When I read this post by another blogger, I decided to reblog it, because it struck me as a great analogy. Also, I appreciated her connection with To Kill A Mockingbird to make her point! I have family members (nieces & nephews) who won’t get the vaccine and I’m alternating between being angry at them and worried about them. My immediate family members, fortunately, had the good sense to get vaccinated!
There are many scenes in To Kill a Mockingbird that are disturbing but the first time I saw the movie (I was probably around fourteen) the scene that really upset me was when Atticus shoots the rabid dog. I didn’t understand why the dog couldn’t just be captured and nursed back to health. My father explained that there is no cure for rabies. That an animal with rabies cannot be controlled and will mostly likely die a horrible death and that if he bit or even scratched one of the townsfolk, they would most likely also die a horrible death. So even though the dog couldn’t help his illness and didn’t deserve to be shot, the community had to be protected.
When I hear people saying they are not getting vaccinated and they are not wearing a mask and they are not socially distancing, I remember that scene. The corona virus is like a mad dog roaming the streets. You can protect yourself from getting it and infecting other people … or:
You can go out in the street and tell that mad dog you don’t believe he’s really rabid.
You can say to the mad dog, “God gave you the rabies because you were a bad dog but God will protect me.”
You can tell the mad dog he’s infringing on your constitutional right to run free without a vaccination.
Either way I don’t think the mad dog will care.
And to those who say: “It hasn’t been tested enough.” Well that’s kind of like saying: “Even though the Titanic is sinking, those life boats haven’t been fully tested in ice water. I’m going to wait on the deck and listen to the band play until I’m sure.”
Now before you lambast me for being a nincompoop, let me tell you that I have had covid although at the time (January 2020), I thought it was just a killer flu. The first night I spiked such a high fever that the queen size bed I was sleeping on was soaked right through to the mattress. Despite anti-histamines and nose sprays and Vicks Vaporub, I struggled to breath. Then, when the newspapers started to list the symptoms, I began to wonder. Especially when, come summer, I had no feeling in my feet and had lost all sense of balance.
If this post sounds a little angry, it is. You can be like Atticus Finch and protect your community by getting vaccinated or you can try negotiating with the mad dog and put yourself and others at risk.
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
Yesterday, in my Who Won the Week post, I wrote about gun violence in America. Mass shoutings and gun violence are controversial topics in this country, so my post generated a lot of comments.
A few comments caught my attention. One commenter seemed to take issue with focusing on the “tools” of gun violence — the guns. She wrote, “My concern is on the dwelling on the tool, known as a gun, as opposed to deeply examining the people and conditions underlying the problem.”
She has a point, but without the so easily accessible “tool,” would those people and underlying conditions be able to produce so many mass shootings in this country?
I responded to her comment, pointing out that “the U.S. has 4% of the world’s population and 42% of its firearms. There are mass shooting nearly every week in this country.” I added, “In May 2019, 50 New Zealanders were killed in a mass shooting. Six days later the country banned all automatic and semiautomatic firearms sales and there have been no more mass shootings since then. Actions speak louder than words. Way louder than thoughts and prayers. It’s time to take action in this country.”
She then replied, “Guns won’t go away. There are too many and they serve a great importance. So, examining other correlations is critical. There are many! New Zealand doesn’t have a 2nd Amendment…certainly an option as a place to go for those who are afraid of our society.”
Actually, with the way things are, I’m not afraid of our society as much as I’m afraid for our society. Anyway, her comment got me thinking about the beloved Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
I do have perspectives regarding the Second Amendment. In fact, I have strong opinions about whether or not it actually applies to the ownership and use of concealed weapons and assault-style rifles.
Let’s review the wording of the Second Amendment: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
So what does it really mean? The opening phrase refers to “a well regulated militia.” What is a militia? According to dictionary.com, a militia is “a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers.”
Merriam-webster.com defines it as “a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency” or “a body of citizens organized for military service.” Using these definitions of “militia,” most Americans are not members of one.
Now what about well regulated? The free dictionary.com defines well regulated as “controlled or supervised to conform to rules, regulations, tradition, etc.” I suggest that, when it comes to gun ownership, including concealed weapons, open carry, and semiautomatic assault rifles, the notion of “well regulated” is not even close.
Okay, let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that the framers of the Constitution really did intend for all citizens — well, at least white male citizens — to be armed, should they so choose, regardless of whether they were members of a “well regulated militia.”
But let’s also put this in context of the late 18th Century, when the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written. This was a time when “standing armies” (e.g., the British Redcoats) were seen as a potential threat to freedom and liberty, and when calling out of the militia required individual soldiers to supply their own weapons.
Plus, the “arms” of that era were single-fire muskets, which, by the way, are impossible to carry around concealed, and flint-lock pistols. According to eHow.com, the steps involved in loading and firing a musket are:
Standing up, set the hammer to “half cock” for safety reasons. You’ll be looking down the barrel quite a bit, and you don’t want the hammer on full cock, which if kicked or dropped, might cause the musket to fire.
Grab a charge out of the box or from your ammo pouch. Tear off the top of the charge with your teeth and keep the ball that was on the top in your mouth. Pour the powder down the barrel. Put the ball of lead into the barrel and put the wadding from the package on top.
Take the ramrod and tamp the powder, the ball, and the wadding into the barrel. The wadding is there to make sure that the ball and gunpowder stay put.
Add some gunpowder to the flash pan below the trigger and fully cock the musket.
Aim for the biggest mass you can on the battlefield because this weapon is not very accurate. Once you’ve set your sights on your target, press the trigger and the hammer will come down. This strikes flint against the pan, causing the gunpowder behind the ball to ignite and the weapon to fire.
At best, a highly trained soldier might have been able to pump out two to four musket shots a minute. Now let’s contrast that with an AR-15, today’s semiautomatic weapon of choice. Using 30 round magazines, it can easily fire off 30 to 45 rounds a minute.
Now think about our Founding Fathers back then, sitting around listening to tunes on their iPhones , texting each other, watching the Patriots game on their 65 inch, flat-panel Ultra High Def TV, or checking what their friends were up to on Facebook or Twitter. Can you seriously believe they had military-grade, semiautomatic assault rifles in mind when they drafted the Second Amendment?
And do gun rights activists and the NRA genuinely feel that it’s necessary for everyday citizens to be able to arm themselves with these assault weapons that are intended to inflict the maximum fatality potential in order to defend their homes or to hunt defenseless wild game?
I’m sorry, folks, but any reasonably thinking human being, even those who support the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, can’t possibly justify the availability and use of such assault weapons by other than members of the military — the professional military.
We need to stop the insanity. Enough is enough. It’s time for Congress to put public health above special interests and politics.
Our first full day in Cairo began with a trip to Giza to see the famous pyramids and the Sphinx. Egyptologists have identified 118-138 pyramids commissioned by ancient pharaohs as burial tombs. The oldest known pyramid is the step pyramid located in Saqqara, which we did not visit.
Egyptian pyramid building was developed over time. The step pyramid was the first pyramid structure, but to develop a smooth, continuous line took several attempts before the geometric measurements were just right. If too wide at the base, the pyramid would cave in for lack of sufficient support. If too narrow, it would become “top-heavy” and collapse under the weight of the stone. There is a pyramid known as the “bent pyramid” (which is not at Giza), that has sides that are somewhat curved.
The pyramids of Giza, including the Great Pyramid, are located in the Giza complex about 13 km (8 miles) from downtown Cairo, on the edge of the Western Desert.
They were built at the height of pyramid building during times of absolutist rule, about 2580-2560 BCE (Before Common Era – formerly known as BC, Before Christ). The largest and oldest of these, the Great Pyramid, or The Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), was part of a complex consisting of a valley temple (which no longer exists) and the mortuary temple of the pharaoh Khufu (2nd pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty in ancient Egypt’s “Old Kingdom”), of which only the basalt pavement remains. The mortuary temple was connected to the pyramid containing the pharaoh’s tomb. The complex took about 20 years to build and the pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years.
Originally the Great Pyramid was covered with a smooth layer of limestone and some of the stones used can be seen around the base.
The pyramid consists of 2.3 million blocks of stone obtained from nearby quarries. Since building it took 20 years, this means that an average of 12 of the blocks would have to be put into place every hour, 24/7! The largest granite stones used in the King’s burial chamber, weighing 20 or more tons each, were transported all the way from Aswan, more than 800 km (500 miles) away!
Although the Greeks suggested the pyramids had been built by slave labor, modern discoveries of a work camp associated with Giza indicate that they were probably built by skilled workers, organized into groups according to skill level.
Most of the limestone casing that covered the structure were loosened by a massive earthquake in 1303 CE (Common Era, formerly known as AD). In 1356 AD these were taken away to build fortresses and mosques in Cairo.
The original entrance to the Great Pyramid is on the north, about 17 meters (56 feet) vertically above ground level. This entrance, although blocked off, can still be seen today. You can also climb partway up the pyramid under this sealed entrance.
This diagram shows the entrance, passages and chambers inside the pyramid, but access today is forbidden. In the King’s Chamber, the only object is a rectangular sarcophagus, which was likely lowered into the chamber before the top of the pyramid was added.
On the east side of the Great Pyramid were three smaller pyramidsfor King Khufu’s three wives and it is possible to go inside one of these. A cavernous hole in the side of this structure is the entrance. You descend into a lower chamber on a ramp fitted with slats to maintain your footing. I took one look and said, “No, thanks!”
However, Dale and some of the others in our group did go down there. Inside the chamber there is really nothing at all to see. Someone took these photos of Dale and fellow group member Nancy Wheeler inside the empty chamber.
Around the outside of Khufu’s pyramid are boat pits large enough to hold full-sized boats. The ancient Egyptians believed that boats would be necessary to transport the king and his family to the afterlife.
One of the ships sealed inside the pits has been reconstructed and now resides in the Giza Solar Boat Museum.
Next we took a camel ride.
I had never ridden a camel before so my only experience riding an animal was on horses. First the handler has the camel get down into seated position so the rider can mount. Its front legs bend first, then its back legs. Camels have very flexible knee joints! (I hope they don’t get arthritis!)
Mounting the camel wasn’t that easy – I had trouble getting my right leg over its back! Once I was on, the handler motioned for me to hold onto the saddle horns, both front and back, while the camel stood up again, going through the same motions it used to sit down. It was like being on a bucking bronco!
I continued holding onto both saddle horns, even though it was a bit awkward, until the handler told me to hold only the one in front. He also motioned me to sit farther forward, almost until I was practically sitting on the camel’s neck.
I then gripped the front saddle horn and hung on for dear life. A camel moves very differently from a horse – it’s almost an undulating motion, as if we were at sea…perhaps that is one reason why camels are called the “ships of the desert.” Their bodies, while seemingly gangly, are uniquely suited to the desert environment.
My experience, however, was not helped by the fact that my camel was a naughty beast! Instead of following the handler’s instructions, who eventually had to hold him on a tighter rein, he would wander in the opposite direction until pulled back, or approached another camel for a little tête-a-tête! Also, he kept bumping up against another camel ridden by a young woman in our group, so that my foot was crushed between two camel bodies! (No harm done, except that my shoes smelled like camel for the rest of the trip!)
I was greatly relieved when it was time to get off – although it required that “bucking bronco” movement again!
Here are some sketches I made of my camel in my journal later:
After this memorable experience, we visited the Sphinx and the Valley Temple of Khafre (see map above), but first, we viewed the Giza plateau from the vantage point of a hill where we had gotten off the camels.
The Sphinx, while it dwarfs in comparison to the pyramids behind it, is the largest sculpture in the world carved from one solid piece of rock: cut from limestone bedrock, the head has since been restored using layers of blocks.
The Sphinx was a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human head. The Great Sphinx of Giza is thought to represent the king Khafre, whose pyramid tomb stands behind it. Although the head and much of the body has eroded over time, its long front legs and paws are solid rock.
The Great Sphinx faces east and is 73 meters (240 feet) long from paw to tail. At its highest point it is 20.21 m (66.3 ft) tall, and 19 m (62 ft) wide at its rear haunches. It was built during Egypt’s Old Kingdom, during the reign of King Khafre (c. 2558-2532 BCE).
In between the paws of the Sphinx, there is a stela (an upright stone slab on which is carved some kind of inscription, like gravestones) created during the New Kingdom by Thutmose IV (son of Amenhotep II) describing a dream which justifies his right to rule. A brief description of this dream is in an online article Between the Paws of the Sphinx by Dr. David Livingston:
Thutmosis had been strenuously driving his chariot over the desert. After awhile, he lay down in the shadow of the Sphinx’ head, all that was visible above the sand. While sleeping, the Sphinx came to him in a dream and assured the future Pharaoh that if he cleared the sands away, the Sphinx would, in turn, make Thutmosis the next ruler.Thutmosis did so and, sure enough, he became the next Pharaoh!
Although it is possible to look at this stela between the Sphinx’s paws, we did not do this, instead going into the Valley Temple of Khafre which is in front of it.
This very thoughtful and wise post is from Marilyn Armstrong in reponse to Fandango’s daily prompt “escape.” I know I could never have said it better than she did. I can confirm that Israel has turned to the right – I was there six months ago and although I never brought up politics, several Israelis (all men – it figures!) gave me their unsolicited opinion that they really like Trump and think “he is very good for Israel.” I really wanted to engage them in a dialogue but I just acknowledged their remarks with a nod of my head and a wry smile, and carried on with my tour.
A lot of my post this morning are quotes from “The Washington Post.”
Why, you might ask, since I’m a born and bred New Yorker living in New England and Boston for more than 30 years, would I read “The Post” rather than “The NY Times” or “Boston Globe”? Because both of these two papers — run by the same company, by the way — charge nearly $30/month for an online edition. In other words, $60/month if in my madness, I subscribed to both.
I like the Times and the Globe. I would prefer to read local news and not just national news. But their prices make that impossible. If the Times/Globe organization wants to get a bump upward in their readership, they should reconsider their pricing. Even if they were delivering the paper to my door (physically, the actual newspaper), I still could not afford…
I wrote this post a couple of years ago but apparently, not everyone was paying attention because we still have issues… big issues. Here it is again with a few updates… I hope it works this time.
I gave up writing New Year’s resolutions for myself years ago. As a kid, it was kind of fun to put together a list every year but, as I got older, I came to realize that they really never amounted to much. In the end, and despite my good intentions, there were few pounds lost and no better habits gained. Yep, I was pretty much the same old me after a month or two into the new year.
So, rather than come up with resolutions just for myself, I have decided to make one big resolution for EVERYONE to share. I figure that, with us all working together, supporting each other, and gently…
With 25 countries and nearly 25 years under my belt, I have a few loosely spun travel philosophies that undergird any trip I take. Of course, each person is different—everyone has different tastes, priorities, expectations, and personalities. Nonetheless, I truly believe this set of broad travel rules can enhance anyone’s travel experience, be it a brief foray in a new city or an extended excursion across a fresh continent. Read on, take it in stride and apply what works for you!
What I’ve learned from traveling to 25 countries:
Travel is unpredictable. Trains get cancelled, flights get missed, things get stolen or lost—that’s just the nature of the beast. A successful traveler has to relinquish some power over their journey to fate, and go with the flow.
Here’s an example. Our trip to Peru a few years ago was all plotted out—train and bus tickets purchased, hostels booked…
Donald Trump recently spoke about American football. No other game more fully embodies this country’s character. The sport is about capturing territory, and players need to be tough and fearless to win. A player who is afraid of being tackled by someone from the opposing team while running has already lost the game. “I don’t even watch it as much anymore,” Trump told a crowd of his supporters in Reno, Nevada. “The whole game is all screwed up.”
I too have always been concerned about the issue of racism. I grew up in the 1960s and heard on the news about riots in this or that city. Some cities (like Milwaukee, near where I lived) imposed curfews because they were “afraid” that racial violence would break out in their communities next!
When I was 12 or 13, I read The Diary of Anne Frank, and it had a tremendous impact on me. A few years later, I went to a high school in Arizona where I met people of other races for the first time. I learned about the Black Power movement, the civil rights movement, hippies and the peace movement, and wept along with other students at the death of Martin Luther King Jr. I dated a guy there who was black. In high school, my abhorrence for racism solidified, not only because of the people I met there (the school had a mission of multiculturalism and cross-cultural understanding), but also the field trips we took to Mexico and the Navajo Reservation.
Verde Valley School, Sedona, Arizona
People look back on the 1960s and think it was such a terrible time, but I am glad that I grew up while these issues were being brought out in the open and discussed. My world view was forever shaped and changed by attending that school and growing up in the late 1960s.
Today, I still hold onto the beliefs I formed then. I am “left of liberal” in my political and social viewpoint and do not consider liberal a dirty word! I admire many of the things that the Europeans have done – raising taxes to provide free health care and education for all, making cities bike and pedestrian friendly, making it difficult to have easy access to guns, and making a commitment to green energy. Sometimes I wish the USA would institute similar reforms. But we are a stubborn and often xenophobic people, whose country has its roots in breaking free of despotic governments. Our Constitution is wonderful, but unfortunately not always interpreted in a progressive (i.e. modern and changing) way. It is often very frustrating to live in the USA, but I am glad that I have had many opportunities to travel and live abroad.
I am also aware that no country is perfect, but that all have both good and bad. People are the same everywhere, with their prejudices and fears of “the other”. I think it is particularly prevalent today, since 9/11. Many Europeans must also be feeling afraid of all the immigrants from the Middle East flowing into their countries. Yet many of their countries are accepting a large number of these refugees to settle there. I am not afraid of such immigrants; what I fear most is that intolerance and greed will continue to lead us in a foreign policy that is anathema to Muslims of the Middle East. We left a power vacuum in Iraq, and in Afghanistan, and it looks as though we may try to topple Assad in Syria, leaving a power vacuum there as well. This is an open invitation for extremists such as the Taliban, al-Qaeda and/or ISIS to take over.
Well, there are many problems in the world, a lot of extremism not just in the Middle East, but here in the USA also. It is heartening to read a post like the one below, expressing the need for tolerance and openness. As long as there are people with similar views, there is hope for better times to come!!
If you look at the world map, you will see that Europe is rather small. I grew up 10 minutes away from the Italian border, could drive to Germany in about 2 hours and Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Czech Republic and Hungary were just a few hundred kilometers away. Different cultures, different languages and different looks lived just around the corner and were rather appealing to me, it never scared me.
I was down on the National Mall yesterday, attempting a few photos of the Cherry Blossoms. The Jefferson Memorial is my favorite of all the memorials. The inscriptions inside are timeless, and we should all read them from time to time, particularly our elected leaders. Panel four speaks specifically to “change”.
“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”