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Christmas in St Vincent and the Grenadines over the years have been an idyllic symbol of life in paradise so having a Christmas Day with floods, death and mourning was unthinkable until today.Eight persons are confirmed dead so far; I am writing this blog at 6:45 PM on Christmas Day. Residents living between Layou and Prospect are to expect no running water in their homes before Saturday December 28, 2013. sixty two persons are homeless, five persons are still missing and there are about five other persons who have sustained injuries.

Vincy Christmas Day 2013

 

This all started with those iconic words “the night before Christmas”. It was at that time yesterday, Christmas Eve that rains started pouring. The villages to the north of the island seemed to have been most critically damaged or devastated.

The overflowing of the rivers became the driving force of the havoc and displacement that have been experienced. A river in Vermont overflowed its banks and flowed into the streets. It further invaded the homes of residents and swept away household items such as clothing, appliances and Christmas amenities.

The Buccament Beach Resort was damaged very badly. In fact, one of its female employees was washed away in the night and her body recovered early Christmas morning.

The capital city of Kingstown was not spared the raves of its rivers, with many streets and businesses being gutted by persistent waters. There was an early report of a vehicle being washed away along the North River Road in the vicinity of the Kingstown Catholic Church.

Elsewhere on the island other vehicles suffered a similar fate as vicious rivers overtook pathways and roads on their unstoppable journey to the Caribbean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean.

The main hospital, the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital was flooded as well and some information indicated that there were patients who had to be relocated from some wards.

The sole functioning airport, the ET Joshua airport in Arnos Vale had to be closed until mid day on Christmas Day because of the flooding of the compound as well.

One of the truly sad events was when a landslide came crashing down on a house in the leeward village of Rose Bank, killing all five family members inside. Never before had Vincentians have to deal with multiple deaths under such simple circumstances.

And to have it happen the night before Christmas made it even  more painfully unbearable.

There were major landslides in places such as Cumberland, Barrouallie, Park Hill, South Rivers and Georgetown. Many critical bridges on the Windward side were rendered impassable or structurally unsafe for heavy vehicles to use.

A male relative of Prime Minister Dr Hon. Ralph Gonsalves died when a stone rolled into his dwelling house in Park Hill. The Prime Minister happened to have been in London at the time but he rescheduled his return flight to come back home on Boxing Day.

Kingstown

 

This made Christmas a Christmas to remember. All day long Vincentians and relatives were calling in to the on-going interactive radio programmes to share and gather information.

The only other time that the country was traumatized so close to Christmas would have been twenty five years ago, when on December 21, 1988, Vincentian recording artiste Walter Porter died when Pan Am flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 persons on board and 11 on the ground. That tragedy was the work of terrorists who placed a powerful bomb on the plane.

The Christmas carols and music virtually became non existent. What a Christmas Day 2013!

Military coups and other political warfare are generally uncommon in the Eastern Caribbean, but thirty years ago when Bernard Cole and cohorts rebelled against the Maurice Bishop government  in October 1983, killing Prime Minister Maurice Bishop by firing squad, the whole Caribbean sat up with panic in their future expectations.

I was just a child back in 1983 but the event still stands out in my mind. One reason it stands out is that Grenada is my neighbouring country, so that uprising was like bad news coming home.

Another reason it stands out is that my mother had come home after spending the night by a friend, telling of the news footage she had seen on television of the American troops landing during their invasion of Grenada on October 25, 1983.

Thirty years ago few Vincentian families had television so anyone who related TV news or any related experiences were esteemed very highly. The phenomenon of viewing and hearing simultaneously was still a delightful hypnosis.

Maurice Bishop

 

From what I have been able to garner, Mr Bishop had sided with communist philosophies so his government was a good friend of Russia and China. However, even as his country was benefitting from the building of the international airport through communist financial assistance (via Cuba) it seems Maurice Bishop began to sense that looks were deceiving.

He began to have a change of heart and wanted to sever ties with his communist allies. But members of his government such as Bernard Cole and his wife would not entertain any back pedalling on political philosophies.

Effectively, then, Maurice Bishop was thinking of the future welfare of Grenadians rather than any immediate personal gains.

So things came to a head in October 1983. Reports are that Maurice Bishop was overseas when he heard of the planned rebellion against his leadership. He was told not to return to Grenada. One of the main reasons he was in the USA was to beef up support to avert any military upheaval in Grenada.

However, Maurice Bishop was determined to lead from the front and to be on the ground in his country to face whatever crisis was in the pipeline. He flew in unannounced.

He was subsequently arrested as he tried to go about his governing business.

On October 19, 1983, Maurice Bishop and a few members of his cabinet were taken to the colonial fort in the capital city of St Georges.

There he was put in front of a firing squad and shot to death.

His body was taken from the fort but to this day has never been found.

On October 25, 1983, United States President, Ronald Reagan, ordered US military forces to invade Grenada so as to restore democratic rule and governance.

Bernard Cole and his followers were subsequently arrested and prosecuted. They were sent to prison, but given no death penalty.

October 25th is now a public holiday in Grenada to commemorate the invasion for liberation by the US military on the island.

The international airport was renamed in Maurice Bishop’s honour.

You know, five years ago, I was in Grenada. On that particular visit I went to the fort and saw the place where Maurice Bishop last stood alive. It’s an eerie feeling standing in a spot where you know someone as important as a Prime Minister was killed in cold blood.

Some bullet holes and marks are still evident on those fort walls.

In the Caribbean we are washed in so much democratic freedom and civil liberties that we don’t have much connection to civil unrest or death from political struggles. Such things for Caribbean people are really only lived through the movies.

As far as I know, Maurice Bishop has been the only democratically elected leader (Prime Minister) who was killed in office.

And it happened so very near to my home country!

Maurice Bishop and the historical events of October 1983 in Grenada must never be forgotten whether 30 years or 300 years after.

 

choices cover

 

This blog stands on the premise that readers are world changers and Eldon Taylor’s latest book, Choices and Illusions, is a masterpiece which beautifully reinforces the truth in this statement.

Over the lifetime of this blog I have voiced opinions and perspectives on a variety of real life issues and developments which affect the quality of life of all my readers, no matter which part of the world they live. While I have attempted to sift through the labyrinth of issues that represent the maize of life all of us are chosen to walk in life, I have come across a writer who has done a quintessential job of helping the average reader understand how to unlock their real and full potential.

Eldon Taylor’s book reminds me of the treasure maps of yesteryear films which, when followed, lead to a rich trove of endless delights that is the desire of all living people.

The simple truth is that all of the seven billion men, women and children on this planet are searching for their individual happiness and sustainable fulfilment. choices and Illusions is the best human prescription with a universal appeal that I have seen in a very long time.

This is a book that is not only worth your read but also worth your application of the simple and profound ideas indicative of the life changing power of the mind.

Every change in life begins in the mind. that is, if your life is to change then your thinking has to change. One of the things that this book brought back to my consciousness is the scientific knowledge that we use a small fraction of our mind’s powers. If humans have been able to accomplish so much while using so little of their brain power, how much more can we amaze ourselves by unlocking even an additionally small amount of our unused mental capacity!

My message here is simple: you don’t need to incur the loss of an arm and a leg in order to get fairly good advice to make your life better. Just read Choices and Illusions. The only prerequisite is that you approach it and read it with an open mind.

Even though I am an individual with grounded faith and spiritual values, I was refreshingly inspired by Eldon Taylor’s ability to incorporate he potentially controversial religious issues of life into Choices and Illusions. And he did it with charismatic success.

For every child seeking a reason to have self esteem, for every adult who is struggling with intimacy or isolation due to past hurts, failures or rejection—Choices and Illusions is the clearest way to get you to the place where you are fully and freely empowered with no strings attached.

We use gadgets such as our smart phones and tablets without understanding exactly how they are able to do what they do. If we were to get an inside look at their unseen processes and how they achieve their mesmerizing performances, we will love them even more.

Well, that is what Choices and Illusions has done for us. It removes the veil from our subconscious so that we are able to for the first time able to understand what we thought was impossible about the workings of our own brain.

This is critically important for all those of us who are trying to aspire to a new and more meaningful life every day we wake up. We have to be willing to be different. We have to be willing to change. Indeed, we can only change what we believe can be changed! It is a lesson that rings loud and clear in Choices and Illusions.

I choose to end with a quote from actor Sylvester Stallone in one of his Rocky movies. After defeating a Hercules of a Russian boxer, a feat the media thought was impossible, he says quite confidently: “We all can change.”

And that is the message of good hope that I believe Eldon Taylor wants all of us to know from reading his book Choices and Illusions, “WE ALL CAN CHANGE.”

KFC & Our Environment

For quite a few years now I have realized that KFC containers litter our environment from the city to the most remote sceneries. If there is one business entity which should lead the way in safeguarding our environment, it should be KFC.

Their management might say that the company provides adequate litter bins at its fast food joints and it cannot regulate what its customers do with their containers after eating. initially that might be true but KFC is a mega million dollar franchise. It is luxuriously expensive. When I have stood in line and looked at the cashiers being paid for orders, the smallest bill I see is a $20 bill.

Here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, I have said that if you want a quick on-the-ground check to see if people have money to spend, just wander by any KFC restaurant. No matter the time of day, the day of the week, or the season of the year, KFC restaurants always have customers plugging out their $20s, $50s and $100s.

The franchise prides itself on delivering a unique and consistent taste which has propelled its global market share in the fast food industry, It is now time that KFC accepts its corporate environmental responsibility and increase its market share in environmental consciousness.

Because the patrons of KFC transcends all age, race, political and socio-economic classes, the company is really ideally positioned to help educate the population on the importance of keeping the environment clean. Accepting this responsibility will make KFC a humanitarian leader rather than a mere universal supplier of cholesterol and chronic-developing lifestyle diseases.

Since the average Vincentian feels a sense of financial pride in being seen with a box or glass of KFC, they can also feel this same pride in knowing that they are helping to maintain a clean and healthy environment.

So how can KFC go about looking at the man in the mirror and make the change for a cleaner environment? well, for starters, here are a few suggestions:

1. Encourage consumers to recycle. Distribute or set up recycling depots across the island.

2. Gave incentives to customers to bring in their used containers. the incentive might be in the form of a cash refund or it can be a discount for the next KFC purchase.

3. Team up with schools and have a best school or class competition. give attractive prizes such s electronic gadgets, free meals or school supplies. Since many students eat KFC every day, this can be a big hit among adolescents and younger children.

4. Organize and sponsor an official Environmental Awareness Week. By so doing, NGOs and other stakeholders can get on board and help spread the word on cleaning up the environment.

5. Lobby with the legislative to help enact a no littering law or policy, first in the capital and at all official hang out spots and tourist attraction sites.

KFC has the finances, physical assets and legal frame-work to take care of our environment but I am waiting to see if KFC lacks the human backbone to do something about it.

 

huntin

Protesters outside the Florida court house after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the shooting death of unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin

 

Trayvon Martin’s death, followed by the calculated acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman, has become a powerful searchlight on the perennial issues of ethnicity, demographic residence and social stereotyping in the “greatest country” on planet earth.

Like many people, I have been told that prevention is better than cure. No matter your take on this issue, the events of that February 26 evening in 2012 has forever changed the lives of the two individuals and also the rest of the world’s tolerance for racially imbalanced murders.

A professionally trained 911 dispatcher distinctly advised George Zimmerman to desist from following or intercepting Trayvon. George obstinately refused to comply with the instruction.

Now another innocently unsuspecting black youth is dead and will never breathe under the sun again.

Supporters of George Zimmerman are anxious to voice their understanding that George is the person being unfairly treated and even hated in the whole tragedy. They say that Trayvon is the one who started the altercation and the fighting. They say that Trayvon Martin was much taller, faster and stronger than the captain of the elite neighbourhood watch in this gated community, where such good neighbours refused to even show their faces outside upon hearing—what George Zimmerman’s friends say—was their neighbourhood watch captain yelling for help as his head was repeatedly being bashed against the concrete!

I don’t dispute that Trayvon may have passed some blows on George Zimmerman. But if you were a young black person, walking all alone in a neighbourhood where you do not live and you are approached by a mysterious stranger who infers that he thinks you are up to know good, wouldn’t you automatically go in defensive and attacking mode?

What are the words George Zimmerman used to open the dialogue at their ill-fated meeting? Or, did Trayvon spot George Zimmerman stalking him and attempted to tell George to stop following him. That probably happened, along with a not too racially nice comment from George Zimmerman, who for all intent and purposes had already concluded that Trayvon Martin was representative of the undesirable people in his socially upright neighbourhood.

It was probably upon hearing the remark, that the skittles-toting Trayvon Martin decided that he had had enough of strange white adults treating him like an ineligible American citizen. Instead of apologizing, George Zimmerman probably repeated what was said and the rest became a cause for a 911 call.

I believe in this scenario Trayvon did use his comparative advantage and  would have given this neighbourhood watch captain a superior lesson in who and how to watch for alleged suspects. When George realized he had barked up the wrong tree, he went for his gun. At this point Trayvon Martin would have raised his hands and said words to the effect of “you got me”.

An embarrassedly enraged George Zimmerman still pulled the trigger after reflexively pointing the gun at Trayvon Martin’s heart.

Martin Bashir, the famed reporter whose exclusive documentary of Michael Jackson resulted in the arrest and trial of the pop star, has now released a most critically balanced video on the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman hapless meeting.

You can view the video by clicking the url  at the bottom of this blog post.

If only George Zimmerman had been an obedient captain. It is a tragic lesson in learning the importance of following orders before one is elevated to a position of giving orders.

It is ironic that George Zimmerman was acquitted because of an obedient jury who were given a push in that direction by the judge and the evidence which focused only on the mental state of George Zimmerman the moment the trigger was pulled: it was to spare his own life.

How many more must die? How many more must be acquitted because of blind spotting evidence for the sake of following unjust laws written in state law books for the preservation of traditional human welfare?

It seems not likely that George Zimmerman will be able o resume an average Joe’s life but he might be gaining access to silent transactions for works of literature and other productions. We could not prevent George Zimmerman from meeting Trayvon Martin but we had, and still have, a right to make sure no racially clouded murder becomes a speck of oblivion in our history.

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151774324452329&set=vb.102477856463099&type=2&theater

For generations in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Common Entrance Examination was the sole determinant of which primary school children would get a secondary education. In its hay day, only the successful candidates who passed the Common Entrance Examination (CEE) were chosen to attend a secondary school. As there were very few secondary schools, competition was stiff and many primary school children were left without a place in the secondary school system when the new school year began.

The top students in the CEE were automatically selected for the top schools on the island. The top school for boys was the St Vincent and the Grenadines Boys Grammar School. It’s female equivalent was the St Vincent and the Grenadines Girls High School. Both of these schools were—and still are—located in the capital city and adjacent to each other.

The CEE was therefore a life changing event for many children, especially for those who lived in the country side. Once they passed well and were selected for a “town school”, it was a whole new life about to begin. For example, in my own case, my first trip into town on my own was only as a result of passing the CEE well enough to be placed at a secondary school in the town.

I can still vividly recall upon leaving the school premises after school one day during the first week of classes, feeling horrified because I wasn’t seeing the landmarks I had memorized. Luckily, panic gave way to calm as something inside told me to just follow the other students for a while. It turned out the landmarks which I had mentally encoded were on another street farther away from the school.

Forgive my enthusiastic running ahead of myself there. Let me resume the reflection on the topic at hand. Age played a significant role in deciding who would write the Common Entrance Examination. Most of my classmates in Junior 5 (Common Entrance Class, as we called it back then) had two and even three chances to write this exam. Me? I had only one.

So I told myself that I was going to either Form 1 or Senior 1. It was some kind of 1 for me. Now Senior 1 was the next primary school class after Junior 5, occupied by those who either failed the Common Entrance Exam or who were ineligible to write the Common Entrance Exam in the first place.

Besides one’s age, academic ability played a huge role in determining who would end up in the “Common Entrance Class”. As I was usually placing first in my primary school class (and I still have a report from my Junior 4 class to prove it) I was automatically selected to go to the Junior 5A which was the group who would be prepared to write the exam.

And even in this large Common Entrance Class (there were over twenty of us), the teacher split the class into a smaller group 1 and a comparatively larger group 2. Group one was seen as the group with the higher likelihood of passing the CEE.  Although students from both groups would eventually write the exam, only six of us in all passed: two boys and four girls.

My best friend and I were the two lucky boys that year. I can still remember that some days before the exam, he must have seen my worried looks, he said to me,”Ashford, don’t worry, If I pass you are going to pass, too.”

That really cheered me up because I knew he was just as bright as I was. (I was always fortunate in school to experience peer power rather than peer pressure).

In my time in primary school the Common Entrance Exam was sat on the first Friday in May. In my year the date was Friday May 1, 1987. As I lived in the rural Marriaqua valley and attended the Evesham Methodist School, I had to journey to the nearby village of Cane End to write the Common Entrance Exam.

And that was another life changer that the CEE facilitated. It was the first time in my life I would be sitting in a classroom with other students from other schools. You can imagine how utterly foreign I felt, never accustomed to being around strangers and suddenly having  to write the most important exam of my life in a room with strange classmates and equally strange teachers and invigilators.

I wonder if that made some students over the years freeze with fear and failed the exam?

Anyway, I left home bright and early that morning and walked with my older brother through the London short cut over to Carriere, a neighbouring village, through another shortcut called “Bottom Road” and then on to Cane End.

As early as I was, some of my classmates were already there, and that helped a great deal in calming my fears. That day proved to be a very fun day where socializing was concerned. Not that I made any new friends, but that day I discovered those long hot dog sausages that tasted like heaven to me. I remember buying at least three different ones.

That made me fall in love with that school (it was the Marriaqua Secondary School, now called  The St Joseph Convent Marriaqua). I told myself I did want to come to this school and eat hot dogs—if I passed the CEE.

My CEE number was 276. We had four exam papers that day. The first exam began at 9:00 AM and the final exam ended at 2:30 PM.

I think the exam papers were English, Maths, General Paper and Science.

One other thing I must mention about the actual exam day. I had developed the habit of bowing my head and praying before writing an exam (a practice I still follow today). At first, several of my foreign classmates joked and made fun of my silent prayer.

But after a moment I realized the room was very quiet. Thinking that maybe a teacher had entered the room, I opened my eyes, and found much to my surprise that many of the other children had their heads bowed in silent prayer as well.

For some reason that day, the girls from my primary school class ran on ahead of us when we were ready to go home. So I had only the company of my male classmates. It made me sad at first but then I forgot about it as we started to raid and pick mangoes like joke from the many mango trees that we met on our way home. We had taken a longer route home, going through Mesopotamia (also called Mespo), La Croix and then back to Evesham, passing our primary school on the way).

The 1987 Common Entrance Examination results were released on Friday June 19th. I know because up to this day I have a copy of the results which were printed in the sole local newspaper at the time.

I remember on that Friday morning while walking to school a female school mate of mine ran out of her home in a place we called “Tanchin” and said breathlessly to me: “Ashford, you pass! You pass Common Entrance!”

Well that took away all my nerves and fears. She also told me of two other persons from my school who had passed. I never found out how that girl knew I passed but I can only assume that there was an adult in her home who worked with the newspaper or with the ministry of education.

So by the time the teacher got to school with the results, I was no longer afraid about whether or not I had passed. However, that day proved the last day of my primary education because my mother decided it was not productive for me to go back to school after that.

But I can still see in my mind’s eye some of my classmates literally crying because they had failed the exam. I wept inside for them too, because to fail Common Entrance in those days was to fail at getting a secondary school education.

It has been many years since I wrote the Common Entrance Examination. Now this year, 2013, has been the last year the Common Entrance Examination was used. Since the year 2005 every primary school child who wrote the exam was being placed in a secondary school.

It made those of us who had to toil so strenuously feel a bit cheated; however, it is life and it seems many of the present day children do not appreciate this “free ride” to a secondary education. So many of them are unable to read well and still don’t care about how they perform, even though they know they come from poor families.

In our time, we tried hard to make something of ourselves in secondary school because it was clear to us that we had been given an opportunity which many others of our own age never got. But today’s crop of primary school leavers seems content with just  cursing F-words, playing with their electronically expensive gadgets and trying to find somebody to have sex with. My, how times and values have changed!

Finally, in June this year, I was saddened when Iheard the obituary of the man who was my head teacher at the Evesham Methodist School. His name was Bernard Williams. I still have his signature on my report card I mentioned earlier.

Last year he actually visited the church I attend (he was a Gideon and had come to promote the distribution of Bibles), and we had a very memorable talk—going back down memory lane. One of the last things he taught us was a simple poem. He just came into the class, wrote it on the blackboard and then left as suddenly and as quietly as he had entered.

The poem read:

“There are four things that come not back—a sped arrow, a spoken word, a past life and a neglected opportunity—H.E. Longfellow”.

I have never forgotten that poem.

But when I heard his obituary I was also pleasantly surprised that it also said “…better known as ‘Master Willie’ ”.

That was his nickname that we were all terrified to call him. But somehow I believed he smiled from heaven because he realized he was more than that nickname.

Interestingly, one of my primary school classmates who now lives in New York, came across my blog a few days after his death. I told my lost-and-found primary school buddy about our head teacher’s death and we quietly reflected on those good old days.

Oh yes, from next year the Common Entrance Examination is to be replaced by an examination called Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment, the CPEA.

 

 

In July last year  I wrote about a rather spiritually ignorant Hugo Chavez who said his cancer is not going to kill him. “It is not time to die” he had said at the time.

One year later, and many trips to and from Cuba, the same Hugo Chavez is right now battling for his life in Cuba. He is on a respirator, breathing through a hole pierced through his neck.

Not many days ago, our own country’s prime minister participated in a prayer vigil for the recovery of Hugo Chavez. It shows that even his regional counterparts are sensitive on the matter of his mortality and the inevitable end of every man born of a woman.

Below is an extract from Caribbean 360 which shows the critical nature of Mr Chavez’ illness and its political realities on the ground in Venezuela.

“We trust that, with the help of God, we are going to be victorious,” he said. “And that sooner rather than later, we will have our president here.”

The Venezuelan government did not say when Chávez will return home, or whether he will be ready to begin a new six-year term next month.

But Minister of Information Ernesto Villegas said the nation needs to be prepared for all eventualities.

“We trust that, with the love of millions, the Commander will respond quickly and return before January 10,” he said.

“But if not, the nation needs to be prepared to understand it,” he added. “It would be irresponsible to cover up how delicate the situation is now and will be in the days to come.”

Chavez undergoes tracheotomy in Cuba after fourth surgery – Caribbean360

Understanding Adam Lanza

Adam Lanza left home last Friday morning with blood on his hands. He had already done the unimaginable, the publicly inexplicable act. The moment that Nancy Lanza’s face and head joined that of assassinated president John F. Kennedy, there was absolutely no turning back for Adam. In many ways he was being the first of his kind–in his family, his close-knit community and his state of Connecticut. That is a horrendously tragic symbolism with the first Adam who also lived in an idyllic place called Eden.

The whole world reels with the “why” question. But in Adam’s mind the question was never really why but when and how. For the years in his short life he had also asked why to a different type of question. Why was he so lonely? Why was the rest of humanity so distantly uncaring and passive about the inner suffering that he woke and walked with every day?

His next of kin would have been animals and it inflamed his tolerance of people when he saw how cruelly these innocent creatures were being treated and killed by man. So to a large extent, Adam Lanza did not feel comfortable being identified with the human race.

Then throughout the torn affliction of divorce, his seemingly best friend, his mother, in an attempt to stand with him introduced him to a passionate hobby that seemed to magically erase all his mother’s hurt and pain. It was target shooting. His mom on the shooting range was like Michael Jackson when music started playing. The transformation was sudden and it was dynamic.

He, too, began to enjoy the comforting feel of a gun in his hands. He began to see guns as an escape route and their bullets a most mystical pacifier. Wouldn’t his mom prefer to lie happily in the company of these penetratingly friendly bullets rather than face the shameful onslaught of all of apathetic humanity after he had done what he had to do?

He loved his mother too much to consider any other alternative.

Adam Lanza knew the pain inside him was never going to cease until he left. He had seen enough of humanity’s mistreatment and what he considered wanton abuse of all that he saw as his hope for being alive. He concluded he had to somehow find a way to make people understand and feel the hurt he has felt because they have taken away his hope.

So the community of toddlers and those very young children fit neatly it seemed in filling this psychological niche of his. There is no force like the power of a made up mind and so Adam Lanza left home last Friday on a journey that could not end here. He figured his was the path of a societal awakening that he would not look back on. He knew this going away project of his would speak louder than any tweet, letter to congress, appeal to his dad or any other socially acceptable means of communication.

He wanted them to go quickly and as painlessly as possible. He had seen what the Bushmaster could do and so Adam Lanza selected what his little survivors would later call “the long gun”. He knew too that unless his once-looked-to human counter parts got the message and, more importantly, acted on the message there would be others like him to elude man’s myopic radars and swiftly and suddenly send their communities on a journey to hell on earth.

When one man hurt is not attended to then that man makes all around him hurt when he can hurt no more.

Will we act on Adam Lanza’s message?

The slaughter of young children, ages five to ten, in Newton, Connecticut, USA, yesterday has been the latest in a violent spate of shootings in public places traditionally known as safe havens and violence free. young lone gunmen have shot and killed innocent people in schools, church, a movie theatre and even in their homes. Everybody wants an answer to the WHY question whenever these atrocities happen.

I believe the answer is that the American society, in all its liberal new age movements for equal rights, freedom of speech, lifestyles and actions is beginning to pay the piper for such radically tolerant societies. The unfortunate thing is that America is a world leader. We have a local saying here in St Vincent that when you see your neighbour’s house on fire you must wet your own house as a preventive measure. What we see erupting in America represent the slow and steady push of the social magma and lava of social violence and intolerance being hugged delightfully by a new breed of young people, eager to identify themselves as separate from the generation which preceded them.

Each weekend the American society, and the rest of the world, want to know how the box office did as regards new movies of entertainment. Hollywood has captured us so powerfully well with their non stop on-screen action, violence, revenge, explosions, betrayal, gang pacts and glorified pariahs that those actually seeking social reprieve in the real world are seeing violence as the most gratifying solution. After all, it works so very well on television, right?

The practical importance of values such as respect for human life, having pleasant relationships with one another, extending  and accepting forgiveness, actually TALKING and LISTENING courteously to the other person  are all being marginalized. In their place new values of revenge, self centeredness and violent reticence are now shining on the stove top of the social blue print of the twenty-first century American society.

Where do we go from here? On this tangent, I’m afraid that violence will get much more prevalent before it becomes non-existent. I suggest that the American authorities begin to implement new and never before used, security measures at all public places which traditionally have no connection to violence. For example, what is in place to prevent a shooting or murder spree aboard a cruise ship in international waters? Is “America’s favourite pastime” safe at the many public venues where base-ball is played so regularly? And what about concerts, parks and home for the elderly?

If security measures are only changed at venues after a mass shooting has happened, then that is just playing catch up. These mass murders are only effective when they come as a surprise at places where the last thing on the victims’ minds is dying.

Somebody also has to be brave and wise enough to stop the glorification of guns in America, be it in the movies or in the gun shops. So far, Americans have chosen to sacrifice the lives of their innocent loved ones for the sake of gun and ammunition profits. America, why would you prefer to lose your citizens rather than lose your money?

While many people are now expressing their grieving support with the American people, I am using this blog post to turn a light on a path that may not be what America wants to see but which can keep many of the innocent people reading this alive so that they may succumb to a natural death at their appointed time.

 

At Year’s End

It’s December again. It is Christmas time again. It is the time when we all in some way think of the year just ending and make some presumptions about what is likely to manifest in the upcoming twelve months. It seems the older one gets the end of year’s reflection and resolves made within oneself takes on a more sombre meaning rather than the plurile bubbly ones of yesteryear.

There are more complicated challenges and interlocking issues of day-to-day living affecting all of us these days. The once largely unknown and hard-to-explore world has been made quite familiar as the back of our hands because of the presence of our technologically fueled social hubs and instant sharing of daily living experiences. Even governments and decision makers have lost much of their abilities to filter and control information flow to the man on the street. Our overseas relatives are often the ones these days telling us about events happening right across the streets from us. Such is the progress of the information highway.

The financial playoffs from the global economies continue to reduce the spending power of our wallets and this makes for little end of year joy around many  a dining table. Once again, people have to learn to return to some for m of subsistence livelihood just to keep the table supplied with the daily bread. A young and upcoming generation, fresh out of some graduating class, longs with futility for a job befitting its sacrificially invested education. And no matter how the consumers spend, marketer, managers and ministers of government all claim that business now is not looking too bright.

So the end of year, every year, positions all of us at a pivotal crossroad in the journey of our lives. Where do we go from here? Where do you, dear reader, go from here? The unknown future has been carved by destiny; however, each of us must know how to listen to that spiritual feed and wisely respond to its beckoning if we are to line ourselves up for success in 2013 and beyond. The insight of our Creator and planner of the future is the only key that can successfully open up the way for each of us. So get to build your relationship with your God and His Son, your only best friend and Redeemer, Jesus the Christ. After all, it is for Him we celebrate this season. I know you thought it was Santa Clause’s season, but that is as erroneous as the facades can get.

A reality that often rigs within me is that every year I am sadly mindful that last Old Year’s Day and New Year’s Day there were people who were celebrating and they are no more at this present time. Similarly, there are those of us who are celebrating the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 but we will not be alive on this earth at this time next year. So each of us should be cautiously sensitive and know who, what and why we are celebrating at year’s end

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