I Call Bravo Sierra

Common sense isn't very common.

Political Posturing and the Lies of Media Organisations

Posted by Keen Observer on August 24, 2018

I sure seem to take long breaks between posts, hey?  Married life, work, and now a new baby…it all takes time.  I don’t see how people can take care of all these things properly and still have time for frequent (or even irregular) blogging.

I wish I could post this in the the places that really need to read it, but I know some people will freak out.  So we’re at my relatively-anonymous blog again.  And I should give you a bit of a language warning….

The conversation over “gun control” in Canada is full of lies and bullshit, and I’m getting sick of it.  Emotions are being fanned over the bodies of people not yet cold in the ground.  Every fucking time.  It’s worse here in Canada than in the US, because the incidents are so much fewer and further between.

Any gun owner in Canada needs a firearms license that can take several months to process, even after authorities complete background checks. Those who want to use restricted weapons, such as many semi-automatic rifles or handguns, must get licenses to own the firearms, as well as another to even take them out of their homes to places like gun clubs. [Italics mine]

This is all key information (quoted from the Wall Street Journal, of all places, following the most-recent Canadian shootings).  The cowardly Canadian press outlets rarely (or never) include this tidbit.  They prefer to have the ignorant masses believing that guns are as easy to acquire as a latte at Tim Hortons.  Course-work from certified trainers.  Examinations.  Certification renewals.  Background checks.  A lifetime of surrendering your privacy to officious bureaucrats that can enter your home at any time for any (or no) reason, without a warrant, simply to “check if your firearms are properly stored, and stored separately from properly-stored ammunition”.  Nope, you cannot actually display your functional weapons on a wall at all, let alone in a ready-to-fire state.  Under Canada’s laws, a firearm is practically useless for home self-defence, because it’s locked away, separate from its ammunition, which is also locked away.  Canada’s firearms regulations can be found by browsing around here.

People keep calling for handgun and assault weapon bans. which is one of those bullshit things.  “Assault weapons”–which is a nebulous categorisation, but I’ll go along with the general understanding of “full-automatic or select-fire rifle with a magazine containing 20 or more rounds and used primarily for military purposes”–ARE FUCKING ILLEGAL FOR PRIVATE CITIZENS IN CANADA TO OWN.  They are prohibited weapons, not restricted.  We, the People, are forbidden from owning them.  Only the military may have them, and to a far-lesser extent, police forces.  A ban on them is pointless political theatre that will have no result except to continue to demonise honest, law-abiding, firearms owners.

Do you know how you can tell a movie or TV show with guns was filmed in Canada?  The “assault weapons” only fire single shots.  They’re prop guns, but they still can’t make them shoot full-auto on screen (except in post-production).  There are NO legal “assault weapons” in Canada that are not in the hands of the military or the police.  Proviso: certain “antique” weapons would have been grandfathered in at some point in the past, but they would have had to be rendered unable to shoot.

Did you know that it’s illegal to own any operational weapon with a capacity of greater than ten rounds?  ILLEGAL.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a rifle or a pistol, it’s illegal.  Shotguns are limited to FIVE rounds, and a “standard” 8-round tube would have to be physically crimped to be considered legal in Canada.  Having a restricted licence doesn’t make larger capacities any more legal.  So, it’s not legal to own a pistol that can hold 17 rounds, like a Beretta or a Glock with a full-capacity magazine, and the “banana clip” magazines that are used in “assault weapons” are therefore also illegal to possess.  Extended and drum magazines are way out.

The average Canadian doesn’t even know that there are two kinds of firearms licences for regular schmoes: the PAL (Possession and Acquisition Licence) and the RPAL (Restricted PAL).  You can’t even LEGALLY buy ammunition (or gunpowder/supplies to make your own, I believe) for a firearm without one.  You must fulfil the requirements for a PAL before you can get an RPAL, which is what you need to get Restricted weapons, like handguns and certain types of long guns (mostly semi-automatics).  And handguns have been restricted since the 1930s.  All restricted-class weapons HAVE TO BE registered, or you are contravening the law.  Plus, there’s that separate permit to transport your legally-acquired weapons to and from a shooting range.  And a permit to carry your weapon?  Effectively impossible to get as a private citizen:  either you work for an armoured-car company defending other people’s money, or you have to be under real, verifiable threat of death by persons unknown.  Stuff like that.

One of the worst mass shootings in history took place in Norway, which has gun laws about as restrictive as ours.  It didn’t stop that fucker (whom I will not name) from murdering kids by the boatload after he set off a fucking BOMB to distract the police and give him more time for murdering.  And he passed his background checks.

By way of contrast, the US state of Delaware, which has effectively no gun laws, has a murder rate of about 0.005%–for the report year, that was 56 murders for a population of about 952,000, but it wasn’t mentioned how many of those murders were by firearm or how many of those by police.  The fucker in the previous paragraph killed 62 by himself.  With a semi-automatic, non-assault weapon.  Mass shootings are not about the weapon, but the shooter, but people always seem to gloss over this part.  Plus, mass shooters, being the cowards that they are, always go to soft targets like schools, malls, transport stations…things like that.  Even easier are places (in the US at least) that are designated as “gun-free” zones.  Easy pickings.  Like shooting fish in a barrel.  “Nobody can stop me.”

The Danforth Shooter (whose name I will also not repeat) has been reported to have been using a pistol with a full-capacity magazine.  One report quoted a police source as saying, “He had seven magazines with him and each magazine carries between 12 and 15 bullets….”  The weapon itself was not legally acquired:  one report (a likely lie) stated it was stolen from a house in Saskatoon, and another (more likely) says it was acquired from gang sources after being smuggled in from the US–both statements cannot be true simultaneously.  Regardless the case, a handgun of this type (sporting the full-cap mag) is ILLEGAL in Canada, and it was illegally in the shooter’s possession.  So, how, exactly, does increased gun control help?  And that doesn’t even get into his connection to organised crime through his now-comatose brother.

Even in countries where private gun ownership is completely illegal, people still find ways to kill other people, and some people kill multiples.  In fact, while I was still working on this essay, two people in a suburb of Paris were murdered with a knife and another injured in what looks like a religion-based domestic dispute.  The killer was subsequently shot and killed by police, after which ISIL claimed responsibility for the murders.  But this cowardly twat doesn’t even register as a bladed mass murderer:  in Japan in 2016, one man stabbed 19 people to death and injured 26, but in China in 2014, four people murdered 29 and wounded 130 at a train station in Kunming.  And in both countries, gun control laws are extremely strict.  Ironically, the single-man murder spree was more effective on a tactical level.

The problem in Canada IS NOT and HAS NEVER BEEN guns.  Guns are inert.  Ammunition is inert.  Ammunition in a magazine is inert.  A loaded weapon is inert.  None of these is intrinsically dangerous.  What’s dangerous–and this is regardless of the weapons platform–is people and their intent.  And yet, Canada’s various governments and press agencies continue their decades-long attack on honest, law-abiding gun owners, instead of dealing with the problems that the governments have largely created.

Toronto’s mayor, an opportunistic dirtbag who shall also remain nameless, decided to go after such owners with lies, which the press allowed to pass both unchallenged and unremarked.  “Why does anyone who lives in a city need a gun?” he asks, rhetorically.  Such a question can only be asked by someone totally unfamiliar with them or their uses.  What does living in a city have to do with that?  He demands legal gun owners justify their ownership of legal, legally-acquired property, but makes no attempt to defend a position that would see millions of people made criminals with the stroke of a pen, to say nothing of the unjustified seizure of personal property that would necessarily follow.    But the problem, he said, is that 50% of all gun crimes are committed with stolen (i.e., once legally owned) guns.  The problem, he said, is that the Harper government shit-canned the pointless, and boondoggley-expensive long-gun registry.  Like, billions of dollars wasted for no purpose.  The problem, he said, is easily fixed by BANNING GUNS!  Especially pistols and “assault weapons” (see above).

The first “problem” is that both he and the press are passing along a lie, in the form of an incomplete truth.  Of pistols used in crimes solely in western Canada, only 28% could be traced.  Of those 29%, half could be traced to a previous, legal owner from whom they were stolen.  14% of western Canada, not 50% in the whole country.  Only a 72% difference, and a heap of lies in the middle.  How winding down a registry that exists solely for rifles and shotguns could lead to an increase in crimes committed by supposed-to-be-registered pistols is a connection so tenuous, only someone tripping on acid could see it.  Plus, handgun murder rates decreased between 1999 and 2015, despite a reported 14x increase in handgun imports over the same period.  A correlation between legal gun ownership and crime/murder rates does not exist.  And the press continually lie about “assault weapons” or “assault-style weapons” as well, given that true “assault weapons” are already banned in Canada, and “assault-style” is an even-more-meaningless designation–you want to ban something just because it LOOKS scary?  Are you a fucking child?  And how do you ban all the illegal ones that NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT, because, well, they’re ILLEGAL.  And guess what?  Criminals break the law regularly!  Shocker!  Film at eleven!

Any politician or journalist taking or repeating an anti-gun stance is going to be lying to you at some point.  Any of them.  Or all of them, it makes no difference functionally.  They lie about what’s going on; they lie about why they’re doing it; they lie about almost everything related to it.  If they tell you it’s about protecting the kids, they’re lying:  if they wanted to do that, they’d first outlaw cars, which kill far more kids (and adults) than guns do, and they already both require a licence and registration…and insurance!  But tell people that, and you’ll be uniformly derided, because that doesn’t fit the narrative.

And they have to push this narrative, because facing the actual truth is extremely uncomfortable to them.  A few different truths.  The first is that nearly all gun crime is perpetrated by, well, criminals, and mostly in gangs.  The problem, especially in Toronto, is that these troublesome gangs are racially organised.  So, as left-leaning types, the anti-gun types aren’t allowed to focus on race in any way (except to call their opponents “racists”), so they’ll never get to the root causes of their gang-violence problem:  disadvantaged youth of colour.  And there are myriad reasons why they are that and why the are not able to remove themselves from that state and improve their lives without going the gang route.  Those of a conspiracist bent might imply that they’re being kept down by the very people purporting to help them, but other blogs have covered that much more completely than I ever will.

The second is that there are sick, violent people in the world, and there’s not much that can be done about that.  Some of them are genuinely mentally ill, and some of them are Muslim.  For these people, crime is only a means to an end, even if there is some overlap with the criminal underworld.  Bringing to mind the Ethiopian or Sudanese gangs of Edmonton and other cities who also travel to fight with terrorist groups in their home countries.  These sorts of people can do all sorts of killing, but they don’t need guns to do it, either, as multiple vehicle attacks attest.  Guns just make it possible to kill more people in a shorter span of time–than a knife.  Bombs and vehicles work better than knives, too, and it’s only a matter of time before chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons get deployed.  And if you point out that anything negative might obtain to Muslim violence, you almost immediately get called out as a racist…despite the simple fact that “Muslim” is not a race:  it is an adjective describing any member of a particular archaic, barbaric, political belief system masquerading as a religion that is itself intolerant, sexist, misogynistic, misanthropic, self-hating, other-hating, violent, and extremely dangerous.  Their belief system is entirely inimical to integration with western civilisations, full stop.  But that’s a different rant.

The third is that guns are smuggled into Canada all the time.  Our borders with the US aren’t particularly proof against smuggling of any type, despite what law enforcement, the government(s), or the mass media might have you believe.  There are many places were illegal things (or legal things being imported “illegally”) can cross the border with almost no intervention by the authorities.  Before the EU opened things up within its member states, the US-Canada border was easily the world’s least-enforced, proudly “undefended” for many a decade.  Living next to the world’s gun-owner-est culture in the world makes that a recipe for wanton importation of things illegal (or quasi-legal) here.  Canada doesn’t have the resources necessary to “seal” the border, and the US isn’t likely to do it for us…yet…so, this is just another example of all talk and no action.  The incessant need to be seen doing something would be funny, if it weren’t so sad and dangerous.  It reminds me of needy kids seeking adult approval for some thing or another.  And what Canada needs in its leaders is most-definitely not children seeking approval.

The fourth is that the people “reporting” on gun-related issues are either ignorant, stupid, or disingenuous.  A case in point arose while I was writing this essay, just as I thought I had completed my three truths.  And then I realised I needed four.  The writer of this article, Claire Theobald, is apparently on the crime beat in the Edmonton area, that wretched hive of scum and villainy.  She incorrectly (in the article and the photo I’ve included in case of sanitisation after the fact) described the recovered weapon as a 30-30, lever-action, sawed-off shotgun, instead of correctly as a 30-30, lever-action, short-barrelled rifle (i.e., a carbine, though in this case, it might be sawed-off and not a legit carbine).  30-30 is not and never has been a shotgun calibre:  those are measured in gauges (e.g., ten, twelve, twenty). [Insert image here when WordPress stops giving me grief about uploading it.] Anyone with any exposure to long firearms will never mistake a rifle for a shotgun, especially one with as iconic a shape as this one–and such lever-action rifles are neither illegal nor restricted in Canada, provided the magazines are limited to ten rounds.  I will admit that the rifle might actually have been sawn down, but sawing down a rifle like this would create a bunch of problems for the shooter, not least being reducing the magazine space (that’s the tube that runs under the barrel, for those unfamiliar).  But two major points out of three are flat-out wrong.  I don’t have enough knowledge to say if it’s just ignorance, or if malice is involved.

One of the stupidest things about all this for me, is that I remember as a kid people driving around in trucks with gun racks containing rifles.  Somehow, these folk managed never to indulge in mass shootings of innocent people.  Or even guilty ones, more’s the pity.  I wonder if it had anything to do with being raised to be responsible people, instead of being raised to be delicate flowers who can’t handle anything, most especially responsibility.  If you treat people like kids, that’s what they’ll act like, especially if treating them like kids does exactly the opposite of instilling any discipline.

This has gotten a lot longer than I intended it to be.  It just seems to keep snowballing as new things pop into view or into mind, and I’m not really sure how to end it.  So I’ll just finish it by saying that nobody in a position to publicise or do anything meaningful about gun crime or putative gun control is capable of speaking the truth about it.  Nobody.  All you will get are untruths and bloviation.


Posted in Canadian, Firearms, news & journalism, politics, stupidity | Comments Off on Political Posturing and the Lies of Media Organisations

Love, and the Finding of It

Posted by Keen Observer on May 1, 2016

I haven’t written much these days.  It’s not because I don’t have anything to say:  it’s because I’ve either been too busy to write or too focused on more-important things. Like getting married.

After an initially-rocky start in the online-dating scene, I made a lot of progress in a short period of time.  I found a beautiful, sweet, clever woman who fits into my life almost exactly as I pictured it, in an almost entirely-unexpected way.  And I provide for her the emotional connection she sought.  We balance each other.  And in under six months, we’ve gone from that first meeting over coffee to trying to plan a wedding and three (maybe four) different celebrations in three (maybe four) different cities on two continents.  And navigating the migration process for her to come to Canada.  And no, it’s not that kind of wedding:  we’re truly nuts for each other.  Both of us are too old to waste time and money on that stupid game.  This is about being with the other half of our souls.

So, yeah, my attention isn’t exactly here.  Sorry about that.

Peace and love to y’all.

Posted in general, life, love, personal | Comments Off on Love, and the Finding of It

Blue 2

Posted by Keen Observer on October 27, 2015

Sometimes I wish I could turn it off:
Stop thinking, stop feeling, stop caring.
Sometimes I wish i could just stop
living and then it would all stop
and maybe i could feel nOrmAL
and maybe it won’t hurt any more
and then maybe someone might care
that i had a really shitty day
and no one was around to answer
(they all have their own lives and problems and i hate asking for help to begin with for this pussy emotional shit)
my calls for help and to not be
alone and maybe be with me
while i cry, even for a minute
and maybe it won’t hurt any more
because i won’t feel hurt and useless
and unloved and unappreciated
…at least for that minute,
And that might be enough for today.


[Blogger’s note:  I’m not suicidal, but I’m not having a great day.  Just a worse bout of depression than I’ve had in a long time, and this was rolling around in my brain-cage.]

Posted in life, personal, poetry | Comments Off on Blue 2

On Friendship – Part 5

Posted by Keen Observer on July 24, 2015

Well, I seem to be returning to Part 1, though not completely.  This one has nothing to do with my former best friend, but it does have to do with the other friend mentioned therein:  a co-worker with whom I used to have a very close working relationship.  We were a very effective team.  However, I made the mistake of believing that our work rapport could transfer to the personal sphere, and asked her out a couple of weeks after I posted that blog entry.  She rejected that respectful advance very completely, though politely, and it took some time—as it does for me—to recover emotionally from it.

But we were able to keep working together pretty well, including going to an industry convention.  And then about a year or so ago, some professional misunderstandings occurred…mostly my fault, though she never challenged me on my behaviour…which resulted in both personal and professional distance growing between us.  A professional disagreement became intensely personal for her, far out of proportion to the offence.  She blocked me on Facebook, though somehow she still seems to skew my “mutual friends” lists with some people, and we stopped talking to each other.

Then a few months ago, some time after having connected on LinkedIn, I brought up the space between us, and we talked about it.  I apologised, and she seemed to accept it, and I promised to do better.  We moved forward, I thought, and after a conversation last week, it seemed like it might be possible to renew and try to rebuild the friendship we had of old.  The response I got from my attempt to make full peace with a friend I had missed?  Well, I got nuked from orbit.  She doesn’t want to be friends at all and keep only a professional working relationship between us.  Which is fine, except for the mixed signals she gave me last week (sharing confidential plans and opinions of hers, as well as discussing having personal conversations away from work and similar things).  What I can’t figure from this is how she can utterly reject an attempt to restore our friendship and claim that “it’s nothing personal.”  I guess she has completely different concepts of both “personal” and “friendship” than I do.  And how much my perception of that friendship contributed to our effectiveness as a team.

I don’t know her reasons, and I don’t particularly care to.  They’re hers, and they ultimately don’t matter.  But whatever they are, I’m down another friend.  Which, based on this interaction, is probably going to be a good thing.  I’d rather be told this than labour under any delusions.  It’s important to know who your friends really are.  It’s important to treat your friends well and not cavalierly.  It’s important to be truthful with your friends and never betray a trust.  It’s important to be available.  It’s important never to play emotional games or act capriciously.  It’s important to agree on limits and boundaries (if any).  It’s important to be honest with them and yourself.  If these things don’t exist, what value the friendship?

Posted in general, life, personal | Comments Off on On Friendship – Part 5

Heartbreak 3

Posted by Keen Observer on July 23, 2015

I haven’t written much in the past months, mostly for good reasons, some for laziness and a lack of motivation.  I might or might not be starting up again.  This poem is a glimpse into the emotional turmoil I’ve been experiencing since April, and more strongly in the past month.

Fighting with Myself

I do not know
What I am
What I feel
I am both
Full and empty
Paired feelings
Happy and sad
Still and shaken
Calm and afraid
Focused and scattered
Whole and broken
Supported and alone
Love and pain
Appreciated and betrayed
Certain and not
I do not know
How to reconcile
So many dichotomies—
Just that they must be
Or I will never again
Be whole or happy
To love once more
Freely and completely
How I once loved you

Posted in life, love, personal, poetry, stupidity | Comments Off on Heartbreak 3

On Friendship, Part 4

Posted by Keen Observer on February 7, 2015

Well, this is a post I didn’t think I’d be writing.

You may recall earlier posts bearing this same title, and that the subject of them was largely the same person, though others may have been referenced.  This past week changed all that in an instant, and yet it didn’t.

My former best friend–who shall remain nameless but who knows about these posts–explicitly, but without explanation, abandoned our friendship this week.  Not abandoned, really–more like executed it.  After five months of decreasing and then no contact, nor responses to contact attempts, she blocked me on Facebook Wednesday morning.  She was there, and then she was not.  My first reaction was that she had finally deleted her account, since she had mentioned having considered it in one of our last conversations.  But I mentioned it to a friend, and I was told that her profile was still visible.  The shock of that knowledge hit me rather like a bolo to the nuts.

I had accepted that she no longer wanted to communicate with me for whatever reasons, but that was an action I hadn’t anticipated, since it could be considered very aggressive.  And I had come to terms with her lack of response, though I had been working on an email for the past couple of months that would tell her I was confused but would respect her desire not to communicate with me and would wish her well; I hadn’t sent it, because I couldn’t figure out the right words to settle the right tone.  I still might send it, but the tone has become rather more bitter in the last few days.  I mean, I hadn’t heard anything from her since mid-October, despite a few attempts after that–though I gave up in late November–and she had already severely limited what I could see on her wall and profile (all without explanation).  And there are other factors which I learned indirectly (aka. “CG”–her bf-exbf-bf-fiancé) which caused me to believe that I knew why she had limited and then cut off communication with me prior to this, though I found those factors to be both confusing and hurtful.  So, I was settled into accepting that benign neglect would be the way of things, and I had decided about a week or so ago that if nothing happened in the next month (i.e., by the end of February), I would just quietly remove her from my friends list.  And so, she took this entirely unnecessary step without warning, notification, or explanation.  The only functional outcome of this for me is that I can’t see her profile, I can’t see her tags/other public activity, and I can’t send her messages/reply to our ongoing conversation thread, so there was very little point to taking this course of action.  I still have other contact means for her, unless she’s changed them all.  And in that case, she’s got bigger problems than worrying about me.

The worst part about it for me is that she went the “silent” road.  We had had long discussions about my past relationships and certain aspects of them involving silence and marginalisation of me by my ex.  Lack of honesty and communication doomed at least one of those relationships–the most important one–and she knew that.  So this method of going about “separating” from me couldn’t have been more calculated to hurt me than if she had tried (which I don’t think she was trying to do specifically).  So I am hurt and annoyed and frustrated and confused by all this.  The second-worst part was that the “other factors” caused me to start distrusting her–something I would have said was impossible in August.  And because of that distrust, I had to remove her as my emergency contact and change all the passwords I had given her (in a still-sealed envelope, I hope) to be used in the event of my death or incapacitation.  I didn’t think she would do anything with the information–not immediately, at least–but I trust none of the people around her not to do so.  These two “betrayals” poisoned what had been a beautiful friendship, in my opinion.

But to be clear, I do not regret any of it, except mailing her my passwords–I have a hard time remember the crazy number of them that I have, so changing them all was extremely frustrating and annoying…I had some really good ones that I liked.  But her friendship was of incalculable value to me, and she helped me get through some rough emotional patches in my life and deal with a lot of past anger and stress.  I like to think I helped her similarly.  Her friendship served its purpose, and I think I’m better–and a better person–for having known her.  That’s the legacy I want to remember, not the stupidity of how it ended.  In many ways she gave me back my emotional life, and I’ll always be grateful for that.  But that part of my life is apparently now over, unless she decides to contact me, and in that eventuality, I don’t know what I’ll do.  She made her choice, and it was pretty unequivocal.

But the surprising thing for me is also related to friendship:  the reaction.  I put up a post on Wednesday–D-Day, I guess–after I got home and had eaten some supper.  She can’t see it, having blocked me/unfriended me, but since she knows of this blog, I’m not sure I should repeat the words.  But I vague-booked a little and said it sucked to be “stabbed in the heart” by a friend.  The response to that was strangely strong and gratifying.  I got a supportive comment from an old ex, and a few other comments and several likes to the post.   And then I got some side-band communications.  I had two long conversations yesterday with friends, both of whom I’ve known for years, but I had only been close with one of them.  I try to explain the situation as honestly as I can (based on my knowledge), and the responses and support I’ve gotten from everyone have been uniformly positive.  It’s something that almost overwhelmed me in its magnitude and surprised me in terms of who reached out to me and how.  Which just goes to show you that if you pick good friends, they’ll stick by you.

So, I guess the upshot of all this is a new piece of learning for me about friendships:  good friendships can end, but the best ones don’t.  And only time will tell you which one is which.

Posted in general, life, love, personal | Comments Off on On Friendship, Part 4

On Friendship, Part 3

Posted by Keen Observer on July 25, 2014

I was having a discussion with my best friend some days ago, in which she was engaging in some of her trademark obsessive behaviour, while simultaneously fretting about being in this obsessive mode.  This is something I have experienced with her on previous occasions, and it’s not something that bothers me beyond the fact of disliking that she tortures herself like that.  In fact, during this iteration of obsession, I realised a few things:

  1. I like listening to her obsess about things (which may surprise her).
  2. I like being the person to whom she feels she can obsess about these things (which shouldn’t).
  3. I like that these interactions are non-judgemental and entirely reciprocal (she takes her turns absorbing my own outpourings).
    • With the proviso that sometimes judgement is necessary, and is performed in both directions as appropriate.
  4. The connection we have/share is so profoundly deep that any other concepts that do not support these statements are entirely unthinkable.

The last item was kind of the key one in my moment of “Eureka!”  During our conversation, I noted it thusly (with improvements):

You are so much a part of my life, that when you ‘go off the deep end’ [as she put it], I just stand and let it wash over me, the rock on the beach sitting immobile and stable, as the stormy waves crash around it.  I observe and analyse and advise, but ultimately, I am apart from it in such a way that lets me fully accept the action of your storm waves without being drowned by them.  And at the same time, I provide an outlet for you that isn’t damaged by the force of the storm.  But the key is that you and I have such a deep, powerful connection that I can no more turn away from your rage or insanity [her term] or sadness than I can my own.  And so, I exist, and you exist, and we complement and support each other.  Profoundly.

As these words came out of me, I realised them for essential truth.  Or Truth.  I thought on this for some time after and realised that as much as I see myself as her rock, I equally know with certainty that she is mine (and I have also waxed poetical in this vein).  She provides a stable barycentre about which I may revolve, or the heavy storm anchor that keeps my fragile hull from being smashed to flinders, as I am tempest-toss’d by the hurricane of my emotions.  And I am confident in this relationship to the marrow of my bones.  I know her, and she knows me, in profound and complete ways.  We know the other’s flaws, and they don’t matter in the least.  We don’t love each other in spite of those flaws; we just love each other, flaws and all, because those flaws are part of makes us who we are, and we understand this intrinsically.

Though the metaphorical rock acts as an impervious observer to the stormy ocean, in another, very real sense, the solitary rock is enveloped by the calmed ocean, an ocean that surrounds and just…is.  An ocean that is accepting and supportive and tranquil and…there, gently reminding the rock that it is never, ever alone.  The ocean’s presence ebbs and flows, as these things do, but the constant contact between water and basalt echoes how one soul brushes up against and soothes the other, their presence a universal constant.

And as all of these thoughts passed through me, I realised another Truth:  I have little doubt that there are people out there who have never–nor will they ever–have so deep and honest a friendship.  These people I pity with all the strength I can muster, for I have been in that state and am indescribably glad to have escaped it.  Of all the things that exist in my life at this time, she is currently what makes me feel the luckiest, the most valued, the most understood, the most appreciated, the most…well, the list goes on.  I’ve finally gotten over the dazed bafflement at having so wonderful and awesome a friend, but the wonder and awe of her remain.  I have even been so lucky as to have developed other close friendships that I value highly as well, but she’s definitely special, and I believe she has been instrumental in me being able to see and accept these other friendships, to have given me the ability to once again let others see who I truly am.  To risk.

She has been such an incredible gift to me, that I can’t really imagine that life is possible in her absence.   My best friend centres me, stabilises me, gentles me, encourages me beyond my limits.  The reality–the solidity–of the connection we share grounds me so perfectly, that I can no longer feel that I am without also the parallel of she is palpably within me.  I could no more turn against her or hurt her than I can harm myself, because to hurt her would be to hurt myself.  And because of how she gives and supports and loves in return, I know the same holds for her.  The connection is truly soul-to-soul.

And to me, that is the nature of a perfect, true friendship…or as close to it as makes no difference.

Posted in general, life, love, opinion, personal | Comments Off on On Friendship, Part 3

Remembrance of Things Past…

Posted by Keen Observer on November 11, 2013

Nothing to do with anything in this post but the title, but I remember reading some of the above bit of painful prose in the original French. I don’t remember much about it, but I remember reading it, and only vaguely how some things can spawn an “involuntary memory”. The original title is more along the lines of “In Search of Lost Time”, but English editors of French works can be a little pompous and can feel the need to change authorial intent. I was never a fan of Proust, but that little kernel of truth is quite profound, as it relates strongly to interconnectedness.

That aside…

Today was Remembrance Day in Canada and the Commonwealth, and marked in different ways in other countries. Canada uses the day–though not a national, public holiday–to honour its fallen heroes, its war dead, a tradition dating back to the end of World War I. The poppies come out about two weeks before the day. Generally, at no other time during the year is there any mention of such things in the “popular” press, and come the 12th, the poppies disappear from the talking heads on television, and also the public consciousness.

There has been some talk in recent years of a so-called “white” poppy, that’s intended to represent peace, as though the red poppies (there are other colours?) are meant to honour war and killing. People who would believe this tripe are ignorant, stupid, or misled. Or all three. People who think that another type of poppy is needed have no idea what a “Remembrance” poppy represents, and they probably don’t care to learn, either.

War is hell. Period. Some have said it’s the failure of diplomacy, which is probably true enough, but diplomacy is often used just as another military manoeuvre, and is often the opening salvo in the war, or the base causus belli. And sometimes, diplomacy is just another way of saying, “Please turn around, so I can stab you in the back.” Friends close, enemies closer. There are people/entities/national actors in the world with whom diplomacy is impossible, because they are not rational actors. With groups like those, war of some type is inevitable, and it’s harder to fight off, both because they are not rational actors, and because we often give them the means to destroy us.

War is hell. It has a huge cost, beyond military budgets and economic/environmental damage. War kills generations, whether the war is “won” or not. War is a horrible, horrible thing and should be avoided–unless it can’t be. And if it can’t be, that war should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible, to ensure that your side doesn’t bear the cost of it any more than it has to. It should be as nasty, brutish, and short as possible, and preferably destroy your enemy’s ability to make war again for a very long time. People who have studied war’s history, and the history of wars, understand this, more so if they have military experience. Politicians, as a rule, do not, and they are often eager to increase the cost of a war that they do not personally have to pay.

War veterans understand the hellish nature of war at a bone-deep level we “normal” people can’t possibly understand, and for this we should be grateful, because it means that we have not experienced it. And we “normals” have trouble understanding why anyone would volunteer to go out and kill or die to serve a political or necessary end for people they know nothing about. But they do, and they die. It is this that the poppies represent: their sacrifice, not for a glorification of war. The poem “In Flanders Fields” encapsulated this fairly well, which is why it has stood the test of time. They died, that others might live. They died, that those who started unnecessary wars might be defeated in their goals. They died, that evil might be fought to a standstill and destroyed. They died, that people might say egregiously-stupid things about poppies without being imprisoned. They died, and we live. They died, and we wear poppies once a year.

There is a problem, though, in that as we get further away from the global wars of the past, the memories around them fade. And schools slowly stop teaching about the true causes and costs of war. And the sacrifices of the honoured fallen are gradually pushed to the side, so that generations of people grow up not understanding what happened in the past. Memories fade, and people stop seeing the warning signs of oncoming global conflict, leaving us unprepared in the face of existential threats. Memories fade, and people stop appreciating the freedoms they take for granted every single day, freedoms bought with the blood of young generations, something that today’s young generations don’t want to confront. And they fail to see that the price of those freedoms is eternal vigilance, because there is always someone out there who wants to restrict your freedoms, to control your lives and thoughts. Honouring and supporting a military that is the only bulwark against external threats of that type is about the least you can do. And the simplest way to do that is to wear a red poppy on the left side of your chest for a couple weeks around Hallowe’en. If you feel particularly punchy, you can go for a yellow ribbon as a year-round display. But we must not forget. Or there might come a time when we need the help of the warriors to protect us, but they are not there, and this time, it is we who will die, but there will be no one to remember us.

Posted in general, life, opinion, personal, poetry, politics, stupidity, Writing | Comments Off on Remembrance of Things Past…

Sex Workers’ Rights Day (Friday the 13th)

Posted by Keen Observer on September 16, 2013

Sex work is work, as they say, and sex worker rights are human rights. Per the link below, I’m one who comes at this from the libertarian side, the equal-treatment-under-the-law side, the women-have-the-right-to-choose-how-their-bodies-are-used side, the not-seeing-sex-work-as-immoral side, and the not-treating-working-girls-like-pieces-of-shit side. For the record, I’ve never patronised a sex worker (heh…did you see what I did there?), but trying to make/keep this consensual activity criminal is beyond stupid.

(Her blog is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended, and some is NSFW.)

Read her stuff. Maggie McNeill–a retired escort–articulates things I could never find the words for and describes things far outside of my experience. But society treating sex workers as pariahs is why Robert Pickton got away with murdering women–people who were wives, sisters, daughters–for as long as he did, and why other murderers, abusers, and rapists continue to do. And this is in Canada, a country where prostitution is itself not illegal. I mean, listen to the news: recently, two women were killed in Vancouver almost next door to each other. “High-risk lifestyle” is media/police code for “she’s just a whore”, where missing or murdered women are concerned. More often than not, it even means “drug-addled whore.” That they were connected to sex work should never have made it into the news reports, because at this point in time, it’s fucking irrelevant–and perhaps never relevant. Treat murdered/missing women as murdered/missing women, in the press and elsewhere, and maybe violence against women will decrease. That they were escorts may be a relevant line of investigation, but why publicise it or change how you approach the case?

If you haven’t thought about things like this before, read her well-written blog (she is intelligent, articulate, and thoughtful, though I don’t always agree with her), and you will. However, you might end up feeling a bit gob-smacked from time to time at the things you’ll learn, especially about how whores in America are treated, and how they’re trying to export their misguided morality and control-freak tendencies worldwide, where it’s just not wanted. And you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that goes on around the world.

I stole someone's picture.

“Nice pussy you have. Shame if something happened to it.”

You may be shocked at how most feminist groups, who should be staunch allies of fully-sexually-actualised, independent businesswomen, routinely fight against efforts to humanise (read, decriminalise) sex work/workers: a woman is allowed to choose, as long as it’s not choosing to take money for sex. Slut it up and fuck whomever you want, just don’t take cash money for it.

So, though this post is now going up a few days late, I don’t think it hurts to remind people that sex workers are people too. Porn stars have sex with multiple partners for money, and they don’t face nearly the same stigmatisation as someone doing a straight-up financial transaction for sex. They also don’t get arrested for their activities; some are lauded and some run for political office. And as Maggie has pointed out a time or two, cops aren’t smart enough to differentiate between hookers and non-hooker females. In some places just having more than a few condoms in your purse is enough to get you nicked, and that’s utterly ridiculous. Other stories are more harrowing, and all are because of demonisation of sex workers and the illegality of sex work in many jurisdictions. Strangely, however, most people can’t tell sex workers apart from “regular” women: they look just like everyone else. And they are just like everyone else: trying to make a living with their native skills.

Posted in American, Canadian, general, life, news & journalism, opinion, politics, religion, stupidity, Uncategorized, World | 1 Comment »

Brief update

Posted by Keen Observer on September 3, 2013

To all those who still follow this collection of my brain farts, I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in months. I just haven’t felt all that write-y. Nothing has caught my attention with enough intensity to make me want to barf out a post, but I’ve been feeling guilty about being silent for so long. Also, natural disasters, summer, and a busy work environment conspired (and conspire) to keep me occupied, and my adult-education class is starting up again shortly. Perhaps one of these days, I’ll learn some time-management skills.

Anyway, that’s all I really wanted to say.

Carry on.

Posted in general, life | Comments Off on Brief update