Buffalo Shooting

Image courtesy USA Today

Another heartbreaking mass shooting yesterday at a grocery store in Buffalo New York lies in the intersection of rampant gun violence, racism, white supremacy, and pure evil. While most Americans are not racist fear-mongers a significant portion apparently are. The manifesto written and uploaded to the internet by the shooter references the “replacement theory” that black and brown people will replace white people. This is based on the original theory that “Jews will not replace us” which is an antisemitic trope found in the “Blood and soil “propaganda propagated by Nazi Germany. It is a philosophy based on hate, racism, and white supremacy.  

 Last year, an Associated Press poll found that about a third of American adults believe an effort is afoot to “replace” U.S.-born Americans with immigrants. In addition, roughly 3 in 10 Americans think additional immigration will cause white, Americans to lose their economic, political and cultural influence.

This is dangerous thinking and fuels right-wing extremism that leads to violence. Also, while I am at it, no one in America needs a military-style assault weapon. The damage these weapons do to the human body and the number of people killed in a matter of seconds beggars the imagination. There are too many guns on the streets of America. It is a national health crisis of staggering proportions. Attention must be paid! Every day a person is killed by gun violence on the streets of Louisville, Kentucky where I live. You take your life in your hands when you are out for a walk at night. We need common-sense gun laws now to make our cities safe again.

On the Road to Ajijic

Casa Campbell

Lake Chapala

Earlier this year, my partner Maureen and I made another pilgrimage to the land down under (the border) to visit the charming village of Ajijic, Mexico. This was my second visit and her first. In order to get to Ajijic one flies into Guadalajara then taxis the rest of the way from there to Ajijic. It’s 54 kilometers and the trip takes about an hour costing 500 pesos with tip.

Waiting for us at our destination was the owner of the Airbn we were staying at, Lupita Campbell. We were very happy with the accommodations which, to say the least, exceeded our expectations. We had an entire guest house, La Casita, at our disposal which was beautifully furnished and full of art. We also had a fenced in yard with a fountain and a cabaña in the back. From the roof we had a magnificent view of lake Chapala.

Back porch at La Casa Campbell

Ajijic is wedged between the mountains on one side and the lake on the other. Lake Chapala is the biggest lake in Mexico and is quite beautiful to look at and to visit. It has a wonderful malecon where you can take an evening stroll and watch the sun go down.

The weather is perfect. We were there in January and it was a little cool in the morning but by noon it was quite warm. No need for heat or central air. The hot water heater was warmed by solar power so we had to wait a bit to get a hot shower.

There is a large expat community living in Ajijic supported by the Lake Chapala Society. They are mainly American and Canadians. The locals sometime refer to Ajijic as “Gringo Land.” We have friends who live there and some who travel there quite frequently and we were planning on catching up with them on this visit.

There are many fine restaurants and shops in the village and is a fun place to visit and socialize.

Dan “Buddha” Hildebrandt, Al Mitchell, and Maureen Bacon at Scallion’s Restaurant.

All photographs by the author.

More to come….

War and Rumors of War

Lessons from History

(Image: Getty Images/stock photo)

Once we are through with the 1619 project perhaps, we could move on to the Vietnam War Project.

While we are at it and are stressing over our fighting a proxy war with Russia and fearing the possibility of a nuclear confrontation let us remember that we (the USA) are the only country in history to drop an atomic bomb on another country. And it was we who let the nuclear genie out of the bottle in the first place. One can only hope that we don’t inherit the wind.

And let us not forget we fire-bombed Tokyo, another civilian target, nearly burning that city to the ground. Robert Macnamara, the Secretary of Defense at that time, is quoted as saying that if we had lost the war he would surely have been tried as a war criminal.

This is not to say that we should not condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its merciless targeting of civilians, but as the saying goes, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. There is a reason we are not signatories to the International Criminal Court.

We can do better and we are doing better I think, but let us not forget from whence we came for he who forgets the lessons of history is forever bound to repeat them. Rather, let us be a beacon of hope to those who love freedom and a keeper of the eternal flame of remembrance for those who have fought and died in war.