The Second Amendment Needs an Amendment

When the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, on December 15, 1791, assault weapons, assault-like weapons, automatic weapons, and semi-automatic weapons did not exist. Therefore, it is not unconstitutional to ban these weapons.

Muskets, bayonets, and cannons were the weapons of the day. When James Madison wrote the Second Amendment, at the behest of a few of the states, he and our country’s leaders wanted us to be able to protect ourselves. Because today’s weapons were not even conceived of then, Madison wrote a law about the weapons that were being used at the time. Those weapons included cannons. However, while armies of countries possessed cannons, our founders did not expect the average colonist to own one. It probably never even entered their extremely intelligent heads that an individual would own a powerhouse military armament. The cost alone would have been prohibitive.

Over the centuries, personal weapons became more powerful, accurate, and affordable. Now, our leaders must address the weapons available today. Assault weapons and their like must be banned for personal ownership; we cannot tolerate any more mass murders committed by people with these guns.

Our founders approved the ownership of muskets and bayonets. Our leaders must determine what can be owned in our own time, just like Madison did more than 200 years ago, when he wrote our hotly contested Amendment.


Holy ….Water!

The other day while ice skating (for the first time in 30 years), I fell on my right side and sprained my hand and wrist. The top of my right hand was grayish-blue and swollen. My wrist was slightly swollen and painful.

Today, after Mass, I went to the holy water dish in our church and liberally doused the top of my hand with holy water. In front of my eyes, the color returned to normal and the swelling went away. I could see the bones in my hand again.

I was marveling at the miraculous recovery of my hand in the car, on the way home. I showed my husband and he said that my hand looked normal again but my wrist was still swollen. I agreed and said that it still ached, too. Then I remembered that I hadn’t applied the holy water to my wrist at all. I’m going back to church to finish the job.

Have faith and look for little miracles in your life. They’re God’s way of showing you that He’s with you, even if He didn’t grant your wish to win the lottery. After all, God’s not a genie.

A Crazy Story

I have a male friend who is married to a man and they adopted two sons together. Last week, they all went on vacation to Los Angeles. Because they had taken their sons to the Ronald Reagan library during their last visit, they decided to take the boys to the Richard Nixon library this time.

My friend said that while he and his husband were walking through a garden at the library, he commented to his husband, “There sure are a lot of white, conservative men here.”

Immediately, a man behind him responded loudly, “There’s nothing wrong with white, conservative men.”

My friend turned around and flamboyantly agreed with the white, conservative man who had made the comment, “You’re right, there’s not!”

He then turned back to his husband and said in a voice that was meant to be overheard, “We’re all here for the same reason. We like Dick.” And then he laughed hysterically.




Bernie, Bernie, Bernie

Oh, Senator Sanders. Sit on your hands. Right now. Compared to Hillary Clinton in Thursday’s Democratic Presidential Debate, you looked unhinged. You aren’t unhinged, though. You have progressive, humane ideas and great vision. You have political experience. You have life experience. You’re intelligent. But you wave your hands around too much. Presidents don’t do that. Someone told me that that is your “shtick.” Presidents don’t have shticks. Comedians do.

Presidents also have patience. When Secretary Clinton said something you disagreed with, you interjected and wagged your finger. You looked like you were about to explode. Presidents don’t regularly blow gaskets, at least not on national television.

Calm down, Senator Sanders. Control your hands. Wait your turn. Breathe. You have what it takes. You just need to present it in a dignified fashion.

Bernie and the Ninety-Nine Percenters

I like Bernie Sanders. I do not dismiss his democratic socialism out of hand. The more I learn what it means, the more I learn how it is not the same as socialism. Capitalism, our core economic principle, would remain under a Bernie Sanders presidency. So would the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our government. What would change is that loopholes will be closed for corporations who have avoided paying taxes, and the very wealthy would be taxed more to pay for social programs like universal health care and free state-college tuition. These are goals, however, and probably not even ones that can be accomplished in the near future, if ever. (There’s still the House and Senate to contend with, as well as state governments.)

As I tried to familiarize myself with the concept of democratic socialism, I did some reading and learned that it already exists in our society to a large degree, and not only in government-assistance programs, like Medicare and Medicaid; you’ll see democratic socialism at work in our national highway system, our free public school system, our libraries, our post offices, our municipal trash pick-ups, municipal snow removal, state road resurfacing, bridge building, etc. These things are all possible because democratically elected officials voted for these projects and institutions, for the good of all.

So, I’m rethinking my political philosophy, which is mostly center, or a little left of center, but occasionally veers to the right. I will always support a free, capitalist society. I also support Senator Sanders’ contention that medical care and higher education should be available to all. These two things are not mutually exclusive if some major adjustments are made. After all, you can make a cake with many different recipes, but you’ll still wind up with a cake.




Where Will 2016 Take Us?

house-for-sale-800pxIt’s official. We’re going to lose our home. Our lawyer is going to send us a list of short-sale realtors to contact.

Foreclosure can be a long process, as was ours. But it eventually ends and then you need to find a place to live, which is an overwhelming task because if you could afford to pay rent on a new place, then you could probably afford to pay your mortgage. And your credit rating is going to severely suffer due to losing your house, so finding someone to rent to you is going to be a long, tedious chore. Add a 100-pound Golden Retriever to the mix, and you might be facing a monumental challenge.

And then there’s cleaning out the house. We’ve lived here for ten years. We’ve accumulated a lot of things, some of it junk. However, separating out the junk — and disposing of it — and packing up the remainder of our property is another huge job.

Since our house will be a short sale, there is no definite timeline. It could sell on day one. Even though the banks will take their time negotiating with each other, we could potentially have to be out in a month or two. But to where? And how will we afford the move?

One other aspect of this debacle is depression. Our family is almost immobile due to depression. We have to get moving and start getting ready to move; we just have to. But it’s so much easier to sleep, and then sleep some more.

As people of faith, we know that God has a plan for us. That makes our anxiety a bit easier to bear. But we also know that things happen in God’s time. All we can do is pray that God’s time coincides with ours.

Two Views of 22

Two Views of 22

When I was 22, life was a wonderful adventure. I was still in college, had a part-time job, belonged to the campus radio station, took journalism classes, and mandatory classes that I should have taken in my freshman year but put off until later. I went out dancing at night, dated a lot, and had a best friend who lived in the same building as I did. Life was so full and so fun.

Now my son, John, is 22 and his life is so different from mine. He’s still in school and has a part-time job, but there the similarities between his life and mine end. He is just so sad.

He was such a happy, carefree child in elementary school. He had neighborhood friends and was happy. I was glad that we had moved into an old-fashioned neighborhood, where kids played outside. But even then, trouble was brewing. One of the neighborhood kids secretly bullied him. In front of the other kids, this boy, Joe, would humiliate John by belittling his athletic ability, his personality, his appearance, his manner of speaking, and anything else he could think of.

Often, when I thought the boys were all playing together, I’d go outside and find my son sitting alone on his swing. When I asked him why he wasn’t with the other boys, he’d tell me that Joe had made fun of him and had told him to go home. The next day, things would return to normal, but then Joe would mock my son in front of their friends and then John would come home, demoralized. Little by little, the other kids started excluding my son from their activities. By middle school, he was always alone.

At school, he became withdrawn and fearful. Anytime he made a friend, the friend would eventually drop him. One told him that he “tried too hard.” Another childhood friend, Troy, turned on him and ridiculed him to everyone at the bus stop. One girl at the bus stop had laughed at the insults, but that night, she went to her mother in tears, saying that she felt so guilty for laughing at Troy’s meanness toward John. The meanness was addressed by the school, but that only exacerbated the hostility.

There was a sweet boy, Tom, who befriended John when they were in sixth grade. John did everything in his power to avoid being his friend, but Tom was persistent. To this day, I thank God for Tom. Tom went on to make many friends, but he never forgot John. They still occasionally get together.

John made a few other friends in middle school, but they were as shell-shocked and insecure as he was. He still contacts them, but they rarely want to leave their homes to go out.

During middle school, John sank into a deep depression and often threatened suicide. This sweet, gentle boy became a tortured teenager with a lot of anger. Much of his frustration was aimed at me, his nearest target. My husband and I got him help. We tried out several therapists and settled on the psychiatric nurse in his doctor’s practice. She pulled him from the depths many times and prescribed medications. He still sees her, even though he should graduate from a pediatric practice. We just can’t make the move to an adult practice for him, though, because he will lose her in the move, and she and he have worked together for more than ten years.

The years following middle school were tough: three high schools, three colleges, a week in a behavioral hospital to treat depression. The highs and lows were, and are, devastating to him and to us. I asked his therapist if he was bipolar, and she said that she didn’t think so. She diagnosed him with depression, mood disorder, and social anxiety.

My husband and I live with heavy hearts. Our son is kind, religious, sweet, smart, adores sports and music, is an excellent writer, and loves being with us and his extended family. But he is absolutely paralyzed when it comes to interacting with people his own age. He confided to me that he doesn’t understand why the guys he works with make plans without him. He said that people just don’t like him and he doesn’t know why. He once told me that he’d like to have a girlfriend, but he doesn’t know how to go about meeting girls. He has nobody to hang out with except us, and occasionally his friend, Tom.

We have suggested joining groups, and John is enthusiastic at first, but his interest wanes once he joins one. I think he feels invisible with other people.

John comes to me often for hugs of reassurance. He cries a lot. There is nothing physically wrong with our son. He has wonderful times with people our age, and feels comfortable with them. My husband’s friends have even gone to baseball games with him, without my husband.

I don’t know how to turn this around for my son. I pray constantly for him. It’s a sad situation and I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. My husband and I have faith that it will, but sometimes it’s hard to see past John’s despair and imagine him happy again.


2016 and Counting

2016 and Counting

Today is the first day of a new year. It’s the day when we vow to become better people, in one way or another. It’s a new beginning; the slate is wiped clean and the next 364 days loom ahead, full of promise.

This year, however, is not one I’m looking forward to. There are things from 2015 that will be cleared up in 2016, and one of them involves us moving from our home, when our bank tells us to. The physical health of family members, in both my immediate and extended family, is uncertain. Whether this will determine where we ultimately end up living is up in the air right now.

Another concern is that if we move, how many of my son’s college credits will move with him to his next school? How far behind will he fall if he switches universities?

We qualified for an Obamacare subsidy for 2016, due to one of our family being unemployed, but if a job is obtained, will we lose the subsidy that we received at our current income level? And if so, how will we afford the full monthly premium, which will be nearly $2,000?

And finally, we will need to find an apartment that will allow us to have a large-breed dog. Moving without him cannot even be considered. He’s as much a part of our family as any of us are. And, through thick and thin, he’s always there to add joy and comfort.

The events of this year appear daunting and demoralizing, but our big, happy Golden Retriever will soften all of the sharp edges and make life bearable, and much happier than it would be without him.

When all seems lost, turn to a four-legged friend. They know what’s important.