My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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Throwback Thursday: Another day, another mass shooting

Throwback Thursday. I sometimes use the day as an excuse to look back, pull up some older piece from the past. I don’t have the energy to do that today, not after the monstrous mass murder of 17 people in Parkland, Florida yesterday. I’m not just heartbroken and heartsick, I’m sick and tired of it. 

If I do look to the past, I know nothing will change. Nothing changed after the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012, when twenty—mostly small children—were killed in cold blood. Nothing will change this time. 

Especially not with the current administration in place. Trump actually just rolled back an Obama era law that put those who received Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs to the national background check database. [NBC: Trump signs bill revoking Obama era law]

Trump basically said that even if you have mental health issues, go ahead buy a gun. Better yet. Buy an AR-15. Why kill one person when you can mow down a few? Like life is just one big first person shooter video game.

I feel helpless, angry, fed up to my core. I don’t want to argue about it. I just wish it would stop. But’s not just the mentally ill that shouldn’t be able to buy assault weapons, it’s you, it’s me, it’s all of us. If you leave some pro-gun message talking about how Americans have the right to defend themselves, I won’t be responding to your comment separately. But here’s my response. I don’t care. You don’t need the military grade weapons an AR-15 provides to shoot down a deer. You don’t need an assault weapon to protect your family and home. And if you honestly believe an assault weapon is what our country’s founders meant by your second amendment rights, then we are so many miles apart, we might as well be living on two different planets. And in my heart, I want my planet to be assault weapon free. 

It’s not just mentally ill monsters like the 19 year old who acted yesterday, don’t let him carry the burden of our country’s guilt. Ban assault weapons. Period. 

Yesterday I found a list of American manufacturers of the AR-15 online, including Paul Buffoni, a gun manufacturer who turned down an order from the city of Milwaukee. Why? Because the Chief of Police spoke out against assault weapons. 

I tweeted the information including the names of the owners & company addresses yesterday, and I’m sharing it here in case you want to write and let them know how disgusted you are. 

Tonight I’m going to try to do more than make my usual donation to Everytown, the movement for Gun Safety. I’m going to try to propel myself beyond my introverted nature—a convenient crux for my built-in inertia—and go to an actual meeting. I’m going to try to take a baby step to help make change. Will all the gun safety efforts change anything? In this country? Probably not. But if we don’t do something, that probably not becomes definitely not. 

Here’s the Everytown for Gun Safety link to find a meeting near you. If there’s not a meeting near you, there are ways you can help right from the comfort of your own home. Baby steps. Time to take them.


  1. Yes! to going to the meeting. As an introvert, I know how hard that is. But getting active locally in the last three years, since the shooting of Michael Brown, has been my most effective antidote to despair. Meeting in physical spaces with physical people has resulted in a real sense of community that boosts me when I'm feeling down, gets me out of the house, and gives me real friends to work alongside to change the world. And, I love that my new friends span the demographics. Working with younger folks has been such a pleasure.

    I actually thing that Everytown and Moms Demand Action have the potential to make change. MADD and SADD moved the needle on drunk driving.


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