While sipping tea in Ireland, I was reminded how history lessons sometimes meld into the here and now. Old wounds, old scars, old conflicts… sad history lessons learned or re-learned in Europe became reminders of what we face today.
My husband and I recently went to Scotland, Italy, and Ireland. Lovely places with incredible historic sites and stories. We realized how young our country really is by comparison. But, like Gettysburg and other sites of war here in the US, there were reminders everywhere of past conflicts. In Italy hilltop towns all seemed to have castles or at least towers to guard against the enemy. In Florence, our guide told us how ‘back in the day’ to protect themselves, each family had a tower. Currently, to thwart terrorists, military soldiers patrol public places with machine guns and serious expressions on their faces.
Edinburgh castle is evidence of hundreds of years of brutality by the British. The stories of the Scots’ harsh treatment by the Brits was heartbreaking. But, what happened in 1920 at Croke Park in Dublin, where innocent people were gunned down by British soldiers brought tears to my eyes. I grieved for the family of the 24-year-old football team captain who died on the field. Then, there’s the “Post Office” where bullet holes in the wall are another grim reminder of the past.
Just the other day, I spoke with a man who was attacked at 10:30 in the morning in downtown Seattle. A baseball wielding mentally ill man who had just been released from jail came out of nowhere and struck this man and his wife. Why was this guy on the streets? What is going on with our system?
On our streets in 2016, we have armed conflict daily. It doesn’t matter whether it is crime based, gang related, or mentally ill perpetrators or racism, this disregard and lack of respect for each other is frightening. When I heard the victim’s story how his wife cannot walk and the perp knocked his teeth out of his shattered jaw, I cried. Five seconds of violence and their lives were changed forever.
Drive by shootings, shots fired in schools, malls, churches, all life changing or ending in less than five seconds. We need to get rid of the NRA and politicians who take money from them to look the other way.
We live in the most independent nation in the world and we have the worst record on how to deal with violence.
As a society, we must do something about the situation. The very least we can do is to vote in strong, stable, caring, people to run our country. No one should live with fear or the aftermath of senseless violence. At the risk of upsetting people, I want to quote a meme on FB, “All lives matter.” Get on board and vote in two weeks. But do your homework first and figure who is best for our country from school superintendents to the White House, but especially those charged with creating laws for the betterment of our country. We have been taken by the congress of the past eight years. They were collecting huge paychecks while refusing to do their jobs because they were more interested in obstructing our president, rather than doing what is best and right for the citizens paying their salaries. I really hate election years but this time, it is our opportunity to get it right and move this country and our lives forward. So, have a nice cup of tea and fill out your mail-in ballots early and vote for the future of our country.