Monday, February 19, 2018

In a Vase on Monday: Simply honest

I almost skipped In a Vase on Monday this week.  Since I started participating in late March 2014, I think I've missed just one posting, and that because I was out of town.  I wasn't out of town or too busy to put together a vase this week.  Rather, when I went into the garden with my clippers, my head and heart were elsewhere.  After watching yet another newscast on the shooting in Florida that took 17 lives, I couldn't stop crying.  Each mass shooting in this country, too many to count now, has made me viscerally sick.  After Sandy Hook in 2012, I was sure human decency and common sense would prevail and we'd finally do something to implement reasonable gun controls.  Not only did that not happen but trolls emerged from the muck to accuse the families who'd lost children and the entire community of a hoax.  Nothing happened when a gunman killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando in 2016.  Nothing happened when another gunman killed 58 people attending a concert in Las Vegas in 2017.  So will the loss of 17 more lives at a Parkland, Florida high school make any difference?  Maybe.  The honest grief and anger of those directly impacted by the Parkland assault weapon-enabled murders is palpable and very, very focused.




Clockwise from the upper left: Argyranthemum 'Mega White', Erysimum linifolium 'Variegatum', Freesia, and Nemesia 'Sunshine'


A lot of people have spoken up in response to this latest shooting.  Most of the politicians have made their classic canned, meaningless responses to the tragedy.  However, many of those closest to the events of February 14th, including not only parents of the children caught in the line of fire but also the local sheriff, have demanded action on gun control.  But no one has spoken as clearly, honestly, and forcefully as the teenage students of that high school.  Students just one to three years away from becoming voters are speaking up.  I've been impressed by how articulate they are; how well they've stripped the issues down to their core elements; how brave they've been in calling out the powerful people who've historically bowed to the power of the gun lobby in this country.  Perhaps the best of these statements is that by Emma Gonzales, which you can find here.  Listening to her speak, her grief, her anger, and her focus is as clear, honest and simple as can be.  I have hope.



Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to find other vases.  Those of you interested in the March For Our Lives scheduled for March 24th can find more information here.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

50 comments:

  1. A stunning vase and post that also gives me hope with the bright blooms shining in that teapot. I too am emboldened by these young people who have the power to make a difference with voices and votes. The government and silent voices have let them down and sold them out to this too common occurrence. I have participated in many active shooter trainings (as an educator) and it is something we should not have to do....our safety in a restaurant, shopping mall, concert and even at work is at risk more and more. I will keep my hope alive through these young people and support them with my voice and vote too!

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    1. I hadn't realized that active shooter drills had become so common in schools until the publicity concerning this most recent event in Florida, Donna. How sad that is! One of the teen speakers mentioned that his is the first generation of graduates who grew up under the specter of the Columbine massacre, underscoring just how pathetic it is that nothing meaningful has been done in all those years.

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  2. A lovely vase, and pleased to hear directly from US citizens of their wishes to have serious gun control. Guns kill, there is no argument to that. We very rarely saw a gun in the UK until recently except in field sports. Unfortunately it has got to the stage that at airports one sometimes sees armed officers...and sometimes at large events.

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    1. According to polls, the majority of the US population supports stricter gun controls but the form of such controls varies dramatically among respondents. Universal background checks for all purchases seems a no-brainer yet the NRA opposes even that. I'd love to see every member of Congress forced to publish the amount of the contributions made to their campaigns by the NRA. It'd be interesting to see who's funding the NRA too as that body has become more and more strident in opposition to ANY action on gun control over the past several decades.

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  3. I love your very cheerful and bright spring arrangement. I too thought after all those little children died at Sandy Hook that something would be done, but the years since then have made me cynical. I am afraid to hope that this time will be different, but I have to admit, I am hopeful that an entire generation that has now gone through public school with the fear of a shooting ever-present, having to go through drills, is now reaching voting age, and will channel their anger and frustration and do something constructive like vote out the asshats sucking at the tit of the NRA.

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    1. The lack of response to Sandy Hook, and particularly those pigs who tried to turn a tragedy into a hoax, made me cynical too, Alison. The platitudes we hear after every gun massacre make me want to move to a more civilized country with schools that teach children critical thinking skills (in surprisingly short supply among a significant portion of our current US adult population) rather than drilling them on how to stay safe if a nutcase turns up with a gun. The federal government already appears to be turning a deaf ear on the outcries from Florida so, yes, we may have to wait for the next generation of voters to eject the useless excuses for public servants out of office.

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  4. What we can't understand here in the UK, Kris, is the absurdity, stupidity, criminality of allowing seemingly anyone to buy and amass such a wide variety of killing machines. I was a Vice Principal of a large High School for over 20 years. During that time I had some very angry students who I had to exclude. I can think of a fair few who would have come into the school for me or whichever student they had a grievance with at any particular time. The heartbroken parents must have shocked any citizen with any sensibility. Not your president perhaps.

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    1. I like to avoid profanity, Ian, so I won't even address the matter of the current tenant of our White House, who yesterday had the audacity to claim that our FBI failed the Florida students because they've spent their efforts investigating Russian involvement in his election. As to the larger matter of the US fixation on guns, it's as hard for me to understand as it is for you. When asked, most gun owners claim they want guns to protect their homes but why that extends to assault weapons, I can't fathom.

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  5. Like you I hear the voices of those who've had to endure the horrible experience, or live in fear of it happening, and sense that something has changed. I am hopeful these young people are going to lead the change. You vase is beautiful by the way!

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    1. As the Women's Marches in 2017 didn't change the political climate overnight, we can't expect an immediate change on this either but I think there's a passion and energy there that I haven't seen in awhile. I hope so anyway.

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  6. The current gun laws seem so entrenched but those of us in the UK still wonder why common sense does not prevail when massacres like this have become so prevalent. The thought that a whole generation of young people might rise up when they become of age and vote to repeal these laws is such a heartwarming one, one that certainly brings hope. Your vase shines brightly in contrast with such a tragic incident

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    1. I used to think of Americans as a pragmatic lot but, when it comes to guns, common sense seems to go out the window. These young adults in Florida at least aren't afraid to declare that the emperor (a metaphor for the NRA in this case) has no clothes. I hope they help to open the eyes of their parents' generation to reality.

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  7. Terrible. One does wonder how many such tragedies it will take. I am always baffled by this gun business, what do people want them for?
    But you managed such a sunny,cheerful arrangement.

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    1. In the surveys I've seen, the majority of gun owners contend that they want guns to protect their homes. Why that requires assault weapons is utterly beyond me. Maybe they fear a zombie apocalypse but, if that's the case, they're lunatics and should be excluded from gun ownership due to mental illness.

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  8. Our thoughts are with you and, though we don't understand how people can hold these views, we must always have hope.
    Freesias are one of my favourites. x

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    1. The sweet smell of the Freesias distracts at least a little from the sick smell generated by some of our newscasts, Alison!

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  9. A lot of these kids will be old enough to vote in 2018. I am hoping they will give us the momentum to make some changes. I have to admit that I have pretty much not read about this shooting as I can't bear to have more dreadful news filling my head. Thank goodness that flowers can take our mind off these issues, if only briefly.

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    1. I've reduced my news consumption somewhat over the last couple of months too, Linda. I didn't even hear of the Florida shooting until dinnertime on the 14th. More immediate demands on my time also distracted me for awhile but hearing these kids speak, one after another, grabbed my attention and Emma Gonzales's speech demanded it.

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  10. I find it impossible to get my head around this and other shootings. Such tragic events must have even more impact on you when they are so close to home. Thanks for sharing the link to the full text of Emma Gonzales's speech Kris. What a brave and eloquent young lady. Let's hope and pray that the voices of these young people win through.

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    1. Emma Gonzales's speech was potent but just about every student I've heard interviewed has spoken clearly and passionately on the subject of gun control. They're not going to be fooled or put off the way the members of my generation have been.

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  11. This whole winter has been one of inner turmoil for me as it brings up so many unpleasant memories and thoughts, including actions of myself. I had some flickers of hope listening to news that the students whose lives are so in danger are so angry and so perceptive. May we all find a safer, fairer world as a result.

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    1. I'm genuinely hopeful, Barbara, although I recognize that we can't expect immediate results. In addition to passion, I hope the students have stamina. I hope the same for us too when it comes to supporting their mission.

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  12. Kris, the vase is lovely and the flowers reflect the colors of the container so well.
    These shootings hit too close here.My husband has a Never Again tattoo from Sandy Hook. I think a lot of these girls are going to stand up and vote, especially against Rubio. The kids are amazing and I was heartened to see Bill Nelson stand up in the Senate against guns.I will probably join in the walk out here.

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    1. Oh, yes, Amelia, the issue must be even more intense occurring as it did in your own backyard. I understand that Emma Gonzalez is 18 and I've little doubt that she and her fellow seniors will be making their positions clear and voting in the mid-terms. I was VERY disappointed by Rubio's recent statement but I gather he's not up for re-election until 2022. However, if he's pondering further action on a run for the Presidency, he's toast in my book.

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    2. I was dissapointed by Rubio as well, which is usual.NRA gave himover 3 million$. The kids went to the state capital and most of the legislaters (literally) wouldn't see them, I have never written a nasty letter to my state representative until today.

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    3. Yay, Amelia! Every time I think I'm calming down, some foolish politician opens his (it's usually a he) and sets me off again. There are already trolls attacking the Parkland activists - unbelievable!

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    4. check out brian mast's op ed in nytimes!? Incredible and Fl governor banning bump stocks!!

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    5. Thanks for the heads-up on this op ed piece, Amelia. It's excellent!

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  13. A group of teachers at my school were talking over lunch about the absolute shock of Columbine and how things have changed so much since then. A certain numbness has set in and as we hear more and more of these stories and have lock down drills with our 4 - 7 year old students, it no longer seems as if something like this couldn't happen here. Gun control, mental health issues, and a decrease in the amount of violence in games and the media must all be addressed. Your arrangement is lovely.

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    1. I hate to think of 4-7 year olds going through drills like that. Heck, I hate to think of teachers going through that. You're right that the problem is multi-faceted. I've no illusions that there's a single cure for what ails us but some strategies seem more straightforward to me than others.

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    2. 4 to 7 year olds? How on earth do they deal with that drill??

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    3. God only knows, Diana. I've only got vague recollections of the nuclear-alarm drills my own generation was put through in elementary school. This seems worse to me - more real and immediate.

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  14. I hope the upcoming generations have some sense because the people who voted Trump in office do not.

    I am glad the young people from the affected high school are calling Trump out (not least for his idiotic tweets), but it's unconscionable that they are even having to do this.

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    1. My high school years weren't exactly a joy-filled romp but I wasn't burdened by anything like the issues facing these kids. It isn't fair to them, or those that will follow them, to continue the platitudes and do nothing. I don't think they - or any of us - can look to the current tenant of the White House for leadership, however.

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  15. A bit of sunshine through the gloom. I too hope those young almost-voters can mobilize a movement to finally address this insanity.

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    1. They're trying, Kathy! If there's a march in LA, I'm planning to be there.

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  16. Yet another shooting and one wonders will they ever learn but I suppose they won't as these things are forgotten in no time and people continue in the same ways. Your vase brings sunshine though and reminds us all that there are wonderful people out there who appreciate the simple things and care for our planet. Have a good week and don't be too sad, Annette

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    1. With the frequency with which these events now occur here, it's hard to believe they can be shoved under the rug, not that that fact offers any comfort. I'm sticking with the kids on this one - they're the future, not the paid shills of the NRA.

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  17. Hi Kris, I agree with you on all points! And yet, I believe we still need flowers to give us hope and joy while going through this. So I am glad you did you vase, anyway!
    Warmly,
    Christina

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    1. You're right, Christina. We can't allow ourselves to close our eyes to what's good about the world, even at times like this.

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  18. Your flowers are perfect for this time of the year. That vase is a keeper !

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  19. I deeply appreciate your post, Kris, and I do hope that the upcoming generation will be able to demand real change. That said, it will be up to each of us to insist on restoring the sanity so lacking in our 'representative' government. I'd like to say more - I was raised hard right - but it all hurts so much. Just want to add that what scares me most is the culture of mindless violence in a sizable segment of the population - the lack of any real care or compassion for any living thing, especially their fellow humans. It's gotten so much worse with access to real political power.

    Anyway, I should also add that your vase is beautiful, and both vase and post are a lovely tribute...

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    1. I appreciate your concerns, Amy. While I'd like to see constructive action now, I know that's unrealistic given the deep-seated paranoia present within the gun lobby, where any regulation is wrongly interpreted to mean gun owners will be unable to protect themselves in their own homes. Convincing the sensible members of that contingent that that's not the intention will take persistence, passion and focus but I've got faith that the majority of the population isn't as foolish as those running the NRA.

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  20. When young people speak up so powerfully for sense and justice to prevail, hope is possible - what a relief, and contrast with so many awful things happening in our world at present. The vase, with its simple and dramatic yellow and white scheme, is beautiful.

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    1. Australia's example in controlling gun violence is in the minds of these kids, Sue. The President is signaling receptivity to change but I've zero trust in him - he took $30M in campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

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  21. I can't watch or listen to anything about a school shooting. It's too real for me. But when the public wants to blame the schools for not 'fixing' the shooter and dealing with all their problems, I want to scream. We are educators, not mental health specialists and can't 'fix' kids whose parents screw them up.

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    1. As the events and the political reaction afterwards have had me vacillating between crying and screaming, I can only imagine the depth of your feelings given how close you are to the situation. The very last people I'd consider in any way responsible for what happened - or for "fixing" it - are teachers. I take comfort in the Parkland kids that have come forward - they're smart; without exception, they've expressed themselves in a balanced and eloquent manner; and their passion, focus and persistence are admirable beyond words. They, not what happened at their school, are the products of great teachers like yourself.

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  22. Kris, the country is still reeling from this horrible shooting. Impossible for me to understand how our country has floundered so far. Arming teachers as the solution is the ultimate insult from these madmen who twist the 2nd Amendment. Thanks for the link to the student's speech. Powerful and hopeful.

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    1. The NRA once supported gun safeguards. It's hard for me to understand how - or why - their mission has become so twisted, Susie. I hope the mainstream membership realizes that the behavior of their leaders has sparked a whiplash that could tank the entire organization as Generation Z emerges.

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