Thursday, June 18, 2015

Happy triggers and gun crazies

   There was recently an article in the Los Angeles Times about guns being used by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies frequently going off by accident.  Among other incidents, a deputy shot himself in the leg while pulling his gun out to confront a suspect, another shot a bullet through a wall when he stumbled over a stroller and another
was paralyzed when his 3-year-old son was playing with his father’s gun and accidently shot him. 
   These accidental shootings have more doubled in 2 years.  In this time, the department has begun using a new gun, a Smith $ Wesson M&P, which doesn’t have a safety lock and requires less pressure to pull the trigger.  Officials argue that not only does this save time when a deputy needs to act immediately but also that having these guns that are easier to shoot will help the department get more women on the force.  There have been complaints that there aren’t enough female deputies, and it has been noted that many female recruits fail, because they have a hard time pulling the trigger.
   Look, if a woman has difficulty handling a gun, maybe she shouldn’t be a cop.  This may be an impolitic, sexist thing to say, but guns shouldn’t be super easy to shoot.  They shouldn’t be so easy to shoot that a 3-year-old can shoot one, even if it does help women. 
   The next day in the Times, there was an article in the Times about “smart” guns, like the German-made Armatix iP1 which can be fired only if its user is wearing a wireless wristband that broadcasts on a specific frequency.  Another such gun will only fire if it recognizes specific thumb prints.   These guns, which incorporate technology, can’t be used, for example, by someone who steals them or by a child who comes across them in the house – a good thing. 
   But guess what?  These guns aren’t available in the U.S. Why?  Because, although many American gun owners back such technological safety measures, hard-core gun enthusiasts have fought against them, including by boycotting American companies when they put out such guns.  What these folks, backed by the all-powerful N.R.A, argue is that these technological safety measures are another way for the government to control and ultimately take away their guns.
      This is crazy, yes, but is it any crazier than gun control laws being loosened instead of increased after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut – and people then buying more guns in case gun control laws became popular again (or, as was argued, the government decided to “take our guns away”)? And I really wonder if anything will be done in terms of gun control after the Bible study shooting at the church in Charleston, S.C, this week.  We cry out for safety, but we really rather be able to shoot. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Springing into new life (out of the cold)

   A few months ago, I wrote about going to New Jersey for a weekend in February and about how being in a place that was so different than sunny So. Cal., with snow having a significant impact on life and with the river down the street frozen, really shook me up and woke me up.  I saw how my life could be so different, not to mention considerably more difficult, and I also got a sense that I can make my life different. 
   It has turned out that this was a powerful motivator.  The trip really did kick my butt – in the best way.  This Spring, there has been several significant changes in my life or several changes I have made in my life.

   1.  After about twenty years, I am writing poetry again.  I used to write poetry all the time but stopped when I got into playwrighting and performing, as is I couldn’t do both. I have been wanting to start writing poetry again for a while – I have always felt comfortable doing so, and it takes much less time than playwrighting and doesn’t take other people and money for production – but, as I came to realize, the fact that I lost hundreds of poems when my computer crashed about 10 years ago was somehow holding me back.  Did I feel that writing something wasn’t worthwhile if I could lose it?  Writing poetry again has been thrilling and liberating.  A few of my poems can be seen on the Cripple Creek magazine page on the Pixleyproject website, and, yes, I now know it’s important to back up my files!  
  2.  I had my nipple rings removed.  When I had them put in – super ouch! – 14 years ago, not long after I came out, I thought they were hot, and it was a celebration of my newfound sexuality.  It turned out I just thought they are hot on other guys.  Not that they weren’t hot on me, but they were a pain, literally, when they caught or rubbed on things and when guys thought they were hot on me and played with them – very annoying! I had been wanting to have them taken out, but I was afraid it would hurt like when they were put in.  When I went to a tattoo parlor in April to have them removed, it really didn’t hurt.  I wish I had done this years ago, but it’s done now.  I am much more comfortable, and I have the rings on a tight necklace that is always on me.  After all, they were a part of me – they were in me – for 14 years, and they still are a celebration of (at least) my sexuality.  Plus, it looks hot!  
  3.  I went through my closets and got rid of bags of clothes.  Again, this is something I should of done years ago.  I was able to get some cash for some of the clothes, and I plan to take most if not all of the rest to an Out of the Closet thrift store supporting AIDS research.  Among the clothes were lots of overalls – some were quite cool and unique, but they didn’t fit or I have others like them or whatever.  It was cool to say that I have 100 pairs of overalls – I have seen other guys say this online – but, really, do I need 100 pairs of overalls or whatever?  Don’t worry, I still have plenty – probably too many!  
  4.  After years of having a shaved head or a mohawk, I’ve been growing my hair.  This actually started last Fall, but it has really come out, so to speak, in the last month or so.  What’s more, whereas it was always straight like my mom’s, my hair is now really curly, more than my dad’s or my brother’s, almost like my sister’s, with lots of body, almost a loose fro.  I am very excited about this and am thinking I may wait to see what happens and explore my options rather than braiding and dreading it as I did years ago and thought I might.  
  5.  Last but definitely not least, I have had the opportunity to get more sexual experience, not unlike in The Sessions, the film about a severely disabled man working with a sex therapist. Without going into detail, I’ll say this has been both wonderfully eye-opening and challenging, as well as fun and hot.  I have learned that I can do things that I really thought I couldn’t and also that, as in other areas of my life, it is often best if I don’t try too hard.  This latter is a difficult lesson for me, as someone with takes pride in doing my best, not being lazy and relying on others as little as possible, but, for example and to put it very bluntly and crudely, it is probably best for my partner and me if I let my partner get off by getting me off rather than if I actively try to get him off.  This experience actually started before my trip in February, but it has fit in with my different or new life this Spring, and I hope it leads to new adventures and wonders.