Live

I got into a bad media cycle last night. I was consumed by the news coming out of Dallas. I was weary, but I couldn’t make myself shut everything down, like somehow constantly updating my Twitter feed was going to alleviate the turmoil inside me.

When I finally did shut down, I lay in the dark trying to find a way to calm the demons, so I could sleep. I just silently send out the word Live. I sent it to the Dallas police officers who were, at that time, still in surgery. With all the mental power of pray or whatever term you like for it, I threw that plea out into the world. Live, live, live. I sent it to those officers, to any who were in pain because inside the human race is a dark place capable of horrors. Live, live, live. Just live.

And then I mourned because there were those who I could no longer send that pray to. I could not send it to the officers already dead. And I could not send it to Alton Sterling or Philando Castile. I could not send it to those killed in Orlando or Istanbul or any of the places where hate has prevailed, where the dark place became all consuming.

That dark place likes to make Others. They are not like me. They are Other. And the dark place assigns roles to Others, so that causing harm becomes righteous or self preservation. Making someone Other, someone capable of violence just based on skin color, makes it that much easier for a few police officers to reach for a gun and fire. There are infinite ways to make someone an Other, a danger, all of them wrong.

Right now, here in America, the most danger way people are making Others is based on race. And people are being killed for it. They are being killed by police officers. And then we watch as those officers are not held accountable. And then we watch as police officers doing their duty to protect protesters, officers who would work with those protesters to make things better, to beat back the dark place, are murdered too.

All because there is a twist in human nature. All because we fear the unknown. All because we make judgments based on very little information. It is enough to make any one of us feel all is meaningless.

But there were thousands of people who came together yesterday across the country. They are angry but peaceful. They want change. They want innocent lives, particularly black lives, because those are the ones being lost in the highest numbers, saved. They want all citizens to feel that law enforcement is there to serve and protect.

And while they gathered, the police did protect and serve. They watched over the crowds, many of whom would direct their anger at any officer available, again making judgments out of anger and with little information. And those officers showed support, posing for pictures with protesters. Most came together peacefully, knowing that working together will get results faster than taking nonexistent sides. Being there at that protest was the duty these brave people have chosen to shoulder.

Thousands of people. Together in peace.

Like it only took a few police officer’s actions to cause the protest, it took only a few people to shatter the peace.

I don’t get it. I never will because I just want to shout out to everyone, LIVE. Hating enough to shoot someone is not living.

Let’s all be one of the thousands gathered to try and facilitate change through peace. Be the officers who protect them.

 

 

Pulse

I listen for the pulses. I can hear them dancing, sweating, fighting, gasping, drinking, lusting, loving

living.

They only stop in death.

My pulse beats faster in fear, anger, outrage, sadness, yearning, impotence.

Pulse is a pattern easy to understand.

Thrum hum thrum hum thrum hum

The choice to take that away from another is not fathomable.

We want the answers, the prevention.

Our pulses quicken as we seek, argue, agree, mourn.

None of that will start those pulses again. They will never race to dance, sweat, fight, gasp, drink, lust, love, again.

My pulse beats loud with hope if not optimism that we will come together with the tough answers to save other pulses from this fate.

 

It Is Not OK

This post is prompted by this. Go read it. I will wait. It takes a while. She had a lot to say.

Victim Letter

I am aware that this post sounds preachy. I do not use the pronoun we lightly. I need this sermon as much as anyone reading it.

Here is how we stop this. We stop being uptight about sex. Parenting duties do not end with the birds and the bees. We don’t stop even with the physical details of the basic sexual acts. As hard as it is, as awkward as it might feel, we talk about the way sex comes up every day. We discuss the ads, the TV shows, the reason why women wear skimpy outfits and men have bulging muscles in all kinds of places. For all the subliminal messages that bombard our children, we must be the clear voice of explanation, telling them the difference between what is right and what is commercialism.

Most importantly, we talk about consent. This means we all have to accept the fact that our kids are going to be like we were. That’s right. No different. The hormones will start kicking in in the tween years. Remember? Think back. Yeah….

Your kids will be doing all of that too. They will be thinking about sex. Wondering about sex. DO NOT let them find their only answers out there: from friends, from music, from media, from, god forbid, the internet. We lead the dialog. Not talking about it does not mean they are not doing it. It means they are doing it dangerously. It means they become victims, or worse, they become the perpetrators of assault. Silence creates a vacuum, one that will be filled with the idea of privilege, the idea that all women want it like in the porno the kids watched at the friend’s house when they cracked the computer password. It means boys don’t know that they can be preyed on by people like Sandusky.

If we are frank and open, it will make less victims. It will make less rapists.

It will be admitting we don’t have all the answers. It will mean giving answers that might make us blush. It will mean accepting that kids grow up into sexual beings at an age we might think is too young. Too bad. Accept that and educate them. That is the only way to protect their innocence. Innocence is not the absence of knowledge. It is the absence of brutal awareness forced upon you. It is the difference between knowing there is a bogeyman and having him attack you.

It will mean explaining how wonderful sex can be on all the levels. Help them understand that the physical pleasure needs to be accompanied by emotional pleasure and that means everyone must feel safe in every sexual encounter. Yes, we have to talk about the good stuff too. Yes, your kids are going to realize this means you have sex. I promise, you will all get over it.

Say these words….

It is not OK to have sex with anyone who is drunk or high, especially if you are drunk or high too. Just don’t. It’s safer that way. And being drunk does not excuse your behavior. Drunk rape is as much a crime as drunk driving. Being drunk isn’t a crime, but, whether it is fair or not, it makes you vulnerable. You can have fun and be sensible. Do not ever make getting wasted your goal. I know it can happen accidentally. I remember college. And maybe a little after college. Just remember a little drunk is more fun than blacking out.

This is not OK…. (from a tweet) “You can’t “blame” the woman for being too drunk and then “excuse” the man’s actions because he had one too many.” I would go one step further and say victim/woman. It can happen to a male too.

It is not OK to have sex with someone unconscious.

Watch out for each other. Say something if you think someone else is going to make a mistake. Protect each other. Educate each other. If you can swap porn site passwords, you can talk about consensual sex.

It is not OK to have sex with someone who hasn’t said yes even if you have had sex with that person before. Ask what your partner wants. Keep talking. If you are too uncomfortable with that then you shouldn’t be having sex. Trust me, that is way more romantic than rape. This is also a good time to bring up birth control and STDs. Protect your health while you protect your soul.

Kissing, groping, fingering, dry humping, all count as sex, so all of the above apply.

Now I would also go on about when sex is OK. People have differing ideas about that, so you do what you think is right. Personally, I plan on accepting the fact that my kids are going to be teenagers with teenager hormones. I will equip them with knowledge and materials to make sure they are educated teenagers who will make smart decisions. Fingers crossed.

You do what you think is right. But do not skip the NOT OKs.

Do not assume they just understand that. Assumption is a privilege we cannot afford. Assumption makes victims and ruins lives.