Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

What I Knitted Yesterday

savoryknittingcowl2.jpg
Dear Kay,
Clif came down with a fever on the afternoon of Christmas, not a huge one but enough that he had the pale look of a Dickensian street urchin. I was sorry for him but ready to hunker down with the rituals of the flu: thermometer, fluids, pillowcases, meds, and most of all, my boy.
Yesterday, he woke up feeling worse than the day before, so I spent the day sitting upwind from him in the den as he burrowed into the sofa, an endless pipeline of ESPN pouring into the room, his iPad at hand, his phone. He didn’t engage with anything much, limp as a noodle, so I sat there all day, knitting, thinking, knitting, thinking.
As we all know, knitting isn’t really about knitting. I hadn’t spent such a concentrated period at my knitting for many months. I’ve had a lot on my mind this fall—happy things, daily irritations, a volunteer project. And very, very depressing things. What’s legitimate to think about? What’s maudlin? What’s irrelevant? Everything, I concluded. It’s all legitimate, and maudlin, and irrelevant. All at the same time. Life is beautiful and horrible; work is important and pointless. I’ve never felt these paradoxes so clearly, and I’ve never been at a place where they seem so impossible to reconcile.
My heart has been so heavy, so leaden these past weeks. Like you, I was stunned by the events in Newtown. (Such a name for that place, indeed a new town that we all inhabit together.)
I don’t buy the idea that Newtown was Just One Of Those Things That Happens These Days. It wasn’t random. It was the result of a series of choices made by parents, by a child, by government officials. And because those government officials are elected by the people, it means that we the people had a hand in those choices. You are right, Kay, that we have to demand change. I’m still thinking about how best to do that, but it’s clear that we are failing badly if we lay low about the issue of assault weapons. Everyone who is horrified, disgusted, and angry needs to use that energy in the coming months to bring about real change. I will need reminding myself, as the weeks pass and daily life resumes.
I don’t know a thing about guns except that I despise them. Our culture has turned weapons into videogames so sophisticated that the blood splatters on the screen with every hit. There are Nerf guns for toddlers, AirSoft pellet guns for tweens. You can see ten people gunned down in a two-minute movie trailer. How is this entertainment? I’m so outraged—but I am also the mom who lets her kids play Call of Duty and watch James Bond. Why do I allow this? Because it’s easy, and lazy. I’ve been thinking about how to work on this.
Yesterday, I looked at my boy, dozing on the sofa, and I wished I could knit a dome over him, some sort of protective web like the ones the Amazing Spider-Man throws in the movie we watched together. You know how it feels when someone you love is sick? How you feel a little sick, too? That’s the feeling that I don’t want to lose: that empathy, the feeling that Newtown is our town, too.
Love,
Ann

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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. in the spirit of dialogue, i offer some web research. i must say, that i was provoked to the research, when a friend asked me if i understood the mission of the national rifle association? i fumbled for what i thought was an ‘appropriate’ answer – to preserve second amendment rights? nope. long story short: it’s to keep guns in commerce; to perpetuate the sale of guns. period. (shock) so with this knowledge, i started the www search. i’m going to clip something below, that ends with the authors story (NYT), and her conclusion – then i’ll put in the web address, and if you’d like to know more, please read on – it’s time to change how WE govern our country – peace:libby
    So that’s my N.R.A. story. The question is what anyone can do about it. The N.R.A. has embedded itself so deeply into the culture of Republican politics that it would take a cataclysm to break the bonds of money and fear that keep Republican office holders captive to the gun lobby’s agenda. Follow Lisa Murkowski’s lead. Recognize a naked power play for what it is. Voters who think they care about the crisis of gun violence in America are part of the problem, not the solution – they are enablers if they aren’t willing to help their elected representatives cast off the N.R.A.’s chains.
    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/26/the-n-r-a-at-the-bench/

  2. Beautifully put Ann. Newtown was once my town – I was an employee of the town. I grew up in the next town over and I must say – Newtown always has been a town that was easy to love. Friendly people, beautiful countryside, typical New England style. Now, Newtown really is everyone’s town. There will be healing, but it will take time. I think the love that has come to them from all over the world has helped. But if we don’t do something about mental health issues and access to assault weapons and unnecessarily large ammo clips, another town is going to be needing the same love that has been showered on Newtown. It’s not just gun control, it’s education of gun owners. It’s ammunition control. It’s weapon safety. It’s providing adequate mental health care and support for the caregivers. It’s a culture change that is needed.

  3. I wish I had words of wisdom. Newtown should not have happened, and I just hope that I can maintain the fortitude necessary to not let Newtown happen again and again over the course of the ensuing years.

  4. Right on, little sister!
    I am spending Christmas in the heart of gun country and in the company of many gun owners. It has been heartening to me that while they do not share my abhorrence for guns in general, everyone I’ve talked to is in agreement about semiautomatic rifles, large magazines, and military ammo. We can find common ground on these issues. We have to keep at it.
    It’s not a red state/blue state issue, and the NRA doesnt speak for all gun owners. I find that encouraging.

  5. Beautifully put.
    I hope Clif is feeling better.

  6. It’s disheartening when they won’t even engage with their beloved technology, isn’t it? I have resisted the tide of ultra-violent video games so far but my boys still shout “die die die!” when fighting cartoon baddies in their at least less realistic (?) video games. It’s a tough one.
    I hope your boy feels better and I hope for peace for all of us in 2013!

  7. Hugs for your boy, don’t get sick, yourself, and on your post?
    Well said!
    It really needs discussing. Now.

  8. I like how Kay pushed the post button twice… It happens to us all.

  9. Thanks Ann for speaking out for us all. It’s hard when you live in a place that wants to pass laws requiring teachers to be armed as a solution to an event like Sandy Hook. The same state provides poor mental health care for its citizens. And my favorite restaurant has a sign on the door that says “no guns allowed” because otherwise anyone eating there could have a concealed weapon. We all need to engage in this conversation and insist on change now.

  10. Well said as always Ann. I hope Clif feels better.

  11. Both you and Kay have spoken for many (most?) of us. Sometimes these absurd situations seem hopeless. Then a blog (or two) comes along making all of us feel less alone in our thoughts. Even my husband, a hunter, is outraged by those who are attempting to justify why anyone needs assault weapons. There is no need or justification. Those who want assault weapons for sport should consider gardening or knitting. Put your energy to good use, for the sake of humanity.
    Thank you for allowing me a voice. :)

  12. Such a scary world. I had a friend that said,”Sometimes, you just want to put them back in the womb so they will be safe.”

  13. Such a scary world. I had a friend that said,”Sometimes, you just want to put them back in the womb so they will be safe.”

  14. Yes. Thank you.
    Laura M.

  15. Thanks to you for your thoughtful comments. I agree that we need to keep our anger and do something with it. As a teacher, I am so furious at the notion that the solution is for me and my colleagues to pack some heat…..how asinine. How ludicrous.
    We have to do better….

  16. I, too, am worried that we’ll become complacent again about this terrible situation we have allowed in our society. I think we need a member-based organization on the other side of the equation to fund lobbyists against gun commerce and the careless licensing of gun consumers. Let’s do it. Knitters for Peace.

  17. Thank you.

  18. I said “Amen” to Kay’s post, and I say “Amen” to your post also, Ann. I am, and always have been, anti-gun, and I live in a “gun-loving” state. Several of the women in my knitting group are gun owners, for god’s sake! I have never understood the fascination with guns and the ownership of them, unless necessary for one’s occupation or livelihood. Let’s pray for some dramatic changes in this country.

  19. Thanks Ann, and Kay tool, for eloquently and beautifully expressing the feelings many of us are experiencing. My big teenage kiddo had the flu last week; she was sick enough to call me “Mommy” again for a few days. Every time I saw the face of a Newtown victim on TV her little first grade face from 11 years ago swam in front of me. We will do something to turn this tide around. We don’t know how yet, but we will, because we have to.

  20. So sorry–that should have said “and Kay too,”

  21. I am glad you both spoke up. Why are we afraid to speak out as a country against the small hate filled minority? It is vey confusing. The need for assault weapons defies my ability to understand. There IS NO NEED for such weapons. What happened in Newtown cant have happened in vain. We must help each other persevere, and give the elected representatives the cover and strength they need to vote their consciences, not their lobbyist’s intentions.

  22. I am glad you both spoke up. Why are we afraid to speak out as a country against the small hate filled minority? It is vey confusing. The need for assault weapons defies my ability to understand. There IS NO NEED for such weapons. What happened in Newtown cant have happened in vain. We must help each other persevere, and give the elected representatives the cover and strength they need to vote their consciences, not their lobbyist’s intentions.

  23. I live in a different country with different gun laws. We’ve seen alot of footage on the news re this tragedy. There are not words to express how sorry I am for all the people involved.
    One story that was shown a couple of days ago I found heartening. I can’t remember which town it was but the local police were doing a ‘buy back’ day where any gun, legal or not, could be handed in and the people were given vouchers for a grocery store or similar. I loved the no questions asked – just hand in. It seemed a positive start somewhere.
    Change is so complicated, so fraught with fear. And yet possibilty exists because someone stands up and says something.

  24. Sadly when ONE person with a mental illness is set free in America.. tragic things happen. The GOV. will not allow those w/mental problems to stay more then 2 wks in a ward.. even if the family BEGS them.. something must be done , & SOON ! We had a mother yrs ago drive her trk with her 3 young boys Screaming, stop Momma STOP , into the MO river.. she killed them all.
    The GOV released her less then 12 hours earlier!
    After 911 we gave up freedoms in the name of safety for all. taking weapons from Citizens will NOT make you safer. its the criminals who should obey the laws already ON the books !
    The truth remains.. do the research cuz you won’t see the stories on the Mass media, but every week a law abiding citizen w/a gun protects his family or a stranger from a CRIMINAL w/a gun.
    taking guns from LAW ABIDING citizens WILL not ,I repeat , WILL NOT make YOU or your family safer. it will simply put the criminals in charge. ( publishing the addresses of those who LEGALLY own firearms will only invite criminals to break in & steal !those guns.. Good Job newspaper !! )
    Our country has shunned God . we have demanded over & over again that He leave us alone. In the process morals in this country have sunk to a new low.
    Funny that the kids of politicans have armed guards in their schools but they think it is stupid for GOV schools to do the same to protect your kids.. when you hear a politican say it’s stupid.. please research & see if HIS kids or Grandkids are protected .
    I am against having to have armed guards for heaven sake !! BUT law abiding citizens already obey the laws people !! do you honestly think criminals will suddenly start too when more laws are added ?? really ?? is murder against the law? is stealing against the law ?? how about rape ? yep ..
    research the countries that banded citizens from owning guns, then research the countries that allow ,In one country DEMAND gun ownership.. if you dare .

  25. Sadly when ONE person with a mental illness is set free in America.. tragic things happen. The GOV. will not allow those w/mental problems to stay more then 2 wks in a ward.. even if the family BEGS them.. something must be done , & SOON ! We had a mother yrs ago drive her trk with her 3 young boys Screaming, stop Momma STOP , into the MO river.. she killed them all.
    The GOV released her less then 12 hours earlier!
    After 911 we gave up freedoms in the name of safety for all. taking weapons from Citizens will NOT make you safer. its the criminals who should obey the laws already ON the books !
    The truth remains.. do the research cuz you won’t see the stories on the Mass media, but every week a law abiding citizen w/a gun protects his family or a stranger from a CRIMINAL w/a gun.
    taking guns from LAW ABIDING citizens WILL not ,I repeat , WILL NOT make YOU or your family safer. it will simply put the criminals in charge. ( publishing the addresses of those who LEGALLY own firearms will only invite criminals to break in & steal !those guns.. Good Job newspaper !! )
    Our country has shunned God . we have demanded over & over again that He leave us alone. In the process morals in this country have sunk to a new low.
    Funny that the kids of politicans have armed guards in their schools but they think it is stupid for GOV schools to do the same to protect your kids.. when you hear a politican say it’s stupid.. please research & see if HIS kids or Grandkids are protected .
    I am against having to have armed guards for heaven sake !! BUT law abiding citizens already obey the laws people !! do you honestly think criminals will suddenly start too when more laws are added ?? really ?? is murder against the law? is stealing against the law ?? how about rape ? yep ..
    research the countries that banded citizens from owning guns, then research the countries that allow ,In one country DEMAND gun ownership.. if you dare .

  26. The rule at our house, in regards to video games, is you can’t shoot people. If the game involves shooting humans it isn’t allowed. Period. I made the rule when my son was very little but maybe in light of recent events you can tell your kids that the new rule is no shooting people.

  27. I wish that we could solve this problem through our collective decision to change our gun laws and attitudes–even our politics. But, it is much more complicated than that; it is mental illness, a problem so varied and complex that we struggle to even identify it, much less address it. Expecting parents alone to identify and handle the mental health problems of their children is naive and dangerous and a true indication of the laziness with which our country has approached and will likely continue to approach this very serious issue. When we are willing to really look at mental illness and stop shucking the problem off on some ill-equiped and stigmatized mother, who we blame for allowing video games in her house, our healing will begin.

  28. Very eloquent Ann. As I said on Kay’s last post, I agree with everything that you say. The shootings at Newtown got to me more than the other ones, I don’t know why. And every so often I think of something that makes it worse. Like about a week ago, I thought, “Those parents bought Christmas presents for their now dead children.” Then I get all sad and emotional again. I’m just heart sore about the whole mess.
    Hope Cliff feels better. I had the flu two weeks ago.

  29. “And my favorite restaurant has a sign on the door that says “no guns allowed” because otherwise anyone eating there could have a concealed weapon.”
    Anyone eating there could have a concealed weapon even with the sign. When it’s concealed, nobody knows about it, which is the point. Most responsible gun owners will respect the business policy, which may or may not also be law depending on which state you live in.
    If a criminal is planning to rob the cash register, shoot the clerk, take the customers’ wallets, etc., he is not going to say, “Drat, foiled again!” and walk away because there is a sign on the door when he gets there. He’s going to know that his plan will work because there is low risk of being stopped by an armed citizen.

  30. “One story that was shown a couple of days ago I found heartening. I can’t remember which town it was but the local police were doing a ‘buy back’ day where any gun, legal or not, could be handed in and the people were given vouchers for a grocery store or similar. I loved the no questions asked – just hand in. It seemed a positive start somewhere.”
    I see what they are trying to do with these programs, but with the no-questions-asked policy, they are making it so criminals can steal guns and turn them in for money, or turn in a gun that has recently been used in a crime. They are basically being paid cash and given assistance destroying evidence.

  31. And what about the Second Amendment? Well, like most interpretations of the Constitution, the decisions rendered are not some immutable irrefutable expression of logic by a bunch of (mainly) old (mainly) (mainly) white (mainly) men who are so brilliant that mere mortals like you and me shouldn’t presume to argue with them. Rather, they are political statements by political appointees who are immune from running for reelection but still amenable to political pressure. It’s time to put the pressure on.
    Our fave, Adam Gopnik, wrote the best article on this subject: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/12/the-simple-truth-about-gun-control.html
    Happy New Year to all.

  32. I made snowflakes for the Sandy Hook kids’ new school. It was the only thing I knew to do. So when I read about the snowflake project, I jumped on it. I’m with you 100%, Ann. Having been having a hard time of it.

  33. “…those who oppose it have made a moral choice: that they would rather have gun massacres of children continue rather than surrender whatever idea of freedom or pleasure they find wrapped up in owning guns or seeing guns owned—…”
    That’s one of the most ludicrous statements I’ve ever read. Gun owners hate seeing innocent people shot and killed just as much as gun control advocates do. If law abiding citizens giving up their guns would stop senseless murders, they would do it in a heartbeat, but they know it won’t happen. This is not a black and white issue. If it was, it would not be so controversial. There are pros and cons on both sides, and there will be no progress made until people are willing to look at all of it and not just the side they like. That’s sinking pretty low to accuse 2nd amendment supporters of preferring the massacre of children over their own wants.

  34. Sad that so many people are focusing on the weapon. It was the hands of the person using it that caused the destruction. In case you were not aware, on the same day, in China, someone used a knife to kill children. I want to say 22 were killed but am not sure. A knife. How many of you have a knife in your home? Is it locked away so that someone, anyone that comes into your home, invited or not, cannot get at it and use it against an innocent? Where is the outrage to remove knives? Again, it is not the weapon but the hand of the PERSON using it. To focus solely on the weapon is like putting blinders on to the problems that caused that PERSON to take that action.