I Don’t Wanna! (talk about gun control)

I actually have been writing.

I wrote several blog posts and then chucked them. I wrote like a madwoman yesterday to meet a deadline.

But there’s one thing I’ve been avoiding. Admittedly, I haven’t even been reading much in order to avoid the subject.

I do not want to talk about Sandy Hook.
I DO not want to talk about Sandy Hook.
I do NOT want to talk about Sandy Hook.

So, here goes.

I really don’t talk about politics too often, do I? There was that DC40 thing last fall and the PantheaCon thing. But I don’t usually “go there.”

Today, I feel like I have to “go there.”

I have a ton of friends with small children. I guess I was ahead of the procreation curve, my kids are in high school and jr. high. And as I read my friends’ posts on social media about how hard it was to put their babies on the bus and how they gave extra hugs and kisses, I keep thinking, “Am I callous? I didn’t struggle with sending my kids to school. And high school is where we are expected to worry about guns.”

All this as I took the third batch of cookies since Friday out of the oven[1] and stirred the homemade mac-n-cheese while finishing some of the kids’ chores for them before they got home from school.

Perhaps we all mourn in our own way.

I haven’t been able to process this event. I’m sure you are all having a hard time with it too. But I just want to go into my mom-cave and hide until 2013 (which *is* coming, btw). On top of the normal response, I’ve started some of the lighter prep work for a solstice oracle. So, I am as open as convenience store. With some of my filters removed, I am admittedly testy and should not be in polite company—or Online.[2] Tomorrow should be a blast.

Today I got into two tussles with a brother with whom I typically have no contact aside from birthday and holiday wishes. I had a go at a stranger in the grocery line. I dropped the ball in magic-class. And I’ve had to walk away from family TV time—twice. This is not how I function.

Let me backstory before I go on.

When my cousin died when I was about twelve, I cried. A reasonable response. My brother chastised me, “You barely knew him.”

As a kid, my sister used to sing, “Gentle Shepherd” and “Shannon” to me just to make me cry. She thought it was hilarious. I was always emotive when it came to music.[3] With some songs it’s instant and consistent—doesn’t matter who sings it, I cry immediately.[4] And I’m not a sad, maudlin, or morose person—I’m Pippi Longstocking in a pointy hat. I just cry with music. And not cute little soap-opera tears, either. Big “boo-hoos” (and sometimes even some snot).

These family tidbits are just to explain why I shut-down “when bad things happen.” I always have Brother’s voice in the back of my head: “You’re being ridiculous. You don’t even know anyone in Connecticut.”[5] And I even hear my sister laughing at me as I cry.

I stayed offline for most of the weekend, even reblogged a post just to avoid thinking. (That worked out well.) Husband had some friends over for a birthday celebration for me on Saturday where there was absinthe and Prince–no thinking. And I took care of some grove business on Sunday. On Monday, a little tired from a magic class gone slightly cock-eyed, I crashed on the sofa to watch the finale of The Voice with my daughter.

Goddamnit!! if Blake Shelton didn’t stand there with a card that said, “Emilie Parker / 6,” as a piano and string instruments in C guided the soft candle lighting into focus. I’d know that Leonard Cohn song anywhere

And I saw what was about to happen: They are all going to be holding those babies’ names.

Blake didn’t even get to tell us about David’s secret chord before I had my hands in my face yelling, “Noh, noh, noh, don’t. Fast-forward! I can’t!” and ended up stomping out of the room so my own Emily could watch it without me.[6] After that, I pushed it waaaaaaaay down: “I will deal with this emotion at a later date.”

Guess what today was.

A later date.

Yesterday some of you saw my rant on FB about the t-shirt meme. My niece posted it first, then my brother. I commented on both. My644188_526552814037754_1413004826_n (adult) niece removed my comment. My brother and I went tête-à-tête. The crux of his argument was, “If a school is not teaching about God then, by default, it is teaching atheism.”[7]

The crux of mine was that God is everywhere—even where children die. And prayer *is* allowed in school—it simply cannot be enforced. And that religious education *is* allowed in public schools—as longs as no one religious dogma has preference over another.[8] That’s the trouble with rhetoric like this—all finer points that could be very good debates get boiled down into a sound bite, tossed on a t-shirt, passed around social media, and then cut off any meaningful discussion at the knees.

Then, after hearing my President speak, I quoted him: “‘We are going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to guns.’” I added, “Folks, I’m totally pro-gun (just not in *my* house). You see, it’s not about taking things away—it’s about providing access to the right things.”

This was followed by this The Conservative’s Club post which equated the human rights infractions in The (former) Soviet Union, Turkey, Germany, China, Uganda, and Cambodia to U.S. attempts at gun control. The only point I agreed with was: “With guns, we are ‘citizens’. Without them, we are ‘subjects’.”

Mind you, I was only on FB for a little while. And on-and-off at that.

Bam, bam, bam!

With the post that I just reblogged debating the etymology of The Rede—which followed one discussing the ethics of The Rede as it applies to cabbage worms—I am starting to wonder how my fellow Witches feel about guns and how y’all are handling all this shite. We are a pretty emphatic crowd. I can’t be the only one who can’t watch Adam Levine sing “Hallelujah”—especially through the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, and the major lift.[9] This has to be doing a number on you as well. Can we struggle through it together? (I promise to peruse your blogs as soon as I can do it without breaking-down.)

Here’s where I stand. I’m pro-Amendment 2; not because I like guns but because I believe in an armed citizenry to maintain a modicum of balance. I certainly don’t want an armed authority while I’m systematically disarmed. (I know, I don’t have access to nukes–but I’m fairly confident my government isn’t going to nuke my house.) Plus, I don’t want a gun in my house–but will protect your right to have one in yours.

However, I do not believe that “armed” should not mean “without regulation.”[10] So, I am also pro-gun-control. Gun control does not mean completely disarming. I can even imagine a world where I could be (conceivably and philosophically—if not viscerally and morally) amenable to automatic weapons—so long as they were only in the hands of well-trained and regulated citizens, and that I could be reasonably sure that they would remain only in the hands of such folks.

Ergo, *control.*

It’s like what I said about boundaries. Can debaters stop resorting to either/or, all or nothing reasoning? A boundary is not a rejection.

After I posed most of this on FB, (1) there was an odd explosion in town—but I don’t know what yet. Some lights went out across town—but it was startling. (2) I discovered that there was a (very real) gun threat at one of my kids’ schools. (No worries, it’s all in hand.) (3) I was told that a family neighbor killed (himself and??) his family this morning. This hits close to home, y’all.[11] WhoTF are we as a people? These aren’t anonymous strangers today. I know these people.

So advise me, my friends. How do we live practical lives surrounded by human violence? Yeah, yeah. I got the spiritual, ethical, philosophical end of it. I mean practical lives. The day-to-day and I have to live here end of it.

For instance: When a mentally ill person decides to follow through on threats to feed my dogs “antifreeze-steaks” and then attempt to kill me and my family, can I harm some?


We’ve all pretty much decided that “self-defense” doesn’t count in The Rede. So let me push the argument. Didn’t we already harm the mentally ill person by not providing—and also verifying that s/he undertakes (there’s lots of folks diagnosed with shit for which they refuse treatment)—proper mental health care? Or do we wash our hands of that? As a Heathen, I cannot.

The argument that I keep hearing is tantamount to “That’s not my responsibility.” Well, who the fecks is it then? You certainly don’t expect the mentally ill person to be responsible for his/her own care, do you? Really??[12] And people close to the mentally ill? They tend to get so wound up in life that they believe they’ve “got this,” that they can manage the situation in a domestic way. We can’t count on them to be objective. So what do we do? I certainly don’t advocate rounding people up for Orwellian “therapy” or institutionalization. But there has to be something in between.

Has to be.

If I know that I know that I know (or even reasonably suspect) that a community member has at least three personality disorders, a grudge, a handgun, and a rifle—what are my obligations? If not as a citizen, as a Heathen? Because, if not me—someone else. Even if so-and-so doesn’t come after me, if s/he decides to go after someone else, did I not do harm by passively allowing it?

If we are in a community with an unstable person and we know that they pose a danger to someone (even if we don’t care about that individual on a personal level—hell, even if we actively dislike the target), what are our obligations? How do we do no harm?

I need a compassionate and ethical sounding-board unencumbered by Christian dogma and the political trappings that have somehow become part of “religion.”

You in?

It’s time:


[1] Entirely non-holiday related. That didn’t even occur to me until later.

[2] Let me apologize to anyone who poked the typically placid bear and got an arm bit off.

[3] Still am. I bawl at the first two notes of “O Holy Night” even if I don’t have a connection to babies in mangers and shit. And it doesn’t have to be sappy songs. “Don’t You Forget About Me” does it as fast as “I Will Always Love You” (Dolly Parton, plz). I had to work at desensitizing myself to “Amazing Grace” so that I could attend funerals with a modicum of dignity. I can do it if there are no bagpipes.

[4] Except Michael Bublé. He only makes me feel ennui.

[5] As an adult, I know grief for a stranger is not a ridiculous reaction. But it’s hard to shake our hard-wiring.

[6] When it was over, I had a huge glass of wine in my hand and my darling girl said, “I saved it for you so you can watch it when you’re ready. It was lovely.” Damn kids. They never stop being precious.

[7] His children are/were homeschooled. That’s a whole story . . .

[8]    Brother: There is only one God

Me: I agree. Not everyone calls Him Jehovah.

[9] Coz on a regular day, I’m all about all of those things.

[10] Heck, I willingly make myself subject to lots of regulations: I can drive, but within a speed limit and in a particular kind of vehicle; I can purchase and view pornography, so long as everyone is a consenting adult; I can put ugly gnomes on my lawn, so long as they don’t pose a public hazard. I can’t marry a woman and I can’t grow or buy pot—but we’ll work on that next.

[11] Don’t get me started on the other shit that has gone on this week—like the guy who carved a pentagram in his son’s back. Do you know about this? Hazey told me since I was avoiding the news.

[12] This is not an invitation to indict Lanza’s late mother. We don’t know everything yet.

Time to Make the Doughnuts

Bear with me while I prattle about my kids for a minute. It’ll be like getting caught in a neighbor’s post-vaca slide show – except that you can log off.

The Adopted is coming over today to show off her baby-bump,  have lunch, get some Bad Witch lovin’, make crafties, and have a long-overdue lesson on energy wrangling. I forgot about how wild some of our energies get when we are pregnant.

The excitement over this impending visit (mixed with yesterday’s mention of The Mentor) has me thinking about birds and pastries. Not the four-and-twenty-blackbirds variety of birds and pastries, mind you. The Bad Witch variety.

You see, in a particularly heated game of Dirty Santa, TBW ended up with one of those new-fangled doughnut makers. I finally opened it last week and glanced at the recipes. “Hell naw,” I thought. “I can do better than that.” I replaced the call for vile-white flour with spelt and sour cream for Greek yogurt, made a few changes in the (half-a-freaking-cup) vegetable oil, odious-granulated sugar, and other processed nastiness.

Let’s just say that, unlike most of my kitchen inventions, this did not work.

The Bad Witch is loath to chuck a full batch of donuts, no matter how inedible. After reviewing the ingredients I used, I decided that a shmear of peanut-butter or bacon-grease (which ain’t happening in this house this week) and a roll in some unsalted nuts and seeds – I do believe I have some millet in the pantry – toss in an orange round – would be a fine road-side snack-a-roo for the migrating birdies.

And a great opportunity to do a little practical magic.

The Adopted is having a hard time with her energy, needs a little mothering of her own, and needs a whack in the magical ass. Poi-fect. Arts and crafts and affection and learnin’ and energy-balancing birdfeeders it is. Happy Monday. I’ll tell ya how it goes.

But I wanted doughnuts for me too. So I grabbed the (razza-frazza-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this) all-purpose flour, more granulated sugar than I use in a year, and that half-a-freaking-cup of vegetable oil. And then I shmeared them with (. . . let the choirs of angels sing . . .) Nutella. The kids thought I had lost my mind.

Now breakfast at my house is always a little weird. My kids are morning people. I am not.

Typically The Bad Husband (also a morning person – who does that?) makes breakfast, gets TBW caffeinated, and shuffles everyone out the door. But TBH is in China where it’s lunchtime – tomorrow.

At one point, TBH lived a thousand miles away from the rest of us for about ten months. I was in grad school, taking my grad exams to be exact, we had just bought (what, at the time, seemed to be) a ginormous house with a rainforest for a yard. During this time, the children (aged 5, 7, and 9 at the time) loved to spring bewilderment on me prior to my morning caffeination ritual. Once, Eldest decided that if she had been a German in the late 30s and early 40s, she might have “bought” what Hitler was selling too. There was a particularly politically savvy soundness behind her logic which was based in an understanding of both post-War jingoism and Hitler’s charismatic allure.

But it was, like, seven AM. And she was, like, nine.

Son, seven at the time, liked to discuss their ongoing debate about the operatives of pi.[1] I can’t even tell you what that was about, let alone pick a side. I always felt better when the conversation turned to poetry and Son called Robert Frost a “big fat liar” who often engaged in “self-revision.”[2]

They also had arguments about taxonomy: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. Where are jellyfish? Who has a nucleus? Are viruses at all like bacteria? (Turns out, no, not really).[3]

Youngest shares few words. She was late to language and even later to consonants.[4] Even now, she prefers body language, facial expressions, and other non-verbal cues to actual words. But when The Fairy-Child does speak, listen – it’s worth it.

So you shouldn’t be at all surprised when I tell you that one morning Eldest’s crepe[5] cracked and she saw it as a representation of Austria and Germany. Here’s a basic script of that morning:

Eldest (9) – “Oooh lookie mommy! My crepe broke into Germany and Sweden.”
TBW (34) – “Wha?”
Eldest – “No, not Sweden. Switzerland.”
Son (7) – “Looks more like Austria.”
Youngest (5) – “It’s a matter of perspective. Turn it around.”
TBW- “What are we looking at?”
Son – “It’s Austria.”
Eldest – “It’s Switzerland to me.”
Son – “But you put all that powdered sugar on it”
Eldest – “Exactly. The Alps have snow. The terrain of the mountains in Austria is entirely different. This is Switzerland.”
Son: “If I were to put jelly on mine would that make it a Berliner? Get it. Berliner!!”
Eldest – “Shut up you dork. That’s an urban legend anyway. Kennedy never called himself a jelly donut in real life.” [Under her breath] “How can one man be surrounded by so much conspiracy?”

I nearly wrenched my coffee. They go back and forth for a while before I tell Eldest to just shush-up and eat Central Europe. Of course, they don’t. There are a few poopy-name-calling incidents before (kindergarten-aged) Youngest gets fed-up and pokes the already broken crepe and says dryly: “There. Lichtenstein.”[6]

This is just to say: breakfast pastries at my house when The Bad Husband is away on business = funtimes.

I remembered this story this morning while, finding I had an extra hour or so, I was trying to come up with a fictional name to apply to First Mentor (a.k.a. the-former-nun-who-took-me-under-her-wing-while-I-was-an-undergraduate-at-a-Jesuit-university-and-taught-me-a-brand-of-witchcraft-I haven’t-yet re-encountered). I chattered out-loud to my coffee and homemade doughnut: “Bird. Her name means ‘bird.’ Duh. Of course it means ‘bird.’ Just listen to it; it obviously means ‘bird.’ What other names mean ‘bird’?” Glancing down the list, I saw Youngest’s name. “Humph. For a smart girl, I sure am dense.”

Little did I know that Youngest’s name and First Mentor’s name both derive from “bird.” When I named my baby, I was simply thinking, “Gee, that’s a combination of two family names.”[7]  I turned to Youngest, now reading over my shoulder (she had homework for me to sign before she bounced off to school), “Did you know that your name and Momma’s first mentor – the first woman who taught me ‘real’ real Witchcraft for the first time both have names that mean ‘bird’?”

Pointing out the elephant in the room, like she does, Youngest said, “Um, yuh. They both mean ‘bird’ and ‘bright and shining.’ I always thought you did that on purpose.”

“Funny how so many bird names also mean ‘bright and shining.’”

“It’s because they aren’t ‘real’ birds, Mom.”

Oh, Lichtenstein.

Coffee, please.


This post is part of a year-long project, The Pagan Blog Hop: “This isn’t your typical blog hop! We’re here to help you get the most out of your blog hopping experience. Instead of weekly hops that tend to be over long before you get through the whole list, we offer a whole month of hopping! And instead of endless links to varied posts and sites, we give you categories to place your direct-post links! So as a blogger you know whom ever is looking at this hop will find what they are looking for and hopefully that’s you! As a reader, you get to skip all the others and go right to what interests you most! It’s blog hopping made easy, organized and fun!” (http://paganpagesbloghop.blogspot.com/p/about.html).

[1] Now he just wants me to tell him about what it was like to “live” through MegaDeath and Thrash Metal as a new musical experience. “I don’t know; I listened to Tiffany!” (Not really, but it buys me enough time to drink my coffee.)

[2] That was the day the kids started making weird noises in the car and I got annoyed and said, “hey, let’s talk about poetry again! that’ll be fun.” And Youngest, five, struck a Garboesque pose and said, “Yeah, let’s stick pins in our eyes cuz that’ll be fun too.” I almost hit the car in front of me that day.

[3] I try talking to other mommies and daddies about this and they all find it very amusing. Most kids argue about coco-puffs versus Count Chocula. Don’t get me wrong, my kids argue that stuff too — and use it as a gauge of intelligence, “Of course you think Churchill’s ‘With Great Power’ speech is better than Kennedy’s ‘Ask Not’ speech, you like Trix better than Lucky Charms, you doofus.”

[4] In grammar school, she had a speech therapist from Birmingham who over-annunciated her last syllables. She called me in for a meeting to tell me that she couldn’t understand why Youngest, “really-ya over-uh pronounces-sah the-uh last-ta sound-dah of-uh each-cha word-da.” When I realized that my seven-year-old daughter was openly mocking her speech therapist, I removed her from the program.

[5] In our house we call them “craps” because when Momma tries to flip them she yells, “Crap!”

[6] When I tried telling this story at work, I found no sympathy. The other mommies just said that I was crazy for making crepes on a school day. When I told the story to one of the daddies and he said, “Yes. That’s crazy. Everyone knows that crepes are more a dinner food.” The next day we had Pop-Tarts.

[7] Well, sort-of. I was hell bent for leather that I was going to name that child Olive  (her twin was going to be named Lillith). Then, at the moment she was born, pink and alone, I changed my mind. The Bad Husband had little say in the matter.  He rarely does, poor fellah. But the name I settled on didn’t come to me over deliberation and time, it shot into the delivery room like a third child raring to be born from a body that knew what it was doing. I just moved over and said, “OK.”