Browsing articles in "Editorials"
Jul 30, 2013

They Shoot People

In the town for which the famous racetrack, Hialeah, was named six people were shot by a man named Pedro Vargas.  (He also started a fire “with some sort of combustible liquid).

This particular shooting caught my eye because I lived for two years on Hialeah Compound, not in Florida but in Korea where my first husband served as the Commander in the Army’s last M.A.S.H unit.  Although there were probably more guns on that compound than in the whole town of Hialeah,Florida no one was shot in the two years I lived there.  Needless to say, all the guns were legal, authorized property of the U.S. government.

The Hialeah Florida killings may have had a target, but the several people involved in the shooting were not necessarily connected with one another or Pedro Vargas.  Among those killed were the husband and wife (Italo and Camira Pisciotti) managers of the building, who ran towards the fire only to be shot dead by Pedro Vargas as he burst out of the building.  Also killed were Carlos Gavilanes, Patricio Simono, Merly Niebles and a 17-year old girl.

Subsequent to killing six people, Pedro Vargas crossed the street and took two hostages.  A SWAT team later killed Vargas and the hostages were safe.

Shamira Pisciotti found her parents after they had been shot; her mother was dead and her father had a pulse but died shortly thereafter.  Shamira said she had hear 15 or 20 shots.  The police said it was one of the worst killings in the history of Hialeah.  But that’s what happens with guns.  They shoot people don’t they?

Jun 11, 2013

Seat Belts and Privacy Laws

1955 “green” Ford Station wagon, exactly like my parents’
car

One of my clearest memories from five-year-old-child-me is coming out of the drugstore on Kearney Street in Denver, getting into our new car and hearing my mother say “Goddamn it, those kids put seat belts in our car.”

I had two older sisters who were of driving age so that was my mother’s knee jerk reaction, but thinking about it now, what teenager would ever voluntarily put a safety element in a car, especially back then?
The key to the mystery was that the car we had gotten into was our neighbor’s car, exactly like ours —- except with seat belts.  Ford began offering seat belts in 1955 as an option.  A few spaces down the street we found our car, right where we parked it, without seat belts.   Although in her dotage she peaceably put on seat belts, anyone who knows my mother knows that she would not voluntarily put a restraint on anything.
In those days, people didn’t lock their houses or their cars, and my mother lived that way until she died.  Luckily, her karma was phenomenal.
Hawai`i’s recent passage of back seat belts for all got me to thinking about seat belts and when they became a fact of life and it brought me back to Denver and the gall of my sisters putting them in my mother’s car.  I have been one of those happy resisters who does not put on seat belts when in the back seat and now I,too, must comply.  What about the people who ride unbelted in the back of trucks?
Ironically, seat belts are still a source of controversy, and from one state to another, the laws are inconsistent.  33 States have primary seat belt laws which allow an officer to write a ticket just for failure to wear a seat belt.  16 states have secondary seat belt laws, which means you cannot ticket for failure to wear a seat belt unless you have pulled the person over for another reason. (“citable infraction”).   Live Free or Die New Hampshire has neither a primary nor a secondary seat belt law.
For a long time, seat belts were one of those things that “nobody could tell [one] what to do,” and now they have become a part of our lives.  They are a nanny state government intrusion, but we accept them, not just because of the fines but because it has been incontrovertibly proven that we are safer with them than without them.
Which brings me to the Patriot Act and spying on Americans and whether we are better off with these intrusions or without them.    In a different but similar way with seat belts, are we safer because of this truly awesome intrusion into our private lives?  We will never know.  It is not like seat belts, where the evidence is clear.
Now a 29 year old kid who was being paid too much money by a government contractor has decided that the government has gone too far … and that we need to know that we have all become persons of interest.  Some call him a hero, some call him a traitor.  Neither the answer to what the government is doing nor to the actions taken by the young Mr. Snowden is clear cut.
Early of the proponents of the internet  lauded that it made information free to everyone, which of course it doesn’t, but given that technology can give that freedom (under law, to the government) are we eventually going to have to accept this kind of activity by our government as the status quo?  For freedom, we must sacrifice some level of security.  And for security, we must sacrifice some level of freedom.  But which and how much?
Apr 21, 2013

Dylan Peters Was Only One

An arbitrary click on an arbitrary site about gun deaths since Newtown.  I am (at least for now) committed to finding out about at least one of them every day.

The tally on the site where Slate and @GunDeaths keep track is represented by universal symbols for man, woman, teenager and child.  Today I clicked on a child symbol and found Dylan Peters, age 1.

It turns out that Dylan Peters and his father Dason Peters were both killed by the child’s mother.  Another murder-suicide.   Both were shot to death on Monday April 15 by New York City Police officer Rosette Samuel, forty-three, the mother of the baby who subsequently shot and killed herself.

Dason Peters was born in Guyana and Samuel in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Dason immigrated to the United States when he was 15 years old.  He went to Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, and then community college.  He was employed by the New York Transit Authority as a supervisor at the time of his death.

The day of their deaths, Dylan and his Dad were packed for a trip to Guyana.  Dason and Dylan had gone to his parent’s house for a swim.  There, they were gunned down by the child’s mother with her service revolver, a 9mm glock.  Rosette left two suicide notes that said she had given up on life and was sorry for her actions.

Dylan and his father didn’t have a chance to leave a note.

After finding the site that keeps track of gun deaths, I began thinking about the real people that have lost their lives since Newtown, now some 3503 people, and I thought I might try to find these real people and post something about one or two of them a day.

Apr 21, 2013

GunDeaths.com is for sale: only $2595

After finding the site that keeps track of gun deaths, I began thinking about the real people that have lost their lives since Newtown, now some 3503 people, and I thought I might try to find these real people and post something about one or two of them a day.

Mark suggested that I start a blog or website dedicated to this process, so I went online and found at HUGE DOMAINS that gundeaths.com is for sale for only $2595.  I didn’t buy it.  I didn’t even try to find out who was selling it.

I guess it is not surprising that someone squatted on a name like this, and put it up for sale for a huge sum of money, to profit on other people’s misfortune.  Mind you, I was considering it, too, but I think for a higher purpose than I assume someone who would sell it for $2595 was thinking.

Until I can find a proper name, and set it up, I am going to use this blog.  Today, I found Paula Barnes who died on April 16th by gunshot, courtesy of her husband Vernon, who killed her with his 22 caliber rifle and then shot himself.  This particular murder suicide, of a couple who the press said was having marital problems, was notable because Paula tried to save her own life by calling 911 after she was shot in the chest.  She didn’t make it.

Trying to find more information about Paula’s death, I found the website Murder/Suicide which bills itself as “the never ending archive of jealousy, despair, betrayal and madness”  Murder/Suicide has been chronicling murder/suicide since 2009.  It has a search function.  It has cataloged murder suicides in the USA by year.  2009.  2010.  2011. 2012.  And now, 2013.  The annual catalogs have locators all over a Google/Earth map of the U.S. and you can click on them and zoom in to a specific tragedy.  You can follow Murder/Suicide on twitter.

Paula and Vernon lived in Pulaski County, Kentucky.  A place someone like me would imagine someone like them would have a gun.  And it makes you wonder, doesn’t it, what might have happened if they did not.

 

 

 

Apr 5, 2013

I Find Myself Standing with Fox News

For the first time ever, I find myself standing with Fox News.  Surfing the channels, I saw that the talking heads at Fox agreed with me that President Obama’s comments about Kamala Harris were no big deal  — they acknowledged that she was pretty good looking and lamented that many in the country are still so incredibly PC.

Personally, I would like to be as good looking at Kamala Harris, and also as “brilliant, dedicated and tough, making sure everybody gets a fair shake”  — the things Obama said before he commented on her beauty, and before he noted that they had been good friends for a long time.  The world didn’t know they had been good friends for a long time, but since he told us that it seems like we should believe him.   Good friends say this kind of thing about each other.

It seems to me, based on my simple observation of Kamala Harris, that she cares about how she looks and takes care in presenting herself to the world.  So, while I doubt that Obama would say of someone who wasn’t all that attractive that they were “the worst looking AG in the country,” I imagine that Kamala Harris was not thinking, “dammit, he dismissed all of the good things he said about me by commenting on my looks.”  For sure, he didn’t say “but she is the best looking AG …”

While I am no longer of the opinion that Barack Obama is my new bicycle, I do believe he is human and that is one of the thing that makes him attractive to us.  I surfed the web to see what the rest of the media world was saying. While found myself agreeing with comments that Obama’s comment seemed “wolfish” and “flirtatious,” I realize the most of my liberal and feminist cohort do not agree.

I grew up in the 60s and Gloria Steinem spoke at my graduation from Smith College in 1971.  (btw, she used the word “vagina” and caused my father and my husband-to-be to walk out of the ceremony).   I definitely believe that woman are the equals of men and should be treated as such.

I also think that had Obama not made that comment, the world would not have been abuzz with the news of her brilliance, dedication and toughness.  Kamala Harris couldn’t pay for this kind of public relations.  Instant fame:  who knows the name of their state’s attorney general, let alone the AG of any other state?

Frankly, if I were Obama I would be worried about that comment when I got home.

 

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Gloria. Circa 1955.



Gloria. Circa 2012.




Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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