Is The NRA Entirely To Blame.

It was mid evening here in South Africa when I picked up my cellphone and began reading the status updates on facebook. My condolences go out to the parents in Connecticut – read one. What did this person mean by my condolences. I switched over to twitter – the world that never sleeps and type in a word search for #connecticut.  OMG – my heart began pounding as I read more and more. My hubby came through to the living room having just put our baby to bed. Turn on CNN quick, something really terrible has happened at an elementary school in America.

We both sat glued to the telly. Utter disbelief. This is just surreal. Say it isn’t so. I just broke down in tears. We have a 6-year-old. 2006 babies, like our son. As the reports came in, you watched the parents arriving knowing not all were going to leave with their children.  The death toll rising, hero teachers and so the reports trickled in. My hubby sat on his twitter while in front of the telly. Twitter if far more informative and accurate compared to the news broadcasters in my opinion.

I couldn’t sleep. It was late at this stage in South Africa. President Obama came on to address the media and I cried even more as he spoke or tried to. I had so many thoughts running through my head – the talk turned to the NRA and their silence. Focus not only on Sandy Hook but previous school shootings, malls, cinemas and the list continues. I thought quietly to myself, Americans are  not only targets outside of America (Benghazi and more) but they are also targets among themselves. I don’t know much about the gun laws there but I can say this much: It is a mind-blow at how easy it is to walk into a store and purchase a glock, semi-automatic weapon and much more. The reports of gun sales increased after the Sandy Hook tragedy Shocking !!! The mentality to go out and purchase a weapon for ‘protection’. The comments good guns can stop bad guns. I still ask myself why the heck did a school teacher feel the need to house so many weapons to begin with (the gun mans mother). The NRA’s lack to scrutinise the characteristics and competency of a potential gun owner.

Part of me thinks – YOU, the American public empower the NRA by giving them the sales. What process, if any, is followed when purchasing such weapons. In my so called ‘third world’ country – obtaining a legal weapon of such calibre is not an easy task. Psychological tests, competency tests, written test and more are required before you are even considered for such a purchase – and a very strong record kept as to what weapon you own.

We have never experienced such shootings as America within schools, cinemas etc. I’m not saying gun violence doesn’t exist here – I’m saying, not by most registered gun owners and never in such a manner to my knowledge. I count my blessings – for now. I was dumbfounded by the NRA’s comment to put armed officers outside of every school in America. I mean – would that apply to every cinema, corporate, public or tourist building throughout the US too? I don’t understand that logic! They say in South Africa – you are more lightly to be hurt or murdered with your own gun, if you have one – than not.

My brother has a few guns. Having grown up in Zimbabwe during a civil war – learning to respect and be responsible with a glock or shotgun came standard under the circumstances. Personally I fear guns. I have been to the shooting range with my brother. I have pulled the trigger a few times on a 9mm and a shot gun and know all too well just how powerful such weapons are. Imagine a semi- automatic weapon or fully automatic weapon. It doesn’t take a genius to know to remove the pin on such guns. I have never returned to the shooting range, I just didn’t like it. I left with a better understanding and respect for guns though.  The movies make pulling a trigger look all ‘cool’ , easy and quiet frankly – glamorous. Well it’s not. Ten days later I read on twitter how firemen in a town close to New York were lured to a house on fire as a trap where they were met by a gunman killing two of them. Sad. I know the gun sales make huge revenue and changing things like laws, mentality and perceptions won’t be easy. But something needs to be changed for a safer america.

Words fail me as I think so often of the lives lost at Sandy Hook. The grief and pain of those parents is inconceivable. No words can comfort them so I pray daily.  The beautiful teachers left an imprint on my heart, they loved those little ones and their self-sacrificing actions spoke volumes.  Rest in peace beautiful souls. I will remember you. This is my song for all americans who feel strongly about gun law change. . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbkOZTSvrHs – You are the voice.

May God Bless America.

Advertisements

Black Friday.

Yesterday while watching CNN and all the depressing news around the world, they ran a snippet on Black Friday.

I was blow away at how psycho people went for a $5 item on sale. To the point CNN reported of previous years where there had been shootings, pepper spray, violence and stampedes. Queues of people camping outside stores the night before for that bargain shopping craze.

My thoughts were: Would you actually sacrifice precious, valuable time with you family on a night such as Thanksgiving to go camp out in queues ?!? Apparently so.

I live in Africa and never in my life have I witnessed such a thing happen in my country. Even when Nelson Mandela was released and we had our first Democratic elections – the talk was of our country going into a civil war. The tin foods were flying off the shelves and immigration offices jam packed with applications.  Nope – still even so, I can’t say I saw the behaviour of  those on Black Friday.

I think the people on telly going absolutely crazy need to see themselves on that box. Maybe, just maybe they will feel a little shameful or embarrasses or disgusted at their lack of civil behaviour. Don’t get me wrong here – there were some shop owners who had set out plans as to how they were to handle the masses. Kudos to those who plan extra cautiously. Letting in small amounts of people at a time.

I packed up laughing at the women who noticed they were being filmed and quickly hid their faces shamefully. Who knows – the media shows what they want you to see and try sway your perception of things. Maybe Black Friday isn’t as hectic as they made out and the bits of footage were of random bad incidences over the years.

Either way, I mention this to a close friend in Prague. She tells me she went to a store last year on Christmas Eve and bought 4 of the remaining 5 trifle puddings knowing full well there were people wanting some too. We got into a debate about it cause I’m the kind of person who would take one under the circumstances. She laughed and voiced her point being – well I needed 4 and I got there first – lucky me. My dear friend emphasised how she would not hesitate to use her inner ninja warrior skills if need be to obtain her goods. Now as a joke on Black Friday I tell her to wear a board warning other shoppers of her black belt & to rather back off.

Hope Black Friday went off smoothly yesterday for all in America and plenty bargains were had.

 

 

It’s Criminal For Sure.

I popped out later yesterday afternoon at our local Pick ‘n Pay store to grab a few odds and ends I needed for last nights dinner. Here in South Africa we have what’s called ‘car-guards’. A car guard is a person who hangs about the parking lot ‘watching’ your car while you shop. Upon your return one is expected to ‘tip’ the car guard. To me personally – this is a fake & utter nonsense of a so called job.

For one, our car insurance is pretty high in our country. Should my car be hi-jacked, stolen or involved in an accident, it is more than covered.  I have often watch women in particular being intimidated, obligated and pretty much harassed into not only ‘paying’ a tip but one the car guard deems acceptable. When out with my sister on a particular day – she had tipped the car guard a R5 where an average tip is R2, before we knew what was happening, he threw the tip back at her and demanded more as he forced half his body through her window yelling. To tip a car guard is something done out of kindness. Needless to say, we drove off rather fast and reeling in shock. This is not always the case but I can definitely say that when I am with my husband, the car guards don’t attempt such nonsense. More often than not, a car guard will see you approaching your car with your trolly and meet up with you to push it and unpack your shopping into your boot, then assist you in reversing. To me, this service is worthy of a tip. The stages of the month generally determine the amount tipped as well as how long I was away. Month end/pay day hubby would tip R10 or R20. Keep in mind R5 for every stop you make adds up. I’m sure we spend on average R400 plus on car guard tips alone in a month.

Back to my point of yesterday – while reversing after my shop, it was rather odd that the car guard hadn’t come harassing me for his tip before I even got my key in the ignition. After reversing extra slowing as I knew he would appear sooner than later. BAAM, he came running but seemed hesitant t leave the car he was at and hasty approached me. I asked him what was wrong. SHOCK, HORROR – he explained to me how he was scared to leave the car further up as there was a baby in it !! The mother decided to just leave her baby to sleep while she went on shopping. This is a criminal offence in our country and if the media got hold of it – trust me, her baby would have been taken away and herself arrested.

Lets not even mention the possible child kidnapping or a stolen car scenario of this.  I had my own baby in my car with the babysitter waiting for me back home with my other two as it was her home time.  So in my rush I sadly did nothing. In hindsight, I should have taken photos and called the police. This is probably the second time at this particular mall that I have witnessed such an incident this year. A third incident made it all over the news & social media. The mother was arrested and the baby placed in the husbands care pending the outcome of her court appearance. Sadly, she really didn’t fathom what the fuss was about.

I tossed and turned the whole night last night questioning myself as to why on earth I just drove off !! That is just so not like me. I’ve had a go at people in traffic driving with their toddlers or babies unstrapped, standing on the front passenger seat.  Or worse – yes, I have seen babies being breast fed while the mother is driving during peek traffic hour.

This morning I sent an email to the managing office at the mall, emphasising how car guards need to  report such cases to security so that action may be taken in future. I haven’t had a reply as yet but I do take comfort in having voiced my concerns and bringing such an incident to their attention.

What would you have done?