Monday, August 18, 2014

Long Day's Journey...

Dr. Michael Baden's diagram
I cannot stop thinking about the autopsy diagram that was released today. This wasn't close range; this was a guy shooting at someone from a distance. And I can't stop wondering what this cop was thinking as he fired at a clearly unarmed person. This was not Trayvon Martin struggling on the ground with cop-wannabe George Zimmerman. There was no struggle for a gun that precipitated an accidental shooting at that moment. This was someone pointing, aiming, and shooting directly at someone else. How much rage, anger, and fear was pumping through this guy's system when he, a peace officer, emptied his service revolver into this kid? 

Of course, this is the heat of August, prime riot time, when the tempers soar like the mercury in a thermometer. Heat, humidity, stupidity, and swat teams are fissionable ingredients in a chain reaction. It's not like the cops didn't have other "situations" from which they could learn to gauge what happens when stuff like this goes down. But they either weren't paying attention, or they wanted to play with all their new Iraq-leftover para-military toys.

Must we be like all the other kids and use our water cannon on civilians? Hey, Missouri! Are you trying to out-Tahrir Tahrir? Sure looks that way from the video tape.

Face it, there is a pervasive gun culture out there, and if you're not quite sure about that, then why was the cop behaving like one of the James Gang instead of Marshall Dillon? We have created a perception monster that is morphing from fantasy to reality with the help of video-games' I'm-more-macho-than-my-Kevlar-shirt-shoot-first mentality that permeates the air like tear gas. 

That cop shot that kid and all hell broke loose. Surprise! It's a racial thing and everyone in America knows this...even the good ol' folks in Missouri...who are insisting "this is not a race issue."  Yes, it is a human issue, but one cannot dismiss the aspect of race from this conversation.

And in not dismissing the aspect of race in this conversation, maybe someone will finally stand up and say in some official capacity that race is still an issue in this country. The despicable behavior of the House of Representatives for the last 6 years should be proof enough that race is still an issue in this country.

We are heading into the presidential election cycle. You better be damn well prepared for race, racism, sex, sexism, and plenty o' homophobia being issues in this country. 

But right now, at this moment, I have other things on my mind.

The natural end of life has begun its leisurely descent into this house. There is no illness, no cataclysmic event, only the slow, relatively peaceful "wind-down" (or so my father-in-law calls it) of nine+ decades of living. His body is tired. He's achy. He has the tiny appetite of an old guy....which really does mean two bites of whatever and a giant bowl of ice cream. The stairs have now gotten the better of him, and we've moved the senior son's childhood captain's bed into what had been once the living room, then Ziggy's study, and now, a bedroom. I hung lined drapes in the two open arches, and even installed (yes, I used power tools) hold-backs so they're not in the way during the day. I've brought down the Bose wave radio and the assorted accouterments he likes having around.  The coat closet beside the living room now has his shirts and polar-fleece jacket collection. We're getting a health aide to assist with bathing et al for he is a modest man and is not comfortable with the idea of me doing this. Meanwhile, he remains fiercely independent and insists he doesn't want anyone hanging around here all day.

At 93, FIL's still pretty sharp, enjoys a good laugh, but he's napping more and more. He's in relatively good shape, the pacemaker having helped his quality of life tremendously, but he's slowing down perceptibly now. He's okay with the process moving at a natural pace, and I am trying to be okay with him being okay with it.  I encourage him to listen to MPR* more and he makes jokes about forgetting things...only I know that really bothers him a lot when he can't remember the word for lemonade which he loves. I know he's looking forward to being a great-grandfather (yes....that would mean I am going to be a grandmother) and says he will hang out until he sees that baby...but then all bets are off.  

So for now, my job is to continue making sure he's okay, that he gets all the yogurt and ice cream he wants, and that he's engaged in something mentally kitchen updating. You see, I told him he's supervisor-in-charge. He liked that idea. He told me to make all the decisions and he'll supervise the workmen. More likely, he'll get their life stories and repeat them all to me at dinner. 

And I'm okay with that. 

Wifely Person' Tip o'the Week
Being born is fatal; we all die eventually.
No one gets out alive. 

*Minnesota Public Radio - home of The Prairie Home Companion and all things newsworthy.


  1. Your FIL is so lucky to have you to make his last days on earth comfortable, relevant, and, yes, sometimes joyful. So many of our senior citizens don't have that special person in their lives. You're amazing....

    1. Thank you, Lynn; you are very kind. And I know, in circumstances such as these, you would do the exact same thing.