Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Doing The Work

NPR told me that unfriending people on Facebook is not the way to advance the discussion.  The panel told me to listen, to learn, to open my mind to hearing disparate views.
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I'm fine with that.

My No Labels quotes, shared on my Facebook page, get positive responses from the most conservative, Evangelical, not-on-my-page-at-all, connections.

There is something to be said about finding a center, about working with one another instead of screaming as we hold onto the outer edges of our beliefs.  I'm trying to be open minded.

TBG says that Hillbilly Elegy opened his eyes to the other. Watching Longmire on Netflix last night reminded us that not everyone lives within shouting distance of a Walgreens or a Walmart.  The disconnect between what I feel and what is happening seems to be getting wider with every passing hour.  I'm trying to bridge the gap.

And then I think of the gunman in Ft. Lauderdale.

He reloaded 3 times.

Had our shooter had the chance to reload, I am certain that I would
not be sitting at my desk typing this to you.  I would be dead.  But citizen heroes, Roger Salzgeber and Col. Bill Badger, 70 year old white guys just standing in line like the rest of us, jumped over fallen bodies and tackled the man before he could put another magazine in his Glock.  Pat Maisch grappled for the magazine, wrenching it away before more damage could be done.

There were no heroes in Ft. Lauderdale.  There were people running for their lives (understandable) and people hiding in terror (even more understandable) and people who lost their shoes and their luggage and their identification in the tumult (laughable, in a dark humor sort of way) but there were no people willing to jump the gunman and disarm him.

As Pat Maisch said in her editorial, here in Tucson two brave men, good guys without guns...tackled the shooter without regard for their own safety.  How sad that there were no heroes in the airport in Ft. Lauderdale.  How many lives might have been saved?  

Teddy Roosevelt was right:

Sometimes, the solution involves putting yourself at risk.  Sometimes the solution is as simple as making a phone call.  Sitting quietly on the sidelines is not an option.  We are all in this together.  We all need to do the work.


  1. It looked like it went pretty fast and the trained people were there fast. In Tucson, one of the men who jumped the shooter did have a gun. He opted not to use it due to uncertainty as to who was the bad guy when he saw the struggle and he helped those who had grabbed the shooter. I think some people are more used to dealing with violence, and that doesn't mean just shooters but the moment when something turns dangerous. A lot of folks are in shock. They literally don't know what to do. In many shootings, thinking of one in Oregon some years back, someone does jump the shooter and what enables that is always of interest to me as a writer. What makes a hero is the question at the heart of many books.

    1. And The Iliad and The Odyssey and the Ramayana and, I'll argue, The Hebrew Bible. It's a concept Big Cuter and I toss around quite often, and one I've thought about a lot in the last 6 years. It's why I honor those who put themselves at risk to save lives, who thought before reacting (your uncertain man is my favorite part of that awful day, right up there with Pat Maisch shaking her finger at the pinned down shooter, and asking him what the F did he think he was doing???????

      In this case, I'm invoking the I-was-there-so-I-get-to-decide clause of blogging (which is a close cousin to the I-wrote-the-book-so-I-get-to-decide clause of novel writing) and say that they are, in fact, heroes :-)

      And I enjoy thinking about that in your books, too, btw.

  2. I too wondered about the people there in Ft. Lauderdale. No one taking the risk to stop this mad man?

    1. I like to think that I would have secured my loved ones and then gotten to work. If I've learned anything at all over the last 6 years, it's not to judge the behavior of those in a situation of such amplitude. But there were about 30/40 people there in Tucson, and ~10% of them put themselves at risk to save lives.

      Are we so inured to the violence? Was there no one able to figure something out? He reloaded 3 times......

    2. they were magazine clips though and he was trained military. The time between probably was seconds. What has stopped several of the shooters has been the gun jams. What I thought with the latest one is the whole airport should be safe and that includes the baggage claims where people are lined up. The idea that they are only protecting planes is like when the doors to the cockpit were too expensive to secure...

  3. I don't know how I would react in a shooting situation, but I do know I need to act as a citizen.


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