Friday, July 18, 2014


It's been a rough week, if you follow the news.

Increasing violence between Israel and Hamas-ruled Palestine, resulting, this week, in the deaths of several children (seven that I've seen in recent articles, including the high-profile shelling of four boys who were playing on a beach). I can't claim to truly understand the long history in that region--what I do know from history classes and the media I do read is that it is long, and bloody, with no easy solution in sight.

A passenger airplane shot down--shot down--over Ukraine, with Ukrainian officials pointing at the Russians and Russians pointing at the Ukrainians. Meanwhile, armed men are keeping neutral crash site investigators from doing their job, and bodies are starting to decay on the ground. I won't describe a picture I inadvertently viewed on Twitter yesterday, taken by someone at the scene--a close-up of a victim. It was every bit as horrific as you are probably imagining, as the poor soul no longer looked human. I sincerely hope his/her family does not see that image. I would never have viewed it, except that there it was, on my Twitter feed, uncensored, as I opened the app on my phone.

I'm so tired of this "violence will solve our problems!" approach I keep seeing in the world. Scared of intruders? Get a gun and shoot that son-of-a-bitch. Passenger plane in your "air space?" (the plane was actually in a safe zone)? Shoot that fucker down. Throw some rockets at the problem in Gaza. Uh-oh, Iraq is deteriorating, let's go in and shoot 'em up!  (Gotta protect our oil reserves. To hell with environmentally friendly cars, right?)

Nearly 100 AIDS researchers were brutally shot out of the sky yesterday, for the grievous crime of flying at 33,000 feet over a rebel-held region of Ukraine. AIDS researchers who devoted their lives to solving the pandemic that kills so many--the strides they've made are remarkable, and worthy of praise. And they are gone because, on their way to a conference in Australia, they had the audacity to get a little too close to a world "hot spot."

Kids going on holiday, shot down. For what?

No, really. For what?

It's all so disheartening. We do our best to live, to make life good and happy for ourselves and those we love. We hope that love is strong enough to be a force greater than the hate and violence...some weeks it just feels like it's not enough.

But I have to continue holding out hope. I have to continue giving as much good as I can to the world, whether it's being the best teacher I can be, or the silly things, like showing 17 exchange students a picture of me and my lucky rubber duck meeting Donald Duck. I have to believe that the good outweighs the bad. So I search it out.

The death penalty in California has been ruled unconstitutional in a federal court. Three little girls from a photo that went viral in April are all now in remission from cancer. Weird Al Yankovic takes the rape-anthem "Blurred Lines" and schools the world on proper grammar with it. News may not be so bad for bumblebees (and therefore, our food supply, and, therefore, us). A dude in India helped me via Dell Support Chat tonight to reinstall my audio drivers, so after a week of no sound on my computer, I'm happily listening to music on iTunes, and finally able to view that above-mentioned Weird Al video.

I held a 9-month-old boy yesterday, and danced with him to some pop music during a break at school. (His dad, a friend of one of my co-teachers, was tossing a football around.) I marveled at how he took it all in, and giggled at the Italian and Spanish girls who approached to coo at him in their native tongues and pinch his cheeks and tickle his belly.

Life is so beautiful in so many ways, yet there's always that storm out there somewhere. When it's nature, you mourn, but you understand that nature always, always, wins in the end. When it's another human being causing the's just so much harder to swallow.

So I do my best to spread the beauty. The silly. The happy. The love.

Thank you for reading this.

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