Well, now that the consequences of the UK voting to leave the EU have had some time to sink in, it is both fascinating and disturbing to see just what a lot of people thought they were voting for. Much has been made of the reports that a lot of people in the UK were googling terms like “what is the EU?” the day after the vote. I am not sure whether or not that data is accurate, and apparently there are other people who feel the same way. Still, it does seem that a significant number of people in the UK are acting as if the “stay” or “leave” question was not based on the UK leaving the EU, but on whether or not non-white and/or non-British people should “stay” in the UK or “leave”. And in the minds of many of these people, that answer is pretty clear.
Frankly, I am just stunned that the voters of the United Kingdom decided to leave the EU. Obviously I am not British, and I can’t pretend I understand all of the issues going on there that might motivate people to vote that way. But I do know that many of the consequences predicted were not good. And I also know that many of the people who voted to leave are in the parts of the UK that depend on the EU the most, like Cornwall. The government of Cornwall is now insisting that the UK government make up for the 60 million pounds a year of EU funding that will be lost by Brexit. To quote from Cornwall directly:
Prior to the referendum we were reassured by the ‘leave’ campaign that a decision to leave the EU would not affect the EU funding which has already been allocated to Cornwall and that Cornwall would not be worse off in terms of the investment we receive. We are seeking urgent confirmation from Ministers that this is the case.
Suddenly Cornwall is like some teenage kid who seriously pisses off his parents, and then suddenly doesn’t understand why they aren’t going to pay his college tuition anymore. You guys really didn’t think this through, did you? And you believed everything that the Leave Campaign told you?
You know, that would be comical if it wasn’t so damn tragic, because there are going to be real consequences now, which will affect a lot of people’s lives.
In the last two days something interesting has happened here on our humble little blog. We’ve had 978 hits from The Great White North. In 48 hours.
I wish I could tell you that something one of us had written was brilliantly funny or had gone viral, but somehow I doubt that’s the case. While both days were fairly international and we did have visitors from around the world and, indeed, our total hit count was more than just the Canadian total for both days, something’s up.
I have a theory.
Fifty two years ago tonight, three young men were murdered by a group of white Mississippians in the Ku Klux Klan. Among the men complicit in this crime were members of the Neshoba County Sheriff’s office and the Philadelphia (Mississippi) Police Department.
This was a mere six years before I was born. Many people of my generation are familiar with this event through the 1988 film Mississippi Burning, although the film doesn’t even cover everything that happened that awful summer.
This weekend, Episode Nine of Season Six will finally be out, and I have to say I have been looking forward to this for a long, long time. Die, Boltons, die.
So here are my predictions, based on the still photos and brief video clips from the episode that we have seen so far.
Kelly and I have both been shocked, horrified, and angry over what happened in Orlando. Truly, it is stunning to me that such a thing could happen, and even more stunning that we as a society could keep allowing these events to happen over and over and over again.
Kelly vented a lot of anger in her earlier post, and there’s nothing more I can say about how we feel about this. But I want to be a little specific about some of the intellectually dishonest arguments being made by people around the country trying to explain all this away. I also want to talk about two people who were there, and who did everything they could to save people’s lives, and still couldn’t save everyone. They are still heroes, even if they themselves probably don’t feel that way, and probably wouldn’t use that word.
Despite living on the very cusp of the middle class and constantly worrying that one slip will send us spinning into a void from which we won’t be able to return, Geoff and I enjoy a lot of privilege. We’re white, we’re straight, we’re cis gendered, and, though we live in an expensive area of the country, we live in a fairly safe area of the country. Gun ownership isn’t very high and health care is good here. It’s isn’t nearly as hard to get good mental health care here as it is elsewhere in the US.
And yet, after what happened in Orlando yesterday, I’m angry. I am angry that we live in a country that has wholly abdicated the promise of freedom upon which it was founded. We are no longer free from tyranny and fear, you and I.
As a part-time first responder who is interested in emergency management, disaster recovery, and safety in general, I read pretty much everything related to those topics that I can get my hands on, including a lot of stuff about how people respond in a crisis. It’s fascinating stuff, and some really excellent books have been written about it, such as Amanda Ripley’s The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – And Why.
A side effect of this is that I have started paying attention to what I would call “unusual” deaths and accidents. People keep doing things that I would consider to be pretty damn unsafe, and it costs them. Recent examples are plenty. A man leaves the designated paths at Yellowstone, and falls into a spring that is so high-temperature and acidic that there is literally no body to recover. A young man accidentally shoots himself while taking a selfie with a pistol. A tourist in Australia goes swimming at 10 at night in an area clearly marked with signs warning about crocodiles and gets killed by a crocodile over 14 feet long. Or the guy in Georgia back in March who decided that it would be cool to pack an old lawnmower with 3 pounds of Tannerite and then shoot at it from only 40 feet away. He blew off his own leg, and the whole thing was caught on video.
And I realized that what all of these people had in common was this: a lack of fear. Specifically, a lack of what I would consider to be the healthy kind of fear.
Life is always a mixture of the bitter and the sweet, the dark and the light, the gratitude and grief. I admit that I often focus on the bitter parts to the exclusion of all else. That is in large part due to the fact that a large portion of my 20’s and almost all of my 30’s have been spent dealing with one crisis or another and, last year, dealing with death after death. That, and the way that people treat you, tends to color one’s outlook on the world a bit. Depression doesn’t help either.
That being said, this year is turning out to be one of the best in a long time. Despite losing Bucky last week, things seem to be looking up for us.