Monday, July 30, 2012


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why it is doubtful much will change after the Aurora massacre.... 

Came across this on Roger Ebert's blog. I agree with his assessment:

The Body Count

I lived in, or within a mile of, Aurora, Colorado for a total of 12 years. I was in that very theatre many times. It horrifies me to think that someone could have been wounded or killed in one of the very same seats where I had enjoyed a movie.

My first thought when I saw the breaking news was "not AGAIN!". Because naturally my thoughts turned to the events at Columbine High School in 1999 in Littleton, which is just across town. Again innocent people, mostly kids, trapped while the room was being sprayed with bullets from automatic weapons. Again an elaborate plot whose ultimate goal was maximum carnage. Again near the scene of the murders a line of crosses signed by the grieving who are desperate to do something, anything, that comforts the bereaved.

I don't think the time and place selected was random. It was nearly the one-year anniversary of the worst mass murder in Norway's history. I believe this man wanted to outdo that event. He chose a venue where he knew everyone would be distracted by what was on the screen, all facing the same direction, most of them nowhere near an exit. He chose a midnight showing on the premier night because it would likely be sold out. And he chose to do this during a film with plenty of shooting in it that was the sequel to one that contained a character with whom he could identify: the Joker. Those who were there watching "The Dark Knight Rises" at first thought a promotional stunt or prank was going on, until the real bullets started coming at them.

Had I not moved to South Dakota, it would not be completely implausible for me to have gone to that movie, although I might not have gone at midnight unless a friend had invited me. Even though I was in Minnesota on a vacation at the time of the shooting, it feels like I, in a very indirect way, have been assaulted too. I did not have access to a computer until Sunday night, and I stayed up until 3am checking the Facebook pages of my Colorado friends to make sure none of them had been there. There were some close calls: one friend's teenage daughter decided not to go, but the girl's friends did attend and witnessed the murder of a six-year old. Another friend's cousin was there too, but got out safely. Two more friends had considered going but decided to wait until Friday.

It has been difficult to get enough information locally, as South Dakota is weirdly isolationist. At times, it feels as though I am living in a different country. So I've been sticking with CNN on TV, picked up the Minneapolis newspaper as well as a few national ones, and have been perusing Denver media websites. The stories of the losses, the near misses, the heroic acts, etc. will haunt me, just as they did in 1999. But this time I am not there in person to comfort or commiserate.

I am guessing that by now the state of Colorado has a reputation for being a dangerous place to live. That is actually not the case at all. My last residence, which was approximately one mile from the Aurora border, was in the safest neighborhood in the metropolitan area. No shootings during the eight years I lived there. There were some unlocked vehicles broken into, but that is common all over the United States. There was one home invasion, and guess what the burglars stole? Guns and nothing else.

There is much more that I would like to say on this subject, but I am still recovering from my trip, and typing this has been greatly exhausting, so I'll stop here. I may or may not add more later. I would like to start posting about my short Minneapolis vacation when the time is right and I am up to it. In the meantime, peace be with you, all involved in this tragedy, all who grieve. Again.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thoughts on the most recent mass murder in my home state.... 

I have my own comments I would like to post on this subject, but not tonight. I just returned from a trip and am feeling rather unwell. I hope to do so tomorrow. In the meantime, here is what Michael Moore had to say.....

It's the Guns – But We All Know, It's Not Really the Guns... a note from Michael Moore

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

ALERT: Michael Moore will appear this evening on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight to discuss the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting and where we go from here. Tune in at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT (replay 12:00 Midnight ET/9:00 PM PT and 3:00 AM ET/12:00 Midnight PT).


Since Cain went nuts and whacked Abel, there have always been those humans who, for one reason or another, go temporarily or permanently insane and commit unspeakable acts of violence. There was the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who during the first century A.D. enjoyed throwing victims off a cliff on the Mediterranean island of Capri. Gilles de Rais, a French knight and ally of Joan of Arc during the middle ages, went cuckoo-for-Cocoa Puffs one day and ended up murdering hundreds of children. Just a few decades later Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula, was killing people in Transylvania in numberless horrifying ways.

In modern times, nearly every nation has had a psychopath or two commit a mass murder, regardless of how strict their gun laws are – the crazed white supremacist in Norway one year ago Sunday, the schoolyard butcher in Dunblane, Scotland, the École Polytechnique killer in Montreal, the mass murderer in Erfurt, Germany … the list seems endless.

And now the Aurora shooter last Friday. There have always been insane people, and there always will be.

But here's the difference between the rest of the world and us: We have TWO Auroras that take place every single day of every single year! At least 24 Americans every day (8-9,000 a year) are killed by people with guns – and that doesn't count the ones accidentally killed by guns or who commit suicide with a gun. Count them and you can triple that number to over 25,000.

That means the United States is responsible for over 80% of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined. Considering that the people of those countries, as human beings, are no better or worse than any of us, well, then, why us?

Both conservatives and liberals in America operate with firmly held beliefs as to "the why" of this problem. And the reason neither can find their way out of the box toward a real solution is because, in fact, they're both half right.

The right believes that the Founding Fathers, through some sort of divine decree, have guaranteed them the absolute right to own as many guns as they desire. And they will ceaselessly remind you that a gun cannot fire itself – that "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Of course, they know they're being intellectually dishonest (if I can use that word) when they say that about the Second Amendment because they know the men who wrote the constitution just wanted to make sure a militia could be quickly called up from amongst the farmers and merchants should the Brits decide to return and wreak some havoc.

But they are half right when they say "Guns don't kill people." I would just alter that slogan slightly to speak the real truth: "Guns don't kill people, Americans kill people."

Because we're the only ones in the first world who do this en masse. And you'll hear all stripes of Americans come up with a host of reasons so that they don't have to deal with what's really behind all this murder and mayhem.

They'll say it's the violent movies and video games that are responsible. Last time I checked, the movies and video games in Japan are more violent than ours – and yet usually fewer than 20 people a year are killed there with guns – and in 2006 the number was two!

Others will say it's the number of broken homes that lead to all this killing. I hate to break this to you, but there are almost as many single-parent homes in the U.K. as there are here – and yet, in Great Britain, there are usually fewer than 40 gun murders a year.

People like me will say this is all the result of the U.S. having a history and a culture of men with guns, "cowboys and Indians," "shoot first and ask questions later." And while it is true that the mass genocide of the Native Americans set a pretty ugly model to found a country on, I think it's safe to say we're not the only ones with a violent past or a penchant for genocide. Hello, Germany! That's right I'm talking about you and your history, from the Huns to the Nazis, just loving a good slaughter (as did the Japanese, and the British who ruled the world for hundreds of years – and they didn't achieve that through planting daisies). And yet in Germany, a nation of 80 million people, there are only around 200 gun murders a year.

So those countries (and many others) are just like us – except for the fact that more people here believe in God and go to church than any other Western nation.

My liberal compatriots will tell you if we just had less guns, there would be less gun deaths. And, mathematically, that would be true. If you have less arsenic in the water supply, it will kill less people. Less of anything bad – calories, smoking, reality TV – will kill far fewer people. And if we had strong gun laws that prohibited automatic and semi-automatic weapons and banned the sale of large magazines that can hold a gazillion bullets, well, then shooters like the man in Aurora would not be able to shoot so many people in just a few minutes.

But this, too, has a problem. There are plenty of guns in Canada (mostly hunting rifles) – and yet the annual gun murder count in Canada is around 200 deaths. In fact, because of its proximity, Canada's culture is very similar to ours – the kids play the same violent video games, watch the same movies and TV shows, and yet they don't grow up wanting to kill each other. Switzerland has the third-highest number of guns per capita on earth, but still a low murder rate.

So – why us?

I posed this question a decade ago in my film 'Bowling for Columbine,' and this week, I have had little to say because I feel I said what I had to say ten years ago – and it doesn't seem to have done a whole lot of good other than to now look like it was actually a crystal ball posing as a movie.

This is what I said then, and it is what I will say again today:

1. We Americans are incredibly good killers. We believe in killing as a way of accomplishing our goals. Three-quarters of our states execute criminals, even though the states with the lower murder rates are generally the states with no death penalty.

Our killing is not just historical (the slaughter of Indians and slaves and each other in a "civil" war). It is our current way of resolving whatever it is we're afraid of. It's invasion as foreign policy. Sure there's Iraq and Afghanistan – but we've been invaders since we "conquered the wild west" and now we're hooked so bad we don't even know where to invade (bin Laden wasn't hiding in Afghanistan, he was in Pakistan) or what to invade for (Saddam had zero weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with 9/11). We send our lower classes off to do the killing, and the rest of us who don't have a loved one over there don't spend a single minute of any given day thinking about the carnage. And now we send in remote pilotless planes to kill, planes that are being controlled by faceless men in a lush, air conditioned studio in suburban Las Vegas. It is madness.

2. We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear. What are we so afraid of that we need to have 300 million guns in our homes? Who do we think is going to hurt us? Why are most of these guns in white suburban and rural homes? Maybe we should fix our race problem and our poverty problem (again, #1 in the industrialized world) and then maybe there would be fewer frustrated, frightened, angry people reaching for the gun in the drawer. Maybe we would take better care of each other (here's a good example of what I mean).

Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of. Like I said, I spelled it all out here if you'd like to watch it or share it for free with others. All we're lacking here, my friends, is the courage and the resolve. I'm in if you are.

Michael Moore

Friday, July 13, 2012

This is quite sobering.... 

Deleted Scenes: A Young Tragedy
Lisa Ling and suicide hotline operator Eileen head to Mariah's grave, who was just a freshman in high school when she killed herself, a fate all too common on the reservation.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lisa Ling visits Pine Ridge in South Dakota.... 

Life on the Rez: Powwow Performance
13 year-old Misun is a champion grass dancer who uses powwows to tell the story of his ancestors. By dancing, Misun stays busy and out of the trouble that plagues so many young Native American boys.

Monday, July 09, 2012

I am SOOOO embarrassed! 

I popped into the health food store today to buy Greek yogurt and coconut water, and when I came out, I realized I had forgotten to hang my handicapped placard on my rear view mirror! An amputee in a wheelchair who was in the parking space next to mine had put a note on my windshield to tell me off. I apologized profusely and told him that I really did have a placard in my car. I could tell he didn't believe me because he was so furious he wouldn't even look at me. I honestly don't blame him because I know how mad I get when non-disabled people use the handicapped spaces. This is one time that my fibrofog is not funny at all. I am mortified.

Friday, July 06, 2012


I am now getting error messages stating that my blog is no longer supported by my browser. It says some parts of the blog will not work and that I may experience problems. I am currently using the most up-to-date version of Firefox my computer will allow, but it says to switch to Google Chrome. Problem is, my computer is too outdated to use the new browsers. I really hope this isn't the end of my blog, because I cannot afford to upgrade my computer, and I am too brain damaged to learn how to use another type of blog.

I am going to try something before I give up. I will try Safari and see if that will be more compatible. If that doesn't work, I may just hang onto Firefox and hope for the best.

How you can help.... 

 Here is the flip side of the previous article on what not to say to a person with a chronic illness. This courtesy of Toni Bernhard:

What Those with Chronic Pain or Illness DO Want to Hear You Say

I think the most difficult thing to get friends and family to understand is that even though I might appear better, I am NOT necessarily well. A smile can go a long way toward distracting someone from the dark circles under the eyes, the pale pallor and the very cautious movements. I guess my charm is partly my downfall, heh heh.

Monday, July 02, 2012

I suspected there was a connection.... 

This just in from a fibromyalgia Facebook page. This study is probably going to be talked about for years to come:

Breaking news: ME/CFS & severity definitively linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular damage

There are so many bodily systems adversely affected in ME that it just seems logical that measurable changes appear at the cellular level. But is this damage permanent? That will probably take awhile to answer.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Hilarious, the things dads do for their daughters.... 

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