The Issue of guns and the second amendment

I don’t really like guns personally. They represent violence and egoism to me. That doesn’t mean I don’t think that guns might be necessary in the world we live in today. I had never realized exactly what the second amendment said until very recently. Honestly I was quite surprised at the actual wording of this amendment. Everyone seems to be using it as a basis to argue for or against gun control, when logically, I don’t read those words as an argument for either case. Guns, sadly, cannot be controlled in this society. It is impossible to do as long as there is a black market for guns. Should gun control be enforced? Absolutely, because a citizen defending their home with a weapon doesn’t need an assault weapon to do so. A simple gun would provide a form of protection that that particular person is in need of and doing that would not infringe upon the interpretation that the person actually reads in the second amendment. Would I do it? No. I don’t want any guns in my home nor would I choose to collect them, use them, or have anything to do with them, but that is my right as well as the right of my fellow citizens to have one. Do I believe that a person who buys a gun legally needs to be screened for mental illness? Absolutely. Do I believe that it is possible to screen everyone who gets or buys a weapon? Absolutely, not! So as an average American I don’t think there is a better solution than the following when it falls under the category of assault weapons: manufacture those weapons for the military and police forces and no one else. Legally, it would be the only option that makes any sense to me. The gun manufacturers could contract with the military and the police forces to make those weapons for their use only, the other guns would still be manufactured for self-defense of the individuals who feel they need them, or hunting rifles for those who hunt to keep the balance in nature. The gun manufacturers should be able to make a decent profit doing that and therefore, the question of turning a profit is answered. The military and the police forces would then be liable and accountable should these assault weapons fall into the hands of the unsavory. It would be both a local and federal government responsibility to keep track of all assault weapons assigned through a consistent inventory database showing who was assigned which weapon and when you left the military or the police force, your weapon would be returned or that individual would be held accountable both monetarily as well as criminally. How else, I ask myself do these weapons get into the hands of criminals and mentally challenged people? Only through a criminal act would be my answer. The black-market! How does a society stop a black-market? I don’t think it is humanely possible to do that. I cannot see how that could be accomplished unless we were forced to become a military state throughout the entire country. I certainly wouldn’t want that, would you? I happen to like the privileges of freedom I experience in the United States of America. I, for one, don’t want to upset that balance at all.

The second amendment was written quite a long time ago. It’s idea I believe was enacted when Americans believed they could be attacked by an enemy while they were in their homes. It seems to me that the only way that happens nowadays is if a criminal broke into a home to do harm. So I can understand the theory in those cases, “of a right to bear arms”. I just don’t see the need for an assault weapon or any other weapon that needs more than six bullets in order to defend your home, from animals or humans. I, personally don’t see the need for any guns in my home at all. But that is just me. Just as I defend my right to say these things publicly, I would defend the people who believe they have the right to have a gun. I will continue to disagree with their belief that it is necessary to have one and at the same time believe it is not my place to force my beliefs on anyone else.

So in my most humblest opinion there is no simple answer to what people refer to as gun control. There is no simple answer to violence whether it be with a gun or some other type of weapon, violence is violence, and evil is evil. Hearing different opinions on television and on social networking can’t hurt because those of us who are not exactly up-to-date can at least be informed of what is being said and done.

I do however wish that people would just remember that we are all human beings and that respect for others opinions or believes goes a long way. Change obviously needs to be made when it comes to the subject of guns and if the NRA and other advocates with similar beliefs don’t see that then they are fooling only themselves. I respect their right to bear arms against their enemy, I just don’t respect their push to do this not because of their conviction, but because it makes them money. I, for one, will never believe that the NRA is in this for the sake of an amendment. It is for the money and power that comes along with this particular political stance. So why not have the best of both worlds by bringing compromise and compassion into the privilege of bearing arms? Extremists in all areas of life are the problem. They cause the problems, they create the problems, they are the problems! It isn’t guns, it isn’t people with guns. Not having guns will not solve all the problems and bring peace to the world. If extremists can’t get guns they will get clubs, rocks, knives, whatever it will take to harm others. People who claim to want peace and do away with guns and all forms of violence are idealists. In human nature there will always be peaceful intentions and violent intentions. It is, unfortunately, the way the world turns. I am so tired of hearing all the rhetoric about gun control. I am so tired of the legislature fighting over this when there are so many other things that the country should be concentrated on at the moment. That boy who killed those children, teachers and mother and then himself, was a very disturbed individual who needed help that he obviously didn’t get. The access to those guns he had came from his very own mother, who IN MY OPINION, had to be disturbed herself to think that she needed to have those weapons because it was her right to have them. She twisted the meaning of the second amendment to fit her own wants. That is exactly what the NRA is doing today and the legislature is doing. Keep the second amendment in perspective, but understand that its meaning is to protect the American individual in their own home and does not mean to accumulate or collect guns that have no place in everyday society. If I could talk directly to Congress and the Senate those are the things I would tell them and I would add: “Please stop arguing and fighting over this! Please just set the record straight once and for all about the privileges we have been given in the Constitution and stop your greed from Lobbyists!” “We, the American people, need our representatives to be the leaders we elected, we need your common sense, your judgement and decisions, your leadership.”

Let’s just get on with our American lives and that is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K

Teachers Appreciation Week

A week to celebrate a worthy profession
A week to celebrate a worthy profession

I have dozens of friends and relatives who are teachers.  I have worked in higher education for over twenty years.  Because of those two facts, I feel qualified to speak about teachers in today’s blog.  So here is the way I see it!

In today’s society it seems so easy to pick out the teachers who are “bad” or who make the wrong choices or who shouldn’t have become teachers to begin with or were turned into monsters from their experiences.  There is always a media hoopla nowadays about the negative aspects in teaching and the education system itself.  I don’t want to talk about what is wrong in today’s education system or about those handful of people who shouldn’t be teachers, but I do want to talk about the changes I have seen through the years in the attitudes toward teachers and about the most unappreciated profession in America today.

Many years ago a teacher was respected, they were the educators of our children.  The people who had the knowledge that we as parents and our parents didn’t have.  It took me years of working within the education system to realize that teachers, as in all other walks of life, are ordinary people with all sorts of different personalities.  However, there is that one element that I recognize in teachers that not everyone possesses and that is a desire to help children and adults alike, to open their minds and experience the power of thinking independently in order to make a difference in both their individual lives and the world in general.  The look I have seen on a teacher’s face when they have reached a person who struggled to learn and then one day that very same child or adult was enlightened is priceless.

Only a person with the calling of a teacher can truly experience such a phenomenal feeling that reaching someone through teaching can give them.  These people, these teachers have earned our respect.  Through their chosen professions these individuals have created a path and an opportunity for our children to progress toward the future and to make a difference in some way, big or small, that will affect the entire world.  These people, these teachers deserve our respect.  Yes, it is harder to be a teacher today because there are so many misunderstandings and misconceptions about teachers in the general society.  Media helps to further that belief by focusing predominantly on the negative teachers and less on the overwhelming majority of positive teachers.  This false sense of knowledge is a portion of why people have lost respect for this great profession and have in many cases passed these negative attitudes along to their children.  Years ago, there was an education system that allowed its’ teachers to be severe disciplinarians, it took a lot of change and lot of maturing to realize that punishment of children in so severe a way is totally unacceptable, unwarranted and has no place in education.  All the teachers I know today agree with that finding and strive everyday to teach undisciplined children and adults alike.  Most of them teach their lessons while children talk out in class, throw things, start fights, or worse.  These teachers hunger for ways to reach these students, but unfortunately, how can they really accomplish that if the system itself strips the teachers of all authority?  In today’s educational environment, teachers have to literally possess the patience of a saint or some other extraordinary being.  They must be politically correct at all times.  They must tolerate being cursed at, verbally abused and sometimes even physically abused.  There is no course of action for teachers today, and yet, there they are everyday in their classrooms willing and ready to try to reach at least one mind if not all.

These are the teachers I write about today.  These are the people I know exist in my family and in my circle of friends.  These are the teachers who are in the majority and these are the people who should be respected more than any other profession.  These are the people who still possess knowledge that most of us will never touch upon.  These are the people with whom we leave our children in the care of day after day.  These are the people who will shape our future world by imparting to our children the knowledge they need to make a difference in this world.  From pre-kindergarten through graduate school, these people work endlessly with one purpose in mind and for that alone they have earned and deserve our respect.  I, for one would love to see the day dawn, when power is given back to the teachers of today.  The ones who know that severe disciplinary actions are unnecessary and are things of the past.  The ones who will use that small dose of authoritative power to have a classroom of people where mutual respect exists.  History has shown us that mutual respect is the key to accomplish many great things, it is up to us as parents and guardians to instill in our children this notion.  It is up to us to impart the truth about teachers and to watch over our children and to be aware of any abuse of such power.  It isn’t the role of our teachers to be the parents or guardians.  The teacher’s role is to teach.  The teachers I know (and there are a lot) want to do just that.  They want to spend their hours in classrooms teaching for it is their calling to do so.  We can help them to do that by doing our part and by teaching respect for those who have been called to this great profession.  We can stop feeding into the belief that we know better than them and dropping the attitudes that are picked up by our children that exude an aura of disrespect and superiority.  We can help teachers to do their jobs, their calling, by supporting our schools and by check-listing the administrators instead of the teachers.  Society today tends to blame the teachers for its failing education system, when in reality it is the think tanks within the administrative side of education that is to blame for our failure in educating our children, but that is a different blog, for a different day.

Today I want to say thank you to every teacher I have ever had and to every teacher I know.  Thank you for choosing to become a teacher.  Thank you for your patience, your fortitude and your understanding.  Thank you for doing the very thing I, and many like me, are incapable of doing–teaching on a professional and disciplined level! Thank you for wanting to do that in the first place!   I hope this week each of you has an opportunity to experience the gratitude you richly deserve and that in some way, big or small, you are celebrated and most of all respected.

That is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K

 

BEING A NONNA

I’ve been an aunt ever since I can remember. Having thirty-three nieces and nephews and not counting the grands, my husband’s side and the people they married, one would think I’ve seen it all.  I am also a mother of two and a mother-in-law of one.  Everyone I ever knew who became a grandparent would tell me how it is such a different experience, indescribable.  I think I now understand what they meant because in October of 2011 I became the Nonna of the most amazing little girl ever.

She is the apple of my eye, the beat of my heart, my pride and joy.  I adore her and everything about her.  Her little mind is truly a sponge and she absorbs something new every single day.  Ever since she was an itty bitty newborn her alertness was apparent to everyone who spent time with her.

Everyday when I think of her my heart swells and a smile comes to my mouth.  It’s automatic! I can’t help it.  I just want to be around her all the time, but of course in today’s world that isn’t possible.  My children live far away from me…in another borough ….that ‘s far for me!  Stop laughing at me now.  It’s been years since I’ve been passed Jersey and Brooklyn is still my home, at least for the time being.  And besides where else could a better place be for a Nonna like me?

Being a Nonna is somewhat challenging, especially now that my body movements are extremely limited.  It means learning the modern methods, watching my p’s and q’s, resisting the urge to tell my granddaughter’s parents that it isn’t the way we did things!  It’s also exciting, wonderful, loving and exhilarating! I like being a Nonna.  At first, I thought it would make me feel old and past my prime.  I worried that I would be left in a corner to just watch and stay quiet, but that, thank goodness, is not the way it is at all.  Whenever I’m around her I feel young, and vibrant and happy.  When she first said Nonna, when her little arms hug me, when she throws me kisses, says I love you….I feel a bit of what paradise must be like. Of course, she has her moments and gets fresh or mischievous, it’s natural. It doesn’t seem to bother me though as it did with my own children, for some reason it just goes right over my head.

My one regret is that I’m unable to run after her now, or give her a pony ride on my back, or go on a slide with her, or dance with her the way I used to with her father and uncle. I wish those things were possible, but they aren’t, so I find other ways to bond with this truly amazing, smart little person.

I’ve always loved to shop for others and buy gifts.  I’ve been told it’s my biggest fault.  Now no one can stop me, I love getting little gifts for her and buying clothes for her and watching her as she figures out what to do with them. At times my jaw drops in amazement as I watch her beautiful face thinking and her curiosity as it rivals those of a genius. Her Nonno and I are in awe at her genuine process of thinking at such a young age.

Being a Nonna is the best thing that has ever happened to me besides becoming a mom.  I wouldn’t trade being a Nonna for all the riches in the world because I am the wealthiest woman in the world ….I am a Nonna!

That’s the way I see it, here in my Brooklyn homeland!

K

Nonna's Girl

Universe What Have You Done to Me Now?

I knew something was wrong, but I kept pushing myself believing that it was just a fluke and would disappear as quickly as it came.   This numbness in my thighs and the constant ache in my back whenever I walked anywhere just kept getting worse. Like a sign from the Universe, one day, while at work, a bolt of lightning pain shot straight down my spine, from my neck to my tailbone and I could no longer deny it was time for my orthopedic doc to take a look! So with all the strength I could muster I phoned him, received an appointment and went to see him that very same day.  Dr. Licciardi is a wonderful man and a fantastic orthopedic surgeon.  He had taken care of me in the past and I felt safe and assured in his care. Rocco, my ever caring husband, picked me up early from work and we drove to the doctor.  By the time I was in the examining room, the pain was so severe that all Dr. Licciardi had to do was look at my face and he instantly knew something was terribly wrong.  He gave me a shot to try and ease the spasms and took some tests.  Finally after a few days and all the tests results came in, I had my answer I had progressive stenosis, degenerative disc disease and a collapsed thecal sac with severe nerve damage.  In other words, I was now disabled and the prognosis of this diagnoses was not very positive.  To say I was shocked would be an understatement!  I was actually devastated, but no one can ever tell when I feel that way, because I can mask that devastation brilliantly.

A series of “fixes” was started immediately, none of them, of course, came with any guarantees, but then neither did this body of mine.  For the next three months or so, I went through cortisone metropaks, injections from pain management physicians, bed rest, anti-inflammatory and pain medications.  Trying to stand, sit or walk for a few minutes at a time was becoming an olympian challenge for me.  My entire life had completely changed and I was not ready for it at all.  My inner makings had aged before my years and there was nothing I could do to stop it anymore.  Oh yes, surgery was mentioned to me, but the odds of either surviving them or of them lasting was so slim that it was impossible for me to consider them.  Worst of all was that Dr. Licciardi, himself, didn’t perform the type of surgery that was needed and I would have to be recommended to a different doctor.  I wasn’t ready for that. This Universe that we all live in was certainly having fun with me!  It wasn’t enough that I had Menopause, oh no, that wasn’t enough for my Universe, now I had this debilitating disease that would prove to change the entire way I had existed for the past twenty years!

I have often thought well it could be a lot worse.  I could be dying.  I could have cancer or some other life threatening illness.  I could be paralyzed or any other  number of horrible terrible things that braver people than I are going through every single day, so in a way I always tell myself how lucky I really am and I mean it for about 5 minutes and then I say, no freaking way!  This damn thing I have is as bad as some of those other diseases because my life is no longer my life!  I don’t feel sorry for me, I freaking can’t stand me or my insides or whatever that has taken away my opportunity to hold down my job, to walk for any length, to sit for any amount of time, to lie down without pain, to cook, to bowl, to dance!  I hate this freaking disease and I don’t want to have it.

I am so appreciative of everyone’s good thoughts and attempts at boosting my “blues” by telling me how “fortunate” I am, and at the same time, I want to scream!  No one seems to get it!  Everyone thinks, “aww you have a bad back” and everyone has either experienced a bad back or knows someone who has.  Everyone knows someone or themselves who have had slipped discs, etc. etc….No one and I mean no one, ever realizes that I have had a “bad back” for about thirty-eight years and now it has collapsed!  No one truly understands and I can live with that by  not talking about my disease, by “pretending” that I am just okay with this; going on about my everyday life as if everything is honky dory and normal as can be.  It’s all BS!  I am not honky dory, everyday life for me is no life at all!  Dr. Licciardi doesn’t know what to do for me anymore, except to keep checking me for any changes, giving me  meds and being the great man that he is.  He brings up one of the surgeries I would need, every now and then, but he never pushes me, knowing full well that it would last about six months, if I was one of the lucky ones, and then probably be worse than it is now!  No freaking way will I put myself through that!

By now, you might be saying to yourselves, wow what a selfish bitch this woman is!  She should be grateful,yadda yadda yadda!!! You are probably saying, stop feeling sorry for yourself!   Yet, none of you saying that has been living my life as of late! So hell no, no matter what anyone else thinks, I am doing the very best I can under these forced circumstances!  When I can find some joy in this current life of mine, I am going to take it!  I am not going to complain everyday (just once in this blog)!  I am lucky in one aspect, lucky that I am married to a Saint! and I mean a Saint!  I have the world’s best! Rocco does everything for me now, most of the cooking; all the cleaning; most of the shopping; and thank God he still has a job that supports us and helps us get health insurance.  Yes, I am bringing in some money by getting SS and some disability money so for now we can keep our heads just above the water, but sooner than later we are going to have to sell our home and try to start over somewhere, somehow. I often wonder if anyone can imagine the psychological changes that occur when an active, fun-loving woman like myself, gets hit with a life-changing event like this?  Believe me it takes will power not to punch walls, or throw yourself off the nearest bridge, (if you could get there)!  It takes an iron will not to scream at everyone who says, “it could be worse!” or “you are just feeling sorry for yourself!” Maybe both of those things are true, and if they are “so be it”.  All I know is that I feel like the Universe has played a cruel trick on me and I am neither happy about it or so willing to be a martyr for it!  I wish it didn’t happen, but the reality is that is has.  So now I am taking forever to learn to make the best of it, but I will continue to try to do that for as long as I can, until this Universe decides to try something new with my life.

Whew, thanks blog for letting me get that off my chest!  This is the first and last time I will speak on the subject and so that is The Way I See It.

Forever Brooklyn Bred and Raised,

K