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Day 492 – Letter to the American People: Her Name Was Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez. And We Killed Her.

Day 492 – Letter to the American People: Her Name Was Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez. And We Killed Her.

Dear Americans,

Lately, before going to bed, my daughter, who is 10, has been requesting  I read to her from this book we own called, “Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents” by Sarah Conover. After reading these stories together we always take away the glow of love and compassion throughout the night. Last night, after tucking her in, I did some of my own reading and found a news story, so opposite from kindness, so lacking in compassion that it shook me to my core. The news story I am referring to begins with a young woman, her name was Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, and she was a Maya-Mam indigenous 20-year-old from Guatemala. In 2016, she graduated from a program in forensic accounting in her country. Unfortunately, there are no jobs, no prospects for a better future where she lived and she wanted a better future for herself. She chose to try her luck at taking a 1,200-mile journey to the U.S. to try and get an education. Two weeks ago she left her family, among them, her mother, Nidia Gonzalez, and her father, Gilberto Gómez, to come to the U.S. in hopes of securing work to fund her education. This past Wednesday, as she crossed into the U.S. border town of Laredo, Texas, unarmed, she was shot in the head by border patrol and died almost immediately. There was a video that’s been going viral showing the aftermath of the shooting filmed by a bystander and what shook me to my core was not only the nonchalant attitude of the patrol officers after having shot another human being dead but the comments that followed the articles, no matter which news agency covered it. They  were terrifying and immensely saddening.  Below are some samplings of these comments.


“This news made my day.”

“Another one bites the dust.

Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez was a young woman, yes she was crossing the border illegally, but she was an innocent human being. My question to you: Is this what we have become? Murders? Has our self-righteousness become so large and blinding that we cannot see that we are killing innocent people? Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez was not armed, she was simply hiding. The border officer did claim she attacked him with a blunt object, yet, the eyewitnesses on site, who also filmed the aftermath, claim otherwise. Nonetheless, she did not deserve to be murdered.

As we move to try to solve this complex issue of patrolling our borders I hope we don’t forget our humanity. Sadly, we have a president that has condoned and even fomented hatred towards undocumented immigrants, yet, we as individuals could choose to not follow his lead.  We have a choice to make: to be silent and allow the murders to continue or to voice your opinions against excessive violence towards unarmed human beings. At the very, very least, border patrols should be outfitted with body cameras. There are no easy answers but we must make sure that indiscriminate murder of innocents is not part of any solution.

I look at the picture of Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez and I see a petite woman with boundless determination. Think of all she has done in her young life. In 2 weeks she traveled, who knows how, 1,200 miles to follow her dreams. The amount of bravery and grit it took to make that trip we will never know. I just know that had I met her somewhere I would have very much loved to hear all about her adventure to the U.S. She did not deserve to be killed like some monster. We owe it to her and other countless innocent undocumented immigrants to find a humane solution, one that keeps our own humanity intact.



Day 491 – Yanni, Laurel, Wails of Despair.  What Did You Hear This Week, Mr. President?

Day 491 – Yanni, Laurel, Wails of Despair. What Did You Hear This Week, Mr. President?

Mr. President,

I’m sure with all the social media and TV watching you do, you’ve been following “What Did You Hear  – Yanni or Laurel?” Everyone seems to be talking it up, and giving us their opinions on what is happening in our brains or our ears when we hear these sound waves.

Here’s what I heard.

Hammers on a wall dividing us from Mexico. Walling ourselves in.

Cries of immigrants and families torn apart by discriminatory immigration policies.

Weeping of families for their lost children killed while at school, while you snuggle up to the NRA.

Paper tearing as treaties are being ignored and abandoned.

The ka-ching of cash registers, money piling up in the stock market for those with wealth to invest, while the poorest of our country are punished for their poverty and struggle to provide just the basics for their families.

Groaning of the Earth, our home, suffering from pollution and degradation and your short-sighted policies.

Shrinking of our federal lands and parks that should and were protected places and are now suffering from poor leadership in the Department of Interior and the White House.

“Say what?” of world leaders and friends on the inability to understand your policies that change on a whim or a Twitter feed.

Backs turning on the transgender people presently serving in our military or on those wanting to serve.

“You also had some very fine people on both sides” – your words about a white nationalist rally turned violent in Charlottesville.

Red pens slashing the rights of disabled students and public education funding, while vouchers are promoted for private (read “white privileged kids”) schools. Betsy DeVos is incapable of understanding public education and so are you.

The click of voting machines tampered with by the Russians or worse.

“Thank God for Trump” said David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan as you shared videos from Britain First, an anti-Muslim hate group. Check your sources. Check your morals. Check the spelling of your wife’s name.

The slamming of a cell door as more and more people of color are imprisoned in disproportionate numbers to whites.

Here is what I wish I heard.

The door closing as you and all your cronies, lawyers, and inept, unqualified cabinet members leave Washington, D.C. for good.

The hurrahs and cheers afterward.




Day 490 – Can You Get a Refund on that (HUUUGE) Trip to Singapore???

Day 490 – Can You Get a Refund on that (HUUUGE) Trip to Singapore???

Image from NPR

Mr. President,

It is with regret that I read today the cancellation of the proposed summit with North Korean leaders you had scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.  After all, despite your mad tweeting you seem to be able to charm folks in the room.  I suppose we were all hoping you and Kim Jong-Un would have some nice “handshakes a la Macron.”

So wha’ happened???  Do we have to put the Nobel Peace Prize talk on hold?

I thought you were this diplomatic genius who had finally brought North Korea to its knees (and the bargaining table)?

How did our diplomatic efforts end so quickly (and so publicly!)?

Instead of biding your time (quietly) and working to understand whether North Korea really did destroy a nuclear development site today and thus are amenable to serious conciliatory actions, you jumped the gun. Now we are back to threatening a country with nuclear capabilities and which has shown the capability to launch an ICBM at the U.S.

From your letter today to Kim Jong-Un: “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” 

Really?  This is your diplomatic tact? Did you not think he knew our capabilities far outstrip his own?

Here’s my advice, for what it’s worth.  Stop talking.  Let Pompeo do his job.  Don’t get flustered if they insult Mike Pence again (come on, you have to admit, he is kind of a “political dummy”).  See if they are serious about disarmament, and until that time, maybe withhold the “massive and powerful” talk.



Day 489 – Letter to Voters in Wisconsin’s 37th Assembly District: Are You Paying Attention? November 6 is Just Around The Corner….

Day 489 – Letter to Voters in Wisconsin’s 37th Assembly District: Are You Paying Attention? November 6 is Just Around The Corner….

Image from the Badger Herald

Dear Wisconsin’s 37th Assembly District,

I hear that you have an election on November 6. You may be wondering why I, a Virginian, care about an election in Wisconsin. Simple: I was born and raised a Great Lakes Girl. I have people in Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin—Madison to be exact. I care about the children of the Great Lakes region, about their safety, their education, and their health.

Now, I know many of you voted for John Jagler in the last election, and I’m wondering how that is working out for you? Have you been paying attention to his voting record?

And I understand that it might be difficult pinning him down on his platforms and how he stands on the issues that are important to you. He’s very good at dodging the hard questions.

“”Everywhere we go people have an opinion,” said Rep. Jagler. “They ask me about it and, like I said, I kind of soft-pedal it.”

Rep. Jagler doesn’t want to commit to any opinion on Trump one way or the other.

“There’s become an art about not answering Trump questions I think I’m settling into and I think I’m going to stick with[…],” said Rep. Jagler.”

His reticence on answering questions aside, you can get a clear picture of where he stands by checking out his voting record and ratings (you can check out any elected official’s record at In the meantime, a few highlights from his current term in office:

Gun Control – NRA 93% rating

Environment, Animals & Wildlife – Sierra Club 0%

Immigration –  Voted Yea on Prohibits Local Policies Preventing Immigration Status Inquiries

Women’s Rights:

Social Conscience

People of the 37th Assembly District, I do not claim to know about the problems facing Wisconsinites today. But I do know that many have called for changes to education and protecting the environment and natural resources of your beautiful state.

And I am asking you to do one very important thing. I’m asking that you really take a hard look at your current elected officials and how they have impacted your life. Are you in a better place now? Is your family any safer? Remember, the more difficult the change, the smaller the steps have to be to make it. And in today’s political climate, baby steps start with informed voters.

John Jagler was elected with just around 17K votes in the last election. He is now representing over 54K people in your district and earning over $50K a year…of your money.

There are better options out there.

Why not vote to make a difference for your children? Check out Charisse Daniels. Her views and platforms are very transparent; she’s not hiding from answering questions about that for which she stands.

To sum up, make sure you know for whom you are voting. And if you still support JJ as your candidate, then vote for him. Just vote.



P.S. If you are one of the many who didn’t vote, for the love of this great country, mark your calendars for November 6, 2018.

P.P.S. If you plan on using an absentee ballot, then read up on the new rules, because John Jagler voted on changes there as well, and you and I both know those changes are for the benefit of the politicians and not for you.

Day 488 – Problem Arises. Consider Problem. Discuss With People Who Might Know More Than You. Take Action. Gun Control Now, Mr. President.

Day 488 – Problem Arises. Consider Problem. Discuss With People Who Might Know More Than You. Take Action. Gun Control Now, Mr. President.

Image by Lord Jim

Mr. President,

If a stomach bug is going around, I wash my hands a lot.

If my young children are fussy or volatile, I get them a snack or a nap.

When my legs hurt from too much sitting at work, I get up and walk for a bit.

If our household budget dips, we curtail our entertainment spending.

When there was an intersection with a lot of accidents, I used a different route until our town put in a roundabout.

When my kids push each other, I intervene, and we talk about better ways to resolve conflicts.

If a friend is in trouble, I offer a listening ear and do whatever I can.

When my spouse has a bad day, I listen and offer support.

When my kids keep fighting over the same toy, I take the toy away.

At times, my basketball shot falls apart completely, so I shoot until I get back in my groove.

One time I broke a bone. I went to the doctor.

When my kids snuck candy and cookies, we got rid of the candy and cookies.

When I’m thirsty, I get a drink of water.

On occasion, I get a headache, so I take an analgesic.

If it rains, I wear a raincoat or grab the umbrella.

If I see a fight break out, I help break it up.

When I get a sports injury, I rest, stretch, and maybe even see a physical therapist.

When my car breaks down, I take it to the garage.

When I felt sick every time I ate Frosted Mini-Wheats, I stopped eating Frosted Mini-Wheats. (I’m sorry Frosted Mini-Wheats. The problem in our relationship is not you, it’s me.)

When our roof leaked, I got it fixed.

One time a job gave me an ulcer, so I got a new job.

When I don’t like a song or TV show, I turn it off.

Occasionally I make the same mistakes over and over again, so I make a plan to change my behavior pattern. (How you been, cheese puffs?)

When I got a parking ticket, I paid it.

When I ate the last apple and then found out my wife was saving it, I apologized and bought more apples.

When the dog kept eating the cat litter, we put the cat litter where the dog couldn’t get to it.

One time I failed a quiz in high school, so I studied harder and raised my grade.

When I don’t understand a word, I look it up in the dictionary. (An analgesic is a painkiller, by the way.)

So, here’s the deal. In all of those situations, I thought. In some of them, I prayed. With each and every one of those problems, big or small, I also acted on the problem.

Guns get shot. Gun control now.





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