A Nation of Cowards
Jeffrey Snyder suggests that carrying a handgun is both a right and a duty of every law-abiding citizen.
This is hard for me to relate to; as, for all practical purposes, no such people exist in my world.
Gun lovers’ slogans include, “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Forget laws; in my world, only outlaws have guns now.
I have no impulse to join them.
Continue reading Courage to walk unarmed
Friday, May 16, 2014. There were a number of events at McD this morning that normally would have distracted me, and did not. This suggests that presence is becoming habitual — as is focus on my goals. But there may be more involved.
Roy and Jimmy sat in a booth near me, and Roy was complaining that the clothes they give him at the clothes window at the shelter aren’t always the right size. He also, to my amazement, complained about the food. I answered him silently, “If you were focused on advancing your own situation, you wouldn’t be concerned about those things.”
In the past, it has been a powerful distraction to me (scandal, offense) that so many men around me have no interest in improving their lives.
Continue reading My cup runneth over
Some weeks ago, I stood in line awaiting check-in at the shelter. This place charges $3 a night. I was holding my money in my hand, and someone playfully tugged at it. I snapped. I said, “You don’t value your life much, do you?”
Minutes later, I explained this to someone else. I said, “Don’t take a man’s last dollar.” “Why not?” he asked. I said, ” ‘Cause that’s the one he’ll die for. That’s the one he’ll kill for.”
Don’t take my last dollar. That’s the one I’ll kill for.
I’ve been on hard times since 2004. If I lose, or am robbed or cheated, of $20 or $50, that’s a pretty significant amount. But it doesn’t hurt all that much if I have more, and know more is coming. However, if I lose, or someone robs or cheats me of my last $1 — that’s the one that really hurts. That’s the one I’ll kill for.
These memories came to me as I reflected on Maggie Fox’s 08/29/2013 article, “Poor people aren’t stupid; bad decisions are from being overwhelmed, study finds.”
Continue reading Chaos overwhelms the poor
Now that I’m seeking it, I can talk about it.
Continue reading Upward mobility
(1) Clairvoyance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
(2) It’s a mistake to ASSUME what sort of healing someone wants.
A ‘village’ of mentors keeps Trayvon Martin’s friend, Rachel Jeantel, on track
Tom Joyner: “Did it work? The short answer to that is no.”
At first glance, the story of Jeantel and her “village” seemed to me to epitomize the principle I set forth in “Don’t come uninvited.”
Continue reading Treatment resistant
(Originally published 06/15/13 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reblogged 06/18/14.)
No comment. Read the story.
This is a good thing. Many young men are eager to step up to the plate and, in these circumstances, overcome the disadvantages of their own background.
Give ’em a chance.
We mammals aren’t reptiles.
(Originally published 06/05/13 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reblogged 06/04/14.)
It’s difficult to start this post, as the story’s prone to leave one speechless.
What sort of karma would impel a child to be born into that context?
At the shelter, we’re compelled to attend chapel every night. A different preacher comes each night, in a monthly rotation. These generally disappoint me in their utter failure to speak to the sort of situation in question here. About 40% of the presenters are preoccupied wholly with what will become of your soul when you die; whether you’ll go to heaven or hell; and your need to “believe in Jesus” as the key to salvation. It’s all about a cognitive assent, saying “yes” to a certain set of ideas. There is no presentation of Christianity as a lifestyle, nor any discussion of the role of discipline in following Jesus.
Another 40% of the presenters are preoccupied wholly with obtaining “blessings,” principally by the means of praise: “When the praises go up, the blessings come down.” A “blessing” here is always a material, for example monetary, advantage that one has done nothing to earn. It is as if God were some cosmic King Lear jealous for flattery.
Neither group mentions the call to repent, in terms of any need to change one’s ways.
The only hell that concerns me is the living hell that folk create in this life, here and now, for themselves and their community.
Continue reading Carter Scott, Karma and Chaos
With Amy Dickinson’s permission, I am copying here below the whole of her column for today. All three letters touch dramatically on principles I associate with presence, including “Keep the focus on you,” “Mind your own business,” and “Don’t come uninvited.”
DEAR AMY: My fiance’s mother is a monster. He gets upset any time they speak. The latest incident was because he had not been in touch with her since Christmas.
Continue reading Ask Amy: Inflating the drama won’t help fiance deal with mother