Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Somewhere among those refugee kids is a writer

This guy wants to be president of the United States. One Facebook commenter
Somewhere among those children making their way from Central America north through Mexico and into the United States, there is a child who someday will sit down and write the story of his or her journey to what is hoped to be refuge from the violence and poverty of the homeland.

If the child survives the journey through hunger, Mexican bandits, those coyotes who guide people across the border, crosses the Rio Grande hoping to find an American Border Patrol officer to surrender to, and is allowed to stay in the country, or even if sent back, and somehow lives to adulthood, the description of the journey may be told. Then, too that 5-year-old will have to survive the Texas governor, flying overhead in a military helicopter, machine gun at the ready apparently to mow down these dangerous interlopers seeking the American dream.

One of those kids will survive to tell the story and only then may the United States show some sympathy for their plight, at least those Americans who can read and choose to, because by then the way things are going with education these days, even basic reading let alone access to truth may become problems in the near future.

It is the history of such events that this country, supposedly founded on some principles involved with embracing refugees from all manner of atrocious situations, attempts to stop new emigres at the border. I am here, now close the gate. There are several memes floating around the Internet with photos of Native Americans saying something like "oh you don't like immigrants? When are you leaving?"

But that same internet seems to be overwhelmed with those who spew hatred toward these innocent children and spreading fears of such things as criminals among them or deadly diseases they will spread into our population. Perhaps we should all be taking notes for that writer who probably doesn't even know yet that it is his destiny.

 Those notes should include progressions like this: In the Texas budgeting process this year Gov. Rick Perry cut funding for border protection.  Then two days ago he sent 1,000 Texas National Guard soldiers to protect it from these kids. But today, today, he found it necessary to patrol that border himself in a helicopter, his itchy trigger finger ready on what looks like a door-mounted 7.62 mm  machine gun. Does anyone really believe he will use that if the helicopter happens to encounter a group of kids crossing the Rio Grande in an inflatable raft? That's doubtful considering the operators of the helo didn't allow him to have any ammunition. Put all that in the notebook for the aspiring novelist.

A week or so ago a U.S, Representative joined protesters attempting to stop an anticipated bus bringing some of those kids to a town in California. When a school bus approached he joined the others showing their signs of hatred toward who they thought were children who probably could not read them. The congressman even said he saw the fear on the children's faces as they  peered from the bus window at the demonstration. When the truth came out, it was a busload of American kids on the way to summer camp, and those fearful kids were actually laughing at the demonstrators and taking pictures with their smartphones to post on Instagram. It took about six tries for that congressman to back away from his original statement. One more for that notebook.

Perhaps the most telling meme around says something like "if your religion says an embryo is life to be protected, but living refugee children are not, then you need to rethink your devotion." Put that in the notebook as well. But these are only asides, footnotes, perspective. Only someone experiencing the journey first hand is going to be able to tell the true story of what these kids are going through.

One can only hope in time the U.S. will find a way to accommodate these kids, bring them into the fold,  save them from the horrors in their homelands and in the process, liberate the mind of that youngster who survives the journey to write the story. That has been the way of the world; the stories of what refugees endure never surfaces until the child grows into an adult and with that perspective tells it all too late to save many of those even now enduring the journey. One can only hope that writer isn't killed by starvation, or Mexican criminals or gunned down by the governor of Texas. Even with those obstacles, one of them is bound to make it and then we will maybe come to understand what we have done.

What remains to be seen is, when that child of today sits down as an adult of tomorrow to write the final chapter will it describe opportunity and success in the new country or will it chronicle another disappointing step along a tortuous trek toward eventual tragedy?

There is a book called "Enrique's Journey," written by a woman who made the trip.


  1. From Gail in Anchorage
    The Texas gov. should be so embarrassed. Is that really him in the picture? If so, he should be deeply ashamed for his helicopter stance with the gun. His targets are children who have not done anything wrong that we know of. It's an outrage. I can not even imagine the desperation the parents of these immigrant children must have felt in order to send or allow their children to embark on a trip so filled with horrors and danger all the way along. I applaud your post.

  2. From Idaho writer Ruth Knox:
    This is a powerful piece, well written. It gave me goose bumps, and not in a good way. This will be a shameful piece of American history, and we're living it right now.

  3. This is a beautiful article.

  4. You have noticed, of course, there is no ammunition in his gun, so those with whom he's flying are smarter than you might expect. He's such a brave guy to go gunning for those five-year olds, facing untold dangers with only his backward baseball cap, his stern Bruce Willis look, and his grim determination. Eegads. How does someone like this gather followers?


Interesting quotations

· " “Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” Stephen King

The thing about ignornance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeareon Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve