Happy Thanksgiving

I don’t get days off, but don’t expect some long and poignant post today. Well, maybe you shouldn’t expect that most days. Today is Thanksgiving, a day that people set aside in hopes that it makes them feel grateful for everything that they have for at least one day a year. It’s a day that politics should be left out of. I’m sure Halloween has pretty gruesome history behind it, still going to celebrate that. It’s not about the past; it’s about where we move forward.

I’m thankful for every day. I’m thankful for my beautiful boys. I’m thankful for their successes and their struggles, because both make me a better mother and human. I’m thankful for my supportive family, who’s always there when I need them the most. I’m thankful for my husband, who always lifts me up when it feels like everyone else wants to take me down. I’m thankful that I have a house, food, and loved ones. I have a lot to be thankful of, which I’m very thankful for every day. We don’t need a single day to be grateful. We should be grateful every day.

If you are lucky enough to spend the day with family, remember how lucky you are. If you are working today, putting your life on the line to ensure the safety of others, thank you for your service. We are thinking of you, grateful for your selflessness. If you aren’t fortunate enough to be with family, be with the family you choose. Blood doesn’t mean family. Love does.

Happy Thanksgiving and remember the lessons of today every day of your life. Even in darkness, there is something to be grateful for.

Social Media Help For Esports

Some teams have an awesome team behind their social media accounts. As a Boston Uprising fan, I feel as though they have done an amazing job. The Overwatch/Overwatch League teams (and Blizzard team in general) also have a knack for getting information out and actively engaging with their fans. This is just one of many things that I personally love about Blizzard. The problem is that PR on the social media front tends to be a problem for these teams/stars, especially in the Overwatch League and apparently now their Contenders teams.

You may have heard that there’s a new team in town: the Toronto Defiant. I cried a little on the inside when they had Neko in their video releasing info on 2 of their new players. The reveal was well-produced and the hype around it was perfect. This was social media used in an effective manner to achieve awesome results for the team. Even though this worst kept secret was something some Boston fans were hoping was fake. (Which quickly disappeared when Neko referred to HuK as a lying bastard on the internet, but still some of us clung onto hope that Neko would be our fearless Zen/Ana once again.) The Neko incident of calling HuK out on and it going viral on social media is just one of many ways that the PR team has failed players on the social media front. I could go into real life examples of how social media can give people a negative impression on you without the polish of an experienced professional, but I really don’t like to talk politics on Gaming Day.

Way back when DreamKazper did that terrible thing, I pointed out that this was just one of a few examples back then that you have these kids who are impulsive and inexperienced socially (in most cases) who need help navigating the finer points of engaging fans and social media strategies. As an Uprising fan, I can point to NotE and Gamsu as evidence that when a player uses social media properly can grow a massive following without any drama. Gamsu posts images of the beautiful views when he hikes or hilarious images of him missing his flights. Then there is NotE who goes the puppy route and keeps up this wholesome and goofy image that he has. These are players that have either been coached properly on social media PR or ones who just are personable and relatable people with a talent for social media.

Then you have teams like, I don’t know, the Toronto eSports Club who went full nerd-rage on Twitter. “We were told we couldn’t have our name so we quit Overwatch”. They sounded like petulant children. Does it suck that they had to change their name because of the Toronto Defiant? Absolutely. I don’t think it was right that they had to change their name. Throwing a childish fit on Twitter? Probably not the best way to go about it especially if you want sympathy over the situation. Plus, I mean just flat out quitting the game and bashing how awful it is? That brought up a lot of concerns for Uprising fans (and potentially even their players/staff) of what this meant for them since this seemed like a rash overreaction one the part of their academy team. When HuK comes off as a reasonable party in a situation, then you know you’re wrong. This is another case where someone who shouldn’t have a Twitter account while representing other people makes everyone look bad. (Applies to politics today as well.) In case you’re wondering Toronto eSports doesn’t actually own the academy team, the Uprising do. So, this really means nothing.

These teams and players need better social media coaching. Fissure has an awful reputation due to his social media presence. xQc has a reputation due to his online persona where you either love him or hate him. Social media today can make or break your brand if you let it. In a lot of these cases, they are letting it break them. I’m no expert on social media, but I have done enough where I don’t utterly squash the brand I’m trying to build up. If you don’t have the funds or means to get social media professionals to manage the more difficult people, maybe it’s a good idea to at least train them better in these areas. In most cases, the Overwatch League players are freshly 18 with their own income, living on their own, coming into a massive fan base. It can be easy to get caught up in the fame, not realizing the consequences of your actions in the grand scheme of things.

When Talking to Your Child About Death

The first time I had to discuss a death with my son, it was my aunt who had passed away. He was still young enough where he didn’t exactly comprehend it and it didn’t ultimately have an impact on him. (I want to say he was 3ish at the time?) The second time I had to discuss a death with him, it was my paternal grandfather. This time he was in Kindergarten. Still, he was too young to really understand. I asked him if he wanted to go to school, if he wanted his birth father’s family to take care of him (it was just before his Christmas break started) while I attended the funeral. I missed the wake to take care of my son. I couldn’t miss the funeral.

My son, who even still is a lot older mentally than he should be, decided he wanted to come with because it was the right thing to do. I reluctantly agreed that he could go, thinking that he was too young to be at a place like this. But I figured if he was mature enough to ask and understand what was happening, that he was able to attend. He wanted to come up to the body with me. I held his hand and we prayed together while kneeling in front of my grandfather. We attended the Catholic mass afterwards, where people were crying and remembering my grandfather. I stayed stoic, as I tend to do. Probably why I have the reputation for being “cold”. I stayed stoic until out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my son was trying to be like everyone else. He asked for a tissue, and started dabbing his dry eyes because everyone else was crying. He started forcing sniffling noises while doing it. I didn’t want to laugh during a somber mass, but I chuckled. He didn’t understand what was going on, but he knew the motions that he needed to go through and he just wanted to make sure he was doing it right.

It was a long time later when I had to tell my now older son about a death in the family. This time, it was his biological paternal grandfather, a man he maybe met twice? I remember failing at this opportunity, making a joke because that’s who I am. “Dylan, you know what sucks more than your computer dying?” Yeah, you can finish the joke. I said it. I should be ashamed of myself, I know. But you have to be me and my son to understand. He didn’t react. He didn’t even really know the guy. He was confused as to whether he should go to pay his respects, be alone among a room of people who he didn’t even really know. Ultimately, he decided that it was better for him not to go. He was 15; that was entirely his choice.

My youngest son’s school was doing a project about Veteran’s Day. We decided that it would be cute to write about my maternal grandfather, who served in the Navy and passed away when my oldest son was about 2 or 3 months old. We named our youngest after my grandfather, so we thought it would be cute for our son to learn about him. It was cute until he asked why he didn’t meet my “Grampa”. I calmly explained to him that my grandfather passed away a long time ago. “He’s dead?” I nodded. “Did he die in the war?” I explained that he died of cancer and that cancer sucks. “What happens when you die?”

I stopped. What was my approach here? What do I say to him? Do I say what I believe? That he’s just dead and there’s a body in the ground and that’s really it? I couldn’t do that. I found myself saying the words I’ve learned through all my years of Catechism. “Well, he’s in Heaven watching over us to make sure that we’re okay. He’s protecting us.” My son went on. “What’s Heaven?” I found myself getting wrapped up in a lie that I didn’t believe, as parents often do in so many situations. “Well, it’s where good people go. And your great grandfather was a very good man.” He nodded, asked a few more questions, and that was the end of the conversation. Until he kept bringing it up. “How can he protect us if he’s up in Heaven?”

I wanted to say to  him “Mommy doesn’t believe in God or Heaven or angels, I just lied to you because the truth sucks”. There was no right answer here. I had to keep going with this lie to protect him. Just because I didn’t believe, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the right to believe if he wants to. It’s a loaded topic dealing with death, especially when discussing it with your kids. I worry about the day when I have to tell them that someone they were close to died because I’m the last person I’d want to tell me if someone passed away. The last. I’ve done it before. I’m not very good at it. I blurt it out without softening the blow. I answer questions honestly. I’m brutal and cold. I admit my faults. I have no idea how I would tell my child that someone they loved died. I could barely make it through a conversation about telling them how someone they didn’t even know died. Did my child need to know that my grandfather died of cancer? Was that too much to put on him? Did I screw up my oldest by telling  him the news through a joke?

I’m a mom trying to figure out this hard stuff just like everyone else. My way probably sucks and I don’t know how to fix it but it surprisingly has worked up until this point. I’m numb to the death thing and admittedly that has hardened me. My first thought it never “oh that sucks”, it’s always “okay, what needs to be done next.” I hope that I figure this out because as you can see, my gut instincts are not great here.

The Wheel Was Broken… Along with Our Spirits

I could have easily written this post yesterday, when it would have been more relevant. However, rather than striking while the iron of this topic is hot, I’ve opted to give it another day to make sure that most people got around to watching it before I accidentally spoil it. There’s really nothing more infuriating than dedicating so much time to a series, waiting so long for the ending, to have some keyboard warriors spoil it all for you. I’d want to punch that writer in the face. Especially when they do things like say “You Wouldn’t Believe who Died” only to post the picture of the character who died. It’s that reason that I stopped watching “Orange is the New Black”. I don’t forgive so easily. (That being said… there are spoilers. So don’t read if you didn’t watch.)

“Game of Thrones” fans waited so long to get their conclusion. Fans of the book series are still waiting for the next book, the supposed second to last book of the series. Feel sorry for us, not the television show fans. We’ve waited longer, so we have every right to feel disappointed in the show right now. When you really think about it, they had 2 years to put out something great. Something memorable. (And not just for the many blunders, like coffee cups and water bottles. Seriously, 2 years and their editing team couldn’t catch those things?) They shortened the season but promised longer episodes. The hype train for GoT was real. And I was all aboard, ready to go, counting down the days to get what I felt would be the only conclusion that book readers would get at this rate. I have resigned myself to the fact that the only closure for the nearly decade I have dedicated to this book series would come from the television show. I was Team Targaryen all the way, whether that came from Dany or Jon. My husband, he is Team Stark. He spent more of the series upset than I was. Understandable; the Starks got screwed the entire series up to this point.

Spoilers, incoming. You’ve been warned.

Last season wasn’t great, but it was watchable. This season? I would put it more in the “passable” category. It became more of a means to an end rather than enjoyment. The story was rushed. The writing was inconsistent, as if they just focused on Tyrion’s impact and tossed a bunch of other words to the rest of the cast and hoping for the best. Tyrion was still flawless in his speeches. Did I mention that the story was rushed? I would have rather them give us the usual sized season with the 50 minute episodes than 1hr and 20 minutes of a rushed story. Did we even get real closure on the situation? Sansa is the Queen of the North and Tyrion is the Hand of the King, again. Nothing shocking there. Arya has decided to become Christopher Columbus. Makes sense, but it seems out of the blue. In the books, she seemed to idolize Nymeria Targaryen, who traveled and was a warrior princess. But in the show, this was never really mentioned other than that was what she named her direwolf.

And Jon? He didn’t get the throne, nor did he ever really want it. He did save the world more than a few times, only to be thanked by being sent back to the Wall as a punishment for doing the right thing. Does he abandon his duty to become the “King Beyond the Wall”? That seems both out of character and a reasonable conclusion, depending on which version of Jon you’re going with. The dutiful Stark raised by Ned wouldn’t break his oath. But a Jon with nothing to live for, who has nothing left, just might. Or was he just making sure the wildlings got settled in nicely? I would have loved an answer either way. And Bran becoming King Bran the Broken? It wasn’t a shocking twist. It was odd how he seemed like he didn’t want it and then all of a sudden it seemed that he planned that turn of events.

In the end, the Starks were the real winners after an entire series of losing. I’m happy the Starks ultimately won the “Game of Thrones”. The ending isn’t my issue: it’s how we got there. That episode was the best episode of the season, and if the rest of the episodes were as good, the season wouldn’t have been terrible. My hope, as a reader of the book series, is that we get more answers than the barely-there cliff notes version that we actually received.

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Noob Adventures of Guild Wars 2

There is no Overwatch League until June 6th, so instead of a recap you get my adventures playing a new to-me.

As a more casual player that struggles with wanting to suffer through LFR to get more gear and content, there seems to have run out of things for me to currently do in World of Warcraft. I refuse to level alts past 110 without flying and I want to finish my horde War Campaign, but that requires you to do LFR. Maybe I’ll get to it, though I suppose I’ll have to just to get the story finished. It’s dumb that they make the horde do LFR and not the alliance. Anyways…

A friend said “Try Guild Wars 2”. You can play it for free and you don’t have a subscription to play. Why not? I was failing hard at farming for the Deathwing mount. (I’m apparently so terrible that I can’t solo that or BWL’s first boss.) So I did. I picked out this cool looking character, a human necromancer with Winter Sky pigtails and a demonic doll face. What first struck me was how you were able to make decisions that affect the story. I like that custom experience because it offers more playability. The game itself was fun enough; it was easy to pick up and figure out. This could be because of my WoW obsession, since a lot of the playstyle was the same. With the exception of the manual parry ability, which was really freaking fun to do whenever I could.

It also works for someone who’s a completionist freak, as I tend to be. I like to finish zones in WoW when I’m doing my first play through because I want to see the story. Even if I have leveled past the zone, I like that I can just keep going to see how the story plays out. It seems as though Guild Wars forces you to do this, and rewards you rather nicely for it.

I haven’t figured out the talent or profession system. I never played the first one, despite having several friends who raved about it. Right now, I’m more concerned about learning mechanics and experiencing the story. The game impressed me enough where I did buy the expansion bundle pack, getting 2 level 80 boosts. I refuse to use them though, now anyways. I don’t want to be that noob that boosts a character without knowing how to really play. I want to have that experience of leveling to 80 and getting to do the storyline. I’m a lore freak, so I like the immersive story experience that you get from games like Guild Wars 2 or World of Warcraft.

Is it my favorite game? No. I still think World of Warcraft is the superior game. Is it good as a filler while there’s nothing left to farm but mounts and you’re still recovering from the Overwatch Storm Rising event burnout? Yes. Will I be playing it much this week due to the release of the Overwatch Anniversary event, where D.Va (my main) gets one of the coolest skins? Nope. As of Tuesday, I’m all Overwatch until I get all of the skins. But, it’s a decent game to play when you’re bored of other games and you aren’t forced to play it because you pay the sub fee.

Where could it improve? There’s something lacking in the social department, when compared to my WoW experience. Maybe it’s because I don’t know as many people who play. When streaming it, I did get some good advice and meet some cool people. I like that the story instances (at least so far) are solo instances that don’t require you to group up with people, especially since I’m self-conscious about my play being so new at the game. I feel it’s a little disjointed, maybe not quite as streamlined as WoW. But, games should try to do something different from WoW to give us entertaining options. Which this is a great option, just not a replacement to World of Warcraft.

Better Late than Never?

Unless I’m deathly ill, or I’m playing nurse to other people in the house, I try not to miss my regular posts. Unfortunately, sometimes that does happen. But I try really hard. Today was one of those days were my to-do list was too much. However, I wanted to get something up because I’m a big fan of sticking to routines, almost annoyingly so. Routines are something that I can find comforting, which is why I try my hardest to stick to as rigid of a routine as I possibly can. Maybe it’s superstition or maybe it’s a necessary by-product of working from home, where you are your own boss and taskmaster so you need to be on the ball. Whatever the case is, I have a routine that I often stick to as close to the minutes as possible. When I said “rigid”, I meant it.

My youngest son has been “not being the best version of himself”. That’s the new way that us parents say “he has been an absolute nightmare, send help in the form of wine, coffee, or both”. I almost wish that I could say that it was only at school that he’s been struggling, but it’s not. He’s been worse as I was hoping he was starting to settle down. His teacher emailed me, discussing his struggles in class. Fortunately, his struggles don’t involve bullying or otherwise not being kind. His issues are the usual with him: he’s overly anxious, struggles to focus, and sit still. These aren’t new struggles with him. But I’m with the teacher: something has snapped within him and he’s worse than he’s ever been.

He’s my baby. My special little boy. My little love. I feel bad about how much I have to take deep breaths before trying to calmly talk him down. His big thing right now: tornadoes. Anytime he sees clouds, he goes off about tornadoes and how our house is going to explode. I know he has anxiety. I know that I’m trying my best to hide my own anxiety to the point where he doesn’t learn how deep it goes but also showing him that I have ways of addressing my anxiety in healthy ways. Like through my writing, knitting, or exercise. His anxiety is something that I had hoped he would have grown from, that it was just a phase. I’m starting to think that this is something we’re going to have to work on in the long run.

To solve these issues I’ve decided to go back to the “Georgie Basics”, as I call them. I bought a new calendar and chart to help get him onto a stricter routine. I’m going to figure out some activity, maybe art related, to get him to work out some of those issues in his mind. Something that requires him to sit down and focus, but that he won’t care he’s sitting down and focusing on it because he’s enjoying it so much. I’m going to get him to start doing “Mommy and Georgie” yoga. I’m going to try everything, because he’s my boy and that’s what I need to do.

Dealing with children who have these types of struggles isn’t easy. It’s easy to backseat parent when you don’t have the same struggles. It’s easy to judge someone for not giving their kid medications for their anxiety and focusing issues. It’s even easier to judge them for giving them medication for their anxiety and focusing issues. But until you are there, on the front lines of these battles, leave it to those who live the struggle. I’m sure they don’t want to hear how your perfect kid never had this issue, but they read in this place that medications kill kids. (Not really, but you know exactly what I’m talking about here.) For the rest of us, keep your head up. We’ll get through this together.

It Isn’t About a Law; It’s What the Law Stands For

When I first read about the now-infamous Georgia law, I thought it was an Onion article. To be fair, most news these days I end up thinking is really just an Onion article. In this case, it wasn’t. While I had a hard time finding what the law actually said without running into articles from both sides of the aisle, the general consensus seems to be the law is ridiculous. (If that part about the miscarriage is true, thanks to law makers for making innocent women feel more invaded after such a traumatic loss. Good on you, guys.)

But what I realize is that people shouldn’t be upset with this law. This law was purposely meant to be ridiculous. They want it to be challenged in the Supreme Court. Why? Because then, they could start their crusade to overturn Roe v Wade. Because now they have the potential to do this with a conservative judge majority. Because maybe next they should find other ways to control what people do with their lives. Perhaps ban people from having sex at all unless they want to be forced to have children. Maybe ban birth control, because we don’t think people should have that either.

You can’t go on a crusade about Sharia Law in other countries or worried about it coming here when you are trying to enact a Christian version in America. Where does the line get drawn? I’m not pro-abortion. When I was a scared, pregnant teenager I never even considered having an abortion. Why? Because it wasn’t something that I felt right doing. Just because I personally don’t agree with it, that doesn’t mean I don’t think there are certain circumstances where I would do it. If I had a child that was 100% going to die right away or have a miserable 2 hours of life where it suffers, I would absolutely get one. It would be the hardest decision of my life, but I can with a clear conscience say that I would never want my baby to suffer needlessly. I’m not pro-abortion. No one is pro-abortion. People are pro-choice. I don’t think it’s any of my business what another person does with their body. Their abortion doesn’t affect my life.

I don’t like the idea of a woman being able to lose control of their own body. It feels like a violation. It feels like you’re okaying someone to violate them and they can’t do anything about it. How many women died because of back alley abortions before abortion became legal? How come it’s all about giving birth to babies, but after that it’s good luck to them? Isn’t it more fiscally responsible to allow women to get this procedure instead of paying for children to stay in foster care forever because they aren’t a “desirable enough baby” or for the entitlements that the parents will need to support it? But go on, talk about life and liberty and all of that.

The law isn’t the scary thing. The fact that this law is purposely made to be awful so that they can force the courts to revisit Roe v Wade is the scary thing. What’s scary is what downward spiral is going to happen. What’s next? You have to leave religion out of making laws. There’s a reason why there’s a separation of church and state. What about banning other religions? Or atheists? Or forcing religion to be taught in public schools? Or overturning gay marriage? This is an attack on civil liberties. This is a scary turn for women, especially those who have been victimized and will have to face that for the rest of their lives. Go on. Let’s let a woman get assaulted, force her to have that child, go through the purpose of a trial that will only lead to the rapist going free because he wasn’t poor or dark enough to go to jail, only to have him turn around and get custodial rights to that child. Don’t believe in abortion? Don’t get one. It’s really that simple. Let’s go back to those draconian days where women are property that people can do whatever they want with. Or… let’s put up a fight.

Overwatch League: Stage 2 Playoffs

I admit it, sort of: I’m a Vancouver Titans hater. I don’t have a problem with teams that are undefeated. I have a problem with a team that exudes such a high level of cockiness and arrogance that they should be knocked down a peg. When NYXL was hot, I didn’t actively root for their loss. Their players had a bit of playful cockiness to them. Jjonak is spicy, but as the league MVP from last year and arguably the world’s best Zenyatta, I think he can get away with it. However, when you tell people to let you know what you should play because you can beat any team with any hero, I think you have gotten way too big in your own mind. That’s when I actively started rooting against them.

Going into the playoffs, my picks when like this: Shock, Spitfire, Titans, NYXL. I then anticipated that it would be a Shock/Titans rematch, with San Francisco Shock taking the win. Did I think they were going to win because they were the better team? Maybe. Was it just because I wanted to be there when Shock beat Titans? Oh absolutely yes. I wanted that to happen so bad. I even prayed to the Mother’s Day gods that this would happen. So what happened in the playoffs.

The first round nearly went as everyone anticipated. Shock easily beat Shanghai, though Shock’s map win streak is now over. NYXL easily beat the LA Gladiators. Dallas Fuel didn’t stand a chance against the Titans. The only shock was how the Spark beat out London Spitfire. The next round had Shock versus the Spark, which again was an easy match that went exactly how everyone thought it would go. The real surprise of this round was how easily the Titans beat out NYXL. This was the match that everyone was waiting for: the first time NYXL and Vancouver Titans went head-to-head. Instead of it being a close match, NYXL ended up losing 1-4. It didn’t even seem close. It was really a disappointment, at least for me. I can’t speak for everyone else.

Then it was the rematch everyone wanted: the Shock and the Titans were once again facing off in the Stage finals. It was definitely an exciting match to watch. The Vancouver Titans put up a fight, but ultimately lost 2-4 to the San Francisco Shock. So how did these Titans finally fall? Did the Shock just want it more? Did they just want revenge? Or did the Titans just get too cocky and thought that they could walk all over any team?

My thoughts? It was a little bit of everything. They went in so full of themselves, so certain that no one could take them down, that they didn’t seem to do anything to improve themselves as players. Why should they improve if they are already the best? No one can beat them. They thought they could just steamroll based on their skill alone. Except, the Shock did practice hard to get stronger. They didn’t accept that they had a perfect stage; they wanted to win it all. They wanted that story of going from an underperforming, mediocre team to the best. They wanted the win more.

Bumper played his normal aggressive style, thinking that he could just charge through and destroy his opponents as he always did. Only this time, he got punished for his hubris. Super, who has a similarly aggressive style, did a great job of tempering himself more. Sinatraa, who should’ve gotten the “Player of the Match”, was melting everyone. Plus, did you see that hold he pulled off on Blizzard World? He may have ultimately had to give up the first point, but he ate up a lot of time on the clock. Which ended up helping them walk away with the win.

I’m happy with the way the stage finals played out. It was such an exciting match and it was definitely great to see the Shock that excited for the win. They earned it. I’ll also admit that the look of defeat on the Titans face was just as sweet. They needed to be taken down a little. The question is “Do they learn from this?” Will they start taking their matches more seriously instead of just assuming they are going to win? Will they be out for blood and destroy everyone in their path? Or, will this have tilted them so much that they struggle to find their footing again in Stage 3? With the All-Star Break giving them some time to shake it off, it will be interesting to see what the new Titans look like. Maybe, they will look a little bit more humble.

The Thing About People Who Do Illegal Things

Every time that I see something about a school shooting, my heart breaks. I think of my children and hope that I never have to feel that pain. There’s a serious problem, and the biggest problem is that everyone seems to think they have an answer but no one really wants to work together to solve this serious issue. I assure, this post is not going to go into a direction that many people want.

I don’t disagree that there needs to be better background checks to ensure that people who suffer from mental illness shouldn’t just be handed guns. That seems to make sense to me. If you are just using it for home protection or hunting, waiting an extra day to make sure everything is find shouldn’t be a big issue. Unless, of course, you have something to hide. But I’m certainly not naive enough to believe that this is going to cure the problem. Why? Because it isn’t legal gun owners that cause a majority of these problems: it’s the criminals.

I have this silly long-held belief that criminals, by their nature, are going to do bad things. Silly things like laws don’t stop them; that’s why they are criminals. There are laws against rape, but yet there is still a disgustingly high incidences of this horrific crime. Laws don’t deter criminals. But what a gun law like the one I mentioned does accomplish is that a criminal will have to work a bit harder to access the guns that they want.

Bad people are going to do bad things. Gun control laws won’t prevent shootings or violence. Walls won’t prevent people from coming over illegally. People are going to figure out how to do the things that they want to do. If there is a wall blocking them, they’ll just go around the wall. Whether this means coming by boat or digging tunnels underneath. If criminals want guns, they are going to find a local dealer to meet that need. Just like people do with drugs.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything that can be done about it. Preventative measures can be an amazing thing. Making mental health treatments more accessible, especially to these kids that think their only option is to shoot up a school. Pay more attention to what you can do to help those struggling in poverty so that they aren’t forced into a life of crime because that’s their only real option. Give people the opportunity to change their life. These are some things that can potentially have a massive impact on our country.

I’m sick thinking about all of these school shootings. How many could have been prevented if the kids felt powerful enough to admit they are struggling? We need to do better. And instead of bickering about solutions and not doing anything, how about we do something?

When You Become the Most Hated Person in Your Neighborhood

A while back, I discussed my disdain for the local politics. I live on a horseshoe-ish based street, right on the bend of it. When I bought this house, about 4 or 5 years ago, I loved the lawn. I loved the fact it stayed in my oldest son’s school district. I liked the fact that the elementary school was right behind my house, an elementary school that was known for its special needs program. A school my son, who I’ve been very open about his struggles, could really thrive at. (He has done very well, because of the amazing teachers at this school.)

The downside was the parking on the street. The street, a narrow, curved street, that had cars parked on both sides. This didn’t really become annoying until the first 2 tractor trailers ended up on my lawn, tearing up my grass. Then my son’s bus struggled to make it up the street several times, especially during the winter when this already narrow street was made even narrower by plowed snow. Then I started noticing that firetrucks and ambulances, which frequent my neighborhood on a near daily basis, were struggling to make it around my street.

I became concerned about this for a few reasons. One, on the other side of me are two senior neighbors who have been exceptionally kind to my family. In recent times, ambulances have been very common on that side of the street, and an ambulance struggling to make it up the street could take costly time to get to them. Then, I thought of my own family. What if my son’s appendix burst and we needed to rush him to the hospital? Those are precious minutes that you can’t dwindle away.

After writing the letter, it did finally reach someone who cared enough to check this issue out. They came out with a city engineer, and very very quickly determined that my concerns were valid enough to act on. I didn’t care that they were parked on the street; I cared that this blocked up the street and posed a safety hazard. It wasn’t safe. So I did what a responsible citizen should do: fix it. With the help of my brother, of course, who was very helpful in getting my concerned letter noticed.

The downside? The people who parked on the street now hate me. They feel this is racism and unfair. They are outraged that they didn’t get a chance to fight for their right to not park in their parking, opting for the street instead. How inconsiderate of them to make this type of law without asking the citizens first? There should have been a public hearing so that they could find this harmful law.

My conscience is clear. The fact that ambulances and firetrucks can make it down my street easier is worth being the most hated person in my neighborhood. The fact that kids can have an easier time using the sidewalk to get to the school or their bus stops that are at the school, makes it worth it. The fact that the neighbors who want to walk to the church behind my house can do so now, is worth it. It was for the greater good. My goal is not to be liked. I don’t really care who likes me. My goal is to have a positive impact on the community.