There Is Nothing

Celestine “Stiny” Chaney loved pink.  Ruth Whitford was the proud matriarch of her family.  Aaron Salter, a security guard at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, died trying to save Stiny and Ruth, and seven other victims.

Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles died trying to save their students.  Amerie Jo Garza, who’d just made the Honor Roll, died trying to alert 911 operators to the maniac who was shooting her fellow students.  Tess Mata left behind a sister who played softball with her.  Jayce Luevanos was killed along with his cousin, Jailah Silguero.

Now there are voids where these 31 people used to be.  Holes in their families, among their friends, in their communities.  The young ones’ paths have been erased; their parents’ dreams for them are no more.  We will never know what they could have been.  The older ones will no longer savor memories; their life experiences have been lost, their legacies incomplete.  All of their futures, young or old, have been blanked out. 

Because two vicious, hateful, enraged young men decided that they had the right to wipe out all those lives, shatter all those families, desolate the people who are suddenly mourning.  Nothing will ever be the same in the communities of the East Side of Buffalo and Uvalde.  Where was bustle and conversation, and learning and celebration, now there is silence, the silence of nothing, of emptiness.  If the Tops Market reopens, those who shop there will do so while looking over their shoulders for the next attack.  When the teachers and students go back to Ross Elementary, they won’t be able to shake the horror of a morning that began with awards and movies.  They, too, will be wary, perhaps surrounded by a military-like phalanx of guards, and they will wonder about ghosts.  Two much-loved teachers will be missing from their classrooms.

And after all this shock and terror, grief and devastation, there will be….NOTHING.  We have a U.S. House and Senate largely owned by merchants of death, corporations who profit from the slaughter of humans.  Along with organizations who successfully wield enormous influence to threaten the positions of elected representatives.  A solid block of Republicans and a smattering of Democrats who refuse to do anything about the endless, relentlessly ongoing massacres.  There is nothing we citizens can do for the time being. We can only vote for candidates who have the courage to stand up for sane gun laws, IF the respective parties will actually run such rare creatures.  I’m not optimistic.

I’ll close with the words of Amanda Gorman, a brilliant young poet, because she sees light that I don’t, and maybe her vision is clearer.

Hymn for the Hurting

May 27, 2022

Everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed and strange,
Minds made muddied and mute.
We carry tragedy, terrifying and true.
And yet none of it is new;
We knew it as home,
As horror,
As heritage.
Even our children
Cannot be children,
Cannot be.

Everything hurts.
It’s a hard time to be alive,
And even harder to stay that way.
We’re burdened to live out these days,
While at the same time, blessed to outlive them.

This alarm is how we know
We must be altered —
That we must differ or die,
That we must triumph or try.
Thus while hate cannot be terminated,
It can be transformed
Into a love that lets us live.

May we not just grieve, but give:
May we not just ache, but act;
May our signed right to bear arms
Never blind our sight from shared harm;
May we choose our children over chaos.
May another innocent never be lost. Maybe everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed & strange.
But only when everything hurts
May everything change.

memorial outside Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, Texas

23 thoughts on “There Is Nothing

  1. As I have stated before in your and WJA’s forum Denise, it too late for sane gun laws in the US. The horse is out of the barn thanks to the Second Amendment and its crazy interpretation by the SCOTUS.
    What are you going to do about the 400-million guns already in the US – many in the hands of criminals and mentally sick people? Endless, relentlessly ongoing massacres are baked in the cake I’m afraid.

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    1. I’m very afraid you’re right, Dennis. My only hope lies in young people like Ms. Gorman and the Parkland School survivors. And who knows? Perhaps the Sandy Hook and Uvalde kids.

       “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

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      1. I remember at Woodstock Denise the meme was that we young people were going to change the World. All it was going to take we said is for the oldies to wear tie-dyed clothes and smoke dope. LOL
        And look what a mess we have got our World in. The only thing we were committed to it turns out was getting laid and the American Dream of getting rich.

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  2. OTOH, Dennis, the determination of a segment young people back in those days of the late ’60s and early ’70s did play a significant part in getting the U.S. out of Vietnam. If not for their outcries and their keeping the war protests in front of the TV cameras, their willingness to sacrifice to make the public aware, U.S. involvement might have gone on longer.

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    1. Big difference Denise – the draft!
      That was the only reason we males wanted us out of the Vietnam War.
      If there had been no draft, like today, I’m sure that most of us kids in the 60’s could have care less about the Vietnam war – like most young people could care less about Afghanistan and Iraq today.
      We were no more willing to sacrifice than these young are today.
      Cheers.

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      1. You make a telling point, Dennis.

        In a less-immediate sense, Greta Thunberg and her peers of like mind, along with young people like the Parkland survivors, are also fighting for their lives, and they know it. They’re fighting for all our lives.

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    1. That’s sweet of you, Dennis. : )

      Truth is, I got so battered by Roger on WJA’s last Ukraine thread, and by Jeff a couple posts before that, I just decided I wanted to bow out for awhile. Tired of Michael’s snark, too. A couple of Roger’s comments were so vicious, I seriously contemplated un-following WJA. And it’s not just the abuse directed at me; I’m offended on behalf of the other commenters who get slammed merely for having opinions that don’t coincide with Roger’s or Jeff’s or Mike’s. I emailed Bill, and we chatted back and forth over most of a day. I decided to just stay mum for the time being. As I said to Bill, heat and kitchens, you know…. Jeanie had said the snark wasn’t any worse than on some other sites, so perhaps blog-dom is not my milieu.

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      1. OK, as long as you are OK – thats all I was worried about.

        I have been kinda worried that I am posting too much to WJA’s site too much.
        But I am very lonely – and its the only site I have found that I can “talk” to people.

        I am having some health problems – bladder cancer! It sucks.
        So just having someone to talk to takes my mind off it.
        I miss your cheery comments on WJA’s site.

        Today I am feeling very poorly.
        But when I call the Emergency Room and go by ambulance
        They say there is nothing they can do – and give me pain pills.
        It is what is – they say they can fix me – 70%chance.

        Thinking of poor Julian Assange – I’m the lucky one!

        Your New Zealand friend
        Dennis

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dennis, sorry to hear of your Health problems.

        I’ve been Blessed at 78 with Generally Good Health but for the fact my bladder wakes me up every 1/2 hour to 2 hours every night for drips and drops. Somehow I go back to REM sleep in-between the longer Times.

        The experience makes me think I may require dialysis at some time in the Future, not a happy prospect.

        As the Video you shared says, suffering can make you stronger which is another Fundamental of the Christian Faith often overlooked. When I compare my sufferings to the pain and torture of the Cross, almost miraculously, my pains seem to be less.

        God Bless you!

        p.s I like your posts and especially many of the videos you find.

        Like

        1. @Ray Joseph Cormier,

          Thanks for saying you like my posts and video links. I appreciate that very much.
          Also thanks for being concerned about my health – I will be OK.
          This getting old is not for sissies.
          New Zealand has 1st class hospitals and doctors.

          I also enjoy your posts – the ones without religious content – you know I’m an atheist.
          And I invariably agree with your point of view.

          Hope this message finds you well my friend.
          Take care and cheers
          Dennis

          Like

  3. Denise,
    I don’t think WJA gets much traffic at his site.
    There is only 4-5 of us regular commenters.
    And I doubt may people read and don’t comment.
    What do you think?
    I’m sorry your site does not attract more viewers.
    Dennis

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WJA used to get much more traffic. I’ve been following him for a couple years now, and there used to be more diversity among the commenters. I think that perhaps the few very strong opinions may tend to discourage more active debate. Also, although WJA makes excellent points, every single post, he does keep mostly to the topic of war (perfectly logical for an anti-war blog), and it could be that people see a few posts and think that’s all there is to the blog. He has hundreds of followers, so my guess is that some people do read, but don’t comment.

      As for my blog, it matters not to me that I don’t have more followers. I publish posts just to vent, to get things off my mind. Once my thoughts go out into the ether, I don’t dwell on them as much, so it’s sort of therapy! I’ve been a writer by avocation all my life, so just the opportunity to put ideas down and publish them is its own reward. I never had any intention of being an influencer or generating income from ads, so all good!

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    2. Dennis. I had stopped going to WJA’s blog as I get his posts in my email and I was done with the comments. I decided to check on Denise’s blog today. I am very sorry to hear about your health problems. I am glad you have access to good medical care and I hope the treatments are successful. Best wishes. And Denise has my permission to send you my email (which I hope she has since I entered it to comment)

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  4. So sorry to hear about your health issues, Dennis. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. It pure-D sucks, as my Navy-vet husband would say (and that’s the printable version!). Do take good care of yourself.

    I don’t think you can post too much. Yours is a voice of evenness, of reason, and you are cordial in disagreement. That civility is sadly lacking among the commenters, sometimes.

    As for the video, it is excellent! The little reading I’ve done of Nietzsche’s philosophy, I’ve admired and been enlightened by. “…the religion of smug ease.” Wonderful phrase! I agree entirely that today’s society spends much too much effort trying to avoid any tiny little bit of discomfort. I’m especially worried by parents who constantly try to shield their children from the realities of life, even when the kids get into their teens. That lack of experience leaves them unable to cope when adversity comes along. I’ve seen it more than once.

    I’m thinking that the ancient Stoics had some good wisdom on this topic, as well. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism

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    1. I too miss seeing you on WJA’s ste, Denise.

      I’m so disappointed it got somehow personal between you and Roger.
      I though his analysis of the Tug of War between the US and Russia over Ukraine was very close to mine, but he did lose his Civility starting with the arrival of a new visitor using the avatar jlubecki in ‘How Are We to Understand the Russia-Ukraine War?’
      Whether it was a troll using jubecki or the actual Dr. Professor Jubecki I don’t know, but I did not agree with the Professor’s take on the Ukraine situation. While I agreed more with Roger’s take, he did lose his cool and self control making it personal.

      Professor Jubecke wrote, “Actually, Polish-Russian relationship was at it best between 2000-2004, so after the ABM announcement. I know the history of the relationship, present your evidence to the contrary.”

      I replied……..”2004 was only 3 years before Russia drew it’s red line about Ukraine in NATO.
      With all your expertise, you can offer a detailed explanation and chronology here why Polish-Russian relations deteriorated to the low point they are at now?”

      The Professor hasn’t answered or returned to WJA’s site since.

      Like

      1. Thanks for reaching out, Ray. I appreciate it.

        Rather than saying it “somehow” got personal between Roger and me, I’d say that, the more I stuck to the one point I had, the more abusive he got. I tried to keep it civil, but he went off the deep end. I don’t respond to that.

        As for jlubecki, I know his position was at odds with both yours and Roger’s. I’m not knowledgeable enough to parse the arguments, and only ventured to step in when Roger included me by default when he lashed out at lubecki. I put in a plea for civility, and drew Roger’s fire. It went straight downhill from there. But it doesn’t matter if lubecki’s position was different from that of others—he was civil, he debated rationally, and he used a neutral tone until Roger’s attacks got nasty. Not surprised he hasn’t returned—from his POV, no one agreed with him, and he was taking abuse from Roger, had been told to GTFO the site. By the time WJA read the thread and tried to restore order, it was too late.

        I choose not to let myself in for that. Maybe it’s a guy thing, to talk trash to one another and just be OK with it, but not my thing.

        Thanks again, Ray, for thinking of me.

        Like

  5. Morning Denise.
    Hey I decided this morning to give up on Bills site
    Its become monotonous and the number of readers has dropped to 2-3.
    I get no challenge from interacting with these dopes.
    Hope you are well.

    This is a good video.

    Take it easy my dear.
    Dennis

    Like

    1. Thanks for the video, Dennis. I’ll look at it tomorrow, but I already like the title!

      Surprised to hear you quit Bill’s blog, but I’ve gotta admit, when I saw the header on the last post, my heart sank a little bit. Too many posts in a row with too much of the same idea. Not that Bill doesn’t have valid points, because he does. But as you say, there aren’t many commenters, and the comments tend to re-hash stuff.

      Like

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