Saturday, December 06, 2014

Seasons of Hope....

I woke up to see a brilliant sunny and cold day here in London. It is one of those early Winter days were the sunlight has that particular Northern Hemisphere winter gold tinge to it.  No snow here in the UK yet , but they say our first dusting could come as early as mid week.  So I was feeling pretty good. 

Then I saw the news from back in Northern California...
(via Joemygod)

Ronin Shimizu, a former student at Folsom Middle School in Folsom, California, took his life on Wednesday afternoon but police are not releasing any further details about his death.

The school district has confirmed that the boy's parents, who also have a younger son, complained on multiple occasions that he was being bullied and officials said that they followed protocol. But friends say that the taunting continued. He recently left Folsom Middle School to be home schooled. 

On Thursday night, friends and their parents gathered outside the Shimizu home to hold a quiet candle light vigil. "I heard that people called him gay because he was a cheerleader," one of his teammates told CBS Sacramento at the vigil. Ronin was the only male cheerleader with the Vista Junior Eagles Cheer Team.   

 Daniel Thigpen with the Folsom Cordova School District said that officials were looking into the complaints made by the boy's family. "Any allegations of bullying related to this specific incident, we're certainly reviewing how we responded to those and we'll use that as an opportunity to always take a look at how we respond to future allegations," he said. Grief counselors are at the school to help students and staff. The Vista Jr Eagles, the team Ronin had cheered for, also released a statement as they shared photos of the young, grinning boy in his cheer uniform.

Let's state up front, this is not going to be a calm and pleasant posting.

It is time for somebody to go to jail.

I want to see  the officials of that school district  charged.  Criminally charged  with negligent homicide.    There seems to be this idea in the United States that middle school,  (or as I knew it. "Jr. High"), is supposed to be hellish.   It is seen by many as a given fact.   When I went to  middle school,  there were teachers who honesty viewed students, tormenting each other,  as some sort of sick, twisted "rite of passage" that was supposed to happen.

On the nutjob insane "Evangelical Right"   in the United States,  attempts  to prevent tragedies like this one are opposed as "attacks on religious freedom."  Klu Klux Klan alumni and global hate monger Tony Perkins,  all but loses his mind if a school district tries to implement anti-harassment / bullying programs.    Yet you can bet all the money you have and more, that his Theo-facist hate group,  the "Family Research Council" will be stone silent  on the death of this young man.  

These bigots are killing children.   They belong in Prison.  This isn't  "defending religion",  it's committing faith-based murder by proxy.

Earlier this week,  an Arizona pastor made  headlines after claiming that "we can have an AIDS-free world by Christmas" if gays were  executed".

The Huffington Post  reports that Pastor Steven Anderson, who runs Tempe's Faithful Word Baptist Church, made the shocking claims during a sermon delivered Nov. 30.   Arguing that members of the gay community are "filled with disease because of the judgement of God," Anderson said, "Anybody who's a homo or bi -- it's all the same category -- sodomite is what the Bible would call them."

Citing Leviticus 18:22, he then added, "It was right there in the Bible all along ... It's curable right there... if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn't have all this AIDS running rampant."

In the wake of major victories for LGBT rights, bigots like Perkins and Anderson have just  stopped filtering.  They are now openly advocating for the death of  LGBT people.

We find ourselves this month, in the season of Advent.  That part of the liturgical calendar that precedes Christmas.  It is hailed as a season of expectation, preparation and hope.   In Christian churches around the world, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, each marked by a candle on Advent wreaths, symbolize the hope that we are not simply adrift in the sea of life.   That we have a very real relationship with  the source of that life.   Immanuel - God With Us.

As a person of faith , I have always taken great comfort from that.   Yet I will be honest with you and confess I don't feel hopeful or comforted today.    I don't feel expectant, nor do I feel the presence of  the peace which defies all understanding.   Today I am not feeling any of these things. 

What I feel today  is anger.   I feel rage and yes , even hatred.   Right now I don't want peace on earth.   I want the people who allowed the torture and death of 12 year old Ronin,  and the countless others like him, to suffer... a lot.   I want  Tony Perkins , and those  like him,  who actively encourage that torture, to  suffer in as dark,  lonely and terrified a manner as he, and those like him have driven children like Ronan to.

I am past wanting peace, justice and understanding.  I want vengeance.  Old Testament, wrath of God, fire and brimstone vengeance.   I want those who hurt Ronin and who revel in hurting others who,  in their small twisted view have committed the great sin of simply being different , to lose everything they hold dear.  I want karma  to be a sword that strikes these bigots down in as messy and painful a way as possible.    And I  want to revel, and even rejoice in their pain.

So yes,  I guess in this Season of Advent I am hopeful.   I hope that the blasphemous, murdering bigots of the Family Research Council,  Focus on the 'Family', the National Organization for Marriage,  and all the other assorted Nazi shit-stains that lurk in their shadows,  will feel even a fraction of the pain, misery and death they joyfully incite others to inflict  on kids like Ronin Shimizu.

Yeah I know... so much for goodwill toward men,  right?

I guess the reason  I am just so angry right now , is  because  I wish I could have talked to Ronin.   I wish I could have told him that life was so much bigger than Junior High, and it truly was going to get better.  I wish I could  have told him about the 12 year old kid  in Sun Prairie Wisconsin  who hated sports,  loved theatre  and politics  and was constantly aware of just how different he was from other kids, and  how those differences were at the time, utterly terrifying.  Especially in a school where the absolute last thing you ever wanted to be was... different. 

I wish I could have told him that he would survive  Middle School "guidance counsellors"  who are useless.  I wish I could reassure him that he would  survive insecure  kids who saw attacking him as a cheap way to make them selves feel better about who they were.  I wish I could have told him that  one day he would leave behind lazy teachers who turned a blind eye,  or even worse felt  that his pain was somehow "good for him".

But I can't tell Ronin that, no one can,  because he is dead.  Dead at the hands of the people in the very place where he should have been safe, and where he should have been  valued the most.  His own community.

I really don't have a point to make here.   Other than this madness has to stop.  If you are so moved. I urge you to support  those who are working to help bring about that change.

The Trevor Project -

The Stand Up Foundation -

The Give a Damn Campaign -

The Human Rights Campaign -

The It Gets Better Project -

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Hollywood's Predictions vs. Reality...

32 Years ago, in 1982,  Ridley Scott's  ground breaking Sci-Fi movie. "Bladerunner" painted a stunning vision  of what Los Angeles might look like in 2019...

So  LA,  you've got 5 years to sort  that whole flying police car thing out....

Ok,   so aside from a lack of flying cars,  thick toxic smog, and  huge Chinese digital billboards,  Los Angeles in 2014 does look sort of  "bladerunner-ish".