“I’m buying the Frogger machine. Now the torch will burn forever.”

It’s a melancholy day.  I’m sad Tom Petty has passed.  I’ve been listening to his music all day.  The massacre in Las Vegas has me in a full body clench.  I don’t understand how anything could lead to such an act.  Nothing is more precious than life.  How can any circumstance negate this fact?  There are no words or gestures of empathy to soothe.  Just the ugly, pervasive knowledge it’s only slightly more horrific than the last massacre.

I refuse to be inured to violence.  I’m pretty sure it’s not possible in my case, anyway.  I still have nightmares from allowing curiosity to get the best of me regarding Game of Thrones.  I read the books.  I should have left it at that.  Instead, I watched it on HBO, up until The Mountain crushed Prince Oberyn’s head.  That scene really messed me up.  I haven’t watched so much as a clip since.

Other extremely violent scenes bothered me, but that scene annihilated my curiosity for the story.  It may have been a cumulative factor.  I don’t watch anything violent, now.  I’ve exceeded my tolerance for life.  I don’t care that it’s acting.  I’ve seen my best friends head beaten to a pulp by her raging husband.  I know what it looks like in reality.  I know what it smells like in reality.  I wish I could forget.

I’m tired.  I finished reading the Mists of Avalon series.  It reinforced my atheism.  I’m reading Reckless:  My Life as a Pretender by Chrissie Hynde, presently.  I’ve only just begun, but am already delighted I’ve found that for which I didn’t realize I was searching:  A woman’s perspective of the time period I’m studying.

It’s well written and so descriptive, I sat on the floor and drew horses with child Chrissie Hynde, while we discussed the state of humanity, (in my imagination.)  I walked with her all over her vast childhood domain in Ohio, and observed intensely with her (without shame.)  I met her parents through Chrissie Hynde’s eyes and understanding.  (It prevented any automatic dismissal based solely on their political inclinations.)

I also grew up in white America.  I too benefitted from white privilege and feel compelled to correct any tainted views born of a sheltered childhood in racial isolation.  (You don’t have to be of Caucasian descent to be tainted by white privilege.  Growing up in America more than suffices, which is kinda the point.)  I’m still learning how to broaden my perspectives to an inclusive and righteous viewpoint.  I don’t allow myself to feel resentment for having to relearn how I think.  (It’s just disguised overwhelm, anyway.)

I visualize it internally as removing a dam in a river one pebble at a time.  Walking into the river, bending and picking up a single rock, then returning it to the shore calms me.  It’s a favorite meditation.  It reminds me the journey is as important as the destination.  I’m girl crushing pretty hard on Chrissie Hynde.  😂  It makes me happy to spend some time in her head and recognize she’s brilliant and thoughtful.

I know songwriters are storytellers.  I just struggle to believe any interpretation of lyrics that don’t come from the mouth of the writer.  Most songwriters don’t tell their fans what the songs mean to them.  It used to piss me off, but now I see it’s more a gift.  What it means to the listener doesn’t have to match what it means to the writer.  It took a while, but I got here.  🙃

I know Chrissie Hynde’s story has darkness ahead.  She foreshadowed, plus I know a bit from interviews.  It helps when I can see it coming.  I’m a bit surprised how well I handled the darkness of Mists of Avalon.  I do feel betrayed by the author for inventing unnecessary horrors that could have been omitted without affecting the story.  If it doesn’t drive the plot, why bother?  Why hurt the reader for no good reason?

It hurts me when creators use violence as a spice.  When I put myself in their figurative shoes, I can’t fathom a positive cause.  The seeking of an edge through violence is to writing what Axe cologne is to frustrated virgins.  Rape is violence.  It’s the act of forcibly stealing someone’s free will.  It’s still barely a crime and becoming less so thanks to the Predator in Chief and his Merry Misogynists.  I guess the book series upset me more than I realized.

I thought I would get past this inner fury from having my free will dominated.  I thought it would lessen and fade over time, like most pain.  I see now it was wickedly unreasonable of me to expect such.  I live on a planet where rape scenes are considered entertainment.  Where the average adult is so numbed to acted violence, they don’t seem to feel despair over the reality.

I’m long past harboring a desire to fit in on earth.  (The thought alone made me laugh out loud.)  I cling tightly (internally) to those I meet on this journey who are also horrified by the horrors of life.  Knowing I’m not alone is comforting.  Alienation feels a lot like homesickness.  I’ve just never been home.  Too bad it doesn’t lessen the longing.  At least I know it’s a state of mind, not a location.  I’m pleased to share the path with Chrissie Hynde.

I told you never to come in here. Serenity now!

Welp.  I’m freaking out again.  M. popped The Question.  His parents will be here in a few days.  Inhale… 2… 3… 4…  Fuck.  And out… 2… 3… 4…  This kinda shit isn’t supposed to happen after your mom dies.  It would be in the rule book if I had a say in these things.  I did marriage already.  My brain is threatening to reboot.  Redirecting to a shorter thread.  I’m scared.  That’s what’s happening.  I’m afraid because the last time I got married, it didn’t work out.

Since I haven’t shared anything about my marriage, I’ll give the summary.  I got married when I was 19.  I got divorced 25 years later.  My ex-husband was also serving in the Army when we met.  I’ll always love him.  I smiled all the way through when I typed that.  He was (later) diagnosed with schizophrenia.  His medications had severe side effects resulting in his eventual refusal to take them.  Most people with schizophrenia are nonviolent, but that’s not the case here.  I suspect his spec ops training and combat exposure didn’t help.

Unmedicated, he began self-medicating, first just with alcohol, then he started using meth.  Things got bad.  I left when he got violent, but you can’t actually leave an Army Ranger.  You can move a lot, lose a lot of deposits, waste time with restraining orders and unbelievably misogynistic cops in small towns, get a divorce and beg, but you can’t leave.  I’m going to cut this short because this story sucks.  He’s in prison now and doing well on a new medication.  His mom gives me updates a few times a year, but that’s the only remaining contact.

I struggled with the man I married vs. the man who is very ill.  They’re extremely different.  I’m so in love with the man I married, and always will be.  He no longer exists.  It took time for me to accept that.  The first time he hurt me, I was more shocked and confused than any physical suffering.  I was also government property, (GI = government issue.)  I think that spared me the agony of deciding to leave.  (I’ve read lots of women go back to a mate after the first time he hurts them.)

I don’t blame my ex for being sick, of course.  Mental illness fucks up relationships all the time, I’m sure.  My mom told me I don’t need a man to do anything I want to do.  She told me I can be anything I want if I’m willing to pay the price required.  That nobody is better than me or can tell me how to feel.  My mom had an incredible record for being right.  I’m missing her right now.  I told M. I want time to process and think.  He said he expected as much, so that’s a relief.  At least he didn’t spend money on a shiny rock glued to some metal (that I would lose within 24 hours.)

I don’t believe in spending tons on a wedding, either.  Fuck paying lots of money to be anxious in front of people.  (I just want a cake and to be the DJ.)  So I guess I’m going to say yes, even though I’m so scared I think I may hurl.  I’d like to sleep on it, but that’s laughable tonight.  I’m going to go commune with Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks, and Beyoncé while I pace.  When I’m relaxed and empowered, I’ll know what to do.

I have to open a bottle of ketchup for her.

Lately, I’ve thought a lot about core values.  I haven’t paid much attention to philosophy (because it should be called wishful thinking.)  Wishing is for childhood.  Adulthood abuses wishers.  Tinkerbelle dies every time in reality.  But as a child, you may have been allowed to indulge.  Sorry nobody warned you it was temporary.  Philosophy should be expressed and experienced in childhood.  Reality beats Philosophy about the head and neck until it dies pitifully.  Like from Syphillus.  Or a bottle of poison.

Adults who insist on fantasy instead of reality raise my blood pressure.  I don’t think I’ll have a heart attack, though.  My picky diet is surprisingly good for my circulatory system.  Also, the smell of bacon repulses me.  My brother used to enjoy chasing me up a tree with the bacon from his breakfast.  My knees, elbows, palms, chin, and shins show evidence of my experiences.  I’ve left a lot of skin specimens on concrete, tree trunks, pavement, and grass.  I blame activities involving wheels, blades, and helmets, poor decisions, and gravity.

When I fell during a run in basic training, my Drill Sgt. put his face inches from mine and yelled at me for bleeding on his hill.  I was on the verge of tears, but his tirade led to my laughing in his face, followed by regretting it, then mopping up my blood with the edge of my t-shirt.  When I was 27, I stopped taunting Gravity.  I stopped because Gravity got tired of my playing too much and smacked me hard.  It was one of those pains so shocking you analyze it while experiencing it out of awe.  I don’t fuck with Gravity anymore.

Identifying my values versus what I remember by rote takes concentration.  I’m determined to recognize what exactly I value more than my life.  I’m aware I overestimate people habitually and am preparing to rectify this behavior.  I’m strategizing for war.  Triage is crucial at this point.  I’m figuratively zeroing my weapons and eliminating the unnecessary to keep myself light and mobile.  I despise violence.  I used to live by a nonviolent philosophy.  Unfortunately, it was beaten out of me.  So I grew up and insist on truths instead.  I don’t hit first.  I hit back with everything I can muster.

Growing up with eight older siblings was violent.  I can’t imagine having five older brothers and not knowing what it feels like to be punched in the face.  Or shot at point blank range with pellets, bbs, and paintballs.  Or carried around by your head (that was when I decided to fight back).  The last time my brother, Guy, picked me up by my head, I broke his nose with the crown of my skull.  I didn’t know it could have killed him until years later.

It also startled him and made him see me differently.  I went from distracted and passive to overwhelmingly violent without warning.  He didn’t know how much he was hurting me by his actions.  He also didn’t realize the obvious reaction was to jump to prevent what felt like having my head pulled off.   Don’t ever pick someone up by their head.  It’s a horrible thing to do, and it might be the last thing you ever do.  The only results I endured after breaking his nose was a life free of being lifted by my head.  I’m off to read, then think some more.

Maybe they’re admiring your spot.

I’m having second thoughts about my job.  They’re premature.  Tomorrow, I’m going to share with my boss a significant time saver for the project workflow.  You’d think I learned in the Army not to make efficiency suggestions.  That would only be correct when dealing with an institution that honors tradition.  The Army is big on tradition.  It annoyed me at first.  Eventually, I learned a lot about them and used that information to win free trips all over Europe by competing in knowledge boards.

I still think of more efficient ways of doing whatever I’m doing while I’m doing it.  It’s how I’m wired.  I suspect it’s related to my impatience.  The problem is I’m using my idle thought time to think about how I could be idling more efficiently.  I wondered if I needed to get away from computers at work altogether.  We’ll see how it goes after my suggestion.  If I don’t bring it up, it’ll bug me.

I’ve always wanted to work in a factory.  They fascinate me.  I regularly binge on How It’s Made on Netflix.  I get so absorbed.  The weirdest part is I can’t shake the feeling that knowing how to make things is going to be important in the future.  It’s illogical and dramatically negative for no reason, but I feel it all the same.  I watch media like I’m going to be tested later.  I have an unconscious tendency to memorize the dialogue of TV and movies.  I guess that was obvious based on how I title my posts.  I don’t understand this obsession, but I’m pleased with it.  I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I met someone else who does it too.  That was a day I’ll remember for a long time.  We recited some of our favorite lines back and forth for a while, typing madly.  I love connecting with someone naturally.

Sometimes, neurotypical people will deliberately engage with me in a manner they know I appreciate.  In my case, this means asking me a leading question about computers, paying enough attention to know when to ask another, and letting me type until I get distracted, which won’t be for at least 20 minutes.  While this is happening, I’m aware of what they’re doing for me.  It’s the equivalent of giving me a significant portion of candy for no reason.

I think I should be bothered in instances where it’s obvious the person is faking interest, but instead, I think it’s adorable.  It doesn’t ruin my enjoyment.  I believe I’ve mentioned I’m unsophisticated.  One of the perks of being unsophisticated is not knowing when I should be embarrassed or offended much of the time.  I’m not self-conscious, but I’m more aware of the concept than I used to be.  At this pace, I’ll take a selfie when I’m 80.

Seventy days passed quickly.  I’m pleased with how much I’ve accomplished in that time.  I’ve laughed and smiled far more than I’ve cried.  I’ve spent time doing my favorite things.  I ended my role as a leader.  I’m behaving a lot like an Objectivist, which amuses me.  My stomach is in knots in anticipation of the inauguration.  I need to order a helmet.  I had a nightmare that I got my head bashed in by some sheeple who were worked into a hateful frenzy and sent out hunting for chances to be evil.

I know my dreams are merely reflecting fears I don’t allow in my consciousness.  However, I’ve discovered addressing them in a literal way eliminates the nightmares.  I don’t want to move to Canda or any other country.  I’m going down with the ship.  When Michelle Obama said there’s no more hope, my heart sank.  I don’t think I’ll live beyond the next four years.  I’ll be surprised if I make it a year.  I’m not sad about that.  I’m sad that I won’t get to finish my projects.  Strongly suspecting I’m going to get killed soon isn’t as stressful as I would have thought.  It’s too abstract to process, so it’s just there.  I saw some propaganda encouraging people to hurt Jews in a particular state.  I hope nobody is dumb enough to act on it.  It’s death penalty state.

We all know if someone is dumb enough to act on it, and ends up dead or on death row, whoever put out the call for violence will say it was a joke and suffer no consequences.  The instigators and puppet masters aren’t subject to the laws that govern regular people like you and me.  Don’t be a puppet for someone else’s agenda.  Make wise choices that include tomorrow.  Hate is a terrible reason to ruin your life.  We’re all one dumb decision away from destruction.

Letting Go

I’ve spent some time grieving over the recent violence in America.  The fact that I need to qualify that statement is disgusting.  The recent mass shootings in Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino.  Both were committed by people who felt justified in their actions.  Anything further is speculation.  I grieve for the fact that justification for mass murder is considered an option.  I don’t believe anyone has the right to kill people for any reason.  I understand that there are laws that sanction it.  I think they are wrong.

To steal existence from another is the ultimate arrogance.  To rob their loved ones of their existence, and to dismiss their future and potential is anathema to me.  I deliberately avoided news coverage of these events out of self preservation.  Some facts leaked through, regardless.  I saw an image of a black SUV riddled with high powered rifle impacts.  It was an image of massacre.  The murderers died by the same means as they inflicted on others.  Violence begets violence.  Live by the sword, die by the sword, blah blah blah.  It’s all bullshit.

You can’t punish a crime by committing the same crime.  This is illogical.  Taking a life in human history has most often resulted in a life being taken in retaliation.  We equate our grief with a right to seek revenge.  An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.  I was born into a blind world.  I was born into a world ruled by hatred and fear.  These are what motivate humanity as a whole.  These are literally chemical reactions within human brains.  Yet they are allowed to end the existence of millions of people.  Love, joy, and acceptance are also emotions, yet we reject these in the face of hatred and fear.  We walking chemical reactions are ruled by perceptions based solely on our emotions.

It seems like insufficient motivation to rule the human race.  Logic takes a back seat to emotion, when instead, it could be utilized as a guiding force to prevent such madness.  I’m an outsider.  My mind functions differently.  At times, the chemical reactions in my brain are random, and unrelated to my emotions or environment.  They rob me of control of my emotions, but don’t force action.  I sit back and observe, having had much experience with this phenomenon.  These experiences have allowed me to separate myself from my body.  From the community.  From the environment.  From the human race.

When I allow myself to interact with other humans, the eventual result is profound sadness. Something within me keeps experimenting, seeing if a tweak here or there will bring about new results.  I’m attracted to the goodness in others.  I can see it beneath the fear in most people with which I’ve interacted.  It’s motivations are love, joy, and acceptance.  This is goodness.  But the mask of fear usually surfaces, and eventually wears down my endurance, leading to deep sorrow.  I’m older now, and would like to be wiser.  I would like to limit my actions to logic.  I would like to step back permanently.  I know it’s within my ability.  I know that the longer I remain apart, the more difficult it becomes to communicate with others.  But if my goal is to remain separate, this becomes a desirable result.

Allowing my emotions to dictate my perceptions is a trap.  A trap that entangles me in the actions of others.  It traps me in an ocean of blindness.  I end up drowning rather than thriving.  And like anyone who is drowning, at one point, the will to survive becomes resolve in embracing the inevitable.  It’s time to let go.  If I am to continue, I have to do so on my terms.  I have to allow logic to be my guide, and I must avoid the trap.  The sadness I feel now will pass.  I will hold tight to goodness, and turn my back on fear.  I will dissociate myself from all who allow it to motivate their actions.  I will turn my energy to creating.  I will thrive in the joy of solitude.

I Remember

******Trigger Warning********– (graphic violence, homicide)

I’m so tired.  I lay in bed for 2 hours, but didn’t sleep.  I’m on vacation, so I’m allowed to goof off right now.  That was directed at the guilt I’m feeling because I haven’t written any code today.  Last night after I set up my new Xbox One, and waited forEVER for Halo 5 to update, I started shaking.  This has happened before.  It sucks.  I broke into a sweat, and my vision started to go black.  Then I fainted.  I was halfway to the floor by then because I knew it was coming, so I wasn’t hurt.  It’s called a Vasovagal response.

It’s no big deal.  But in the brief time I’m experiencing it, it feels pretty bad.  I’m assuming this was due to a combination of lack of sleep, forgetting to eat, and being triggered.  It’s kind of ironic how I got triggered.  I was watching PBS, and they were doing a show about veterans for the holiday.  I paid attention to the beginning when they followed a few soldiers who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and were home and trying to get on with their lives.  One was attending university, and another was reunited with his wife.  Before I clued in on the fact that I needed to change the channel, they started showing extremely graphic images of dead bodies in Iraq.  I was looking right at the TV when they showed one.

When I regained consciousness probably moments later, my cat was sitting beside me on the floor.  Anytime I’m on the floor, it’s a signal to her that I’m open to playing with her, so she must have wondered what was up.  I sat up slowly, and then got up and made something to eat. I sat at the counter and started eating my peanut butter sandwich, with my cat under my chair.  I didn’t change the channel, I shut the TV off completely, so it was quiet.

As I sat there, I made the mistake of wondering what caused the episode.  Bad move.  My mind threw up the graphic image again, and I pushed it away as fast as I could.  Then my mind started to wander back to when I was in the service.  My first permanent duty station was where I was stationed the longest.  I did a lot of growing up during the five years I was there.  I was pretty naive.  People I worked with directly used to say, “Earth to Special K, come in Special K”, a lot, because my Sergeant said it once, and they thought it was hilarious.  Special K was my nickname there.

I was kind of in my own world, I suppose.  I also would sing without realizing it, and the guys I worked with would join in to bring it to my attention.  Again, they thought it was hilarious.  I got on well with them, though.  My Sergeant was from Panama, and had 2 little boys.  I spent a lot of time with her and her kids.  She was one of the senior NCO’s in my unit, which meant she had a lot of responsibility and power.  She was like a second Mom to me in many ways.  She was the most amazing person I had the pleasure of meeting while serving, and that’s saying a lot, as I met a lot of amazing people during that time.

She was strict, demanded your best at all times, and looked out for her people like a lioness with her cubs.  She made you want to do a good job, because getting praised by her was a rare but wonderful thing when it happened.  I had trouble making friends in the Army too.  I had a lot of friendly acquaintances, but a lot of the women considered me too young to hang out with.  I was one of about 4 people on the entire post who were under 18, which was the legal drinking age there.  So going to the club was out at first.  I spent all my free time at the education center, or with my Sergeants kids.

After our first field problem, I met a woman from Jamaica.  She didn’t like me at first, because I kept following her around, asking her to pronounce words, then giggling when she complied.  She was a medic and was super feisty.  She was married, and had recently given birth to a son.  I must have grown on her, because before long, we became good friends.  She lived off post in an apartment complex.  Her younger sister was coming to visit for her 18th birthday, and I was invited to attend the party.  Our unit had a parade that day, and she was covering it with the ambulance.

As was always the case, about an hour into the parade, I fainted.  I just can’t stand at attention for long periods in 90+ degree weather.  When I fell out, the ones standing around me in formation saw it coming and propped me up until the medics came and dragged me away.  While I was recovering with an IV in the ambulance, she told me her husband was coming home.  He was in our unit before I arrived, and had since been sent to Korea.  Often, if you marry someone in your unit, one of you gets orders to go somewhere else soon afterward.

I rode with her back to my unit and changed into civilian clothes for the party.  I rode with a guy in my unit, and on the way there, we stopped for a bucket of KFC.  When we arrived, my friend was upstairs with her husband, and her sister was sitting on the sofa holding the baby.  I sat down beside her and started playing with the baby.  I don’t know where the guy I rode with was.  Probably in the bathroom.  A few minutes later, I heard some shouting coming from upstairs.  Then a really long, horrible moan from my friend.

Her husband came down the stairs really fast, and ran out the door.  My ride went after him.  I had a really bad feeling.  I knew something was wrong.  My friends sister grabbed my arm tightly, and we both started to cry.  I felt so numb.  I got up and started to climb the stairs.  Her sister started to follow me, and I told her no, stay with the baby.  I went up to the landing, and looked at the bloody handprint on the door.  For some reason, I couldn’t hear the baby crying anymore.  I felt like I was far away, and my body was an avatar I was operating.  I walked into the bedroom, and saw my friend laying across the bed.  Her head was bashed in, and her brain was showing.  There was a hammer on the floor that had blood and hair on it.

I turned around and started to walk down the stairs.  Her sister was in the process of coming up them, and I physically fought her back down the stairs and forced her out the door after taking the baby from her.  I still couldn’t hear.  I just remember it was so bright outside.  Her sister was still crying, but I don’t know if I was anymore.  My friends car was gone, and an ambulance was pulling into the parking lot.  I held the baby in one arm, and her sisters arm in my other hand.  It was the most surreal moment of my life.  And inside, I had a thought that still makes me feel ashamed.

I thought to myself, “She can’t be dead, she promised to braid my hair”.  I hate that I thought that at the worst possible moment.  I felt like the most selfish person who ever existed.  The police seemed to just appear out of nowhere, and one of them was a woman.  She came over and took the baby, then some other police started directing us to the back of the ambulance.  I was thinking they were confused, because I was fine, I didn’t need an ambulance.  Her sister clung to me, but I couldn’t feel it.  They took us back to the barracks.  It was on the news on TV that night.  Everyone in the barracks was so shocked.

It turned out that my friend was cheating on her husband, and someone in my unit wrote to him in Korea and told him about it.  He got leave, came home, and beat her to death with a hammer.  Then he took off when I saw him storming out of the apartment.  The guy I worked with ran after him.  Her husband confessed to him what he’d done, then drove into the canyon in an unsuccessful suicide attempt.  The guy I worked with called the police at the apartment office.  He came to check on me later that night, and explained things to me.  I never even knew she was cheating on her husband.

It had never occurred to me that someone could sleep with anyone other than their spouse.  This is what I meant about my being naive.  The murder divided our unit pretty much into men vs. women.  The guys thought he was justified in what he did.  The women thought it was monstrous.  He was arrested that night, and it went to trial.  Some of the guys had to testify, but I was never told the details.  He got 40 years in prison.  The sister took the baby home to Jamaica where her parents decided to raise him.

We were marched in formation to the chapel, where a pair of her combat boots, her dog tags, her medic arm band, and a photo sat at the altar.  We all filed up to it, one by one, and saluted.  The guy she was cheating with was weeping so hard a friend had to help him walk.  I was the other person weeping the entire time.  I was still in shock, and the crying just wouldn’t stop.  It wasn’t my first experience with death.  Some of the foster babies died in our home when I was a kid.  But this was the first time someone died when I was an adult.  It leveled me.

I started losing weight because I was too sad to eat.  I went down to the supply room in the basement to exchange my linens, and to my horror, the bloody mattress was propped against the wall near the armory.  Apparently, the supply people had to go to the apartment and pack up her stuff and clear out the apartment.  This is a typical example of how the mission always comes first, no matter what, in the military.  It didn’t matter that they all knew my friend, and were shaken up by what had happened.  It had to be done, so they did it.

I took one look at the mattress, and started screaming.  It was really weird, because I couldn’t stop at first.  It was like someone else was screaming.  My sergeant came and got me, and I stayed at her house for a few days to regroup.  Playing with her kids was just what I needed.  The sadness has always remained, but I’ve learned how to live with it.  I still have her medic arm band.  I think about her sometimes.  I have nightmares about it sometimes.  As far as I know, her husband is still in prison.  I sent letters back and forth with her sister for a few years, and in the last photo I got of the baby, he looked adorable.

It’s a violent world, the military.  There were 3 murders connected to my unit during my 5 years there.  But this is the one that continues to haunt me.  Maybe I’ll be able to sleep now that I got it out.

 

Violence Overload

Another school shooting.  This time in Oregon and last I checked, 14 dead and 20 or so wounded. Yesterday we had one locally, but fortunately, only the school principal was shot, and he was back at school today.  The kid who shot him was only 16, and is going to be tried as an adult on attempted murder.  His father said he’d been withdrawn and angry at the world of late.

I hate that they are going to try him as an adult.  Kids have no skills when it comes to coping with stress, rejection, bullying, etc.  They can have a loving family, friends, and a decent support system, and still do something this stupid on a whim.  Children don’t understand long term consequences.  It’s physiological. Their brains aren’t done developing.  They shouldn’t be held to the same standards as a 30-year-old, in my opinion.  They are going to send him to prison for decades most likely, and that experience will ensure he never gets better.  It’s a fucking trap.

I think we as adults can do better.  I know we can.  We should be teaching boys and girls coping skills while they are children.  We should start doing this at age 5.  By not doing this, we are failing our children. They aren’t born knowing how to do anything.  They learn what they observe, and what they are taught as well.  They are like sponges.  We need to teach our kids about reality.  Teach them how to grieve.  Teach them how to survive being bullied.  How to stand up for themselves.  How to cope with intense emotions.  We need to show them how we as adults do this, and let them see our example.

This means we need to collectively get our shit together.  Kids today admit they don’t feel like an adult until they’re in their late 20’s at the earliest.  There’s a reason for this.  We haven’t prepared them for the world they are inheriting.  We’re quick to label the new generation, but refuse to see that our label is more of a reflection of the parent generation than the one we try to sum up with a clever few words. Humans are too complex to throw them into groups based solely on when they were born.  Ridiculous.

Bullies have always existed, but they are not to blame.  If a child knows how to cope with being bullied, that child will be fine.  Adult intervention will result if necessary.  But that child who was taught how to cope with bullying will know that it’s something they can handle.  It’s something they have control over.  They aren’t blindsided with no clue how to react, feel, or respond.  This is a scary world.  It doesn’t start getting scary the day we turn 18.  It’s scary from birth onward.  Our kids need to be trained to survive in this world.

I was extremely sheltered as a child.  On top of that, I had a child level mindset well into my 20’s.  The Army almost sent me home for being dangerously naive.  In my case, it was more a case of my being disconnected and in my own world than parental neglect.  When the child is autistic, the training is different.  My mom recognized that sex ed at age 14 would have been disastrous for me, and pulled me out.  I didn’t have the fear of strangers necessary to ensure my survival.  I was too trusting, and I was a wanderer.  When I look back at my childhood, I’m amazed I’m still around to speak of it.  The times were different, and I grew up in a small city.  But I was also fortunate.

Today, the whole world is disconnected to a degree.  The small town feel of a small city no longer exists. Neighbors are often strangers.  Children don’t play outside in yards as much, and are usually glued to a screen.  It’s different.  It’s colder.  Our kids need more training.  I trust in my heart that if the 16-year-old boy who is facing adult charges was taught how to cope with his adolescent surge of testosterone, how to cope with the rage of feeling victimized, and knew his parents were aware of such things, he would be going to school tomorrow.  Train your children for our current world.  Please.