Thursday, January 31, 2013

She's Kidding, Right?

In one week, this

and this

and this

and these are just crimes that have to do with schools.

There is also this and this.

I could go on.

And today I read this?  Seriously, Kay Hagan? You're on the fence because you might lose your seat in Congress?

We have a chance to influence our Congresswoman. Your voice (and eventually your vote) will matter. This has got to stop.  It's insanity.

Finally, please watch this.

Friday, January 25, 2013


The year my oldest daughter turned thirteen, these were the top five movies:

Forrest Gump
The Lion King
True Lies
The Santa Clause
The Flintstones

Included in the list of PG-13 movies that year was one about a young boy witnessing a murder involving the Mafia, Sin and Redemption, Ace Ventura, The Shadow.  For the most part, I could tell whether a movie was appropriate for her, and there weren't that many inappropriate movies for a thirteen-year old.

In 2012, the top five movies were:

The Avengers  (Trailer)
The Dark Knight Rises (Trailer)
Hunger Games
One of the Twilight movies

All of the above movies were rated PG-13. I wouldn't have wanted my daughter to see any of them, with the possible exception of Hunger Games.

Parents have a much harder job these days keeping an eye on their children's habits.  The child can be watching a suitable television show, but the commercials are full of violent trailers for movies or later shows.  They can access pornography and violence on the internet; they buy first person shooter video games with their allowances, bypassing any parental oversight.

And the electronic babysitter is easy.  In a home where there is a single parent or two working parents, it is understandable that after fixing dinner, overseeing homework, carpooling to school and sporting events, after a long day at the office, that the parent might want to read or watch television and be alone.  And a quiet occupied kid is a good kid, right?

This is one extreme, the tired parent who just wants to rest at the end of the day and lets their child self-occupy.  What about the parent whose kid stockpiled ammunition and guns in the basement? What the heck is up with that?

We still owe it to our children to parent them as long as they're at home.  We can't let them have all the choices because there are way more bad choices--even in what they watch on TV and do for recreation--than there were when my kids were teenagers.

A friend with two teenage boys said to my husband, "It's not like it was when your kids were young." And she's as right as can be.  It's not. The job of parenting is harder than ever, but it's the job we take when we decide to be parents.

If you are the parent, please weigh in on how you deal with the issue of overseeing your child's movie, computer, and gaming time.  How does your child react to any restrictions you place on him or her? Have you ever taken action in the form of letters of protest to television stations or movie theaters? What affect do you see violence having on your children?

And let us know what kind of support you need from those of us who aren't in that battlefield.  Are there ways we can get behind these issues with you?

Remember: This is a conversation.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Long Foggy Road

The promise of my last post of 2012 has left me feeling like this road: foggy.

Since that post:

- I've read articles about violence in the media and I've paid a lot of attention to the fact that even as commentators like Jon Stewart ridicule the gun fanatics, the commercials on his show are 75% guns and explosions.

- I've watched as the gun proponents blame the mental health people who blame the media.

- I've read articles and listened to stories about Obama's gun proposals, heard the contentious nature of the debate, felt the iron stances of both sides.

- I've watched the Newtown families as they banded together to make change. I saw this family with NC connections talk about the loss of their beautiful daughter, Catherine.

- I've talked to friends and family about my frustration with finding a simple solution and with my inability to write one word here about my thoughts.  A friend said, "You can't change the world; you can only work within your sphere of influence." One daughter said that if my promise felt like a burden then I shouldn't do it.

And now I'm trying to get my mind around what is possible.  Is it realistic to think that I'm going to change Richard Burr's mind about gun control?  Is the motion picture industry going to listen to my pleas to stop rating for money and begin thinking about who should be seeing the violence they're selling? (See this article that ran in our local paper.) Are video game manufacturers going to stop and think about the desensitization of young people toward violence and change their ways?  Would improving mental health services help? Is it possible to form a lobby that would counter the NRA? Picket? Boycott? Write letters? Donate money? Raise money?

It all seems overwhelming.  I'm going to do two things for now.

First I'm going to take a few minutes every day to just sit and put my attention on the fact that one of the overarching feelings in this country right now is fear.  I'd like to ask you to do the same.  If you pray, pray.  If you meditate, meditate mindfully on it.  If you don't do either, just take a quiet moment or two to consider. What are we afraid of and how can we instill a sense of safety in our homes, communities, schools, and country?

Second, I'm going to keep looking for opportunities to make a difference. I'm still going to ask for some guest bloggers, and if you want to volunteer please do. I'm going to work on that town council.

In the meantime I am going move on to other subjects in this blog until I gain some clarity on what direction to take.  I welcome your conversation; I want it to be a dialogue.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I'm pondering the post

I'm thinking about what to say and will post before the week's end.  Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Casting About, Eyes Open

When I looked through my camera lens and took the picture above, I failed to see what looks like an elf's face on the far right of the wood.  I had to open my eyes to the details of the print before it came alive.

This is what has happened to me since my last post of 2012.  Well, that and the flu, which gave me a lot of television/newspaper/magazine time.  I've opened my eyes to anything that will shed light on the reason that we are having more crimes like the one in Newtown.

Today I'm going to briefly list some of the things that I saw, without comment; detailed conversations (please talk back) will come in later posts.

First there was this comic in my Google Reader:

There were articles in the newspaper.

1. One event from Columbus, Ohio, has made quite a splash in the press and on Facebook, about two high school football players who are charged with raping a 16-year-old girl. Last week, an unverified video was released showing one young man laughing about the accuser.

2. In an article discussing the biggest problems our new governor faces, mental illness was #6. "North Carolina's decadelong mental health reform effort has, by most assessments, failed with mentally ill people crowded into adult care centers, local hospitals, and county jails, or put on the streets because there are not enough community facilities." - Rob Christensen,  The News and Observer, January 6, 2013.

3. In the entertainment section, there was a note that "Texas Chainsaw 3-D had overtaken "The Hobbit" (see my earlier comments about The Hobbit here).

There was a conversation I had with a friend about how he and his children went to the movies over the holidays.  The violence in the movie was offensive to him, but not to his children.

There was the mother sitting across the table from her young son at Whole Foods.  He chatted animatedly to her while she checked her phone.

There was a conversation I had with an African-American woman about the culture of the angry white male.  She pointed out something I hadn't thought about: White males are now a minority in this country.

There was talk and more talk about guns.  Our guns, the guns or lack thereof in other countries, the hoarding of guns and ammunition, our right to bear arms and what it means.  There was the idea of building a strong anti-gun coalition to face down the gun lobby, the idea of barring politicians from taking gun money, the discovery of gun legislation buried in the Obamacare bill.

On Sunday morning, I happened on Oprah's Sunday morning show.  Marianne Williamson was her guest, and she said three things that struck me. I want to end with them (I paraphrase):

1.  We must have a shift from ordering things along economic principles to humanitarian principles.

2.  We can't wait for the majority; a small group with a radical idea can make change.

And most important in my mind:

3.  When an adult female feels threatened, or when "her children" are threatened, she will not stop until she has remedied the situation.