Scouting Gun Control Issues

So I wrote the post (pictured above) after news of a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. This is on the heels of a mass shooting in Georgia. I wrote it right before I went to bed, and I was feeling just done with the madness. Well, if you are a thinker or a writer, as usually happens, once I laid down in the quiet, the thoughts flooded in.

A little more on this….

Everything I said in that post is 100 percent how I feel. They’re my thoughts. My wish is that I knew what to do about it, knew how to effect actual, lasting change, but my belief is that it’s not a gun problem, but a heart and soul condition. (Shameless plug: I think I have a blog post about that somewhere.) I used to think that we just need to ban every single kind of firearm, but my thoughts on that have slowly, continually evolved. I still wish we lived in a world where they didn’t exist, never existed at all, but I can wish that until the cows come home and it won’t change a single thing. So….

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Learn better; do better. Thoughts evolve, and that’s okay.

My thoughts on gun control are evolving as over the years I have come to understand and see how these types of laws can affect communities that aren’t White, and communities that sit in the lower income brackets. This is true of so many of our laws and beliefs. I believe in our 2nd Amendment as I understand it (not in the fear-based, bastardized version so many self-appointed “patriots” vomit out), but I don’t believe just anyone deserves to own a firearm either. So what are the correct parameters? I doubt we’ll ever find agreement on this either.

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The Black Panthers showed up and we clutched our pearls.

Remember that time in 1967 when the Black Panthers showed up on the steps of the California State Capitol and then-Governor Reagan (R) and his NRA cronies decided we needed gun control laws right away? Well, I don’t remember because I was barely 3 years old, but it’s not hard information to find. But yes, the NRA wanted gun control laws after that incident! (If you never stopped to wonder “why,” here’s your chance.) What I do vividly remember many times is White men and women parading, storming, and protesting at various state capitol buildings, other federal buildings and lands armed to the freaking gills. What I also remember about those incidents is the government, the twisted NRA, and many so-called patriots saying NOTHING and doing NOTHING about it. Essentially, what I’ve seen is blatant inequality, and the silence I hear is actually an action, a stand.

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Well now, that’s a problem.

So there I was with a pretty strong thought about guns and owners, heels dug in, rock solid sentiments. The problem is it centers my own personal fears and knee-jerk reactions rather than the whole picture. It leaves out the welfare of a whole lot of people. Is this the crossroads or a complete shift? I guess I’m not totally sure yet, but I know it is different, and I know that if my thoughts or actions contribute to hurting another group through inequality or inequity, then that’s a clue that some shift needs to happen. It’s a clue tapping at me letting me know that something is unbalanced, unfair, and requires more thought. I have always chosen to be a scout rather than a follower — someone who continually seeks out a higher consciousness and willing to change direction when or where I see I can do better. I’m not afraid to find out I’m wrong. I’m not afraid to change. I’m not afraid to realize my thoughts may have been imitated without thought and it’s okay to change direction. All of that might piss off some folks, but that isn’t always what’s most important. So I adjust, transform, or switch directions.

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So here I am with little direction, nagging thoughts, armed with a scout mentality.

I’m going to stay in this inquiry until I have a solid direction. It’s important to me that the footprint I leave on others isn’t one on their backs. It’s important to me that my activism supports our Black and Brown communities in equality. It’s important to me to self-examine regularly and make sure I’m in alignment with what I say I want in the world, and that I’m not aligned out of fear. I’m going to have a conversation with a friend of mine whose ideas have also changed around gun ownership, whose ideas were much like mine and have also evolved quite a bit over the past year or so. I was invited to go to a shooting range event by that friend, and my husband and I are going to attend. I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never shot a gun in my life, and they’ve always scared me. I have no clue what I might learn, who I might get to talk to, but I’m open to it all because personal evolution is calling. I’ll blog about my experiences and thoughts.

Always choose to be a scout.

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Revolution won’t happen without evolution, revelations, and reevaluation.

It’s a System and I Take It Personal

I know you might find me confounding and even exasperating at times. I know you may not understand (or care) why my voice is so loud and my energy so explosive.  It’s possible that you think I don’t handle things appropriately, whatever that means to you, and I’m sure some of you think I do too much and others think I don’t do enough. It is what it is. I’m sure I could use some balance.  I am sure of a lot of things, and I am sure that I will not apologize for any of this. I appreciate the truth in matters, even when it forces me to change direction or it makes some “side” look bad and it doesn’t feel good. I may not always get it right, but I know I get it wrong less. I am a human being first, and a mother second, but the second feels like my most important job. Like most people I am a lot of other things as well – hooks and edges, bumps and curves, questions and answers, some broken parts – but both of those pieces, human and mother, drive me the most.  What I want for my family is nothing less than I would wish for yours, but NEVER at the EXPENSE of the LIVES of mine. 

Election Day Is Coming in Like a Freight Train on Fire with No Brakes

Tomorrow is a big day. I hope you voted or will be voting tomorrow.

I voted!

I hope you vote/d for a world that leaves no one out, a world that embraces everyone, a world that can evolve into a world that works for all, where every single person knows they belong. My understanding is that many of us voted OUT of fear instead of voting fear out. I’m talking about the propositions and measures in this instance. (I understand that many of us definitely voted out of fear for our presidential choice. But… if you know me, you know I will be talking about that one later, no matter who wins.)

There’s so much vitriol around elections, (and I’m guilty as well) and in my mind, this insane level of it began when Obama ran. It just seemed there was so much hate towards a Black man and his campaign. I’ve studied long enough to know that hate stems from fear, but my GOD…. I honestly wonder, when is it JUST hate, plain and simple? The hate, anger, and fear is so thick that we’re losing childhood friends, family members, and other friends from our circles — be it by our own choices or theirs.

2020 has been the perfect shit storm, hasn’t it?
Many of us talk like once the election is over, or once we hit the new year, that miraculously it’s all going to go back to some kind of unusual peaceful normal. What even IS that? To me that sounds similar to the coronavirus president’s motto, “Make America Great Again.” I mean, what IS “great,” anyway? Is it:

  • Citizens that cheer on a man who should be stately, but instead makes fun of others like a second grader who doesn’t know any better?
  • Police being allowed to mame and kill people without due process?
  • Healthcare costs only the wealthy can actually afford?
  • Separating children from their immigrant parents, never to be reunited again?
  • Defunding our schools?
  • A country full of people either too uneducated or too unwilling to see how our past affects its citizens to this day?
  • A mass of citizens who think a flag is something to be revered over human bodies, decency, and the actual country it represents?
  • Water, air, and land so polluted it’s uninhabitable, poisons our bodies, and has species of plant and animal disappearing forever?
  • An election and political system so fraught with bribery, lies, and deceit that we can barely figure out who to even vote for anymore?
  • Drilling into our Mother Earth to its own detriment and, ultimately, ours?
  • Lifetime politicians who end up being in it so long they think they actually are anointed for it?
  • A prison bail system that is created only for the wealthy or those willing to risk it all?
  • A death penalty system so flawed with a mindset to follow that is so flawed it believes it’s okay if we get it wrong sometimes?
  • Citizens who will believe a man with a 100-word vocabulary over scientists?
  • Same citizens who think that somehow COVID-19 is either a hoax, or isn’t that bad because either “people are only dying because they had preexisting conditions,” or “it’s not really that many people dying?”
  • Citizens so horribly callous that they justify in their minds the atrocities we create against other sentient beings?
  • People who would rather lie or believe lies than to just admit fault and move on in a better light?

I’m sorry. I just don’t see the “great.” Also, truthfully, I’m not really sorry. I’m a lot of things about it, but I’m not sorry that I don’t have the capacity to be unable to grasp how people ALLOW themselves to become this way.

When did even “just” ONE life become so meaningless — so worthless?
God, forgive us. We’ve become SO ugly.

I’ll be waiting to see if we can pull ourselves up and out of this abyss we’ve thrown ourselves into. I’ll be waiting to see if we FINALLY learn from this election to start paying attention to what’s going on under our noses. I’ll be waiting to see how many go back in the shadows until the next election when they think it’s time to come out and yell again. I’ll be waiting to see how many of us decide it’s time to do something about this F’ed up system the very day after the election. And I’ll be waiting for my comrades who’ve been with me and before me all along to pick up our mantles once again and hit the streets and the airwaves for a world that revolves in love. ‘Cause honey, this ain’t it.

It would be nice to see you there.

Think about it.

Blue Lives, Black Bodies, Omelas on Repeat

There is no such thing as a blue life.
There is a blue uniform and a system of blue, a blue code, a blue lifestyle, a thin blue line, a blue code, and a blue brotherhood.

Here is a perfect example.

Here is a Black man in the blue system… do you see how they treated their “brother” in blue? He can belong to the blue system; he is still Black. He can belong to WHATEVER he wants to belong to. He can take off the uniform or the badge, but he cannot get out of his skin. If you think this story is an isolated incident, I invite you to take off whatever it is impeding your eyesight and sensibility.

Stop being afraid to look. Stop being afraid to acknowledge. It takes looking squarely at it, getting past your hurt feelings, your fear, your denial, to change this. The SYSTEM is racist. Stop with “not all cops” and “Oh, it’s just that one bad cop….” It doesn’t matter that you know one good one or post a video of that kind one. The SYSTEM is racist. Law enforcement is just one thread in the web of a racist SYSTEM. That is why it is called “systemic racism.” Our country was literally built on this and for this. Yes… FOR this. THIS is our FOUNDATION. This is its intent. It is working just as it was designed. This is not an accident.

If you built your house’s foundation or business on a pile of shit (now I have your attention), how long do you think it would last? How long before it became so offensive you just couldn’t take the stench anymore? How long would it take to just break down and finally fall into its own waste compost?

What if it was built on the backs of Black bodies?
WELL, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE HAVE DONE.

We have ignored the stench for too long. It is breaking down and the bones are showing. A truly free and whole society cannot continue to be held up on a foundation of brittle bones, stench, fear, hate, and violence. It’s crumbling. While it Is flailing and falling, it is sucking more bodies down with it, including you and me — Mr. and Ms. WhiteBody. Those that stand by watching or pretending not to see are letting it happen. You think you are free from it; you are not. You may not look at it or talk about it, but that doesn’t mean it is not there. The cracks are in the foundation; the infection is present. You are also enslaved to a system that doesn’t give two f**cks about your well-being, but it has you thinking it does. Whatever we let happen to another sentient being, and certainly our most marginalized, permeates our souls. It strips the skin off of our humanity, leaving us bare and vulnerable, and at the point of breaking down. Some of us don’t even realize we are being digested down into the sink-hole of humanity because we are so used to living in the dark, or because we would rather live in the dark than to do the necessary work of setting ALL LIVES free from the rotting corpse of this country’s foundation. We would rather go down with it than to do the work and the recognition to save us ALL.

You can continue to spray the air freshener, paint over it, decorate it with flowers and ribbons, plug your nose, close your eyes, prop it up, or rename it… but it is falling. The signs are all around us. You might want to pay attention to the road you are on.

This is a whole package filled with all kinds of racism – some blatant and obvious, and also insidious, stealthy, and meticulously planned. It has to be unpacked.

I appreciate the work of W. Kamau Bell. Recently he was a guest on Conan, and he was asked about “All Lives Matter” rhetoric and #BlackLivesMatter. The entire interview is really good, but if you want to jump to specifically that part, it is at 11:30. With that said, I urge you to watch the whole thing, especially if you have been trying to figure out your White or non-Black place in this ongoing movement. If not now, when?

There is something ANY ONE of us can do.
Being silent ain’t it.
If ALL of us aren’t free, NONE of us are free.

One last thing: It is up to the benefactors of this system to fix it, dismantle it, change it, cure it. It is not up to, nor can it be done by those that are inflicted by it. For a great example of what inaction looks like and the harm it causes, read “The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas.”

With true love and solidarity,
Deb

W. Kamau Bell On #BlackLivesMatter &
The Importance Of Showing Your Work
CONAN on TBS
https://youtu.be/73DBeuN0ek8
Instagram @amplifierart
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBYTBzRJhyw/

Racial Healing in America Conference – 2020

Women For Equality presents its
Third Annual Racial Healing in America Conference
February 29, 2020
9:00AM to 6:00PM
9249 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95826

This one-day conference is in response to the heightened awareness in our nation of the need for racial healing. The prevalence of hate crimes, social injustices and racial divides have been brought to the surface to demonstrate the need for us to come together.

Participants will:
• Experience unprecedented bonding
• Understand the importance of racial healing
• Explore their own biases
• Experience what it is like as a marginalized person in this country
• Co-create a community-based plan of action

Click here for tickets

Click here for Facebook Event Page

Tickets will also be sold at the door as space allows.

Flyer

Misunderstanding White Privilege and Other Nonsense

I spent too much time on some nonsense today. I’m aware that some of my posts rub some of you wrong. This is not an apology, just an acknowledgment, and I’m okay with that. I’m here for you ALL DAY if you want to learn something from me, or if you have something to teach me that is of value and makes this world a better place for EVERYONE. What I am NOT here for is your willful ignorance, and that goes double for when you are being obtuse in the face of an opportunity for you to hear something that you have the chance to learn. I am NOT here for you if you learn, know, find out better, but refuse to do better.
I know I’m idealistic, and I’m okay with that, too. I have ALWAYS been this way, ALWAYS. Although, admittedly, it is the catalyst for a lot of my frustration with stupid shit that people do and say. Sometimes I really do not get what some of you do not get. Some of you, I chalk it up to lack of exposure and refusal to learn. I say “refusal” because really there are NO reasons why anyone should pass up an opportunity to learn something new, and there is NO shortage of ways to learn about people that you may not have a good understanding of. Personally, before I condemn someone for the way they act, I check in with myself to see if I FIRST understand why someone does what they do. That doesn’t mean that I am going to condone their actions (or I might), it just means that I seek to understand first.
I don’t know it all. I don’t have all the answers. Neither do any of you. And sometimes even when I think I understand, I get set straight one way or another. But here’s the catch: I’m also okay with that! To me, it’s a RELIEF. Now, don’t confuse that with it feeling good. It rarely does, but it IS a relief. Knowledge is power and freedom. There are things I know. There are things I know that I don’t know or understand. And there are things, I’m sure, that I don’t even know that I don’t know yet. Those will come, and I’m always working on the things that I know I need to understand better. I am comfortable with finding those things out. I get along best with people that get this.
If you come on my page and respond to a post that you don’t agree with, be prepared to be set straight. I’m willing to listen to a point to see if there is something new for me, something I didn’t know, etc. The end of that point, however, is when I am aware that you aren’t here to listen or learn anything new.
Further, learn what white privilege is. It has nothing to do with your economic status. Really, I think we should ALL know this by now, but some of you are not paying ANY attention or trying AT ALL to learn what it means. Same with Black Lives Matter. Learn what it means and stop that stupidity about Blue Lives and All Lives, etc. Just STOP. It’s not like the REAL information and answers aren’t abundantly out there to find. But at this point, if you’re still confused, I already know you’re just too afraid to find out. That helps NO ONE, not even you.
Finally, black people or any person of color, for that matter, aren’t here to teach you about the real history of the U.S. (not the watered-down version of stuff our history books in school wanted us to know that made us feel good about ourselves) or the foundation of policing. Besides, when they do try to tell you, many of you won’t listen anyway. Stop telling people of color how they should act according to how it is standing in YOUR shoes until (which will be never) you stand in theirs and gain an understanding of what life has HISTORICALLY been like for them in this country. Stop quoting that one black person in a 6,000 square mile radius who almost agrees with you or agrees with you on one line-item as evidence that you are right about your racist views or ignorance.
If you just rolled your eyes during any of that (if you made it this far), please feel free to remove me from your friend list or whatever else makes you feel better. I’m okay with that, too. And don’t send me your private messages of hate like I get EVERY time I get on my soapbox. Some of you all go through an awful lot of trouble to just show me in the end that I got under YOUR skin. My favorites are when I get called an ethnic slur that is relative to my last name. I publish those for everyone to see, just so you know.
Lastly, I AM here for you if you would like to live in a world that works for EVERYONE with NO ONE left out, and you’re willing to take a look at yourself like I do myself ALL the time. Someone told me once that I hate white people and therefore hate myself. Not true. I love ALL people. (And don’t think that I’m not aware that that is just some second class manipulation to make me feel bad and try to put me down.) I may not like you personally, but I love ALL people. I’ve always felt that way. I just simply have no tolerance for intolerance. I don’t have room for it, and I won’t even make room for it in my life, and I will never apologize for that. If you’re racist, we got a problem. If you’re homophobic, we got a problem. If you want to demonize someone for their religion that you don’t understand, we got a problem. If you think you’re going to talk down to me because I have a vagina and you have a penis, we got a problem. If you have any kind of “ism” or phobia about someone who is different than you, we are probably going to lock horns at some point and have a problem.
If you just so happen to want to open yourself up to some knowledge and you are white like me, here are a few links below. Well, anyone can read them, but they’re about white privilege. Or you can simply look this stuff up on your own. It’s our job to teach each other and ourselves to do better. Stop waiting on people of color to give you the answers that you ultimately don’t listen to anyway.
There’s so much more I can say, but I know I’ve probably worn out my welcome at this point. If you made it this far, thank you. Your time is appreciated. If you’d like to discuss any of this in a respectful, willing-to-learn manner, feel free to comment below.
Peace.

https://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116

When "Just Love" Is Just Words Instead of a Verb

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There’s a lot of requests to “just love” in the past couple days.

This is popular when there is a tragedy, whether it’s a large scale disaster, or something that just hits local or home. Notice the word “just” is put in front of the word “love” to indicate that it really is a simple thing, that it really needs to happen, and that it will really make all the difference.


I don’t think it’s surprising that this request comes in droves when a major tragedy occurs.  Not at all.  Nor do I think it is somehow wrong or inappropriate. We are touched and moved in various ways by these occurrences, and so it seems natural o reach out in this way.


But why aren’t we doing this every day regardless of circumstances? Why aren’t we doing less talking and more listening in the first place — and in all places and for all people? Why do we wait until a terrible thing that showed us what a lack of love and conscience looks like, to remember to “just love?” 

What does your “just love” look like? What does it mean?  Are certain individuals or groups left out? You see, if our “just love” is meant to invoke a loving change or a change for more love, then it begins with you, me, the person stating it — not “them,” or over there somewhere. If your “just love” is meant as a plea or a reminder for people to change their hearts and minds, this must also apply to you. Otherwise it is an empty plea. 

“Just love” doesn’t mean that you have to start agreeing with everybody. What it looks like (if you actually want change) is the willingness to hear people that may think or act or look differently than you. It’s real easy and a cop-out from your statement to “just love” the same people that you just loved the day before the tragedy. There is absolutely no change in that. So when the dust settles from the current tragedy, guess what we have! We have the same thing we had before the tragedy — the very thing that we said we didn’t want to see any more of.

Is your “just love” just words, or is it a jump into action?

Do you have a plan to include those you left out before? I think that most of us know that one of the best ways we can show love and respect for another is to give them our attention and consideration. When we minimize, ignore, or ridicule another person’s experience based off of the simple, and simple-minded, fact that it is different from our own, that is absolutely not “just love.” It is, at its least, thoughtless. At its most, it shows up as tragedy in various forms and depths.

 

So the next time you broadcast “just love” as a mend, please make sure it’s not “just words.” Love is, after all, a verb, too.

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