Back to Reality: Mass Killings Continue Unabated in the USA says The Washington Post; Gun Control Popular Blog Topic; Gun Control in Qatar; Democracy Celebrated; Election Worker Application Submitted; Edmonton School Renamed; Link to an Instagram Reel Illustrating Democracy in Action  

The blessed days of Ramadan brought me peace. It can be achieved only by divorcing oneself from reality, the grim and horrible state of this world inhabited by mere mortals.   Did not focus, (for the large part) on world politics, the news of the day and controversial issues such as mass killings, gun control, and issues closer to home, such as the fate of Indigenous persons or ‘wanna be’ Indigenous folk, for example the likes of Premier Danielle Smith. 

I so loved the respite but it is time to get back in the saddle. 

Respite is, of course, the perfect word. A noun meaning a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant. That is it indeed. The very best synonyms are: breathing space, interval, intermission, interlude,  time out, hiatus, letup. My favorites are time out (as that is what kids get when they are bratty).

Back in the saddle is an idiom:  doing something that you stopped doing for a period of time. Where did it come from? “Back in the Saddle Again” was the signature song of American cowboy entertainer Gene Autry. It was co-written by Autry with Ray Whitley and first released in 1939. The song was associated with Autry throughout his career and was used as the name of Autry’s autobiography in 1976.

Now that we have the definitions under control we can return to the land of the living. Not quite, because we are now going to focus on the mass killing spree that continues to exist in the US of A. 

This bounced into my Indox, an April 10th Washington Post article telling us about one of the  latest mass killing, this time at a bank in Kentucky 

“Monday’s shooting was the latest in a string of attacks that have become stunningly routine. In the past year, attacks have left dozens dead and maimed in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, Calif.; Chesapeake, Va.; Colorado Springs; Highland Park, Ill.; Uvalde, Tex.; and Buffalo.The bank shooting was the 15th mass killing this year, according to a database maintained by Northeastern University, the Associated Press and USA Today that tracks incidents that involve four or more victims. Nearly 80 people have been killed in the incidents, according to the database. The Louisville bank shooting highlighted the indiscriminate reach of the relentless march of U.S. gun violence: Like Beshear, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg — who was the target of a shooting at his campaign office in 2021 — said he, too, was good friends with one of those killed, 63-year-old Thomas Elliott. State Sen. David Yates (D), also tweeted that he knew a victim. 

It is interesting to note that friends of people in high places are getting shot. It might, in the long run, make some sort of difference. Somehow I doubt it. 

“The shooting made Beshear at least the second governor in a matter of weeks to learn that a friend had been slain in a mass killing. Among the victims in the Nashville shooting, at a small private school, were a substitute teacher and the head of the school, both of whom were family friends of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R). The teacher was scheduled to dine with Tennessee first lady Maria Lee on the night of the shooting.”

Reading on learned that I was right, not going to make a difference. .

 “Last month, Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill making the state a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” prohibiting local authorities from enforcing federal firearm bans or regulations. Beshear neither signed nor vetoed the bill, which allowed it to become law. On Monday, he called for a focus on “friends and loved ones that are no longer with us”  in what seemed a deliberate attempt to sidestep the gun-control debate’ 

Gun control has been a popular topic on this blog. Type Gun Control into the search engine – there are 58 entries. The most recent, April 1, 2023 is right up to date. It is most amusing to read the blog of September 2, 2020. 

“Qatar gun laws and statistics are amazing as you shall see. One or two male gun homicides over many years. There is only one female gun homicide in 5 years. Compare these statistics those in the United States of America. In Qatar civil possession of guns is not guaranteed by law. In the USA, supposedly it is. EXCUSE ME, I was a lawyer, I read the Constitution. The so-called Right to Bear Arms is bullshit. It is so much fun to write and not address a court – one cannot say bullshit in front of a Judge. . Everything related to guns is regulated by law in Qatar – the right to private ownership, civilian possession, every type of weapon is regulated by law, the carrying of a gun regulated by law. Gun ownership appears to be limited to those born in Qatar.”

What is so amusing about this? I actually no longer give a hoot about Qatar. The Doha airport might be a destination yet again, on my way to Saudi Arabia. Qatar Air travels from Montreal, not the terrible, congested nightmarish Toronto Pearson Airport. My life changed a great deal in the ensuring years, had an invitation to live in Doha.  Turned it down, I guess feelings were hurt but at the time of the invitation covid was not under control. Qatar got their act together in time for the World Cup, it had to of course. 

Emphasizing gun control did not amount to a hill of beans in the US – so not sure why I bothered. But it matters not as I no longer live there, will no longer live there and have no plans to visit. (Perhaps NYC in the fall but shall research topics relating to my safety before the trip. 

Another immensely popular topic found upon this hallowed blog, subsequent to my return to Canada, is the plight of Indigenous peoples. Type Indigenous in the search engine and you shall find 50 entries. The most recent being April I, 2023 which chronicles Premier Danielle Smith’s attempt to ‘fake it’. She briefly succeeded but got found out. 

My February 27, 2923 magazine issue of The New Yorker featured Manvir Singh’s challenge: It’s Time to Rethink the Idea of the “Indigenous”. Its subtitle: Many groups who identify as Indigenous don’t claim to be first peoples; many who did come first don’t claim to be Indigenous. Can the concept escape its colonial past. The article began: 

Identity evolves. Social categories shrink or expand, become stiffer or more elastic, more specific or more abstract. What it means to be white or Black, Indian or American, able-bodied or not shifts as we tussle over language, as new groups take on those labels and others strip them away. “

The statistics are thoroughly amazing.  “Today, nearly half a billion people qualify as Indigenous. If they were a single country, it would be the world’s third most populous, behind China and India. Exactly who counts as Indigenous, however, is far from clear.’

The entire article may be found by Googling the author’s name. Singh discusses the sometimes unusual repercussions when Indigenous people seek redress. All rather fascinating. 

Admit that I did wonder why Indigenous was on my mind prior to my homeland return. You simply MUST read the February 27, 2019 blog, if only for the funny cartoons. An article had appeared in the newsletter of my alma mater, the University of Alberta, which spoke of the existence of the Klu Klux Klan in Alberta. It is an eye opener. 

But there is some good news. That article lamented upon the fact that a Junior High in Edmonton was named after the founder of the Klu Klux Klan. “Daniel Kennedy Knott (July 1, 1879 – November 26, 1959) was a labour activist and politician in Alberta, Canada and a mayor of Edmonton. He had associations with the Canadian branch of the Ku Klux Klan.” The absolutely great news was discovered by (again) using Google. This from May 17, 2022.  

‘Edmonton Public Schools is proud to announce the newly renamed kisêwâtisiwin School in Mill Woods. This announcement comes after two years of dedicated work by Indigenous leaders, Division staff, students, teachers, parents and community members.”

Therefore, in the long run, I am glad to be back – both in Edmonton and in the land of reality. Alberta has gun control, Indigenous peoples are increasingly being recognized, schools get renamed. There is a slight problem at the moment however. Premier Danielle Smith. Perhaps more about her later. 

Living well is the best revenge is my motto. Living well is  best exemplified by being positive. During Ramadan, on a couple of occasions, returned to my secular self I support of democracy. Registered to vote, then completed an elections worker application.r. I can think of no better way to celebrate my 80th birthday which just so happens to be on Elections Day, May 29. On another occasion posted an Instagram reel. The view view from my window, school buses bringing school children to the Legislative Building to learn about democracy in action. Here is the link: Alberta practices democracy well, nobly and with pride. It is incongruous that Danielle Smith is presently the Premier. The meaning of incongruous is not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of something. Synonyms are: out of keeping, inappropriate, unsuitable,, not in harmony;  dissonant, conflicting, clashing, jarring, wrong, at odds, in opposition, contradictory, irreconcilable;, absurd, bizarre, like a fish out of water. 

Any of these synonym could describe the situation accurately. My favorite: Danielle Smith serving as Premier of Alberta, this hallowed democracy is like a fish out of water, most unsuitable and irreconcilable.