Monday, April 23, 2007
About two hours after the "Breaking News" segment run over the Internet, MSN posted another segment titled something along the lines of "many blame our prevalent gun culture". What bloody gun culture? What we have is a Second Amendment to the Constitution, which reads precisely this: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. " Now, I am not a lawyer, linguist, or a Constitutional scholar, but what I personally see is this: in order to preserve our country as a free state, we need a regular well trained army, and the rest of the citizens have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms to protect ourselves and to stay free! That right is being systematically stripped away from us. "Guns kill!" "Peaceful gun-free zone!" "If we want to be tough on crime, we have to declare an uncompromising war on firearms!" Blah, blah, blah, blah. There are two clear facts that are so obvious that mentioning them have become a cliche, but somehow they are not obvious to the media and the "Brady Bunch". 1. Guns do not kill people, people kill people. 2. If something is outlawed, it usually becomes the exclusive property of the criminals and the black market. The only people who can not or will not try to get the forbidden item are the proverbial law abiding citizens. There is an overwhelming amount of statistical material available on the Internet that basically repeats one thing over and over again: all the public mass killings were commited in a "gun free" zones. The geographical locations that do not infringe on the Second Amendment rights are usually speared the slaughter, because there is usually somebody with a gun to stop it. But the morally corrupt and hypocritical anti-gun lobby will stop at nothing in order to disarm everyone but themselves and their body guards.
We also did not see the shortage of all kinds of different "experts" all other the place offering the public all kinds of opinions, mostly of psychological nature, mostly moronic, and mostly totally unneeded. But they got their coveted media exposure! What kind of a human worm uses such horror to get media exposure?
Let us also not forget the brave actions of the police. The details are still a bit sketchy, but one question remains: what in blue blazes were they doing in the two-hour interval between the shootings?
Let us also pay a proper tribute to the nincompoops at the Virginia Tech itself. One bright higher-up (unfortunately I do not remember her exact status) had nothing better to do than to yell at the Memorial Service "We will prevail; we are the Virginia Tech!" Prevail over what and how? False bravado and cheerleading have no place at a memorial service. The "religious" part was also very note worthy. The very first to speak was a Muslim representative. Why? Do we have the Muslim majority in the country, in the state of Virginia, at the college itself, or amongst the victims? The Buddhist representative delivered his usual message along the lines of the general goodness of all people, (which, as we all know, the people of Tibet currently experience every day); and now another thirty two families became a living testament to that statement.
Afterwards some Christians expressed their dissatisfaction with the fact that the late JC was not mentioned anywhere, and that it was W's place to do that. As far as I can see, the transcripts of the President's speech definitely have the word "God" in them, and, since, according to the Christian teachings, JC was His son, I don't see any problem with the speech itself. The fact that there was not Christian representation in the "religious" part is another matter entirely. If they went for the "multi-cultural, multi-religious" gambit, why did they exclude the representatives of the religion that is practiced by the majority of the country, majority of the state of Virginia, at least some of the students of the Virginia Tech, and definitely some of the victim's families?
Then there was the ultimate doozy that I also became aware of courtesy of MSN. There was an article about the students hanging the flags and releasing the balloons in honor of the victims. Guess what? There were thirty three balloons! The murderer got honored along with his victims!!! Why?! Why?! Why?!
There was a lot mentioned about the heroic actions of that day. Thank you! Finally something that actually belongs in the media and can not be mentioned enough. Speaking of heroic actions, I can not stop thinking about Liviu Librescu. Nazis and Romanian Communists did not success in crushing decency and humanity out of his Jewish soul. His wife told the media about the e-mails she got from his students crediting him with saving their lives. A cynical portion of my brain can't help but ask: will they remember in twenty years from now that a Jew saved their lives? Will they tell their children?
Something possessed me to look at the pictures of the victims over and over and over again. Every single time tears came to my eyes. Most of the them were so young! I know (and not just believe) that they are in a better place now, devoid of the trials and sorrows of living. But there is a reason all of us are granted hundred twenty years in this world. We all have a purpose in this world, whatever it may be. Most of those lives were cut so short! They were just beginning to live and fulfill that purpose!
When you disregard all surrounding rhetoric and pontifications, all you are left with are thirty two grieving families, some of whom are confined to the most horrible purgatory on earth: that of a parent who have lost his or her child. Time will never eradicate their pain; they will never stop grieving or have a closure. A hole like this can not be filled. May our Heavenly Father watch over all our children!
One of my readers, Maria Lokhankin, has pointed out that in her personal opinion, sometimes you get a Mr. Darcy and end up wishing you'd have married Mr. Bingley instead. I think what she meant was that you marry an almost perfect guy and end up wishing for an easy-going dude next door. A very valid point, because being with a nearly perfect anybody is a very daunting and exhausting task. My point was that a dude with strong character is soooo much better and more desirable than somebody who is friendly and easy going but can't keep his loyalty.
On this note, Hurray to marriage and the pursuit of happiness, in whatever form we hope to acquire it!
Thursday, April 12, 2007
For the record, among my relatives, friends, and close acquaintances, I am the only one who has never been married. One of my closest friends is divorced; the rest of the ladies in my circle are married. So, between my unending dating horrors, and recent (or not so recent) dating sagas of my relatives and friends, plus my observations of the people that are sort of passing through my life and my general field of vision, certain patterns and conclusions are beginning to emerge in my brain.
Mr. Darcy is the personification of our romantic dreams. He is the classical tall, dark and handsome, although that phrase always annoyed me. It is so damn shallow! Yes, it may be a tad annoying if your significant other is shorter than you, but it is not the end of the world. Preference between dark or blond is a matter of personal taste: I personally think redheads are the sexiest. As to handsome, it is my deep personal conviction, confirmed by observation and experience, that guys that are, or considered, handsome, are usually vain, conceited, and posses the highly elevated sense of entitlement; but I digress.
You see, Darcy is a kind of dude we are all hoping to marry one day. He is not just rich and handsome; he is also very kind, honorable, responsible, has high moral principals to which he actually sticks, and even open to criticism to a certain extent. Now, thanks to the barracudas from NOW, extremely loudmouthed gay lobby, and others of their ilk, guys like Darcy are supposed to be un-cool and outlawed, and for women to hope to one day meet someone like this is considered extremely un-PC. The whole meaning of the word "decent" got distorted, and the word "honorable" became obsolete. Despite all this, for any girl with at least one romantic bone in her body, hope springs eternal. Unfortunately, for overwhelming majority of us, meeting and marrying somebody like Fitzwilliam Darcy remains just that: a nice but impossible romantic dream.
The best we can usually hope for, and usually get, is Bingley. He is a nice and decent guy, warm, friendly, and not too high on the instep. Let us just not forget that when Darcy pointed out the general unsuitability of the Bennet family, Bingley dropped Jane like a hot potato (forgive the cliche), and only when his friend retracted that opinion, was Bingley comfortable to continue his courtship and eventually propose. Again, somebody like him would make a great husband; but how far will his loyalty stretch when the road will get a bit bumpy?
And how many women you know who have followed the path of Charlotte Lucas and have married a Mr. Collins? I actually know a few (fortunately, not close friends). At a certain point in their lives they all have decided that for whatever reason their prospects of marrying somebody who would be their equal are small or non-existent, so they settled for somebody who was their inferior on many levels, intellect usually being one of them. A girl has to eventually face the hard facts of live: she does not have spectacular looks, or fortune, or social connections. If she wants to have a marriage and family, she absolutely has to settle! So she is going to settle for a guy who just needs to get married soon, and any woman who looks like she is going to become a "comfortable wife" will do. Charlotte married a person who not only was intellectually inferior to her, but also happened to be a pompous jerk and a boot liker; but he gave her a husband, a child, a certain place in society and, most importantly, a status of a married woman. What more do you need?
For that matter, how many women you know that ended up just as Lydia did? Young, naive, flirtatious, a bit dumb, they end up falling for a dashing, handsome, absolutely devoid of honor womanizer, and end up connected to a prize like this for life. And how many are in the position of Mrs. Bennet? Very attractive, but intellectually inferior to her husband, she initially attracts him with her youth and beauty, but in the course of their shared lives loses his respect . He becomes eccentric, reclusive, and mostly ignores the rearing of their children and the concerns for their future. The saddest fact of all: how many of us were repeatedly instructed to be a Lydia or a Mrs. Bennet in a sense that a woman should be pretty and not very bright, for a man loves with his eyes, but is not stupid enough to marry a girl who is smarter than him?
Let's be fair: a lot of us do not deserve Mr. Darcy; and how many of us will have Elizabeth's courage to reject a proposal made to us "despite better judgement" or show the proverbial door to the likes of Lady Catherine? On the other hand, a quote keeps popping into my mind. I am not sure where I have heard it, but I think it was a Russian movie version of "Ideal Husband". It went something along the lines of "If we married the women we deserve.."
As I type this, another thing pops into my mind. An image of somebody very wise, a matron, most probably, but any man will do also. "OK, Barbie", he or she would say very kindly (or not so kindly), "you have a couple of problems. First of all, a green monster of jealousy is eating you alive. After all, even your younger sister is married, never mind all your friends. You just admitted that! Plus, you are unrealistic, unwise, your head is stuck in the proverbial clouds, and, most probably, you are unable to commit to a mature relationship, or (gasp), you totally do not comprehend the noble institution of marriage. You also forget that you are not eighteen anymore (twice that much, actually). You are short and fat (which is considered unattractive by about 95 % of our population). Your wardrobe is atrocious, your limited supply of make-up usually ends up in the trash because you use it about twice a year, you are not very rich, your family is kooky, you are interested in things most normal people do not give a fig about, you argue with your books on the train, and, for that matter, buy them instead of clothes. So, dearie, if you do not face reality and settle, you will end up an old maid!
To which I will raise my glass of chardonnay and propose two toasts. One, to the noble institution of marriage, to my married sister and all my married friends: may G-d bless all your marriages and all your children. May He rain good health, happiness and prosperity on you all! (Special honorable mention to my friend CW and her husband: continue to behave like newlyweds, you two are so perfect together!) Two, to every hopeful romantic single girl out there, and to every single romantic bone in my un-attractive body and every single strand of my hair that's stuck in the clouds! I may be a strange girl, but, even if only 50% of me deserves a Mr. Darcy, I know I will meet him. Wise gentlemen and wise matrons out there: just take care of your own boring lives.