Bullets and Sudafed

I originally wrote a post about gun violence on my personal Facebook page May 28, 2014. Recently I had been thinking about republishing this post on my blog now that I am, you know, a writer. I was waiting for a time when gun violence was not the topic in the news in the hopes of sidestepping the “now is the time for prayer, not gun debate” that follows every mass and school shooting. But in light of TWO school shootings yesterday, (cough) BULLSHIT.

I HAD TO LOOK UP WHICH SHOOTING TO WHICH I WAS RESPONDING!!!! There have been so many, I couldn’t pinpoint which one had set me off.

I could have reworked this entry and just published it anew. But I think it more powerful for you to see NOTHING HAS CHANGED. Well, except maybe one thing. The gun lobby is winning; I see my own reactions to gun violence waning in disgust and sadness.

2012, I remember having to pull my car over and call my husband when I heard about Newton. Tears streamed down my face as a force of fear and sorrow pierced through every fiber of my heart like I’ve never felt. Babies. Someone’s baby. My elementary school aged babies. At risk.

Two years later, the event that precipitated this entry was the shooting in Isla Vista. A catastrophic disruption in the lives of carefree students roaming the neighborhood of UCSB where my husband once cavorted. Babies. Someone’s baby. My babies, someday. At risk.

And now, Vegas, or the shootings yesterday, I feel numb. A resignation that it can happen anywhere, to anyone. BECAUSE WE HAVE DONE NOTHING. We have allowed our politicians to ignore the issue, instead allowing ourselves to be distracted by the scandal of the day. Sure, I’m concerned about Russian intervention in elections, but not as concerned as I am about the safety and well being of my babies. And yours.

So I resubmit to you: Bullets and Sudafed

Every few weeks I have a pang as I drop off my children at school. Is this the last time I’ll see you? Is that the last “I love you” you’ll hear from me? For a fleeting moment, I worry if gun violence will steal away the most precious things I have. How can we be living in a society like this?

I am angry and distraught.

I am disgusted.

I am an allergy sufferer.

The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 was included in the Patriot Bill signed by President George Bush, Republican, on March 9, 2006. When I go to the pharmacy, I have to swipe my driver’s license. The DEA tracks my purchase of psuedoephedrine and limits the amount I can buy monthly. In order to comply with the law, retailers are required to keep my personal information for at least two years after my purchase.

From the FDA website: The side effects, which arise from the use and abuse of methamphetamine, include irritability, nervousness, insomnia, nausea, depression, and brain damage.

And the side effects from the use and abuse of bullets?

A reality of our society is that the government is constantly tracking and compiling information on its citizens. Why can’t we enact legislation that puts the same controls on bullets that we do on allergy medication? In all of these mass shootings, a stockpile of ammunition is uncovered. Forget about the types of weapons people feel they have a right to own. Let’s track the sale of bullets. Perhaps the ATF would be interested in investigating an individual who is buying large amounts of ammunition?

I am sick and tired of hearing 2nd Amendment defenders cry about their personal liberties. I guess none of them are allergy sufferers.

 

 

I’ve Got Gas

Nothing fun comes in the mail anymore. I know this and yet I wait with anticipation every day. I can tell from the envelope it’s garbage but I open it anyway, mostly because I compulsively shred anything with my name or address on it.

On this day, I open a letter from SoCalGas and am greeted by “Congratulations, you’ve been selected to receive a Home Energy Report”. There’s pretty graphs and numbers so I’m sucked in. And now I want to kill someone.

An aside: You should know that I am highly competitive. Some losers would even say to a fault.

The conclusion of SoCalGas is that my household uses 27% more natural gas than my neighbors. I am now having a tantrum in an empty house as I read the report and accompanying FAQ’s. Oh it’s on, Motherfuckers.

Here’s a sampling of the FAQ’s and my official response:

Who are my neighbors? How did you choose the homes used in my neighborhood comparison? According to SoCalGas, my energy use is being compared to 100 neighbors whose “characteristics” lead to similar energy needs.

Let me explain a little something to you about suburban Los Angeles and the consequences of housing density. If you circle the closest 100 houses around me you will include in that sampling crack houses, drug rehabs, unlicensed retirement homes where seniors are abandoned to Filipino gangs and multi million dollar estates. Not exactly a scientifically sound control group.

Also my neighbors aren’t cooking at home on average 5 out of 7 nights. I don’t do it because I loooove to cook but because it’s a fucking fortune to take a family of 5 out to dinner.

And I’m not talking microwave and serve, but possibly all 5 gas burners going most nights because I was brainwashed by my mother to believe that dinner is protein, vegetable, starch and salad. Boy do I have fond memories of the complete meals my live-in housekeeper prepared and cleaned up.

What is the purpose of the program? Why was I selected to be a part of the program?The Home Energy Reports program is supposedly designed to provide more information about my energy use so I can make informed choices and save money. SoCalGas contends that I was randomly selected.

You basically just admitted I was targeted because SoCalGas finds my consumption excessive. You think you can shame me into using less gas? If I was at 27% overage this reporting period, you can bet I’m shooting for 30% next time.

How do my efficient neighbors use considerable less energy than me?Efficient households take a variety of steps to reduce energy, which may include using a programmable thermostat, running full loads in the dishwasher, washer and dryer and taking shorter showers.

We’re gonna have to break this down one at time:

Um, “efficient” and considerable”? Nice use of qualifiers. Judgmental much?

Using a programmable thermostat: I’ve got one of those and it’s particularly helpful in dealing with climate change. It has this handy feature where I can run the air conditioner during the day when it’s 100 fucking degrees on Thanksgiving and then automatically flip the heater on at night when the weather decides that it is in fact November.

Running full loads in the dishwasher, washer and dryer: There are 5 people in this house and 3 of them eat 15 meals a day, never drink out of a glass twice and crap up anything they’ve been wearing for 5 minutes. I AM running full loads. Just multiple times a day.

Taking shorter showers: I have two teenage boys and god bless them for their discretion. It’s a small price to pay for longer showers. If I demanded shorter showers, I’d have to invest in a black light. I’d have more loads of laundry to do, all requiring hot water provided by my gas tankless, and I’d be running the dryer twice. On high.

There is an option to opt out of this program but now I’m on a personal mission of unrestrained consumption. It’s a frigid 59 degrees tonight and you can bet I’ll light the gas fireplace in my bedroom while I wash up. Cutting off my nose to spite my face? Hardly, I’m hedging with gas futures.