Sunday, August 4, 2019

Another day, another mass shooting in the USA

Consider this, Americans had worked up enough political will to repeal a constitution amendment once... so that they can legally drink alcohols again.

How many innocent people have died from gun violence compared to mob hits?

Shootings in malls, in theaters, in school, college, daycare, festivals, concerts, workplace, night clubs, restaurants, etc. But, no, no amount of innocent deaths everyday of the year is suffice for our politicians to summon the will to repeal the 2nd and pass meaningful gun control laws. It is way too easy for just about anyone to obtain and keep assault weapons here. They may think they are the good guys, but then when they get upset, there's the automatic weapon there for them to use to vent their anger on other people.

There is no safe place in the USA. Even the cops are living in constant fear of getting shot, that a whole lot of them seems to have gone to the shoot first policy. Hand on the gun all the time. In every other civilized country, cops are good at de-escalation. Here, it's escalation all the time, pulling the gun out like crazy at every little thing.

There has been 251 mass shootings since January 1st, 2019.  Today is only the year's 216th day. My goodness me, I might be safer living in Columbia than here.

We have a problem. A fixable problem. A fixable problem that other developed countries have fixed. Why the heck can't we?

Friday, August 2, 2019

Hiking local

I consider myself lucky to have grown up before the age of the smart phones. It's amazing how many people I know here would sit indoor and stare at pictures like these on their smart phone screen, when the place the photos are from is only a mile and a bit away.

My friend Cornelia and I have been hiking all over the preserve once a week for the past year or so. It's a cherished active decompression time from work and other not-so-uplifting news we hear daily. It isn't always a pleasure hike. The terrains here can be very gnarly, the overgrown vegetation gives cover to many stingy insects and sometimes moody snakes (though, luckily, we somehow haven't come face to face with those legless critters this year), and the summer heat this year seems more humid than ever.

But, there is also nothing quite as therapeutic as a good and strenuous nature hike with a cheerful pal where we regularly run into wild critters doing all sorts of crittery antics.

Huffing and puffing in the clean air under a big sky while dodging the many manifestations of the ubiquitous poison oaks, loose rocks, and sweat-loving gnats (tho the latter mostly avoid me, thanks to my Picaridin bug repellent lotion) is a great way of keeping the pudge off while gaining time to put things in perspectives.

It's great to be able to see pictures and watch videos of people and places on the other side of the oceans. But it's even better going out into the nearest wild and experiencing first hand the non-digitized landscape around you. Then, you know what you have to lose, if you don't take care of your own surroundings.

Sep 4th, 2019: Edit to add - another upside to going hiking; nature preserves are among the very few places left in the USA that hasn't been shot up by an American gun nut... I mean, they've done malls, concerts, all sorts of school, churches, synagogues, mosques, and even daycare. You're much safer going hanging with rattlesnakes than with gun-packing assholes.