions went off on Boylston Street near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013. (Bill Greene/The Boston Globe/Getty Images)

Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia pose with a trophy at the finish line after winning the women's and men's divisions of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia pose with a trophy at the finish line after winning the women’s and men’s divisions of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Feel free to re-post. Or write your own post glorifying the real winners in this horrific event. And post images. Lots and lots of images of the victims and the heroes.

Let their faces be the ones we remember.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under In the News, Soapbox, television

We Can All Be Heroes Today

When senseless tragedy hits I have to find a way to cope. My own experience with this can be calculated by the before & after 9/11 timeline.

Before 9/11, I would cry, devour the news, curse the terrorists, curse God, cry some more and then, eventually, slowly, move forward.

After 9/11, I cry, scan the news, pity the terrorists, cry a little more and then relish in all of the Good Samaritan stories that begin to trickle through.

After reading a handful or more of these stories, I can move forward with gusto.

In my lifetime, I’ve noticed that with every tragedy caused by a handful of idiots, hundreds upon thousands of good, kind, compassionate, caring, amazing heroes emerge. It is a wonderful, beautiful, mathematical probability that can only be explained by love.

Man is inherently good. Evil, while it tends to grab the spotlight with a better stronghold, is rare. When faced with adversity, we DO rise to the occasion. We help. We care. We reach out.

And the amazing and far more beautiful part of the equation? Even if we are not directly hit by the tragedy, even if we live thousands of miles away and have no direct ties to the event, we empathize. We put ourselves in another’s shoes and we say to ourselves, what can I do to help? How can I make this better?

If it’s sending blankets or food. Or going to the blood bank. Or pulling out our checkbook. Or holding our children a little tighter. Or saying, “I love you” to those we care about a little more often. It all makes a difference. It all makes our world a better place.

1 idiot: thousands of Good Samaritans.

I’ll take those odds any day of the week.

everyday

Thank you, all you heroes out there. Those who were on the scene. Those arriving to the scene. And those of us, miles away, who are living today more mindfully, kindly and lovingly.

We can all be heroes today. Every day.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, In the News, Observations

The Sandy Hook Elementary Snowflake Project. An Opportunity For Healing.

The first day of holiday break and my daughter, home from college, dragged her brothers to the kitchen table.

“We’re making snowflakes. As many as you can. And we’re sending them to Sandy Hook Elementary.”

She had heard about the Snowflake Project for Sandy Hook Elementary on Facebook and like many of us, was searching for a way to help.

So two young boys, under the firm direction of their older sister, sat for hours at the kitchen table, designing, cutting, decorating. Pleased with some of their creations. Tossing their failures (or giving them to Mom, because Mom loves everything they create.)

PicMonkey Collage

And then, they wrote little notes, welcoming the students back to school, placed their creations in an envelope and sent them on their way. A small gesture. But so meaningful for my children to help with the healing, theirs and ours.

After my own children went back to school I was curious about the snowflake project and found this post.  Sandy Hook was inundated with snowflakes, from all over the world. An outpouring of love and caring. More snowflakes than they needed, they are no longer accepting snowflake donations. But if you are moved to help, check in here.

Or, create your own winter wonderland. At your school. Your home.

Snowflakes. To remind us of what is beautiful.

And precious.

And fleeting.

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Filed under Be-Causes, In the News, Uncategorized

Charles Darwin For Congress! If I Had Lived In That District He Would Have Had My Vote.

Charles Darwin is alive and well in the state of Georgia.

That is, if by “alive and well” you mean “in theory.”

Rep. Paul Broun decried evolution, the Big Bang theory and other scientific discoveries as “lies straight from the pit of hell!” Granted, his audience was a church group. But in the age of Twitter and YouTube you need to be a little more careful about what you say in public.

Republican Representative Paul Broun was running unopposed in the 10th Congressional District in Georgia. But I knew nothing of the man since I don’t live in his district. (And the fact that I’m not very political, which is a nice way of saying I’m too self-absorbed to follow politics.)

I educated myself on the man this morning. Here is what I learned:

He is a nut.

I was going to list his crazy voting record, his fourth marriage, his feeling that Obama is a Marxist dictator. You can read about it all here. Suffice it to say, he’s crazy.

And he was re-elected. And is representing Americans in our government.

It’s a sad, sad day, indeed.

While watching the election returns (TV muted) I saw the results flash on the screen, Paul Broun 57% and Charles Darwin 0%. I thought, poor Charles Darwin. Named after a famous British naturalist and he still can’t get a vote. And then I thought, how horrible that his lack of popularity has to be broadcast so blatantly. But then I saw Obama gaining ground on Romney and I was distracted again.

I forgot about it until this morning.

An article on an online news magazine got my attention. Jim Leebens-Mack, a professor at the University of Georgia, started a Facebook campaign “Darwin for Congress” as a response to Broun’s ridiculous church-evolution rant. As a result, Charles Darwin received almost 4,000 votes. Not enough to beat Broun’s 209,000 (scary) votes, but an admirable showing, all the same. Especially since Darwin would have to be a party to Congress from the grave. Or the great beyond. (I embrace all theories of the life in the hereafter.)

Even more amusing are the other write-in candidates that peppered the ballots: Big Bird, Anyone but Broun, Anyone else, and Bill Nye The Science Guy.

Apparently, these voters were just as upset but unaware of Charles Darwin’s bid for election.

Too bad.

Maybe Charles would have had a chance.

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Filed under Because I'm Curious, I'm Baffled (And Because I Love The Word Baffled), In the News, Politics

The Boogeyman Is Getting Younger And Younger

Does anyone else find it odd that two recent kidnapping/murder cases involving two young girls (ages 10 and 12) were allegedly commited by teens? Teenage boys. Ages 17, 17 and 15. A young man in Colorado. Two brothers in New Jersey.

The Boogeyman is getting younger and younger.

And it has me frightened.

It has me wondering, what is the catalyst? Lack of supervision? Movies and television? Video games? Rock music?

Of course, I’m not completely serious about T.V., music and games but it makes me wonder about the desensitizing that happens when our children are exposed to Warcraft and Hellraiser at too young an age. I’m familiar with pop psychology that points to a teen’s inability to firmly grasp the concept of death and consequence as it applies to them. A Superman mentality. An It’ll-Never-Happen-To-Me way of existence.

I have a need to make sense of it all. But I can’t. I’m appalled that these young men had the urge to snatch a frightened, young girl. That despite all of her pleading, they would not let her go. And when they had no use for her, it was easier to kill her than let her go back home.

Two innocent, loving, joyful young ladies. With so much life ahead of them.

As I grasp at theories to try to understand, it doesn’t comfort me.

And it certainly doesn’t comfort the poor parents of little Jessica Ridgeway and Autumn Pasquale.

Sending prayers and love to the families of the victims and the families of the accused. And a hug to the mother who turned in her own sons when she suspected they might be involved. What a horrible cross to bear. 

 

 

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Filed under In the News

My Family Was Safe. But So Many Others Were Not.

 

Every year, I tell myself that I’m not going to write about it. And every year, I can’t help myself. Such a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. Such a personal moment for me.

I was on my way to work. Running late. Listening to my favorite rock station. The rock jocks were known to be a bit crude, a bit inappropriate. I switched them on just as they were describing the first plane going into the towers. I thought, “This is a cruel joke. The station is definitely getting a letter!’ Then, when one of the disc jockey’s voices cracked and I could almost hear her tears, I knew it was real.

I sat at work. Trying to keep our students calm. Wanting to take my daughter out of class just a few buildings away and bring her home. But having to carry on. The administration wanted us to plug away, as usual. Distract the students. But how could we? We were a laptop school. Students were sneaking windows open to catch a glimpse on CNN.

Soon, students were being taken out of school. Parents confirming my initial instinct. We had a congressman’s son in class. Another boy’s aunt worked at the Pentagon. Countless parents traveled by air for business.

And then it hit. My brother-in-law worked in Detroit. He was an agent in Federal Law Enforcement. Because of his interrogation skills and expertise with the Middle East. My other sister, who flies twice weekly for business. Where is she? I sneak a call to my family. Yes, Henry has been called into work downtown. But so far, everything is okay. Yes, my other sister had been on her way to D.C. but her plane had been grounded.

My family was safe.

But so many others were not.

Never, never, never forget.

Never.

(Feel free to share your “Where Were You On 9/11″ moment in the comment section below.)

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Filed under In the News