Category: Uncategorized

It’s Time We Talked

Do you ever wonder what would happen, if instead of racism, bigotry, homophobia, misogyny and anti-semitism, being the language we choose to emphasize, we all tried to actually hear one another?

I’ve experienced, or been witness to, all of the above. I’m a first generation American Jewish woman of Russian/Polish decent.

I have friends who I love dearly from every background I can think of. I come from a family who after a lifetime of suffering through systemic anti-semitism, was all but kicked out of their country of origin, simply because they were Jewish.

I grew up hearing stories from my grandfathers about their families, who in one day were all murdered by a hoard of swastika waiving pieces of shit who thought they were ‘superior’ because their ‘leader’ told them they were.

My ‘privileged’ life was at the expense of my mother coming to a new country at the age of 21, learning what to her was a foreign language – English- and working three jobs while going to school, so her kids could want for nothing. She had to forgo many of the hopes and dreams she had for her life, so that I and my sister could live the lives we are living now. She dealt with xenophobia, anti-semetism, sexism and God knows what else, and she still works her ass off past the age where she should be enjoying her retirement because she spent every penny she ever made on making sure we had everything we both needed AND wanted. My ‘privilege’ comes from my mother being a badass and from her doing her best to instill those values in me and my sister. She would always tell us that no one is going to give us anything in this world. Not men, not strangers not anyone else. We have to do it ourselves.

And yes, I understand that the color of my skin may have helped me in some situations, like getting out of a traffic stop without being arrested or murdered. But I am a 40+ year old woman living in a one bedroom apartment with my boyfriend and his son. We aren’t rich, we aren’t poor. We are in that spot folks don’t even think about. The middle class. We can survive – if we stay employed. But if we miss more than one paycheck, we are screwed. My skin color won’t help me. I’ll lose my health benefits, my ability to buy food and pay my rent. But that’s beside the point of this post.

Both my grandfathers lost everyone they loved practically over night, their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and younger siblings – all murdered, and for what? Because of their religion.

My grandfathers managed to build lives for themselves, sure. But they both carried their pain and trauma to their deathbeds. No one on either side of my family could get full stories about their experiences because neither one of those strong, charismatic, loving, men, could get through their stories without crying and reliving the pain of that loss and the horror they suffered.

I know the history of my people, and as far back as biblical times, my people were held as slaves, tortured and murdered for refusing to convert from the religion they followed, and to this day are still seen by a huge swath of humanity as subhuman and scapegoats for all the ills of the world.

And that’s just the ‘being Jewish’ part of my experience.

Then there’s my gender.

As a woman, I’ve been condescended to, underestimated and treated as if my opinion was irrelevant because apparently having a vagina makes me less capable of forming coherent thoughts.

I’ve had my body scrutinized, touched inappropriately, and legislated by men who genuinely believed their rights are greater than mine simply because they were born with penises and I wasn’t.

And yet, I’m proud of my heritage, because despite over 2000 years of people trying to kill us off, my people have become resilient and strong.

I’m proud of being a woman because without women, humanity wouldn’t exist.

I know there are people who aren’t Jewish and aren’t female who are allies and who don’t believe all Jews need to be wiped off the planet and don’t believe that all women need shut up, push out babies, and cater to the needs of all men.

I don’t say this to diminish anything any other race, religion or orientation has been going through.

I do this to point out that there are so many experiences that unite us. And, that while our differences, whether it’s the color of our skin, religious or ethnic background, or sexual orientation may not be identical, the people who want us to continue to focus on all those differences are the ones who benefit the most from using those differences against us.

If you are black, brown, gay, straight, transgender, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, or in any way, not whatever they consider ‘normal,’ the people who benefit from using whatever they see as ‘different,’ want you to focus solely on all our differences because they know that if we do that, they stay in power.

I had a conversation yesterday with someone who I love dearly. This person works with underprivileged children and is probably one of the most open hearted people I know. And to paraphrase this persons words:

‘I am tired of being lumped in with racists and I am tired of being lumped in with a small group of extremists (Hasidic Jews). I’m tired of, after doing everything I can, be it spend extra time with other people’s kids, away from my own children, to make sure they understand their school work, or bring food for them, buy them their school supplies with money I barely have myself, only to have their parents spit on me and call me a ‘racist’ or a ‘Jewish bitch’ for things I can’t control.’

Hearing that hurt.

What also hurt me is knowing countless friends who have been stopped and harassed by police because of the color of their skin – stops I have witnessed personally, and others that I’ve heard of anecdotally.

Stories of my LGBTQ friends being beaten or fired from jobs because of their sexual orientation.

Or the women in my life, including myself, dealing with any form of sexual discrimination, and assault.

Or more recently, Asian friends and their families being physically and financially harmed because of a virus, the spread of which they had nothing to do with.

Maybe this isn’t the time to have this discussion. Or, maybe this IS the exact time to have it. I don’t know.

But I keep coming back to this notion that all this division isn’t going to help us progress as human beings. Not when the real minority in this country is so hell bent on keeping us divided. Because they know that if we actually did the unthinkable and united, with all our shared trauma and experiences being the catalyst, we can actually all thrive as nation and as a people and they’d be assed out of their undeserved lofty positions.

There will always be those who want to keep us at one another’s throats. Because if we are busy pointing fingers at each other, we aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing behind our backs.

You only need to look at who is out there protesting to know there are more of us than there are them.

So, the next time someone shows themselves to be an ally, instead of asking ‘what have you done for me lately,’ hear them out. Really pay attention to what they do in their day to day lives. Stop focusing on how much better their lives may appear to you, because no one knows the experiences of others. Most of what you think you know can very well be an assumption. And we ALL are guilty of that.

Most people will make an assumption about another person simply because of the color of their skin, their gender, their ethnic background at first glance. Once that assumption is made, even after knowing that person for years, there is always a nagging distrust that lingers in the back of your head, that harbors a tiny seed of distrust. It festers until tensions run high and can destroy any progress you make with another person.

We all need to be making a conscious effort to do better.

So be careful. Be mindful. Try to really listen instead of assuming that someone will live up to the worst thing you thought of them when you first met. You may find yourself surprised to know that despite all your differences, you are more alike than you may have ever dreamed of.

I am hopeful, yet trying to be realistic, that one day, maybe not in my lifetime, our little corner of the world can truly be ‘United.’

Since I’ve been labeled as ‘ignorant’ and as having been ‘spoon fed’ false information regarding the AR-15,  I decided to do some more research on the gun that has become a favorite among those wishing to perpetrate mass shootings. If my facts are wrong, kindly let me know (like an adult because you will never teach anyone anything by being a belligerent asshole), and prove it. Because I can site where I got my information –  can you?

AR – 15 facts:

  • Can shoot more bullets than a standard gun, in less time
  • Can be modified (as it was in the Aurora shooting) to use a magazine that holds as many as 100 bullets
  • Is, essentially, the civilian version of the M-16, minus the ‘automatic’ capabilities.
  • The M-16, the model for the AR -15, was designed specifically to “kill mass numbers of people with maximum efficiency and ease”
  • Assault rifles are easier to purchase than hand guns in states with lax gun laws, like Florida.
  • The AR-15 has become a favorite of mass shooters; having been used in Sandy Hook; Aurora Colorado; Roseburg Oregon; San Bernardino
  • The perpetrators of the Mass shootings came from all walks of life – the only thing they had in common was the ease with which they obtained a weapon that was modeled after a gun the military uses to kill our enemies.

I may be ignorant regarding the mechanics of the gun itself – But facts are facts. You can’t dispute them just because you happen to like guns. The mechanics of the gun DO allow for mass shootings – it’s why this type of gun has become a favorite among mass shooters. Now, before you label me as a ‘spoon fed ignoramus,’ maybe you should read on – Because I’m not a zealot out to take guns away from responsible gun owners.

Or, you can stop reading here and go into a knee-jerk reaction fueled rant, which only proves you to be willfully ignorant, not me.

I will agree that the intent of some is not the intent of all.  And not all people who purchase a gun of any kind, even an AR-15, do so with the intent of harming others. However, we DO need to agree on the fact that not everyone is a ‘law abiding gun owner.’

Have you ever seen an interview with folks who knew a mass shooter? You know, after the fact? Have you ever seen anyone who knew one of these monsters say “wow, him? That’s surprising, he was so nice and sane.” More often than not, the reaction is “That nut job? How the hell did he get his hands on a gun?”

So there’s a problem, and the problem doesn’t lie with responsible gun owners. I have never heard anyone blame responsible gun owners. And I have yet to hear one law maker, who has said they would want to take away guns from responsible gun owners.

What I don’t understand is why, responsible gun owners would lose their shit at the idea that folks want to regulate gun ownership so that only people like them – law abiding citizens who would never shoot up a school, or a movie theater, or a mall, or night club – would own guns? What’s the problem with that? No one wants to take away YOUR guns. God bless, stay safe.

What I’m saying is that when a guy has a background that would more than likely put him on the ‘no fly’ list, he probably shouldn’t be able to buy a gun – any gun – let alone an AR-15.

What I’m saying is that when a guy has been deemed mentally unstable (ie: Sandy Hook), he should not have been admitted to a gun range – let alone live in a house where guns are not secure.  (Post- massacre, it was revealed that people had warned his mother to secure her guns – She knew what her son was – If she was too ‘ashamed’ of her son’s mental illness, maybe a fear of accountability for any crimes that may be committed with her guns would have prompted her to secure them properly and not let her mentally unstable son have access to them without her supervision.  Who knows, maybe she’d still be alive – Those children may still be alive).

What I’m saying is, that there might be a benefit to screening people who want to own guns the same way the military and law enforcement screen people before they’re handed guns.

And before you go into that whole “if they didn’t get it legally they would have gotten them illegally” bullshit, here’s another factoid for you – most guns purchased illegally are done so via the purchasing and/or transport of guns through states with lax gun laws. We need some uniformity when it comes to gun laws. If a violent asshole with terrorist ties can’t by a gun in New York, he shouldn’t be able to buy one in Florida either. If a person doesn’t pass the NYC screening for gun ownership, he shouldn’t be able to then buy a gun at a gun show in Texas.

And no, I don’t live in a dream world where uniform laws would prevent ALL deaths by shooting, but lives will be saved. Even one life, would be good. Doing nothing isn’t helping. Arguing the same stupid arguments back and forth isn’t helping.

I personally have no use for guns. I don’t feel a need to buy or own a gun. And yes, I’ve gone shooting. And yes, I had fun shooting at a target, and I was damned good at it too. See?


And if I wanted to own a gun, legally, where I live, I would have to jump through major hoops and pay a lot of money to do so, but I’d do it. You know why? Because, I know that everyone else in my state who owns a gun, legally, has done the same thing.

Many gun advocates use the car analogy (when it suits them, because after all, a driver’s license isn’t a right under the Constitution, right?), so let me take a stab at it.

If gun owners had to go through the same process that car owners did, they’d have to:

  • Take classes to learn how to shoot as well as basic maintenance and storage of guns (can be waived if you were raised around guns and can pass test to prove you know what you’re doing)
  • Take a written test to prove they understand the laws of gun ownership
  • Take another test to prove they know how to use a gun (safety, loading, shooting)
  • Become licensed
  • Register their guns
  • Understand they will lose their right to gun ownership if they do not abide by the laws of gun ownership.

The only people who should be against the above are either evil assholes who want to go shoot innocent people, or, people who make money off the sale of guns. Responsible gun owners should have nothing to fear.

Ever wonder why, despite the fact that a majority of citizens in this country actually WANT background checks, are okay with stricter gun laws, and would like to see congress take some kind of action to keep guns out of the hands of potential evil doers, (See: Congress, has repeatedly shot down any attempt for some kind of compromise?

Because they’re being paid – That’s why. They don’t care how many innocent people die. They don’t care how many of their constituents actually agree that some common sense laws should be strengthened, or at the very least, laws already on the books should be enforced.  They line their pockets with blood money provided by the NRA, who in turn get their money from the folks who make your guns. Again, this isn’t being ‘spoon fed’ anything other than actual facts – and just because I don’t want to hear about the ‘liberal media’ I’ll cite this article posted by a more right-leaning site:

You may not agree with my view point. And I can respect that. But my view point is based on actual facts. There are no absolutes in a country that is supposed to be democratic. You want what you want, but unless you can see the point being made by those who don’t agree with you, then it is you who are the mindless one, not me.

Day 10 – Song that Makes You Fall Asleep

Stevie Wonder – If It’s Magic

Okay, so really, not sure there is a song that can make me fall asleep. However, this song is soothing, promotes good dreams and, well, I love it.