Thoughts for a Friend

Helping someone can be awkward. You don’t know what to say or do. You question your motives or whether you should get involved at all. Being a friend is about being there. Almost like a marriage: in sickness and in health; in good times and bad. That is how one should be with a true friend. It’s a difficult task.

My friend is in a dark place. Her life is shattered in many ways. The reasons are many and it happened over a very long time. I learned tonight that she is in need of professional help. She’s barely getting through a day. I can feel her pain. There is not much I can do – except just be there. I;ve been doing a lot of listening, but I realize her problems are so complex that I can;t begin to really be of any productive help. She feels alone and lost.

I know deep inside, she’ll find that place where she was long ago when she was a strong, vibrant person with love and laughter in her heart. She has lost that person. Perhaps with the right help, she’ll rediscover who she is and start anew.

I wish I could have helped her more a long time ago; but I did not know the trauma she was experiencing. I wonder if I was truly her friend because I did not know her pain. Some things are so deep, we do not share them even with the closest of friends. In sickness and health; in good times and bad. I will be there for her on the other side of her pain.

Brace Yourself

Americans will line up for and against the recommendations promised by Vice President Joe Biden and his gun violence task force even before the recommendations start leaking out. While a holistic approach to dealing with violence in society is called for, it’s likely the lobbyists and marketing campaigns on both sides of the many issues surrounding violence will lead to another stalemate. Either nothing will happen or we’ll be left with watered-down laws, guidelines or recommendations that will do nothing to stop or prevent violence.

The scene from the 1995 film “The American President” comes to mind: Sydney Ellen Wade played by Annette Bening is arguing with her boyfriend,  President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas: Sydney lost her lobbyist job because the President played politics with an environmental bill she was pushing in favor of a crime bill:

	What do you think went on here today?

She stops.

	I know exactly what went on here
	today. I got screwed. You saw the
	poll, you needed the crime bill,
	you couldn't get it on your own,
	so I got screwed.

	The environment got screwed. Nothing
	happened to you today, Sydney.
	Governing is choosing. Governing is
	prioritizing. I've made no secret of
	the fact that the crime bill was my
	top priority.

	Well then, congratulations. It's
	only taken you three years to put
	together crime prevention legislation
	that has no hope of preventing crime.

Ouch - that argument may come to life. There is always hope that issues ranging from better mental health care and reporting of mental health problems 
to cutting violence in movies, TV, games, etc., will be addressed in addition to the hot potato of banning certain weapons and high-volume ammo magazines.
The sound bite from National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne Lapierre about only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun is 
over simplistic. Today, NRA President David Keene criticized Biden and President Obama over their anti-gun violence efforts, calling it a political project 
(USA Today). And the recommendations are not even out yet. It appears the NRA will never give an inch and believes we should live in a society
where everyone is armed. How many more children, mothers, fathers, grandmas and grandpas have to be gunned down in a twisted cry for attention
before we take away the guns and start addressing the need for violence? The questions are deeply disturbing and difficult to solve. To simply
arm everyone is certainly not the answer.