The grass is greener…

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I had a wonderful winter vacation in the city that never sleeps: New York City. Yes, people everywhere in a hurry to get somewhere. Nobody sees you, nobody talks to you but there are more opportunities to interact with others: at the store, at the subway, the park, with the taxi driver, the doorman, anyone. And everyone walks firmly and hurriedly. Everyone appears to have no time to waste. I loved the diversity, everyone came from another country, I did not meet one American born person there. The diversity is so large you learn from so many different cultures and countries. All the accents, the different cultures and all the races, you can never get bored. The noise, the constant honking of cars, the bad city smell, the cold weather, the rain (no snow this year), all of it was wonderful and exciting. Why did I like it so much? Well perhaps because here in California there’s none of it. Nobody walks in LA. Just like the song. Everyone keeps driving, people are more patient as we have learned we have no choice when stuck in traffic and well, the weather is always sunny and appealing consequently we can’t complain too much.

California has been my home since I came to the USA in the late 80’s. I didn’t think California was too different from what I used to know, I lived in a beach town before and so coming to Santa Barbara was similar in a way. Then I moved to Los Angeles (Glendale to be exact), and yes there’s some diversity but you mostly meet people from the same 2-3 countries that have immigrated here. You get used to it and don’t get curious anymore. And traffic was something else too, many cars, many long lines sitting in traffic but I learned to cope with it and be patient. Always safe in my car, socializing is minimal in California going long distances have been the norm, commuting to work every morning. After work, my neighborhood is so quiet, and now that I moved a little further east from Los Angeles, it’s so quiet at night. If we want to do anything we better get out before 7pm. People go to sleep so early in CA. So whenever I travel to NYC because is so contrary of what I know here, it attracts me and that’s what I like now: the noise of the city. I like that it’s 11 pm at night and I can go out for a drink or something to eat and it won’t be scary or lonely, it will be crowded.

We tend to like what we don’t have. The phrase the grass is always greener on the other side is so very true and it can be applied in most areas of our lives. The other job, the other family, the other car, I could go on and on. Why is that? Well, because we become accustomed to things. We get in a routine and whenever we can get out of the routine, it’s attractive. It’s special. So that’s why we love to vacation, because we can break away from the day to day predictability. Yes. I still think I may like the city more than the country side but if I lived in the city I would probably complain about the noise or the crowds and then I would take a vacation to a nice beach town where’s no noise, where everyone goes to sleep by 8pm. That’s human nature, and is good to know this so whenever I want something else I can remind myself of what’s like when I take a vacation. Then I can ponder a little longer before deciding if I really want that other thing that I don’t have or if I can water the grass a little more…

 

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Now what?

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After hearing of yet another shooting it has become apparent that people no longer see it as rare and infrequent. It’s unfortunate that we have come to think of these events as just another tragic situation in our society. We are in a war zone or so it seems, we’re expecting these events to occur at any time anywhere but when it gets so close we get frightened. We worry about our safety and the safety of others. We cannot process why someone would do this. But they have. They did it and we may never truly comprehend their motives. Then we worry what are we doing, as a society? What matters now is how we respond, what we do from now on. I know Americans will not give up their guns and gun control is a very sensitive issue in this country. But the reality is pretty simple: it is too easy to arm yourself with weaponry and enough ammunition to go into a battlefield. Not one person needs that many bullets for self-defense. Really.

The argument of the right to bear arms was appropriate and reasonable over 100 years ago. I do not believe it makes sense now. People killing others have become so easy that very few people are actually using their guns for self-protection or for leisure pursuit. These people buying rifles and all kinds of weapons are not going to the shooting range for fun; they are going into public places to murder innocent bystanders for no worthy reason. It is heartbreaking, inconceivable and it has to stop.

Prayers will truly not end this situation. We are getting into a civil war zone. Are we expecting everyone to carry guns when they go out now? But not one person had a gun to defend themselves at the recreation center this time. What if they did? How many mass shooting turned out better by having other people with guns there? How that last shooting would look like? More death? More blood? More misery and discontent? I doubt it would have avoided the massive attack. I doubt less death would have been the result. People have to start making the change. No more violence. More education, more prevention, more support for mental health, more background checks for all and less emphasis on having a gun at home. Having a gun isn’t a right you need to fight for. Having access to mental health services is a right to fight for. Having access to resources and protection is a right you have to fight for. Having your workplace be safe is a right to fight for. Going out in the street and feeling safe is a right to fight for. Having our family be safe is your right, fight for it! Safety is your right. Safety is worth fighting for, not gun ownership.