Tag: current events

A Note of Gratitude and Deep Respect to Charles Ramsey

laundry day in sf

The internet is flooded with video snippets of your extraordinary story and the inimitable way in which you tell it.  People are laughing.  People are gaping.  People are surprised out of their usual stupor as much by your heroic actions as they are by your unscripted news interviews.  You are an original.  Honest and real.

What I love you most for is not walking away from someone begging for help.  I am haunted by stories of bystanders witnessing rapes, murder, and other crimes and not lifting a finger to help.  Stories of apathy and fear, however understandable, that result in so much continued pain and suffering.  You are the person I hope I’ll be in someone else’s moment of crisis.  You are the person I hope my husband will be when someone screams for assistance even if I’m waiting impatiently for him at home.  You’re the person I hope my son will grow up to be – to have that instinct to help other human beings in desperate need.

Four people have been freed from captivity because of you.

I doubt I’ll ever be able to say the same thing about myself or anyone I know.

I have few heroes.  You are one of them.

Gandhi.  Martin Luther King Jr.  Schindler.  Charles Ramsey.




The Newtown Massacre

Technically it’s tomorrow, but I’m still hung up on today.

The events of this morning make me feel confessional: I didn’t cry when I heard about all the deaths resulting from the attack on the Twin Towers.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t horrified.  It wasn’t that I wasn’t deeply sad or that I didn’t understand how many people were thrust rudely into mourning that day, because I did.  I felt the weight of that day like most Americans did just as I understood what long term ramifications it stood for and the political abuse it would open doors to.

But I didn’t cry.  Which is no miracle.  I do not cry often.

I didn’t cry over the estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed by American soldiers in our most recent war on in the middle east.  It isn’t because I’m a bigot who doesn’t count Iraqi lives over American ones.  I feel heartbroken over the atmosphere of permissive bigotry against all middle eastern people and the devastating number of them my country is responsible for snuffing out overseas.  I can never right such an egregious wrong.

I didn’t cry when I heard about the C0lumbine massacre though I was pregnant at the time and had the dark thought that this is not a world I should bring a child into.  I grieved with everyone else who felt the clamp of violence twist their heart into something small and dark.

This morning I was happily consumed by the largely philosophical question of labeling people.  I took three hours to compose a post to frame the thoughts intruding on my daily routine.  I enjoy such exercises in thought.  I was interested in furthering someone else’s conversation on this subject.  I blew my paid job off to pursue these avenues of thought.  Thoughts about what makes language useful.  I was on fire with enthusiasm and the importance of communication imagining I had something valuable to contribute to the world.

When I finally finished writing my post I cleaned it up and posted it to facebook.  It took about 60 seconds to take in the posts covering the events so current they were still unfolding but which were already old enough that everyone but me already knew that something dreadful had just happened in Connecticut.  As it seeped into my consciousness I started feeling very small.  Smaller than I’ve felt in a long time.  Who the fuck cares about labeling human beings when 28 of them have just been shot to death and 20 of them were under 11 years old?!  Everything feels so small after that.

I don’t cry often but I cried today.

I cried for all those children and adults who died in Newtown.  I cried for all of the devastated people they left behind.  I cried today in grief for a country that lets this shit keep happening.

But I’m done crying now.

Now I’m blazing angry and ready for action.