February made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.
— ‘American Pie,’ Don McLean
In south Alabama where I was born, hunting and guns were part of the fabric of the so-called life, whether one livedÂ on a farm or not.
My daddy gave me a 20-gauge, bolt-action shotgun when I was about 10 or 12, or sometime in there, and when we visited the relatives, if during that particular time of the year, we’d go off in the woods and fire-off our shotguns.
As a different sort, more city boy than my cousins, uncles and whatnot, I never really got into the whole hunting/fishing/gutting-animals routine — kind of made me feel unsettled.
The last memory of hunting with the 20-gauge, bolt-action shotgun was at age 15 — Two years away from being 17, an age I then figured was the ultimate, neat age (why, I can’t even now attempt to understand and at 60-years-old, WTF!) — and went into the woods after squirrel.
After walking around an hour or so — most likely daydreaming about how great life would be in less than 24 months — my uncles, a couple of cousins had fired off some shots, but IÂ hadn’t see anything and just meandered about until I stopped next to a stand of fallen pine trees.
A recollection of just standing quiet, looking about, kind of enjoying the woods, picking out nearly-inaudible sounds seemingly wonderous to a city kid.
Nothing of any particular interest caught sight until suddenly my eyes locked onto a small, bush-tailed squirrel perched on a gnarled log not too far away, in fact, kind of right there.
And apparently we’d seen each other at about the same time.
He froze in place like a lot of animals, especially little animals, when initially freaked — Become stone-still, try like shit to blend with the scenery, wait for a chance to escape.
I’d seen him, though.
He carried something in his little hands, a nut maybe.
We stared at each other way-less than a second or two.
Either too much, or too little time (depending on your POV) — IÂ snatched up my 20-gauge, bolt-action shotgun, triggered off a round and literally evaporated the animal.
Two memory frames in time — The squirrel, and then the squirrel simply exploding.
An uncle, who’d heard the shot, came over and asked what happened, and then discovered no squirrel, but only bloody, tiny bits of fur.
Although the incident appeared to provide great humor to my country relatives, I really didn’t care for it at all.
I don’t remember ever firing my 20-gauge, bolt-action shotgun again.
And so it goes:
HARRISBURG â€” About 1,000 gun owners rallied Tuesday to protect what some called a “God-given” right to bear arms as elected leaders reacted to the slayings of three Pittsburgh police officers with calls for gun control.
Leaders of gun groups urged those gathered at the state Capitol to lobby against bills for gun registrations, limited handgun purchases, local gun ordinances or a federal ban on assault weapon sales.
It would be a mistake for the state Legislature to allow cities and towns to enact gun ordinances, the head of the National Rifle Association said. Such a move would result in “a confusing patchwork of laws,” said John Sigler, the NRA president.
Guns and US peoples fit together like turgent rhetoric, hurting to pull a trigger.
We take guns and blast away — it’s part of the fabric of the so-called US life.
We’ve been doing it since the very beginning, marching ruthlessly across a vast, beautiful country teeming with life, driven by a holier-than-thou ‘Manifest Destiny,” gunning down any living thing that got in the way.
Nowadays it’s just plain gun-soaked killing.
And it’sÂ not just the well-publicized gun-nut mentality — firearms make for easy exits.
The acting chief financial officer of Freddie Mac, an embattled government-owned company that controls millions of home mortgages, was found dead today of apparent suicide in his suburban Virginia home.
Fairfax County Police were called to the Vienna, Va.-area home of Freddie Mac’s David Kellermann at 4:48 a.m. to investigate. Though it appeared to be suicide, they said the cause of death is under investigation, with an autopsy planned today.
Kellermann, 41, had served as acting chief financial officer for Freddie Mac since September and worked there for 16 years.
Money shame seems to carry a lot of power.
Not only can these greedy, all-money, all-the-time practitioners of “questionable financial dealings” make themselves a quick withdrawal, they can also take innocent bystanders, even personal, loved ones:
No one can fail to be shocked, saddened and mystified by the tragedy that befell the Parente family, whose bodies were discovered this week in a Towson hotel room, the victims of a murder-suicide that took the lives of 59-year-old William Parente, his wife, Betty, 58, and their daughters, Stephanie, 19, and Catherine, 11.
The couple had driven to Baltimore with their youngest daughter from their home in Garden City, N.Y., to visit Stephanie, a sophomore at Loyola College.
But what might have been a joyful family gathering at college instead turned deadly on the last day of their visit.
Over a period of several hours on Sunday, police say, Mr. Parente beat and asphyxiated his wife and youngest child, then killed his elder daughter when she arrived at the hotel that afternoon. The next day, police say, he took his own life by cutting himself.
A good overview of economic stress and killer headaches can be read here, also from the Baltimore Sun.
Seemingly some kind of general population rampage/murder/suicide epidemic started last month in Samson, Ala., the same general vicinity where I blew that squirrel to bits.
In Samson, this guy way-deeply depressed about not being a cop or a Marine, shot-to-death 10 people, including his mama and her dogs, then himself (read my blog account here),Â and opened a plague door of gun-toting crazies spawning a new-normal term of ‘mass killer’ (as different from the rank-and-file, old-fashioned ‘serial killer’).
Mass shootings in the US have become nearly commonplace — not too long after the Samson horror, a heavily armed gunman shot dead eight people at a North Carolina nursing home, then a guy stormed an immigrant services center in Binghamton, New York, killing 13 people before taking his own life, three cops died in Pittsburgh after an ambushÂ by another “heavily-armed” dude, then one of the worse-of-the-worse — aÂ Â shithead of a dad kills his five kids in Washington state (a personal slant as I’ve five kids, four daughters and a son) before, naturally, killing his asshole self.
Google “murder-suicide” under ‘NEWS’ and behold a long list, including this bit:
Police say the man was robbing a spa on Millbourne Road in Edmonton’s Mill Woods neighbourhood when he produced a handgun and shot an employee, the Journal’s Laura Drake reports.
The assailant then left the spa and robbed a nearby liquor store before shooting himself dead upon encountering police, spokesman Jeff Wuite said.
Two nearby schools went into lockdown as police secured the scene.
And tying the horror of economics with the horror of torture, thus the story ofÂ Alyssa Peterson, one of the first US female GIs killed in Iraq.
According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a â€œnon-hostile weapons discharge.â€
Three years later, the truth:
â€œPeterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners.
She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to.
They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed&hellip.
She was was then assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards, and sent to suicide prevention training.
â€œBut on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle,â€ the documents disclose.
The Army talked to some of Peterson’s colleagues.
Asked to summarize their comments, Elston told E&P:
“The reactions to the suicide were that she was having a difficult time separating her personal feelings from her professional duties.
That was the consistent point in the testimonies, that she objected to the interrogation techniques, without describing what those techniques were.”
Elston said that the documents also refer to a suicide note found on her body, revealing that she found it ironic that suicide prevention training had taught her how to commit suicide.
(h/t to E&P).
In light of the “terror memos” released by President Obama last week and all it’s assorted fall-out collateral damage to US mental health, the previous administration tried its damnest to so corrupt this country, it will be hard to keep oneself alive in the coming future.
Guns makes one brazen, or foolish — maybe if that squirrel had been packin’ an AK-47 (animals most of all, it would seem, also have a ‘God-given‘ right to possess high-powered firearms), he’d turned that little woodsy spot into one shit-nasty place.
(Note: Due to laptop problems, blogging is a little difficult, but we keep trying).