Guns as a defense from tyranny – where have you been?

The latest slew of violent attacks in the United States have left me reeling. And when all other arguments against proper licensing of guns and limitations on the purchase of certain ammo or models have failed against statistical facts, the big argument is that guns are important to defend against the tyranny of our own government.

This is an argument that I can actually understand the feeling and intent behind, but my question then is – where have you been? What level of tyranny do we need to be at for action to be necessary? Where were the armed protests against the passing of the unconstitutional Patriot Act? Where are the militias marching to free children from cages? Where are the armed patriots in defense of their neighbors who protest injustices to uphold their rights to protest and make sure police or private security think twice about using tear gas and water cannons or that opposers don’t drive through their lines with vehicles? Why hasn’t any pro-gun groups or individuals addressed the illegal operations of ICE and the TSA and the ever increasingly militarized police forces present in our nation?  What is the line that needs to be crossed by a controlling government for action to be taken? Because my suspicion is that the guns are really to defend your material goods from your fellow neighbors, and as long as you can pretend that tyranny never personally reaches your door (which is a gross misunderstanding of the world you are operating in), you are fine with things the way they are and in fact, frequently support those who are upholding the government and the status quo.

The way I see it, if you have knowledge, you take on responsibilities with that knowledge. It’s like being a doctor or getting certified in first aid – you then become responsible for stopping and helping in a situation, even if it puts you at certain legal or physical risks. Rights come with responsibilities for both yourself and others, and that includes gun rights. And as with so many other rights, too few understand that basic reality).

Don’t misunderstand me, I do not condone violence and death as a means of change. I value the potential of every human life to ever think of anyone as “collateral damage”. And I know that change reached via violence will never be a permanent change. But there is a lot hypocrisy in considering yourself a patriot and really just wanting your toys and the privacy to do with them what you want. So take some time to really question your motives.

We do live in dangerous times. We have willingly sacrificed much of our freedoms for the illusion of safety. We the people are angry, disconnected, isolated, sick from leading lives we should not be leading in order to survive in a damaged society. But when the building is on fire, the solution isn’t to keep throwing lighted matches at the house. And our society is essentially on fire right now.

I want a world of freedom. I want humanity to reach the point of true self-governance, where every heart and soul and mind is activated and recognizes the principle of being both individual and collective. That we don’t need to live in our fight or flight mode. But we are so far from that point right now, and there are so many systems in place that need to be dismantled to let us reach our true potential. That is where the fight needs to start.

Little Boy Blue poetry reading

I did another poetry reading on Youtube. It kind of speaks for itself, though again, I felt really awkward doing it, and I also think it’s funny I wore a black and white striped shirt when I recorded this as it’s a poem about police violence. Also, I happened to be wearing a different striped shirt when I recorded the first one. Weird, right?

Little Boy Blue, a poem

Posting this poem yet again because my heart is hurting yet again. Things won’t change until we demand that they change.  But it takes a lot of us demanding change to make it happen.

 

Little Boy Blue

Oh little boy blue,
Playing with a gun,
Don’t you know someone
Once held you for her own?
Carried you for nine months,
Then rocked you for more?
Can you even understand
How you made her heart soar?

Oh little boy blue,
In your uniform so dark,
When you go about your work,
The stains never leave a mark.
You stand before your family,
Your chin lifted in pride.
The shine on your badge
Can’t hide the darkness inside.

Oh little boy blue,
How can you sleep at night?
Do you truly believe that
‘Might makes right’?
Your anger and aggression
Causes blood to pour.
Do you even know
Who you’re fighting for?

Oh little boy blue,
Your friends call you out to play.
Now you’re hunting in a pack
Each and every day.
Didn’t your mother teach you
Not to always follow the crowd?
Is there ever an end
To the violence you’re allowed?

Oh little boys in blue,
Playing with your guns,
Don’t you realize we’re all
Someone’s daughters and sons?

Copyright 2015, Kat Micari

Doctor Dragged from United Flight And the Greater Metaphor

There is the shocking footage currently circulating of the doctor that was dragged from a United Airlines flight due to overbooking. You can see the New York Times article here. And people filmed it, people verbally protested the man being dragged, but not one person moved to intervene. And following the incident, everyone, including the doctor, got back on the flight. This boggles my mind, because I would not go anywhere with that particular crew given that they clearly showed what they truly think of the passengers.

For me, I immediately imagined myself in that situation, or being at home and watching my neighbors be violently dragged away by “the authorities” for no reason whatsoever. And I honestly don’t know. One person against several are not decent odds. But an entire plane-full? Why didn’t they collectively demand a different crew, demand their money, demand for lawyers to be brought to the airport? It didn’t have to be a violent uprising, but some kind of uprising would be more respectful. We’ve been treated like livestock by the plane industry for years, but this really surprised me. Yet another sign of how complacent we’ve all become.

So here we stand, on the brink of yet another unjust war fought over oil on a foreign field that we helped set the stage for, that the powers that be have been manipulating and trying to accomplish for years. And we may loudly protest what will come, but will any of us actually try to stop them? Will we stop giving our power over? I don’t know.

Little Boy Blue – a poem

Posting this poem yet again because again it is sadly appropriate. And I am sick of it.

 

Little Boy Blue

Oh little boy blue,
Playing with a gun,
Don’t you know someone
Once held you for her own?
Carried you for nine months,
Then rocked you for more?
Can you even understand
How you made her heart soar?

Oh little boy blue,
In your uniform so dark,
When you go about your work,
The stains never leave a mark.
You stand before your family,
Your chin lifted in pride.
The shine on your badge
Can’t hide the darkness inside.

Oh little boy blue,
How can you sleep at night?
Do you truly believe that
‘Might makes right’?
Your anger and aggression
Causes blood to pour.
Do you even know
Who you’re fighting for?

Oh little boy blue,
Your friends call you out to play.
Now you’re hunting in a pack
Each and every day.
Didn’t your mother teach you
Not to always follow the crowd?
Is there ever an end
To the violence you’re allowed?

Oh little boys in blue,
Playing with your guns,
Don’t you realize we’re all
Someone’s daughters and sons?

Copyright 2015, Kat Micari

The Blood Flow – a poem

I had thought to do a new poem or art piece in response to the outpouring of hatred and violence these past couple of weeks worldwide, but I’m still processing. This poem is appropriate, though, and the world would be a far easier place to navigate if we all remembered this in our day-to-day lives.

Kat Micari

We all bleed red.
No matter your politics,
Your net worth,
Your religion,
Your sex,
Or the color of your skin.
Whether just or unjust,
Right or wrong,
Kind or cruel,
Full of love or hate,
The bleeding is the same.
Heart-wounds pulsing
And pouring from us.
The blood flow steady as it streams.
Torn flesh, broken bones.
Bruises and abrasions.
Until life’s breath ebbs away
For each and every one.

Copyright 2014, Kat Micari

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Helping Inner City Students Dream and Create Amidst the Violence of Their Daily Lives

Last week into this one, I was in six different inner city elementary schools through my employer with a major arts initiative. It was a hectic whirlwind of a week, but the end result was that most of the students (with only a handful pulled out for bad behavior) each got to have an individual moment of attention from half their school and from us, with their final projects each getting praise. I was a “guest artist” coming in, and I was wowed by some of the final results. I picked out specific design elements that were impressive whenever possible, and praised the overall project when I couldn’t. And the kids lit up. They soaked all that attention up like sponges. They had created something, and that creation was getting positive attention, something that many of them don’t have.

There were so many that I wanted to take home and give them a bath, a good meal, and clean clothes. So many that I could sense the fragility behind their swagger. So many that met my eyes with a soulful gaze. All at various stages of putting their walls up. All at various stages of losing trust in adults, in themselves.

And during this week, the videos from Spring Valley High School emerged, and people crawled out of the woodwork to support the officer’s violent actions against a child 1/3 of his size. Again, people preaching compliance towards a system rife with abuse, preaching we should all “respect” officers because of the badges they carry and the dangerous job they have, and I am ashamed to say that I once said the same not because of any respect toward them but because I wanted the general population to stay safe. But no, this action is not ever okay, especially not in a classroom setting. If any adult man had touched a daughter of mine like that, I would be in jail because my revenge on him would have been swift and merciless and he would no longer have any balls because they would have been shoved down his throat after being ripped off by my bare hands, and I don’t care how rude she was to him. But no daughter of mine would get treated like that by an officer of the law because my husband and I aren’t black.

That people think this action is okay because she didn’t comply with this officer is so wrong. I’ve seen people using it as a tool to complain about millennials yet again and their rude upbringing, lumping the childhood of the inner city child with those in the suburbs, and it is not the case at all. Last week, while at one of the schools, someone was shot on the street less than a block away and the school had to go into a safety drill. This week, on the last day, one of our people noticed two men going after each other with baseball bats just as school was letting out, again only a block away. The children live in this. The parents that struggle to raise them and love them live in this. Having that level of stress, those cortisol levels raised in the brain all the time do terrible things to you. Add a difficulty in getting proper nutrition and being in an education system that’s run like a prison most of the time, is it any wonder that they act the way they do? Beyond that though, how can so many still be in denial about America slipping into a police state? How can so many willingly hand their power over to others? I don’t understand the mindset at all.

I’m glad we were able to do what we did in the schools. Maybe getting them in touch with their creative sides will give them a means to escape the reality of their lives, will give them goals and dreams to work toward to hopefully break the cycle of poverty and abuse. That positive connection to adults may be enough for some of them. But not all. And that hurts.

Inadequacy

There are times that words elude me. That an issue or topic comes up, and I feel like there is something really important that needs to be expressed, but even the emotion or thought is stuck somewhere. As though whatever it is that needs expressing is too big to come out. So I don’t express it. It sits, growing and simmering until it explodes out of me either creatively or emotionally or both. Or I chip little pieces of it off, and let it out bit by bit, and manage to avoid the explosion.

I have so much that I want to say about censorship (bad), and hypocrisy (also bad), and how our priorities as a culture are horribly skewed. I want to discuss the recent acts of violence both here in the US and abroad, and the disconnect again of thinking of other people as actual fellow humans rather than “different”. Yet I can’t. It’s all tangled up in my head and stuck in my throat. Great big knots that need to slowly be undone. Strands that need to be rolled up like yarn balls. And I don’t know how long that’s going to take.

It makes me nervous, a bit, feeling this way, because it happens rather infrequently. I hope I get unstuck soon.

Darkness Within, Darkness Without

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year, and it was a rough one for me. I thought that creating my illustration last week (Begetting Violence) had helped me work through some things, and maybe it did, but yesterday I allowed the full weight of human suffering to bear down on me. And then I got hurt feelings over something stupid, and then I felt mad at myself for having hurt feelings when I’m not dealing with loved ones missing or dead. Perspective, I had it in spades. So I went to some very dark places. And while I’ve always been drawn to the Disney song “Candle on the Water” from Pete’s Dragon, taking it as an almost anthem at times for helping other people find their way internally, maybe I just was finding it difficult to shine on the longest span of darkness of the year.

As an aside, I wonder sometimes if people who suffer from chronic depression are focal points for all the negativity of the collective unconscious. Or that they are maybe super sensitive to those streams of energy. If so, how grossly unfair a burden it is, and how dangerous that we don’t take those issues more seriously.

I have no interest to live my life as a martyr or a kind of seer, but it seems so strange to me that others can’t see what is to come. We are collectively reaping what has been sown for a very long time. And while it was our forebears that laid the seeds, protesting against this fact loudly that it wasn’t us, that it’s not our fault, will do us no good as a society. The violence is growing, destruction of all kind is reaching higher and higher points, people are getting sicker and sicker physically and mentally, and it is getting closer to home here in the United States so it is going to be impossible to ignore. We may still be decades away from the breaking point, but we can no longer follow the example of previous generations and keep pushing the burden of payment on future generations. That game isn’t going to work any more. Things are going to get worse, and whether or not they get better afterwards is the only unknown variable at this point. So that is where I have to pin my hopes – that there are enough people who care and who are strong enough to withstand the ensuing brutal storms and rebuild afterwards.

I hope I’m proven wrong. I hope that somehow, some way, humanity finds a way to pull itself out of the downward spiral. In the meantime, I will continue to do what I must to survive and thrive. I will love fiercely and dance with wild abandon if I feel moved to and create and I will shine as best I can to let others find their way. I will do this because I feel like I have to. I just wish it didn’t feel like a futile effort at times.

Begetting Violence – an Illustration

                             Begetting Violence – Copyright 2014, Kat Micari

This charcoal and pastel piece just boiled out of me. I started it last night and finished it this morning. It is a direct reaction to learning about the school attack in Peshawar, but it is one that has been brewing inside me since the Newtown attack two years ago. Maybe even earlier. I had other projects I was supposed to be working on (a commission, three small practice gouache paintings, a personal project for practice in my custom work, holiday prep, writing), but I had to lay that all aside or I felt like I was going to choke.