Posts Tagged ‘ 9/11 ’

Tragedy in Connecticut: How To Prevent the Next One

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Last night was rough. One of my two babies were up just about every hour. Emmett kept losing his pacifier. Fia couldn’t find her stuffed doggie. Emmett’s teething. Fia’s scared of her shadow. And so it goes.

This morning, bleary eyed, we both looked at each other and confessed to the same thought:

Thank god we have children who are crying out for us.

We knew those families in Connecticut would do anything to have their babies back…

Those poor mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, uncles, aunts and grandparents would do anything to hear their babies crying out in the night. They never will. Sleepless nights will take on a whole new meaning. Darkness has fallen. Evil has been revealed.

Like everyone I am heartbroken. I am trying my best to compartmentalize so I don’t walk in their shoes and take my mind to the darkest of places.

And like many people, I am angry. How could this have happened? Again?? And Again??

Many people are saying, “Now isn’t the time to debate gun control in this country.” But I say: REALLY? THEN WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME? BECAUSE 20 INNOCENT BABIES WERE MURDERED ALONG WITH SEVEN WOMEN–MOTHERS THEMSELVES.

Yes, I’m pissed. I’m infuriated. I want to scream. And I want this country to change. Quickly. Because god forbid this happens to my child. Or yours.

As Nicholas Kristoff said in his Sunday columnWhy can’t we regulate guns as seriously as we do cars? The fundamental reason kids are dying in massacres like this one is not that we have lunatics or criminals — all countries have them — but that we suffer from a political failure to regulate guns.

I have a hard time believing that when the Second Amendment was adopted, our Founding Fathers thought we all have the right to bear Weapons of Mass Destruction. And sorry folks, but if you are allowed to carry around guns and rifles that can spray out enough bullets to kill that many people in a matter of moments, then those are WMDs.

Let me repeat what I am saying here: It is NOT a Constitutional Right To Carry Weapons of Mass Destruction. Do you understand????

The studies back up the facts: More Guns=More Homicides. Look it up. Click on this link. Do I need to make myself more clear?

Those of us who think that the easy access to guns had oh, possibly something to do with this massacre are not saying, “Guns should be illegal.” We know that isn’t going to happen. We are also not claiming that violence won’t happen even with stricter regulations. It still will. And yes, I know a school was firebombed back in 1927, killing 40 some kids. And that the Tokyo subway was bombed with Sarin Nerve gas, killing 13. Your point, is what?? Shit happens? No matter what? Horrible, awful, violent shit? Yes, I know. We all do. But what really infuriates me is that the gun-toting NRA lovers refuse to even engage in a debate about gun control. They refuse to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, if a young kid of 20, who was a lunatic, hadn’t had access to guns, then perhaps this wouldn’t have happened. Shame on them. Shame on everyone who supports them. And pray to your god that you never have to walk in the shoes of those Newtown moms and dads, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts and grandparents.

People on the gun-loving side are saying, “…more money needs to go into mental health.” Yeah, we get that. There are a lot of wack-jobs who need treatment. But really, it’s a lame diversion. Is that really the best you can come up with? And if it is, why not look at both gun laws and mental health? Why can’t you be a lover of the NRA and still recognize that the system is F-CKED?

My favorite quote is, “Guns don’t kill. People do.” Like my brother said to the idiot who posted that on my personal Facebook page:

“@Tara…there’s an enormous world of difference between pulling the trigger on a weapon of mass destruction and the damage you can do with a butter knife — just to use an example less absurd than the trite and infuriating cliche you cite.”

Yes, I will be defriending Tara…whoever that is. I don’t need 513 “friends,” most whom I don’t even know. So goodbye to those who spew out garbage.

Other people talked about how, “We can’t prevent senseless violence. People will find a way to kill no matter what.”

Oh, okay. So let’s just do nothing. In fact, let’s just do away with any and all regulations and move to pure anarchy. Genius idea, folks. That must mean you also think that after 911 we shouldn’t have put restrictions on people carrying knives (not just butter knives either), explosive devices and paper cutters on airplanes, right? And that we shouldn’t have beefed up security at every airport across America and the world? What world, by the way, are you living in?

You’re basically saying that if someone wants to mow down a classroom or blow up a plane, they will find a way. And therefore no restrictions should be put in place? Well then here’s an idea: let’s start selling knives at airports–hell, even guns–for people to carry on with them. Or sell them at convenience stores near schools? (well, you can practically get a gun anywhere already, so sadly, that’s not a stretch). Why not? Isn’t that part of the “right to bear arms?” I guess it doesn’t factor into the gun-loving culture that WMDs weren’t around in 1791. And that maybe times have changed.

If we can’t even have a reasonable discussion on this, then we are doomed. As a nation, as a culture, as a society. Think about it.

In the meantime, I go back to what I am: I am lucky. I am tired. I am lucky to be tired. Because my children are alive. They cry to me in their dreams. I cry back…

Thank god we weren’t part of the screams coming out of that firehouse in Newtown when the parents were told their children were gone. 

…I tiptoe into my babies’ rooms. I pick up Emmett. I find “my spot.” It’s a crevice under his chin. When his head is slightly tilted back, my lips fit perfectly into it. I keep them there and feel how soft his skin is. My nose is in the crook of his neck. I breathe him in. I whisper into his ear how much I love him. And that he is safe. I place him gently back in his crib.

I tiptoe into Fia’s room. I place my hand on her stomach and feel her breath. Her warmth. She is my little oven. I touch her hair. It is damp with sweat. I brush her wet bangs off her forehead. I hold her hand. In her sleep, she clasps back. I whisper to her as well. “Mommy loves you. You are safe.”

And for this night, and this night only, I tiptoe back to my bed, knowing what I say is true.

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An Uplifting Poem For New York

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

We all know New York is struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. All five boroughs. New Jersey too. But we also all know what a resilient city it is. One only has to remember September 11th.

My niece Rachel visited us when we lived in Brooklyn. During her senior year of high school, she wrote this poem.  I was just so impressed by her insight and perception. She was only 14 years old when she came, but the memory held on so vividly.

She is now a freshman in college, studying journalism. I’ve been saving this poem for the right time to post. Figured now is it. Just like Sinatra says, “Come on, Come through, New York, New York, New York.”

 The Sole of New York, New York

By Rachel Johnston 

The sun shines above the smog,

illuminating life, language, and love

for this city’s bright eyes.

New shoes become old and worn here

within a mere morning of travel.

They’re sore, bruised, dirty,

but singing a Sinatra tune.

They smile as they conquer

miles of concrete, of storefronts,

of Main Street, of Wall Street.

They look to the sky.

Feed us, they say.

They stumble down stairs

that reveal a dark underworld.

Sparks, rats, bustling bodies,

the homeless and the senseless.

They stumble up stairs

that break through to daylight.

Toes scuffed and laces soggy,

the shoes smile still

just now with broken teeth.

This time, they peer down

at tiny taxis and tacky tourists.

They are not afraid of heights;

they are indestructible, unstoppable.

They are on top of the world.

These soles are experienced,

enlightened, musically inclined,

bold, logical, beautiful, free,

native to city life.

Photo of NYC Skyline via Shutterstock

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September 11th: The 10-Year Anniversary

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

I was in the air when the first plane hit. Three minutes later I landed in Newark, oblivious to the world collapsing.  Twelve hours later I would make my way to our apartment and fall, sobbing into my husband’s arms. Oblivion replaced by sorrow.

We had just moved to New York City 3 weeks prior.  Phil was about to start his Master’s in film at Columbia.

My flight on September 11th was supposed to be at noon. I was traveling home from a Food Network appearance in Cincinnati.  For some reason at the last minute I decided to change to the 6 a.m. flight. Unbeknownst to me, karma was on my side.

As our plane descended I distinctly remember looking out the window and seeing the towers. I remember feeling so lucky—so alive–to be living in this great city and starting this new adventure.

At that point in my life, kids were not part of the plan. I had no interest.

In the days following the attacks, I mourned like the rest of the country. Shell-shocked by the hate, inspired by the love.

Years went by and September 11th became part of me, just like it did for most of us. It was always there, serving as a timeline in life. “That was before 9/11.” or “That was after 9/11….”

On December 2, 2009, Fia came into our world. The cocoon we created during our stay in the hospital was nothing short of magical, even surreal. It was a bubble of warmth, safety and love.  I felt panicked when it was time to go home. I knew nothing about taking care of a baby.

Phil and I gingerly loaded her into our rented car. I got in the back with her and we began the trek from 168th and Broadway to Brooklyn. It was snowing. Phil drove about 40 mph down the West Side highway. We were paranoid new parents.

When we passed Ground Zero I looked out the window and began to feel a heaviness like I’ve never felt before. It was deep and sad. It carried the responsibility and burden of bringing a life into this world.  It said, “This is a dangerous place full of hate. Why did you do this to something you love so much?” It said, “This is an unworthy world. You are selfish.” Had I been standing, this profound pain would have taken me to my knees. I tried to push it away and force happy thoughts. As I looked down at my tiny, sweet baby I thought, She has no idea what her world outside the womb is.  But it’s my job to teach her. And love her no matter what.

I believe it was at that moment that the real burden of parenthood began.  I carry it with honor, understanding and respect. I’m on my 21st month now and will continue to carry it as long as I’m lucky enough to walk this world. This is life and it is fleeting. It is only by the grace of god, go I.

First Moments

First Moments

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