Thursday, June 18, 2015

Another day, another mass shooting.

I posted most of this to Facebook, but I wanted to write about it here, too -- partly to make it a little more permanent than a status update, and partly because I keep going back and adding more and I keep thinking about the horrific mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina that occurred last night. Nine more people lost to gun violence. Nine more black lives snuffed out by an avowed racist who said, in plain language, that he was there to kill black people. Hell, he left one woman alive specifically so that she could tell people what he said before he opened fire. 

And yet we have people like the talking heads on Fox News trying to spin this as an attack on Christianity. We have people claiming that "we don't know what Dylann Roof's motivation was!" Yes, we do. He said it himself. "I have to do it. You're raping our women and you're taking over our country and you have to go." (And then shot six women and three men to death. So much for that argument.) He wore racist patches on his jacket. He talked to his roommate about how much he hated black people, and how he wanted to kill them. His motive was hatred and racism. Period.
This mass shooting, this terrorist attack, was not part of Fox News' make-believe "war on Christianity." It was an attack on black people at a prayer service in a historic black church, by an avowed racist. Why is that so difficult comprehend? Why do they, and their ilk, have to try SO HARD to make it about something else?

Is it, perhaps, because people like the Faux News talking heads. and everyone else who is lamenting that "Oh, we don't know the shooter's motivation" and "It's an attack on Christianity" are desperately trying to find a reason to condemn what he did, because the fact that he was a racist isn't bad enough? Is it because you can't bring yourself to care about more black lives snuffed out? You can only muster up outrage if the people murdered are like you? If the mass shooting happened anywhere other than inside a church, would you even be talking about it? Or would you ignore it completely, since the shooter isn't black? (If he was, of course, Faux News would ignore it until it was convenient to trot it out as an example of how police violence is justified because of "black-on-black crime.") It has to fit the narrative, and heaven knows the tragic loss of nine people who happened to be black doesn't fit that narrative.

Black lives don't matter to people like this. They don't give a shit unless they can spin it to be about what they deem worthy enough. It's sad and sick. And if you find yourself agreeing with the arguments that this wasn't about race, it was about attacking Christians -- if you find yourself agreeing, stop and think about why. Really think about it. Think about why the loss of more black people isn't sufficient to provoke outrage and sorrow. Think about why that isn't horrific enough all by itself. And really think about why you feel the need to push the racial motivation for this killing away, why you feel compelled to deny it or gloss over it. Racism comes in many forms, and most of them aren't as blatant as wearing a white hood and burning crosses. It's as subtle as denying the fact that these victims were targeted for the color of their skin, period.

And if you still aren't convinced that racism is a problem, that it permeates this entire country, chew on this: the day after these nine black people were gunned down during a prayer meeting in their church, the Confederate flag is still flying high at the South Carolina state house. It's not even at half-staff, not that that would make it better, but still. It's there, a very visible sign of deeply-ingrained racism that cannot be denied, no matter how people try. 

Cynthia Hurd.
Susie Jackson.
Ethel Lance.
DePayne Middleton-Doctor.
Clementa Pinckney.
Tywanza Sanders.
Daniel Simmons Sr.
Sharonda Singleton.
Myra Thompson.

May they rest in God's peace, and rise in His power. And may we learn from this, please God, so that we can try to keep it from happening again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Oh, whoops, I forgot about my blog again. Hi! What's new?

What's new with me, hmmm... well, there hasn't been a recurrence of Migrainepalooza, which is good. I've had one nasty one, and a couple little ones, but nothing too awful. No emergency room visits, anyway. I have to have some minor surgery in a couple of weeks -- nothing huge, but I'm not especially looking forward to it. Mostly because I have to be at the hospital at 6:15 in the morning, ugh.

Knitting-wise... meh. My knitting mojo is on its annual summer vacation, I guess, because I'm just not getting anything done. The plain ribbed socks I'm working on? I ended up ripping the heels out at least three times on each one, because they just weren't coming out right, The sweater? In time-out until it stops messing with me with extra stitches, dropped stitches, etc. The socks are behaving now, at least, and are progressing very very slowly. (And yeah, okay, part of the slow pace is because of Skyrim. Oh, Skyrim, you make me stay up too late and never get anything done, but I love you anyway.)

I did manage to get out of the house this weekend, though -- we packed up Jasper and Oliver and headed out to Wellesley to the annual Pignic! The Pignic is a gathering of guinea pigs and their devoted humans at a lovely grassy park by the Town Hall. (The city doesn't use any chemicals or anything on the grass there, so it's safe for the piggies to run around on and eat. And oh, did they eat! Photographic evidence to follow...)

The volunteers, led by the woman who runs the Cavy Madness site, had nice big pens set up -- one for the boys, one for the girls -- with treats and hidey-houses and toys for the pigs, so once the boys were weighed and checked for mites (don't want to spread those to other piggies) we settled them into the Boys pen and let them run around. Jasper immediately decided that a wooden hidey-house was his, and wouldn't come out or let anybody else in:

"MY house!"

He'd poke his head out to grab a treat, and he'd touch noses and wheek with the other piggies, but he would not surrender his house. 

Oliver quickly discovered that grass is very very tasty:

A video posted by Jeff Carter Gilson (@jscg1976) on
Jasper lost his spot in the wooden house when we scooped him and Oliver up to have their photos taken by Joey from Salem Pet Photography (who does a great job, and if you're in the area and have a pet, you should get her to photograph it!). The pictures look like their school photos from Piggy Academy:

Oliver, a little uncertain about this...

Jasper and his green, green chin -- evidence that he, too, thought the grass was delicious! (Part of me wishes I'd wiped his face, but the rest of me loves the visual reminder of what a good time he had.)

And a shot of the two of them... Jasper is clearly thinking "Hey, somebody swiped my hidey-house. Get outta my house, you kids!"

After the photo session, the boys went back into the pen to play some more, and Jasper actually scampered around outside, since the wooden house was occupied:
A video posted by Jeff Carter Gilson (@jscg1976) on

Lookit those little butts waddling!

He had many admirers, and quickly learned that, if he approached people who were sitting near the pen and looked cute at them, they've give him treats and scritches. After a while, though, he found a nice spot under a little stool that was being used as a hidey-spot, and settled in to relax and watch the world go by:

And Oliver made friends with a piggy who looked a lot like him -- they spent ages chasing each other around, and then sacked out in a pigloo together for a nap:
A photo posted by Jeff Carter Gilson (@jscg1976) on

C. came along with us, and we sat enjoying the fabulous weather, nibbling snacks, and knitting while the pigs ran around and played. All in all, a perfectly lovely day. And Jasper rode home perched on my chest, chin resting on my shoulder, happily sniffing the breeze from the car window. (Not the safest thing to do, I know, but the two of them bickered all the way to Wellesley in the carrier, and I made sure I was holding him securely. He's an elderly little guy, I wanted him to have as much of a happy adventure as possible.) They both sacked out for long, long naps when we got home.