The Abyss of Human Response & The Las Vegas Massacre

This wasn’t the time to stick your flag in the ground and fly it proudly. Unfortunately and predictably, thats what almost everyone did. It seems we live in a society that thrives on people’s opinions being heard and self righteous, boastful ideals being put on display, more so than prioritizing a basic human trait of sensitivity and humanity.

As if the massacre in Las Vegas wasn’t bad enough, how disgusting of a people have we become when the way the average person reacts is running to their side of the crowd, huddling up and playing follow the leader. Let me explain a little more clearly.

The cowardly, evil acts transpired on the night of Oct. 1 2017, and before Oct. 2nd turned my calendar, every social media or news outlet was filled with people who were attempting to state their case and dig their flag deeper in the ground. The Republicans or people who identify with the “right” attempting to preserve their guns and the rite to have them. The Democrat side of things or people who identify with the “left” rummaging to bash the media for not calling this a ‘terrorist’ attack because the shooter was white.

I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life to call myself a human. Listen, 58 souls died that night and guess what? All of them didn’t side with your political party, all of them didn’t have agendas that leaked out their nose. The majority of them weren’t like you.

But..

All of them most certainly had families. All of them were dads, moms, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces, nephews, cousins. You get the point.

Or do you?

I’m not so sure the average person does anymore. Human’s revolting recital to act like an insensitive blob of thoughtless flesh has proven beyond astounding to me. How did we get here? When mass amounts of innocent people are killed by a madman, and as humans we just use the event as a pawn in our chess game to further agendas.

It’s disgusting, unacceptable and reality.

Do you care so much about what others think about you and your political stances that you gladly will use someone’s disaster as your benefit? These are questions EVERYONE needs to start asking themselves. In an honest, humbling manner. What are we as humans if we walk over dead corpses only to gain ground for our beliefs, political gains, and the idea of false-self fulfillment? The answer is quite simple actually, we’re not humans at all .

I understand there is a perception now that you as a person, are so important. So you flock to social media because you must be heard. But the reality is your not important. These victims are and were and you took their precious last moments and reflection/ respect time to walk all over them and spew your prideful ideals out of your selfish mouths. Is it too much to ask the average person to put aside their own motives and be sensitive to people’s lives and the families of the victims? I fear the answer is an astounding, despicable yes.

To the very few I saw respecting the victims, thank you. You are a light in a very dark place. To the majority who plainly showed zero respect, I would say shame on you, but you obviously lack the ability to feel shame.

Below are the majority of identifiable victim’s names, DOBs, and gender. Please spend some time in prayer or solitude for the families of these souls. To us they are just names, to their loved ones, they are so much more than we could ever imagine:

  • Ahlers, Hannah Lassette — 6/2/1983 Female
  • Alvarado, Heather Lorraine — 9/20/1982 Female
  • Anderson, Dorene — 4/16/1968 Female
  • Barnette, Carrie Rae — 12/16/1982 Female
  • Beaton, Jack Reginald — 12/10/1962 Male
  • Berger, Stephen Richard — 9/30/1973 Male
  • Bowers, Candice Ryan — 8/10/1977 Female
  • Burditus, Denise — 6/5/1967 Female
  • Casey, Sandra — 11/1/1982 Female
  • Castilla, Andrea Lee Anna — 9/29/1989 Female
  • Cohen, Denise — 8/2/1959 Female
  • Davis, Austin William — 6/20/1988 Male
  • Day Jr., Thomas — 10/29/1962 Male
  • Duarte, Christiana — 8/7/1995 Female
  • Etcheber, Stacee Ann — 2/26/1967 Female
  • Fraser, Brian S. — 8/20/1978 Male
  • Galvan, Keri — 8/20/1986 Female
  • Gardner, Dana Leann — 7/6/1965Female
  • Gomez, Angela C. — 12/26/1996Female
  • Guillen, Rocio — 12/20/1976 Female
  • Hartfield, Charleston — 5/16/1983Male
  • Hazencomb, Christopher — 9/27/1973 Male
  • Irvine, Jennifer Topaz — 6/6/1975 Female
  • Kimura, Teresa Nicol — 3/24/1979 Female
  • Klymchuk, Jessica — 5/1/1983 Female
  • Kreibaum, Carly Anne — 12/9/1983 Female
  • LeRocque, Rhonda M. — 8/29/1975 Female
  • Link, Victor L. — 9/7/1962 Male
  • Mclldoon, Jordan — 10/6/1993 Male
  • Meadows, Kelsey Breanne — 6/26/1989 Female
  • Medig, Calla-Marie — 8/8/1989 Female
  • Melton, James — 8/2/1988 Male
  • Mestas, Patricia — 7/25/1950 Female
  • Meyer, Austin Cooper — 9/18/1993 Male
  • Murfitt, Adrian Allan — 7/5/1982 Male
  • Parker, Rachael Kathleen — 12/16/1983 Female
  • Parks, Jennifer — 1/18/1981 Female
  • Parsons, Carolyn Lee — 12/28/1985 Female
  • Patterson, Lisa Marie — 6/26/1971 Female
  • Phippen, John Joseph — 10/25/1960 Male
  • Ramirez, Melissa V. — 11/29/1990 Female
  • Rivera, Jordyn N. — 7/22/1996 Female
  • Robbins, Quinton — 3/21/1997 Male
  • Robinson, Cameron — 1/1/1989 Male
  • Roe, Tara Ann — 9/1/1983 Female
  • Romero-Muniz, Lisa — 5/19/1969 Female
  • Roybal, Christopher Louis — 10/9/1988 Male
  • Schwanbeck, Brett — 1/31/1956 Male
  • Schweitzer, Bailey — 4/5/1997 Female
  • Shipp, Laura Anne — 5/9/1967 Female
  • Silva, Erick — 8/19/1996 Male
  • Smith, Susan — 8/24/1964 Female
  • Stewart, Brennan Lee — 2/19/1987 Male
  • Taylor, Derrick Dean — 9/25/1961 Male
  • Tonks, Neysa C. — 7/27/1971 Female
  • Vo, Michelle — 1/10/1985 Female
  • Von Tillow, Kurt Allen — 12/4/1961 Male
  • Wolfe Jr., William W. — 10/15/1974 Male

 

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Hurricane Irma

I currently am in the midst of Hurricane Irma. The rain is smashing against the windows and the wind, whistling seamlessly through the air.. I’m not sticking around for the worst of it though. I’m leaving for work in a few hours. I just wanted to document a little of this experience.

First and most importantly, Lindsey and the kids are safe about 6 hours north of here. They left yesterday morning while I was getting off shift work. We live in Kingsland, GA. We are very close to the coast and in the early days of this storm, the experts were reporting the eye was going to come right through here. Thus, we were under mandatory evacuation.  Since, Irma has changed its track and is currently hovering over the west coast of Florida.

My dad was down here visiting and had to book an emergency flight up to the safe north. So I picked him up and headed towards the airport. He was staying on Amelia Island or more specifically, right on Fernandina Beach. Dad said he wanted to stop at the beach to take a picture. To my surprise, it was extremely windy and the waves were about 6 feet high already. This was Saturday, Sept. 9 at about 9AM. The strength of this storm is amazing.

I came home and “prepared” our house as best as possible. Bringing in our grill, chairs, little stuff like that. Arriving home and driving through our neighborhood, I saw many houses boarded up. That gives off such an eerie feeling. Like an alien invasion was imminent. Anyways, yesterday I spent most of the day just relaxing, going for walks and keeping an eye on the storm. You know, taking it all in I’m a weather nerd, so as scary as this storm is, it’s equally intriguing to me.

I’ve kept the TV on to stay in the know. We don’t have cable, but some nice person is mirroring the weather channel live feed on YouTube. So that’s been great. Watching the destruction of the keys and Cuba has been very thought-provoking, though. Seeing devastation like this really puts things in perspective. Nature has a way of doing that for me.

Overnight, my sleep was interrupted numerous times by hard rain against our windows. When silence fills your home, I guess any noise is loud. That rain sounded violent. At one point around 3AM, I went outside. it was rainy, breezy and cool. Just my type of weather.

Today (Sept. 10) would be day 2 I guess. The storm is starting to pick up. The rain is coming down hard and the wind warrants a serious foretelling.  Hopefully everyone reading this is safe. I leave for work in a little bit and know we are possibly in for a long shift. Like I mentioned, this is only the beginning, but it looks as if Irma is delivering on the promises that a serious storm brings.

Tomorrow (Monday, Sept 11) is predicted to be the worst day for our area. Here’s to hoping it won’t be too bad and no one gets hurt. Make sure your loved ones are safe and take care of yourself.

See you on the other side.

40th Anniversary of Close Encounters

Today marks the 40th anniversary of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” Spielberg’s masterwork about UFO’s, obsession, and conspiracy. One of my favorite movies ever released. A theatrical release is also slated to start today through Wednesday, Sept 6!

So many interesting tidbits are coming to surface today regarding production, etc.

Here is one my favs from sci-fi 

“In the movie, the mothership lands, and then the little aliens start coming out. But as it was originally planned, they were supposed to come out and then sort of float around,” Alves says, still a bit bummed he couldn’t make the creatures fly around his massive set. “Flying all those kids would have been very, very difficult. And as it was, to begin with, the set was so big that we had 48 arcs up on that terrace and all these photo floodlights. It was just really, really complicated.”

The next idea was to have “little cuboids of light” fly all over the place. “The little cube things we had on wires, so there were little square lights flying by,” he recalls. “That became too much, so we killed that, too. Today we could do it with CGI. We would have flown the kids and gotten a green screen, put them in a layer and the same thing with the cubes.”

 

Unbelievable stuff. Please read the whole article though. If your interested in Close Encounters, its fantastic.

Put Your Phone Down Today

We have a big problem in the world. We don’t look around anymore. We just look down. Today, more than any day, please look up and admire the amazing, once in a lifetime event that is a full solar eclipse. (I shouldn’t have to twist your arm).

It will be much more amazing than your cell phone.

Here is a great video from ‘Smarter Everyday’ to get you ready:

 

The Search for Silence

Our minds are poisoned. I hate being so pessimistic but it’s true.

Whats even more heartbreaking? I’m not totally sure were at fault. A combination of the times we live in and the attractiveness of things. If you take a step back and look at your life, you’ll very clearly see a picture of static surrounding you. What is that static you ask? One word I came to find: Noise.

Noise could come in many variations: sounds, screens, opinions, jobs, motives, goals, etc. Really, you name it, it could turn into noise. Believe it or not a bunch of our time is spent in noise. Noise controls, surrounds and for the most part, dictates us. Whether we agree with that notion or not, noise is a constant companion to our lives.

In our homes, we turn on our televisions. In our cars, we turn on the radio. When we exercise, we put on our headphones. Even when waiting in elevators or on hold with customer service, sound fills the void. I challenge you to find an area in your everyday life where you achieve peace and quiet. Report back, please. I promise you the task is sadly difficult.

That’s where the search for silence started for me: the realization that tranquil, calming moments were strangled by a stronger force. I started to see how routine noises had become, how it seeped into my life. And unfortunately, how it didn’t seem to bother me much.

You know, sometimes life has a way of swooping you up and turning the volume on so loud that we forget what no volume is like. Truth is, I can’t say I really miss the silence because as much as I think I’ve experienced it, I haven’t. Neither have you. Think about it. There is so much noise surrounding us. So much clutter, and so much distraction. Maybe it’s because I’m a minimalist at heart but all of this noise was an overwhelming force I had little control over. That bothered me.

A lightbulb then sparked: my quiet was gone, my God given rite to tranquility stolen. Like stillness was something I used to hear about. Like a distant relative that you don’t see any more, that doesn’t come to any family parties. I started thinking very intently about the sense of silence and about what benefits moments of quiet brings. Here’s a crazy thought exercise: What would the world be like if we all had a designated time of quiet? What changes would spark? What realizations as a people would we come to?

One of the biggest realization for me was taking control of my time. I don’t have to live a life of distractions and unnecessary detours. Although it doesn’t always feel like this: I am empowered to choose. The problem is, choosing is hard. Because habits are hard to break, especially bad habits. I started to focus on my bad habits. Social media…noise. Radio……noise. Podcasts……noise. Sports…….noise. I’m not saying all these had to go. But balance had to be achieved. My scale was way out of whack.

Like I mentioned earlier, all of our quiet to noise ratio is overwhelmed by the latter. We just don’t realize it. We’re overpowered and unaware of the noise. That really got me thinking. If I’m so out of balance, it’s impossible to see what I’m missing.

So, what am I missing? Are there benefits? Benefits to having quiet in our lives? Or did silence go by the wayside for a reason. Was it unconsciously chalked up as unnecessary?

Is time worth spent searching for silence?

Well, I deemed yes and i’ve started searching for ways to achieve silence. It meant breaking habits and routines. It meant odd, long spaces of nothing. It meant unnatural long pauses of quiet. It meant many bonfires by myself and long quiet walks. It honestly meant going out of my comfort zone and all I’m used to.

What I’ve found thus far has been startling, though.

I want to talk about focus and reflection a little bit. When I started quieting down elements I sensed something creeping back into my life. Something that was there, but much harder to achieve. I’m talking about focusing. I’m unsure if I’ve been a clearly focused, but knocking down the distraction of noise has helped tremendously.

Looking deeper though, it seemed most of my noise came from my wanting of content. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but I really wanted to know what I was missing in those time blocks of noise. I found that when left to just silence, I was reflecting on my past a whole lot more. Not in a depressing manner, but in a pro active learning objective. This was super interesting to me.

The focus and reflection I achieved that resulted from times of quiet where astounding and equally priceless to me. That’s an amazing notion, huh? That we could possibly produce something priceless with no worldly amount tagged on. In this case, my priceless product of silence was focus and reflection. I was able to think more clearly because I felt so much more in tune with myself. That made sense to me. Connecting with myself was an inability before, now it seems more reasonable based on reflection time in silence.

Of course, It goes without saying that I’m still in the very beginnings of this exercise, but what I’m finding is eye opening and demands personal documentation, in my opinion.

At the end of the day, what are we as a people if we don’t think, focus and reflect? I think piling on so much noise that prohibits silence is an extremely hazardous that equates to us being a whole lot less human as a society.

I fear the value of true, unobtrusive, calming, personal quiet time is fading softly into a dark sea. What I fear even more is that no one even flinches. Like throwing a life jacket is too much of a hassle. Personally, if I lose my quiet time, I lose myself and thoughts with it. Over the past few months, I’ve become aware of how valuable quiet time can be. It can be an escape in times of crisis. It can be as comforting as a warm blanket or as soothing as a hot cup of tea. The truth is silence is what you make it. But you can’t make anything from what you can’t find.