Sunday, May 25, 2014

Misogyny and Murder

While I was celebrating the long-overdue legalization of same-sex marriage in my current state of residence, Pennsylvania, I heard the incredibly sad news of yet another incident of gun violence and mass murder, this time near Santa Barbara, California.  A young man who had previously posted hate-filled and misogynistic videos on YouTube had gotten himself a gun, gone on a killing spree and only after the police were close to stopping him did he take the coward's way out and put a bullet in his own head.

Why these asses don't do that first, before they go on to commit horrific acts that destroy families, is a complete mystery to me.  To paraphrase something Dennis Miller once said (before he became Rush Limbaugh), if things are so bad for you that you are contemplating hurting other people, especially children, you need to step up to the plate, put your gun to your own head, and take one for the team.

I know that nothing will change as a result of yesterday's tragedy.  I know that we have no political will to curb gun violence in this country, nor any real desire to get some kind of control over the huge number of guns in our population -- they outnumber us, by the way; more guns than Americans -- because, quite simply, if the murder of over two dozen elementary school children -- babies, for all intents and purposes! -- cannot give us the political will to make the necessary changes, then nothing can.

So nothing will change.

This latest lunatic spouted his misogynistic hate on YouTube.  His own mother turned him in to police as a perceived danger.  These same police gave him a clean bill.  The next thing we knew, he was pounding on the door of a sorority with the intention of killing all the young women that he felt slighted him.  When they didn't answer the door, he essentially opened fire into the crowd.

Ultimately, he blew his own brains out rather than be captured by police, but not before killing and injuring many innocent young people who had the misfortune of being out and about that day.

So instead of celebrating the removal by Pennsylvania of a great injustice and rejoicing that standing on the side of Love all these years was not in vain; that all those freezing cold Valentine's Days spent protesting in favor of marriage equality was not for nothing...I find myself grieving, instead.  I have a daughter who is the same age or thereabouts as the victims who died in Santa Barbara yesterday.  I can't imagine what those families are experiencing.  I can only hope I never have to find out.  I do know that one of the grieving fathers was screaming that he personally blamed the NRA for the murder of his child.  And he's not wrong.

I urge people to support former New York Mayor Bloomberg in his effort to fund an anti-gun lobby with the same money and power and influence as the NRA.  I know I plan to.  And I will hug my daughter a little longer tonight, in gratitude that, at least for today, I still have her.

Because in this country, with all these weapons, with all this hate, especially hate directed towards women, and especially hate directed at women who are perceived as being different, or gay, or otherwise "unusual" mainly for the reason that they have, oh, short hair, for example, I don't honestly know for how long.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day

As a stay-at-home father, I have a particular fondness for Mother's Day.  Mother or father, as a parent you have the most difficult and unrewarding job:  you must construct the exit ramp for your child while in your heart never wanting things to change.  And certainly never wanting that child to leave, even when you know damned well that they must.

Some thoughts from others who said it better:

"The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness.  When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe.  You relinquish that position to your children." -- Jessica Lange

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness." -- Honoré de Balzac

"An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy." -- Spanish proverb

"All women become like their mothers.  That is their tragedy.  No man does.  That's his." -- Oscar Wilde

"Sweater, n.:  garment worn by a child when its mother is feeling chilly." -- Ambrose Bierce

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it." -- Mark Twain

Happy Mother's Day, all.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Free Comic Book Day 2014

Tomorrow is the 13th annual celebration of Free Comic Book Day!  Ever since 2002, the first Saturday in May is the day when comic shops and publishers celebrate a great American art form by handing out free comic books to kids and adults alike.  This year there will be dozens of titles from which to choose, including books for kids, stuff for all ages, and gritty adult fare.  Traditionally Free Comic Book Day also coincides with a big Hollywood superhero movie and this year is also no exception:  Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in theatres today.

My local comics store, Comix Connection, at 6200 Carlisle Pike in Mechanicsburg, PA, 17050, really does FCBD right.  In addition to author and artist appearances and a visit from the Star Wars costumed members of our local Garrison of Darth Vader's 501st Legion, Comix Connection owners Bill Wahl and Ned Senft use FCBD to gather food donations for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.  If you just walk through the door on FCBD you get three free comics of your choice.  But for every can of food you bring in for the Food Bank, you get an addtional free comic book!  So donate a can of soup?  Four free comics.  Donate a 12-can case of beef stew?  Fifteen comics.

It's a no-brainer.  It's a win-win.  It's a [insert your very own cliche here.]

So come out to Free Comic Book Day, either here in Mechanicsburg or wherever you might be.  There's a comic store near you that can't wait to give you free stuff.  And free is always good, right?

To find the comic store near you, call the Comic Locator at 1-888-COMIC BOOK or visit the Freee Comic Book Day website at