Posts Tagged ‘Killing’

please send the police now

June 1st, 2022    -    14 Comments

It was the summer of 1965 and the city was burning. The Watts Riots had erupted one hot August night in Los Angeles and kept going for days. On the fifth day, we were piled into our family station wagon heading down the 405 freeway after a visit to my grandparents’ house an hour north. We made this drive nearly every weekend, only this drive was different. A convoy of National Guard vehicles lined the road, soldiers at the ready. Street fires glowed on the horizon, their smoke darkening an already dark sky. Traffic barely moved and we were far from home. I was 8 and very afraid. My world wasn’t safe. It wasn’t even my world anymore.

Please send the police now.

For years after that I had nightmares in the bunkbed of the back bedroom in our teeny house on Eastwood Street. Nightmares about being attacked. Sometimes by a war party of Indians with feathers and facepaint, just like in the movies. Other nights by soldiers in helmets with rifles crawling in the windows and inching down the hall. Either way I was undefended and about to die. I was little, my house was little, and my parents were asleep in the other room.

Please send the police now.

Such sad words. Such desperate words. Please now, please now, the little girl in Uvalde whispers into the phone while the police are asleep on the other side of the wall. How brave she is! And how goddamned polite! But no one can hear you whispering when you are in the middle of a nightmare. No one comes.

Please send the police now.

Those words remind me of another time I went looking for the police. Well, looking for the good guys, any good guys, the Army, the Navy, the Secret Service, the Search & Rescue Team. Surely someone was about to be dispatched to save me, to save the country, to save the world from tyranny and ruination. It was right after the presidential election of 2016. No one came then either.

Please send the police now.

These days you hear people decry the “politicization” and “polarization” of our public discourse. That’s bullshit. There’s no discourse. There’s hardly even any politics. What’s really happening is that we are killing one another, and not with words, not ideas, not policies or opinions, but with guns. Guns made for killing people, and lots of them, especially in 4th grade classrooms or churches or grocery stores. at concerts, in dance halls and a medical building in Tulsa. Really, people? Just try to convince yourself this is about the Constitution.

I don’t know what toxic sludge of rage, shame, hate, impotence, boredom and extreme self-loathing motivates a mass shooter. Nor can I fathom the pious defense of a weapon whose only purpose is slaughter. But it’s too late. Horror stories always end in horror.

A little girl is on the line. The call is coming from inside the house. And right now, in America, it’s the shooter’s house.

Photo by Rubén Rodriguez on Unsplash

a prayer for the last responders

August 6th, 2019    -    13 Comments

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.—George Orwell

We now recognize it. It is the quiet of the dead after the gunshots stop. It is the horror of what we have become, the silent scream of disbelief, and worse, belief. We really can believe this happened again. Of course it happened again. It is allowed and yes, even encouraged, to happen over and over again.

The words we say have all become clichés. Active shooter. Thoughts and prayers. Victims and families. First responders. Their very utterance is our condemnation. We are so damn well rehearsed in the theatre of it, the pathetic script of it, the hollow sounds that hide the heinous horror of life in America.

These are the words that feign concern for those for whom there is utterly no concern: the actual people who are now and forever gone. People who did something completely unheroic and unremarkable, like wake up on a Saturday morning or go out on a Saturday night. Get groceries, see a friend, buy school supplies, go to church, go to a garlic festival for god’s sake, pray in a synagogue, dance, drink, flirt, listen to music, go to school, go to work, be a teenager, be a first-grader, be alive. And they did this as though they were free! We all do. We live as though we are free when all the while there is a target on our backs. We are not free. We are imprisoned by blind greed and exalted self-righteousness. It is callous and cruel to the point of bleak comedy.

It is the self-interest of wicked profiteers. The petty pretense of certain clueless or crassly cynical daughters. The lame defense of ex-governors or future ex-governors, the piteous pantomime of senators, the fakery of the fakest fake who ever pretended to give a shit. And then of course, it is us, some of us, who fall back on the Charlton Heston version of misanthropic rage that equates the loss of a single, beloved firearm with death itself. Pry it from my cold dead hands, the battle cry goes. But haven’t we seen enough real death by now? We have, and yet, we haven’t.

We the people are the last responders.

So I heed the calls for thoughts and prayers, but my prayers are for the last responders. I pray that we will see and cease from evil, and that America will once again be a safe place to buy pencils.

***

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

instant pot enlightenment

April 23rd, 2018    -    7 Comments

I didn’t want it. I didn’t ask for it. What I asked for was a slow cooker. When I said “slow cooker” I envisioned the brown ceramic Crock-Pot my mother filled with pork chops and a can of condensed mushroom soup in the morning before work. I’m good with slow.

I usually scale down what I ask for because gifts for me tend to get scaled up. Once I asked for a juicer and got a stainless steel “citrus press” that stands 14 inches high. I asked for a 10-inch fry pan and got a 15-inch skillet. I asked for a soup ladle and got a professional grade combination ladle and strainer with a handle so long that it won’t fit in a drawer. I use all these things, but I have a small house and kitchen that gets teenier every Christmas.

So when I saw the two-foot tall box under the tree I held my breath. It was the last gift I unwrapped. It wasn’t a slow cooker. It was my worst fear: an instant pot. I needed it like I needed another ladle.

A week later I still hadn’t opened the box. When I did, I was wary. It had a lot of packing material and instructions in several languages. My husband reassured me it wasn’t that complicated. And it was the highest rated model he could find. I might have asked for what I wanted, but I hadn’t wanted nearly enough.

I waited until he cleared one of our three gourmet coffeemakers from the counter before I installed it. And then I trolled Facebook looking for real people who had used the thing successfully. The first weeks of the year were full of postings from first-time instant pot users, posts of the “live to tell” variety. I found one from a friend and went right to the recipe she had used: butter chicken.

I tried it. I loved it. Everyone loved it. And that’s all I needed to keep going. I’ve attained instant pot enlightenment, and here’s what I’ve learned:

1. It’s not complicated. Never mind the 14 function buttons lined up on the front of my Instant Pot Duo Plus. I don’t want to make cake or porridge or yogurt. I want to make dinner, and to do that I have only ever used two functions: sauté and pressure cook.

2. It’s not that big, not as tall as a citrus press, for instance.

3. It saves time to cook, but not necessarily the time for cooking. You still have to prep the ingredients, and you might have to shop for specific ingredients more often.

4. It’s fun. I’ve been the cook for at least four nights a week for the last 21 years. So I needed a jolt to my system.

5. There are a lot of recipes out there. Some of them are faster ways to make old favorites like pot roast, chili or tomato soup; others are things you never thought you’d make, like Indian food. The Instant Pot has revolutionized traditional at-home Indian cooking with its time bound methods to achieve complex flavors. (I read that in a magazine article.) I usually start looking for a recipe using things I have on hand and want to use up, like too many sweet potatoes, carrots, or tomatoes.

6. Season it up. The pressure cooker nukes your seasonings. My favorite recipe is for a quick pot roast that sounds like something my mom would have made: it uses a packet of old-fashioned onion soup mix for flavoring.

By now you might have an instant pot sitting on top of your refrigerator. Time to haul it down and fire it up. People ask where I get my instant pot recipes. I get them instantly, but I can still save you a second or two of trouble. These are some the recipes that I have or definitely would make twice.

Beef Stew
Butter Chicken
Chicken and Pea Risotto
Chicken Biryani
Curried Carrot Red Lentil Soup
Curried Sweet Potato Lentils
Ground Beef Chili
Kale with Garlic and Lemon
Lemon Vegetable Risotto
Mongolian Chicken
Mulligatawny Soup
Palak Paneer
Spicy Cauliflower Soup
Pot Roast
Sweet Potato Chicken Curry
Tomato Soup

 

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