Mourning Foley

Reporter James Foley

As a nation mourned yesterday for a punk that split open the eye of a police officer prior to being shot and killed no one took a moment of silence for our fallen reporter. We flooded social media with a call to awareness when actor Robin Williams ended his life and yet remained silent when ISIS beheaded James Foley. These stark examples of a double standard are shameful. Why are we impressed with a man who chose to die but silent for a man who had his life taken from him? Why do we honor and memorialize a street thug but turn a blind eye toward acts of terror? Was 9-11 that long ago?
President Obama’s brief response to Foley’s beheading had some applauding his quick reaction while others left feeling hollow and empty. Should he have returned to the White House? Made a speech in front of congress? Could he call for a stern reaction? Any reaction at all? It is not just the President’s reaction to Foley though; it is how American’s in general reacted. We changed our picture to Robin Williams, played all his old movies and reminisced about how he changed our lives, yet when did we bother to learn more about who James Foley was? Did we learn what brought the reporter to Iraq? Read any of his old writing? Were we compelled to change our avatars to represent this man?
I was at the grocery store tonight and saw a man wearing a Robin Williams shirt. It honestly bothers me. We lost three actors this month, the great and wonderful Lauren Bacall, Robin Williams, and Richard Attenborough. We glorify Williams, who died not from some horrible calamity, but by his own hand.
So while the country mourns Michael Brown and Robin Williams I am going to take a moment of silence for James Foley and reflect for a moment the kind of man he must have been.

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For Shame Ferguson…

Ferguson Missouri has made national news this last week. Between the shooting of a young man (I refuse to call him a child), and the pursuant rioting, looting, and general mayhem the national and local news cannot seem to get enough. Arm chair pundits would like to place the blame on the feet of anyone whose skin color is lighter than that of the victim. White privilege they say is to blame for this mess. White people are to blame for the rioting and looting. Except it isn’t white people who are committing the crimes. It is our entire fault though; if only we hadn’t been born white then black people wouldn’t feel the need to break things, steal things, and burn down buildings. The shame of what is happening in Ferguson Missouri though has nothing to do with skin color and everything to do with entitlement. People who feel entitled to other people’s belongings without having to work for them are using the tragedy of a young man’s death to rob and pillage. Ads cropping up on Craigslist for items recently stolen now for sale tell the true story behind the kind of thugs that are now roaming the streets of Ferguson. The hard working folks who make up the town are being inundated with outsiders who were bussed in to stir up tensions, rob, burn, and break things. The police cannot handle the situation for fear that if they do their jobs the press will paint them in an unflattering light. It all comes down to racism though. White people are told that the shame falls at their feet.

News headlines “Teen Shot and Killed by Police” is used only to enrage the public and put shame on the police department. Would we feel the same anger if it said “Man shot and killed by police”, the teen that they are referring to is a 6’4″ eighteen year old. He was old enough to enlist in the military, to smoke, to move out of his parents’ house, in some things he would have been considered an adult but in his death he is seen as just a child shot and killed by the police.

This isn’t an article about whether the police officer was justified. The investigation is ongoing. The officer has been convicted of a wrong-doing in the eyes of public opinion. Eric Holder has requested a second autopsy for Mike Brown; apparently the Justice Department didn’t like the findings of the first autopsy. The article isn’t about justice for Mike Brown it is about a startling double standard by which we willingly live. A white man is shot in the back in Springfield Missouri and the officer is investigated and asked to resign from the police department. No rioting, no looting, no general mayhem. A black man is shot in Ferguson and a week later the city is still burning. Rioting, looting, and out of control mobs flood the streets. We make believe it is because Brown was a child, and he was a child someone’s son but he was also an adult legal to do most adult activities in all 50 states.

Is 27-year-old Eric Butts less important than 18-year-old Mike Brown? Butts survived his injuries but he was unarmed at the time of the shooting and will have to live the rest of his life with a colostomy bag. Where were the rioters after Butts shooting? Where were the demands for justice and the out crying of support? For that matter where is the outcry for justice when hundreds of black men, women, and children are viciously gunned down in Chicago, New York, California? When gangs kill innocent children in drive by shootings where are the protests, the rioting, and the looting? For that matter what does rioting and looting have to do with an innocent person being shot? What does QT have to do with an innocent(?) person being shot. The assumption is made that since Brown wasn’t carrying a firearm he must be an innocent bystander of an overzealous police officer. This isn’t an article about finding justice though it is an article about the sad double standard we are living in and who should feel shame in Ferguson.

Should the good people of Ferguson Missouri feel the shame? The people who daily have to clean up after the looting and rioting from the night before? Police reports state that the rioters arrested so far have been from out of town. There is no shame on the good people of Ferguson who have seen their town over run by hatred. The people, who own small businesses destroyed by these outsiders, should feel no shame it isn’t their fault at all. Should the white population of the United States feel shame? Is it a white person’s fault that rioters and looters are destroying this town? Absolutely not, unless and here is the kicker, unless the white person is doing the rioting and looting the shame isn’t on them. The shame isn’t on Ferguson. The shame falls all on the shoulders of the people who think that rioting and looting is a justifiable response to the death of another human being.

My Startling Confession

 

I let my daughter cry. She is not quite nine months old and sometimes I let her cry. Not all the time. Not every day, and certainly not every second of the day. However, I do let her cry. I see your accusatory glare at the store when she starts crying at the end of a long shopping trip. Maybe you grew up in the generation of children should not be seen or heard. Perhaps you are part of the new-fangled movement of “attachment parenting” that suggests anyone who lets the child cry even for a nanosecond is a bad mom. I see your dirty looks, and I let her cry anyway.

I have read your posts online about how if only I would pick up my daughter and not let her cry how much better off she would be. I have read all the posts commenting about what a lousy mom I am for letting her cry. The posts which suggest self-soothing is traumatic and not necessary and that if only I would adopt the principle of “attachment parenting” she would love me. I have heard it all, read it all, and absorbed the glaring looks at the checkout, the restaurant, and out in public. Here is my startling confession. My daughter loves me anyway. She doesn’t think less of me as her mother because I let her cry while I go to the bathroom or because I let her cry while I prepare supper for her brothers and father. My daughter loves me despite the fact that I wholeheartedly believe attachment parenting is nothing but a bunch of hogwash.

Sorry, I do, I believe that the phrase attachment parenting is only used to make other parents feel bad. Parents like me who believe that it is okay for a child to shed a few tears. Attachment parenting implies that if you do not give into the every whim of the child if you do not coddle them, carry them everywhere if you do not stop existing and make them the most-important person in the universe than you are somehow not going to have the same attachment. Your child will not be properly attached to you if you do not follow this set of rules made up by someone with too much time on their hands.

After three children, all who had on occasion cried, I can say with satisfaction that I didn’t need attachment parenting to make them love me or make them attached to me. I can honestly say I have not once experienced the moment of being driven to the brink of insanity and thinking that I cannot possibly go on as one blog suggests. I do think that if attachment parenting makes you this way then you are missing something that I and other mothers who allow our children to cry have learned.

I am a mother; I have been a mother for eight years. I am also a wife. I am a writer. I wear many different hats. None of them has stopped me from being me. So if I need to pee and the baby is crying well I have learned in the eight years of being a mom that my babies will love me anyway. If I haven’t had a cup of coffee or breakfast and the baby is crying, I know that they will be fine in the time it takes me to brew a cup or fix an egg. I love my children; I love cuddles and kisses; I love nursing and bottles. I love everything about being a Mom, and I know they love me, even if I do not hold them every second of every day.

If you want to hold your child from the moment, they are born until they start kindergarten that is fine. Please do not think that I love my child any less because I do not choose to “baby wear” or because I feel that attachment parenting is just another in a long list of ways we can belittle another Mom for not doing it our way.