At Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland
After a glorious vacation abroad I return this week to admit I came home embarrassed for my country.
My husband and I were in Ireland when word of America’s latest mass shooting hit the European media and the story was the lead item on every news program.
Sky News, the BBC, Good Morning Ireland each featured American reporters in Roseburg, Oregon for the latest on the shooting. Then they brought in panels of pundits to talk about it.
“When there are 24 campus shootings in one year in America we need to realize there is something profound happening in America,” said Zoe Williams, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper. “It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.” [click to continue…]
Survivors of the Murdered – How Do They Cope?
You know how when you trip and fall and no matter how badly you are hurt your first inclination is to jump up and declare that you are okay? You automatically gather up all your strength, hop up and say, “I’m fine. Really. Thanks.” The next day the pain seeps in to let you know you’re not okay.
In my klutz-prone world this is the scenario I think of when watching the parents of gun violence victims.
The media pesters them for comment and they bravely face the cameras. They instinctively declare they are fine and determined to wage a campaign for better control of the massive gun stash we have in this country. As the interviews go on for a few days we come to realize these survivors cannot possibly be fine. [click to continue…]
U.S. Airstrike Against ISIS at Mosul Dam
Let’s not kid ourselves. We are back in the business of war again.
Oh, the politicians can call it whatever they want — like a counter-terrorism campaign — but when U.S. fighter plans are dropping bombs on ISIS forces in both Iraq and Syria we are at war.
When we send Navy vessels out to sea to facilitate the fight we are at war.
When we are simultaneously attacking a secondary group of Muslim extremists calling themselves Khorasan we are, in fact, engaging in a multi-level war.
Washington might cling to the belief that absent battalions of boots-on-the-ground it isn’t really a war. But the fact is, we already have plenty of troops on ground in that region (left over from past conflicts) and what are called “advisers.” [click to continue…]
Bad News … And More Bad News
News Announcer: “There’s been another school shooting. This time at the Troutdale High School in Oregon, about 16 miles east of Portland….”
I don’t want to write about this. It feels like screaming into the wilderness with no one listening. And I feel silly now admitting that I really thought things would change after the December 2012 mass school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
I honestly believed the senseless deaths of 26 little children and teachers (as well as one horribly misguided mother) in Connecticut was going to be a watershed event that would spur a host of new ideas to curb violence. [click to continue…]
THIS is the Cause of the Massacre
In the aftermath of a terrible tragedy we always look for someone or something to blame. In the case of the Isla Vista, California massacre in which six college students were murdered and 13 others wounded, the blame game started almost immediately. Most of the criticism was misdirected.
This mass murder was not due to the lack of strict gun laws. It was not the fault of violent video games. It wasn’t that the killer had an uncaring or inattentive family. It didn’t happen because the killer’s therapist or school counselor failed to decipher a madman’s inner turmoil. And it wasn’t because law enforcement somehow failed.
There is only one reason so many people died — 22-year-old Elliot Rodger was a young man of privileged means who was possessed by a demented, murderous and conniving mind. Period. [click to continue…]
First Animal DNA Lab in the U.S.
As far as crime laboratories go it is not very impressive looking. And it is not very big, with a permanent staff of just three forensic scientists and a few interns. But the work product that comes out of the Veterinarian Forensic Lab at the University of California at Davis is important and it has changed the way crimes are investigated and prosecuted worldwide.
The lab has been called the “CSI of the four legged world” and it is the nation’s first laboratory dedicated to animal DNA profiling.
It’s accredited by the prestigious American Society of Crime Lab Directors because the VFL conducts animal-related forensic tests as rigorously as any lab dealing with human DNA. [click to continue…]
Lanza Wishes He Had Done More
“With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he’d had the chance …The reason he shot Nancy four times was one for each of us: one for Nancy, one for him, one for Ryan, one for me.” ~ Peter Lanza, father of mass killer Adam Lanza
Dear Mr. Lanza,
First, may I tell you how deeply sorry I am for the loss of your son, Adam? As a mother myself I cannot imagine my child committing suicide and the never-ending pain that action must bring with it.
Here’s hoping you know how many people have prayed for your family since the terrible tragedy in December 2012. [click to continue…]
Learn the Smell of Geraniums!
My dear Grandma Cora always grew geraniums – red geraniums, to be specific. Nearly every time I went to went to visit her she had pots of them flowering outside the front door.
I would gently stroke the leaves and breathe in that unmistakable geranium smell. To this day I love the smell of geraniums so much I grow them myself – all year around.
Now I discover that retaining the memory of that smell could help save lives. Same holds true for the smell of garlic, horseradish and other common odors.
If suddenly detected in the wrong place at the wrong time it could signal that a chemical weapons attack is underway. [click to continue…]
We’re Fascinated By Murder
We have a fascination in America about murder.
Serial killers, mass murders, thrill kills, the so-called “mission murderers” who think it’s their duty to rid the world of certain groups like prostitutes, drug users or the homeless. That all those prime time TV shows, replete with mysterious murders and the resulting criminal trials are so popular speaks volumes.
But what is the reality? How many murders are there in America? Who are the victims and their killers? What parts of the country are most dangerous?
The FBI’s latest figures tell us there were 14,168 killings in the U.S. in 2012. That’s slightly higher than the rate in 2011. [click to continue…]