The New Normal

From the August 11 Sierra Vista Herald, our local paper:

…the shooting is the most recent in a spat [sic: should be “spate”] of violent crimes in and around Sierra Vista, beginning with the arrest of Usef Simmons, 23, after police said he broke into a home and attacked a man with a rock…the next couple days saw the arrest of Nathaniel Jaramillo, 22, after police said he opened fire on a vehicle with two occupants outside a party…on July 24, Theodore Ramos, 17, slashed the throat of a 76-year old man, killing him, after the man answered the door at his home, then proceeded to rape the victim’s 72-year-old wife….two men were killed after being stabbed to death at a party outside of town…citizens should be wary of bears and other wildlife displaced by the Monument fire…law seeks crackdown on bullying but some see the changes too intrusive…cops avoid meth busts because they can no longer afford to clean up toxic waste generated by labs after federal government cancelled programs that provide money to help local agencies dispose of seized labs….

And this is just my little town. The rest of the world? Too depressing to discuss here—but trust me, it’s coming to your town too.

So when people tell me to just be happy, think positive, see the good, meditate, pray—I nod my head and say, uh, OK. I envy those who can zone out for 12 hours in front of a video game or remain oblivious to the future as if it won’t affect them. They are happy and I am not. Someone explained the Facebook game “Farmville” to me the other day and I can’t believe “adults” are playing this, as it sounds like something preschoolers might enjoy. If you want to feed animals so much, why don’t you go volunteer at a shelter? Adopt a cat or dog? I don’t understand how people can not be affected by our world, though I am constantly being told I need to get over it. This is my world too. I can’t become politically correct or stick my head in the sand just because that’s the trend.

Was it only a few years ago I loved thrift shops? Perfume, earrings, makeup, nail polish, shoes? I can’t even remember that last time I went into a Dollar Store, much less a mall, movie theater, or restaurant. My life is focused on keeping the power on and the water running. I never pay anything until I get a shut-off notice. Animal adoptions are way down, practically nonexistent. Hanging onto our homes is our main concern—a million foreclosures in the US last year should be a clear sign how fragile our infrastructure is.

A new word just went into the dictionary I sometimes work on, “swirlie.” A prank that involves dunking someone’s head in a flushing toilet bowl.  A PRANK? Is bullying so commonplace now that we consider this a mere prank? This is the kind of stuff that makes kids jump off bridges. How accepting we have become to violence and abuse. Another day, another war—whether personal or political, it’s the new normal.

If you answer your door without a gun within your reach, then do so at your own risk.

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25 responses to “The New Normal

  1. Your last sentence says it best. Today that should be the norm. BUT a word of caution: be sure the caliber is big enough to stop someone cold right there, and if you’ve not been trained, get some. In particular, learn how to keep the bad guy from taking your own gun from you, and then likely using it to kill you. Consider a secondary weapon. I have two strategically placed knives in different locations inside if they get through me.

    • Hi Al, good to hear from you, and thank you for additional info. I’ve taken lessons at our local women’s gun club and practice regularly, but you’re right that you can’t have too much training for all possible variables. We have several informal local ranges where residents are allowed to practice, even cops and BP use them. I have a .25 cal (8 + 1) Beretta which is sufficient at short range and my goal is to be as comfortable with it as I am with my camera. Classes are important for learning lawful use of your weapon as well as safety and skill.

  2. I agree with your thoughts Debra. There are those of us who see & understand the reality of what is going on & there are those who prefer to remain cloistered in their seemingly safe, secure & narrow visioned comfy little cocoons filling their heads with lots of wondrous cutesy positive thoughts & sayings. Many wear blinders & prefer to see things how they would like life to be & not how things actually are. Many folks cannot & will not accept the truth of reality. Every once & awhile I ‘lightly’ touch on this subject in my blog & of course it always raises the hackles of some readers & one fellow blogger who in particular would of course disagree with any of my opinions no matter what they were. But, those are the realities & people are who they are & will believe whatever they want to believe to make themselves comfortable in their own little security bubbles.

    • Hi Al, wish I had a cocoon, guess I could make one out of tumbleweeds, recycled scrap metal, and litter. The 19-year-old we have staying here played his video game for 15 hours straight yesterday. Today we made him drive up to the Huachucas with us and had him sit in the front seat to look at the scenery. He was on his smartphone almost immediately. Finally after an hour of this I told him I was going to throw it out the window.

      OK that’s the young version of blinders. We have plenty of the old version here too—the ones that say “everything’s fine, it’s not their fault.” So when do people ever have to take responsibility for themselves and their world? Never?

  3. Debra I have to remain on the side that believes it’s not as bad as it seems. If only because I can’t believe the human race is moving towards unconscionable behavior. I still believe that the majority of us are good, young and old. I think it’s a result of population, economy, opportunity and education. Can we fix those things?, Maybe, Do we want to as a country? I hope so. Does everyone need to arm themselves and answer the door with a loaded weapon? I don’t think so, but maybe it depends where you are. I carry a gun with me when I go camping, but I have never used it. It just makes me more comfortable to have it. I don’t know if I’ll ever use it, but I know if I do it will be fatal for the person I use it on. It will be my word against a dead man’s. The theory of justice in the Old West. But it won’t be without a conscience, because most of us have one. And one other thing, the newspapers aren’t going to waste their time telling feel good stories. They’re having enough trouble selling newspapers as it is.

    • Hi Len, maybe a lot of our outlook depends upon our financial/employment situation. No matter what people say, money actually does buy a certain amount of happiness.

      I know there are good people but they are beaten down every day, whether you can endure it depends a lot on your personality too. My friend who is heavily involved in animal rescue back east is way more depressive than I am, and another woman I didn’t know personally in Virginia finally took a needle and euthanized HERSELF.

      It does depend on where you live too. I had a tweaker who was renting a trailer in my neighborhood come through my gate last year (the one with all the Beware of Dogs signs) with my dogs snapping and barking all around him to ask me for money. His face was twitching and he scared the shit outta me. When my dogs start frantically barking at night I pay attention.

      I think a lot of Americans don’t want to fix things because it might offend someone. Look at the horrible names people who want to fix things are called.

  4. I am I think, completely clueless as to what is reality for most people. Do I understand stand famine. No. Do I understand the fear of living where drive-by shootings are common occurrence. No. It would be truly foolish for me to believe I could. I can educate myself, be more sensitive. I will never understand the fear of some else. I can understand, however, someone choosing to survive against circumstances that they did not put themselves into.

    Pssssst, ‘D’, don’t shoot, it’s me Hudson.

    • Hi Hudson, in many neighborhoods we become suspicious and fearful but it’s the only way to stay safe. Save the trusting for those you know are not out to harm you. No I don’t know famine either—but we should never be complacent about our future.

  5. Hey Darlin –

    Life as we knew it even 25 years ago has and continues to change. I don’t know if anyone can really offer an overall reason for why things have changed, perhaps it’s just simply the moral values of a generation that we were never a part of. If we attempt to force change in today’s world, we are met with those who feel that change isn’t needed and all is well. If we attempt to change to even slightly conform to what we don’t fully understand then someone is telling us we’re doing that wrong. I think this has been going on so long, there are people who are so confused and frustrated that they feel future attempts to change is futile. What’s left ? …. For many, it might seem almost apocalyptic, where everyone is out for themselves and let their neighbor fend for themselves.

    Wouldn’t it be a shame if things continue along these lines…maybe the movies and the biblical theories of the apocalypse are not that farfetched after all? Time will tell!

    Strap on your gun and let’s go !

    • Hi Cowboy, I never thought I’d see the day when I sound like an old person, but this isolation from real life that’s so prevalent now really disturbs me. I don’t know if it’s a morals issue or like Al said above, wearing blinders. Either way, bad things flourish and when people try to change it they get slammed.

      I can’t help but think sometimes how easy it would be to force a country or even a planet into either servitude or the stone age.

  6. I understand completely, Debra. I have hog legs and shotguns within easy reach here on the ranchito. I keep the front gate locked. ‘Tis a pity, but it is reality.

    • Hi Jack, well damned if I didn’t just learn a new term (hog legs).

      Gates closed, signs posted, guns loaded, and six dogs with ears, noses, and mouths a thousand times more sensitive than mine. Sorry to report that’s how we live here, but yeah it’s reality. I’ve started planting prickly pear pads all along my fencing too.

  7. The problem is as you have said, ‘am stuck’. Stuck must be one of worst feelings. The feeling of helplessness. Mental or physical the feeling can be so over whelming -Black as Black. You’re right we shouldn’t be complacent, yet sometimes things happen regardless. I sometimes worry that we become to broken to fix. If is everything fixable?

  8. I understand the perceptions with this. How can you fight it? I don’t know, but you are doing good things for people in your world and for yourself, you can work to ignore the bad parts in the world, but don’t put on blinders…

  9. I like what Carl just wrote, “but don’t put on blinders”.

    The bad parts do trouble most. Yet most, think and feel powerless. I had the Canadian National News on just a second ago. Here is a brief run down of the first three stories -In Vancouver one man is dead after the car in which he was in was sprayed with automatic gunfire (suspected to be gang related) -In Barrie, man on vacation is stabbed to death in front of his family at mini putt after approaching a group of rowdy youths -In Toronto man charged with the stabbing death of his infant son.

    • I sure am seeing a theme here…male youths. When I was in high school everybody was growing their hair long and pretending to be intellectuals! It was great…we thought we knew everything but our adventures were never about violence. No phones, computers, or cable TV…we partied with wine and weed…and…seems silly now…guitars. There was plenty of sex going on but we were smart enough to figure out how to not get pregnant (which amazes me now with all that’s available they still don’t get it) and this was before AIDS. I don’t know why young men are in such a rage. Because the world sucks and they know it?

  10. Your world is so much different than mine. I’d like to think I could stay insulated forever but know that is just too unreal. You are living life beyond the edge. It’s still surprising to me to see life as it really is where you live.

  11. It is indeed a disturbing world; sometimes I wonder how people cope with the tragedies that are visited upon them.

    • JL, I don’t know how they cope. I think many people (like me) are walking around traumatized and feeling sick all the time. Others don’t give a shit. I wish I was one of those.

  12. Why does it bother me?

    I totally understand you being pissed off. I blogged about the riots in London and across the UK, from people I don’t know, I got ‘likes’ and emails, and from MY FRIENDS, well they told me to chill out, to not worry because I am not based in the UK any more. Like turning a blind eye to what people are doing to other people solves it. It is this dismissive attitude that allows people to behave in such a disgusting fashion, and by ‘ignoring’ it, encourages others to pick up, where those others left off. As for the violence you have reported in your home town, when did the world get so sick? I just don’t understand the mind set of people who act like that? Seriously how far down the path do you have to go to think that, that is EVER going to be considered normal or cool or OK?

    • Hi WDIBM, I don’t know anymore. I read everything you write but I didn’t comment on the London riots because I don’t feel qualified to. It makes me sick. And that UK police don’t use guns, is that true?

      We are beset by similar problems here. More and more violent “flash mobs” are attacking groups of people around the US. They form quickly by texting and Facebook, then gather in groups of 30 to hundreds and go wild on innocent people. They don’t even get caught it all happens so fast.

      It’s affecting my health and I don’t know what to do. It’s a sick fucking world.

  13. Wild Bill’s line, “to see life as it really is” that is such great line. It is so gut-wrenching and causes such angst when the mean world hinders the noble world as it has. There are two worlds, right?

    • Yes Hudson I think so, but also another world of beings who just exist without contribution. Neither good nor bad, just taking up space, eating animal meat, using trees for toilet paper, creating garbage, breeding themselves. I guess we should just be happy they’re not on crystal meth besides.

  14. Oh, they live where you do, as well. It is small world(s) after all.

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