Beauty from the Garden Helps Lift Spirits on a Gloomy Friday

This is not the first of these jungle cactus (epiphyllum) that I have posted on my blog, but at 7 o’clock this morning, the amazing bloom certainly helped brighten up the day.

I could be grumpy about so many things this morning.  I spent the third night without AC.  Thankfully, with the tile floors downstairs and all the ceiling fans downstairs stays relatively comfortable and with the windows open and box fans pulling in air I can sleep upstairs at night.

Tomorrow I will plunk out the money for a new AC system  I’m keeping the furnace even though the AC company would have liked me to have pulled out everything.  There are way fewer days where we need to have the heat on here in southeast Texas in comparison how much we use the AC.

Last night was the first night I have stayed in my house without Annie.  I took her to stay with my neice until the new AC is in.  The temperature was only up to about 90 yesterday, but I just didn’t want her to get too hot if the thermometer goes up higher today.  Also with the workers in and out tomorrow putting in the new AC, my house wouldn’t have been a good place for her.  I even plan to get myself out of the way once they are working.

So because of the heat and not having Annie there, I woke up early and decided to crank up the computer, only to find out about all the senseless deaths in Colorado.  I really don’t understand how people can be opposed to more stringent gun laws.  I think most people get wiser with age, but obviously that is not universal.  In my opinion, we would be much safer and saner today if strong gun control and legalized marijuana had been made law back in the 1960s.

With those thoughts on my mind, no dog to feed and give some lovin’, and a little extra time before having to get myself on the road to work, I had a chance to take in the grass that I had quickly mowed last evening and all the plants and flowers that are thriving after the 12th straight day of rain (.25 in. yesterday).  On another day, I might have missed this amazing jungle cactus (white epiphyllum).  But there on the other side of the barbeque grill, in full glory, popped out this wonderful flower, only the third one so far this year.  Had I not spied it this morning, it would have been completely wilted by the time I arrived home.

After a few snaps of the camera, I was able to jump into the car in a much brighter mood than only moments before

Why, Oh, Why Did These Two Have To Die?

The news was not good today.  An article in this morning’s Houston Chronicle hit me hard.  At only 13 years old, Asher Brown, a middle school student in the Cy-Fair school district in which I live took his own life, probably as a result of his being bullied because he was thought to be gay.  Then only minutes later I see in a breaking news article that there is a shooter somewhere on the campus of UT-Austin.

What is it in a young boy that would cause him not to want to live?  What’s happened to schools?  His parents said they had been reporting the bullying to school officials and nothing had been done.  I looked up the district’s safety pledges for students, and they seem to be good ones.

From the Cypress-Fairbanks I.S.D. Student Code of Conduct 2010-2011:

Secondary Safety Pledge
Recognizing that every student has the right to a safe environment where everyone is treated with respect:

  • I understand that I have an essential role in school safety and violence prevention.
  • I will immediately report any threats of violence, suicide, presence of weapons, explosives or drugs to school administrators, allowing them to investigate and determine the seriousness of the report.
  • I will do all I can to stop harassment of others.
  • I will promote the acceptance of individual differences, recognizing that diversity contributes to the strength of my school.

What the school did to prevent this situation, we don’t know.  What kind of home life this boy had we don’t know.  What we know is that this boy used a gun that he got from his step-father’s closet.

Then in Austin, we find out that the shooter, Colton Tooley, used an AK-47 to kill himself in one of the libraries on campus.

Why are guns so easily accessible to kids?  Why does any private person need a gun like an AK-47 or bigger?

I’m not against having guns.  But why do some people need so many guns?  Why does anyone except for the military or a S.W.A.T. team need large automatic or semi-automatic weapons?   Estimates say that “there are about 80 million gun owners in America with a combining total of 258 million guns.”   That means that the average gun owner has 3 guns, but I’m betting that many of these 80 million just have 1 gun, and about 25% have a lot more than 3 guns.  Our population is about 350 million people, so if there are 260 million private guns out there;  that’s still more than enough for each adult to have one if the guns were just divvied up.  (Make note that the powerful anti-gun control lobbying group, the NRA (National Rifle Association) has only 4.3 million members.)

I know you could never take guns away from gun owners, but what could be done is put a moratorium on the manufacture of guns for a couple of decades.  We really just don’t need any more guns being made.  There are enough.

What there aren’t enough of are details in either case to lay direct blame for these tragedies.  One thing is certain, though, when a 13-year old and a 19-year-old find reason to take their own lives and have such easy access to guns, it seems like we do not live in a very nice country.