June 4th, 2013

alan's beach photo

Exchange

The morning fog is in and the day is wrapped in softness.  It clears in the afternoon leaving a moist tint.  I love the balance of starting enclosed and then opening out.  This has been a year of magnificence.  Butterflies, birds, and flowers abound.  It is as though the light speaks.  I keep wondering if I forget, or if this truly is the most marvelous of years.  Perhaps it is I who is changed.  I am open to the touch of light, the stroke of my heart reaching out to receive and beam.

I may have mentioned that our neighborhood has an email group where all sorts of things are exchanged.  Today a father posts that his 8 year old son wants to learn Swahili.   I'm curious to see what the response to that will be.  I know we are a reasonably diverse community but that seems a little on the edge, at least among people I know, and I hope there is someone in the "hood" who will be delighted to teach a young child Swahili.  We often have lemonade stands set up by children, but this last weekend some little ones had a juggling stand.  You could watch them juggle.  I know there is great discussion on disconnection, but more and more it seems to me the net is bound with openness of exchange.
goldsworthy - snake

The Gun Problem

I appreciate David Cole's article,  "Facing the Real Gun Problem" in the June 20th, 2013, New York Review of Books.

As inspiration to do something, he suggests we read Joe Nocera's blog, The Gun Report.  Check it out: http://nocera.blogs.nytimes.com

One example from the blog that feels close to home is from the SF Chronicle. A woman was shot and killed in front of her 4-year old son at 8:43 PM just blocks from Oakland Children's Hospital.   This was Oakland's fourth homicide in the week of April 26.

Cole points out that "every year, about twice as many people are killed in the United States by guns than die of terrorist attacks worldwide.  Americans face a one in 3.5 million chance of being killed in a terrorist attack, but a one in 22,000 chance of being murdered."

I know I'm preaching to the choir here and I know that even though "polls report that 85 percent of Americans, and 81 percent of gun owners, favor universal background checks", the Senate rejected a bill to close loopholes, and we know this, and I forget.

"The U.S. firearms homicide rate is twenty times higher than the combined rate of the next twenty-two high-income developed nations."

Solutions he suggests.  First, "abandon efforts to ban assault weapons."   Most of the deaths occur with ordinary handguns, so focus there, and don't alienate those who are sure their rights are being taken away by any talk of gun control.   Second, close background check loopholes.  Third, stricter gun safety regulations.  (In May, a five-year old boy in Kentucky accidentally shot and killed his two-year old sister with a gun his parents gave him for his birthday, and stored loaded and unlocked.)  Fourth, decriminalize drugs, and focus on "better public education, after-school programs, job training, and employment opportunities".

Both sides need to talk to each other, and maybe then, we can begin to reduce numbers that put us in the realm of statistics so unfathomable that anyone who reads them cannot begin to understand.