Archive for April 2014


April 30, 2014

My hotel room came with rules.SAMSUNG


So I did this.   Out at the beach.   In the wind.   In the sun.

einstein   And now I look like —  well,  looks like I could be his sister,  if that kind of hair runs in the family.   Everywhere I go in this wind, my hair looks like I’ve been in the wind and stays that way, even indoors.   And I’ll spare you a photo of my skin, but I don’t do well in sunshine, and now it looks like I have the measles.    I had the measles three times when I was a child,  three different types, apparently,  and I know what measles looks like.   My skin is spotted with tiny  red, burning spots.

But I can’t stay off the beach.

SAMSUNGEven when a thunderstorm rolled in over the beach,  I had to be out there.    The ocean and the waves and sky are all so much bigger than we are, and I was trying to put my problems in perspective.   I’m here to visit my Mom who is in a nursing home, and I learned some very troubling things about this part of the family….I’ll need to process the information for a while.

I took a chair out onto the sand, about six feet from the surf, and sat down comfortably.   It was getting dark, and there was lightning in the distance, but I needed to just stare at those waves.

SAMSUNGIt became darker, and the ocean was charcoal gray, but I could still see the swells form into peaks,  and then the white caps form and crash over  into the deep sliding troughs of water.     Lateral waves would roll across and slam into the white caps, pushing the foaming collision on down the beach.

The ocean seemed immense, and for a while I sensed my smallness — it didn’t matter if I were a person there, a small fish, or a grain of sand.   The ocean came on and on, with roaring storm-churned power, without caring.

I “watched” my  mind think thoughts of Job, the old man in the Bible….   We first meet Job when he is receiving very bad news about his family – and then he lost everything else that a man counts on in his life.     Job endures much;  his faith is battered, and his friends tell him to demand answers.    Job lifts up his  mind to God –  and questions.

One of God’s answers is a question right back at Job.   “And just where were you when the foundations of the earth were formed?   when the stars were made?  when the oceans were given their boundaries?”

Yeah,  can’t answer that either.    Some things that happen to us  don’t have answers that are for us to know.    We are just that small.

I can protest my own value, my own worth, my own importance.    But there is that dark and powerful ocean, right before me, sending wave after wave towards me….but not even caring enough to reach all the way to me.

It doesn’t even matter.   In the great scheme of things,  I’m very small – and my problems are very, very small too.    Like Job,  I feel a bit battered,  tousled and spotted by the elements,  but I’m in big Hands, and things will work out as they should.



April 28, 2014

Well, trapped may be a little dramatic,  but if you drew a diagonal line on a map cutting off the American southeast,   that’s what the weathermen did today, effectively trapping me in Florida. Map of weather line

The line is unfortunately made up of extremely strong storms and tornadoes.    The Weather Channel is pointing out towns that I normally drive through, towns that I sleep in sometimes on my way home.

So I’ll have to spend a little more time in this almost-paradise of palm trees and ocean beaches and withering hot temperatures while I wait out these storms here in Florida.   I need a little more time visiting with my Mom anyway.

This probably doesn’t look like much of a picture – we drive by nursing homes without a second thought –


–  but one of those windows contains everything that my Mom’s life has become. She spends her time working hard to make sense of each present moment and find the words to communicate fleeting impressions.

I brought her photos to look at today, old family photos.  She was once a beautiful young photographer’s model and art student in Chicago.  Then she was a professional “career woman,”  as they used to say,  and my own Mom.   Then she and my Dad owned and operated a music store in a shopping mall. . . . .

Cousin Lois from the Far Far North Skyped with us tonight.     Mom comprehended that someone “live” was talking to her on the computer,  but she doesn’t remember her own computer-using days.   She liked the pictures I showed her, but it was very tiring for her to remember all these things.  Even my relative “youth” and strength and health was actually a world apart from hers, behind that window.

I left her and went out to find a new home for myself for the next couple of days, while the storms pass.

Tuckaway Front view

It’s a nice home-away-from-home.


Complete with kitchen….


And a nice view from the dining area.

Through the Blinds

I opened my back door  (or is that the front door?)  and went out to the beach.

Stairs to Beach
And then just stared and stared.   I wasn’t elated, as I thought I would be.

Beach view

Maybe I’m tired too, or maybe my thoughts were getting heavy.  What happened to my Mom?   What happens to our lives here on earth?   What’s left that’s important here?   How important are these things?

Beach surf

I looked down at my feet in the wet sand and thought of all the centuries past and the people who walked these shores then.   Family after family, human after human,  men and women stayed alive and lived lives as best they could and then – their lives were over.   Disease, old age,  a sudden spear in the back,  a shark or a riptide,  and their souls left this earth.

Like an upward rain,  souls fly upwards at death, all leaving this earth.  As my Mom’s will some day.  And mine.  And yours.   And newer generations will walk over the same ground as we have walked, and they will walk on to the end of their lives and join the flow of souls, upwards, back to their Creator to account for the precious time of testing that we call this life.

Perhaps I’m hearing the background noise from the Weather Channel telling us of death and destruction tonight.

Once when my daughter and I were on our way to a happy shopping trip,  we came across a traffic accident, and she said:  “Every day is a bad day for someone.”

DeckI’ll be pondering that for a couple of days while the ocean surf pounds out its rhythms.

Such a beautiful planet to live out our lives on.    I’m here now to be with my Mom towards the end of hers.


In Christendom,  personal evening prayers often include prayers for those who are struggling with their dying moments each night.    And it would be good to pray tonight for all those in misery and despair as they survey their losses from these tornadoes.

We’re all sons of Adam and daughters of Eve – not quite yet in a real Paradise.




April 27, 2014

Christendom has long called this Sunday “Quasimodo Sunday.”  It’s because the first given prayer for this day begins with the words:  quasi modo”  which means “as”  or “in this manner.” 

More about the real “in this manner” later, but for now I’m musing about Quasimodo, the man at the center of action in Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame.    At one time every literate person in Europe knew who Quasimodo was, and how by an act of Christian charity the ugly abandoned baby who was to become Quasimodo was found and adopted  and cared for  by the archdeacon of Notre Dame cathedral.    Since he was found on Quasimodo Sunday,  the baby boy was given the name Quasimodo.

This being a novel written by the very anti-Catholic Monsieur Hugo,  lust, murder, and revenge abounds in the hearts of all the characters,  whether good or evil, Catholic or non-Catholic, in a moral mish-mash of the cynical soup that arose out of the Enlightenment.

Nevertheless, from his earliest years,  Quasimodo was alive and given an honorable way to make his living because of Christian charity.

Had the characters in Victor Hugo’s book been guided by the rest of the prayer which names this Sunday,  they would have had less heartache and more holiness  —  and so it is with every man.    The prayer points to all those who come to faith in Christ and are eager to please Him and are hungry to know more.

Like little children,  as newborn babies,  in the manner of enthusiastic newbies, willing to receive more,  in this manner live your lives.

For anyone who has experienced any little knowledge of God, let him delight with childlike simplicity and be open for more;   let him long for more.

Quasimodo;  “in this manner.”   Simple, humble, childlike, open for more wonders of faith   —   Perhaps like the baby boy Quasimodo once was, when he first experienced the tender love of Christian charity, and before he became enmeshed in the drama of adult evils.

How we can pity all those who lose their childlike eagerness to be good.



April 27, 2014

We have  – in general – lost the rich meanings behind the words “quasi modo,”  and that is just a tragic example of all that is gone in Christendom.  So in a kind of angry, angry rant,  let me illustrate our loss.

1,300 miles away from home this morning, I had to settle for an imposter church;  that is, one with the same name but none of the same practices.

I entered and found a seat in the back, and listened to the polite buzz of cocktail party conversation.   Laughter, questions, social talk.

Prepare myself in prayer?  Maybe it wasn’t the right time.

People were dressed for summertime fun;  this is Florida after all.  Lots of bare skin.  Lots of tattoos.   Lots of flip-flops.

Then the band warmed up.

A man went to the front of the stage and gave a commercial announcement for CDs that were available to buy;   for the school fundraiser;  and for some activity on the upcoming calendar.

Everyone was told to introduce himself to the one standing next to him…a very noisy time indeed.    But friendly.

People began to quiet down then –  just as the band keyed up with a boom! and the drums and guitar and saxophone and something like a fiddle took off – somewhat in tune with each other.

Some young people near the front began singing a folk song. . .
Then a procession; people carrying a cross and other objects. . .

Then the presider took center stage, dressed in a long white linen…it’s been described by some as a nightshirt or a nightgown, tied with a white sash –  but I don’t call it that.

The presider said some words, possibly a prayer or good wishes for a special day, and then the young people sang another song.   The music was a mixture of Billy Graham songs and Bill Gaither songs.

A lady took the stage and read from the Bible.

Another lady took the stage and read another portion of the Bible.

A teenage girl with an untrained voice went up to the stage and  sang a solo, with the audience joining in on the chorus.
Then the presider read the Gospel passage.

We got to the sermon and now there were two men with  white gowns who began a conversation about their experiences with the man called John Paul II and the man called John the 23rd –  but they had a long debate about the order that these men had held office.  Truly,  there were four names, and it took them a while to reach a consensus about who had been first, who next, who lived only a few days in office —  and they got the order wrong!

As a historian, of sorts,  that was rather offensive.   The four men in question did not live that long ago.   The two presiders did change their minds…but the new order they agreed upon was wrong too.

From what I gathered,  the two popes who are being honored today were very popular, and raising them to sainthood vindicates their popularity.    And everyone is happy.

One presider mentioned being in “the big court” in the Vatican – you know, he said,  the one with the big abyss standing up in the middle?   I’m sure he said “abyss” and I’m sure an abyss doesn’t stand up in the middle of a court.   He might have said “ah-blisk” –   but no educated person would pronounce the word that way.    (This college-educated man didn’t quite have the words to describe the obelisk in the midst of St Peter’s Square.)

After their conversation was over, the young people sang songs again, and the band accompanied them enthusiastically.

Then we were standing, and the nice older man next to me made several attempts to grab my hand –  and I finally let him have it  (my hand, that is)  because he was really, really working hard to find my hand.  He gestured during that prayer and up went my own captive hand.

Followed by a group hug/handshake/hello time.

Following that,  there was a faint resemblance to the Mass developing – not the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, because they were not joining in the offering of Christ Himself to his Father,  but an offering of bread made by human hands, etc.

At that point, what we have lost since the middle of the 20th century was all I could think of.  How many of these people have no idea that anything is even missing.  The sadness of loss was nearly overwhelming….

I left early –  with a prayer of reparation –  a sorrowful prayer of consolation….   And my own loss.   I just didn’t belong to that social organization, even though they named themselves with a familiar name….


You can pray anywhere.   You can sing happy songs anywhere.   You can hear or read the Bible anywhere.   But what the Catholic Church has to offer – the real one – is so very much more than singing, praying, Bible reading, and socializing.



April 26, 2014

To paraphrase the movie title “How The West Was Won” –  I hope to show you a little bit of how our whole country “was won.”

SAMSUNGAs you probably know, by reading yesterday’s “Rush”  posting,  I’m on the move again.   I tried not to take too many photos while I drive  –  but I just keep wanting to “capture the moment” driving up and down these long mountain hills in the beautiful Smokies.

But not too long ago, right in this very spot,  there was another kind of traveling done:


This is part of the way we “won”  America.   Hard and dangerous travel.  Uncomfortable.  No motels and truck stops along the way.  No anyone.    Nothing certain.

Those grand and picturesque hills in the Smokies and in the all-important Gap called Cumberland became the home of tiny settlements, a few houses together, or one all alone in the valleys. . .


I visited one this week.  Real houses built more than a hundred years ago.  I remembered something I had read a long time ago, about people who made these homes and it gave me a closer idea of what they all faced.    It took courage to “win” our nation.

One time, in the dead of night,  a man and wife woke up to the sounds of hideous screaming coming from a distance.  The wife was frightened.  She said it sounds like it was coming from the direction of that new young couple who just moved in over in the next valley.

After several minutes the husband assured his wife that it was just a panther, screaming out in the forest.

The next day these two set out for the home of that new young couple,   who had just finished building their little house a few days before.  They were expecting their first baby, and the older couple wanted to reassure them that the “hideous screaming” they heard last night was just a panther –  common,  but it won’t usually hurt anyone.

The young husband was very skilled and had built a finely crafted house:


But what they found inside still gives me chills when I remember this story.   The young couple had chosen the location of their home so that the hearth was built over solid rocks that poked through the ground.  A smart idea.   But what they hadn’t known was that the rocks contained a very large, very healthy nest of poisonous snakes, and by using their new hearth and heating up the rocks hundreds and hundreds of snake eggs had hatched and the new young snakes had crawled out, up into their new home.  The young couple had awakened in time to realize they were being overwhelmed by snakes – everywhere!  All over them.

And that hideous panther screaming was really the young wife screaming out her dying horror.

Courage.  In the face of deadly uncertainty.    And still we built this country.   The men (who survived)  had plenty of hard work  to do.   Tin smithing and black-smithing:


And the women worked constantly too, producing useful but beautiful items.


Hard, hard, daily work built our country.

When I walked into this gift shop, I thought: Oh, factory-made baskets to give us the idea of what women used to do.  They’re each so perfectly made that I doubt if the baskets that were really used were like this.

The lady at the counter was so friendly – I couldn’t understand much of her words for the thick accent “she” had ( not me!) –  but we got along well and discussed the different kinds of handiwork we do: crocheting, sewing, knitting….  And then she told me to look at those baskets.   She had made every one of them!    (I’m still apologizing for the look of incredulity on my face!)

Ever wonder how a broom is made?

SAMSUNGWell, the little village had a cabin where they made brooms.  And still do!


They make these little bundles of. . .  straw, I think.   And then they stitch the bundles together.   Somehow.     And then they attach a pole . . .   I really don’t know how they make brooms!      I think I could make one little bundle.    I guess I could make a whisk broom.   I’d be the laughing stock of the village housewives.

We see  on television, in movies, in music, in the news=entertainment programs a kind of American that is coasting on the hard work of those who came before us; we see Americans who are  giddy,  grouchy, complaining, divisive, entitled,  getting away with an easy life,   and everything worked out for them (us.)

But this week I was invited to spend some time with the people who built up our country and made it what it is.

SAMSUNGEven serious “preppers”  don’t know half of what these people did.    We should be self-reliant and independent,  right?    If the power goes out,  I can do just fine with candles.    But I wouldn’t even be able to make a candle – from scratch!!

Hats off to all the Americans who came before us!    You are truly the giants of our past.

(Travel:   Highly recommended.    It will make you feel very small.)





April 24, 2014


Quite a rush today. 1 Rush

Some days are like that –  but you have to make it happen!

Time for a little road trip —  time to see my Mom – on the other side of the country!     I looked up these Falls on the Internet before I left home. A nice tourist stop.     I read that “at the edge of the parking lot”  we could find “the trailhead.”    Just a “short one,” you know;  just “a little exercise”  during a long road trip.

Well, here is the edge of that parking lot I read about: 2 Edge of parking

See that drop-off?     That’s the “edge” of the parking lot.      I peeked over the edge –  that’s a stairway down there…a steep, steep stairway.

3 over edge peek

Straight down.   I was beginning to have a few misgivings about going down there, but it was the way to the Falls, so I believed.

Down, down, down, down I descended,  walking down the stairs and then down a steep pathway –

4 sheer dropp off tot he left

That’s a sheer drop-off to the left.    (And lots of rocks and stones to trip on.)

I tried not to think about the long walk back up this trail,  but I did turn around to see where I had just come from –

5 looking back up

Yep.    Pretty steep.    And  very beautiful –
6 cliff path

I was all by  myself in that beautiful scenery.    It was quite a “rush” to begin to feel part of all that.   I walked downward for about thirty minutes before I finally began to hear evidence of a waterfall.    Then the  soft hint of distant roaring water began to sound through the trees,  getting louder with each minute.

I came to the river. . .

7 river granit rock

The river had been cutting through this base of solid rock for “a very long time” —  (I was too tired to get technical at this point.)    I began to see some other people at the river.   We could walk right out onto that flat rock, right up to the river.   Which I did, of course.

8 the fallsAnd there really was a Falls.   The Cumberland Falls.   The Niagara of the South!    Beautiful!   Loud and beautiful!   Like a powerful nature rush.

And there really was a rainbow at the end of my . . . efforts.

9 rainbow

I wish I could enhance that photo somehow.   All the colors of the rainbow were actually there.    It was such a nice place to be.   Very uplifting.   The tourists seemed so happy.   I saw about a half dozen Amish ladies – in dresses, like me.    They did a double-take when they saw my dress!  Ha!   Dresses are cooler in the heat of the day.    Every lady should know that!

There was a nice gift shop,  snack bar, lots of maps and geological information – and Bear Signs!   Everywhere the rangers had posted signs to watch out for bear:   “There are Bear in this area.”    “Bear have been seen recently.”    “If you see a Bear, please tell a ranger.”      (If I see a Bear,  I will die of a heart attack – why, why, why, why is it that every time I take a hike out in the woods, the West, the Southwest, the North, and the South –  everywhere there are warnings for Bear…..?)

This was on my mind when I tried to find the Upward Trail that would take me back to my car in the parking lot – somewhere over my head.   And there it was,  winding upward.  Inevitably, steeply upward.  I was already hot, thirsty, and tired – but my car was far away.    Far upward.

12 uphill

One last look at the Falls:

13 one last look

I decided to distract myself as I walked (upward)  by counting my steps.   I’d count one hundred steps and then take a rest.   Good idea, maybe,   but I never made it to a hundred.   I rested when I had to.   And breathed very, very hard, gulping in oxygen and hoping that dizzy feeling wouldn’t lead to unconsciousness.    Hoping a clumsy step wouldn’t lead to embarrassing myself by getting some bones broken.

10 railing

The Boy Scouts had made a nice railing for a few hundred feet.  Sheer upward wall on the left;  sheer cliff downward on the right.

Want some Vertigo?

11 vertigo

Looking over the railing at one point, the hiker (the weary hiker)  could see far down below to a wide two-lane bridge over the river!   That white strip in the middle is the road.    Straight down.    Time for a little “rush”  again . . . as long as you don’t mind heights.

I did make it all the way back up.   I did find my car.   And – miracle of all, by this time –  I managed to open a bottle of water and begin to replace the gallons I had lost.

14 sign enh

“Cumberland Falls State Resort Park”  —  Highly recommended.

Watch out for Bear.


April 22, 2014

It’s Easter Monday in Christendom, and the theme is “disrecognition.”   At least in the Spruce Tunnel it is.   You won’t find that word in the dictionary.ultraviolet

The mind is a strange tool to think with.   Sometimes things that we should recognize look like we’ve never seen them before.   And sometimes things we’ve never seen before, seem strangely familiar, as if we should know it, but can’t quite remember what it is.

A familiar object – when seen in a different light –  reveals new complexities.   Here are some plain white flowers:

ultra flower

– but when seen under ultraviolet light appear to have oddly bright colors and new patterns.

Something similar happen to Mary Magdalene near the garden tomb of Jesus on Easter morning.  She knew Him well.  She had been among His friends, walking, talking, eating with Him;  watching, listening.   But when she came up to Him in the garden,  she saw Him but didn’t recognize Him.   She looked right at Him and asked “the man”  where they have put the body of Jesus.     She looked at Jesus and disrecognized Him!

ultra violet flowers

In the Readings we are given today,  two disciples of Jesus walk with Him several miles on the road to their home town, Emmaus.    They looked right at Him and told Jesus how sad they were that Jesus had died.   The whole city is talking about the death of Jesus.  That’s what they told . . . Jesus!     They were disrecognizing Someone they should have recognized immediately.

In each of these two cases,  something happened to shed new light into their minds that reversed this strange phenomena of disrecognition.    In Mary’s case,  Jesus looked at her, into her,  and spoke her name.    He personally knew her – and that realization was enough for her to know Him.

For the two men on the road to Emmaus, it was the act of inviting Him into their home, meeting Him in the Bread and Wine – and in an instant – poof! –  communion with Jesus was perceived in the Bread and Wine that He had just blessed.    They were left with the certain and profound understanding that Jesus is available but in the form of a bread and wine – Jesus places Himself truly for the two m





Lightning bolt


 Not to be too dramatic here,   but last night as I was writing this,  we had a sudden surge in this room.  The computer  screen got brighter and  the whole room was filled with light —  and with a bang!   the power went out.

Power was on this morning,  but not the Internet.  Everything checked out – except for the router which brings Internet to this PC.  It was still “dark.”  Fortunately,  Son was visiting,  and in his inimitable way,  picked it up,  took it apart, and said “I know what’s wrong!”

Can you see it?


Well, it’s in the capacitors there.  Two of them are taller and have rounded tops, Son explained –  which means:  they were blown out in the power surge.

Next thing I knew he was disassembling an old computer, pieces all over the place, and then he had an Aha! moment and ran down for the soldering gun….

And fixed the router.

I don’t understand this.  I don’t understand how he knew.   I don’t understand how guys can just . . .  do things like this.

He sees the world differently than I do –  and I’m glad for it.

And that’s just about what I was saying about Jesus after the Resurrection.    Seeing Him one way, maybe walking with Him,  maybe reading and hearing about Him all your life — and then things change: and He calls your name,  He gets your attention somehow,   He speaks personally to you,  interiorly where only you pick up His signal.   In some way, through fear or doubt or wonder or thankfulness or curiosity –  in some way you are open to seeing Jesus in a way that you had never recognized Him before.

And now you see things differently.

There He is.



April 20, 2014



It really happened.   It’s all true.

And it makes all the difference in the world!

Deo gratias!



Resurrexit –  et adhuc tecum sum!!    (I am risen – yet I’m still with you!)


April 19, 2014

We’ve had some pretty big earthquakes lately, two  7  point somethings in Mexico and Central America this week.  They made me think about the big earthquake which occurred on the first Good Friday.

I’m thinking about all the rocks and stones and mountains and the bedrock beneath our feet, which sometimes isn’t so solid and lifeless as we think –


And maybe the rocks and mountains and all of creation is not really so “silent”  as we think.

About one week ago,  Jesus made his triumphal entrance into the city of Jerusalem, and the people rose up to greet him, to shout his praises;  “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!”    They didn’t fullly understand who Jesus is,  but they were happy and joyous in His presence anyway.

Then the religious leaders, probably fearing the tumult would draw the attention of  the Roman authorities,  came up to Jesus and said,  “Tell your followers to quiet down,”  to which Jesus replied,  “If they didn’t shout out in praise, the very rocks would cry out.”
The stony earth beneath their feet remained silent on Palm Sunday,  because the people were singing out praises to God.

When  Jesus was crucified,   only a very few stayed with Him, sorrowing and grieving for the One they loved – yet even they did not fully understand what was happening.   There was no “tumult”  at the crucifixion.

It’s Holy Saturday today –  some disciples, friends, family,  have gathered themselves together and seem to be in stunned, silent confusion and grief.

But in other parts of the city, they were still picking up the pieces from the earthquake that had occurred when the Son of God passed out of this world.   When Jesus died,  though the humans didn’t know what to say or what to do,  the rocks and stones and solid earth beneath their feet “shouted out” with their great quaking.

On Holy Saturday,  perhaps the friends of Jesus were thinking about that quake that had tossed dead bodies out from the earth, graves could no longer hold the bodies.  And perhaps they began to ponder the meaning of the earthquake-torn veil  in the Temple –

rent in two But torn, oddly,  from top to bottom, as though the heavens had opened up the dividing veil between God and humans.  The Temple, now, and the Holy of Holies where God dwelt,  will now be located within the hearts of men and women.

A lot to ponder on Holy Saturday.     The rocks and stony ground “cried out” after all,  in a big, awful quake that heralded the beginning of new things.



April 18, 2014

“THE VIEW . . .

6 what earth shadow

. . . on Good Friday”  –

Of all the books I’ve read about the events that took place on Good Friday, the death of our Lord and Savior,   the one that stays with me is “What Jesus Saw From the Cross.”

Just a few thoughts from my memory:

Jesus saw a small crowd on the hilltop:    a few, a very few who know Him, weeping and grieving in horror and sorrow, helpless in their sadness.

1.5  what jesus saw big crowd

A few others, puzzled, perhaps.   Something is happening here,  but they knew not what.

Others,  efficiently, strongly,  murderously going about their business.   Getting the job done.

Others, a little further off, come to witness the results of their efforts to get rid of this One;  yet –   Something is not quite right.  They won – but it’s an uncomfortable victory over this One.

4 what jesus sawa skyline

Behind and further beyond this small crowd are the gates of the city that Jesus loved so much.   The city where so much had begun.   The city near the place where Jacob saw the  heavens open and angels ascending and descending between Heaven and Earth.   Like a portal, opened; the veil thinned.   Here in Jerusalem.  The navel of the earth.

Beyond the city walls, Jesus could just see the top of the Temple, within which lay the Holy of Holies, the only place one could bring offerings to the True and Only God and perceive His presence.    Precious spot on the earth.

Beyond Jerusalem, perhaps if Jesus looked north He would have seen, in imagination,  the land of my grandfathers, dwelling near the Arctic Circle.

If He could look northwest,   He could have seen in the direction of the land where I live now.

But, these are the hours of His Passion,  the culmination of God’s grieving and righteous anger for our sins.   Jesus looks down at the two people closest to Him, the two people whose love is greater than their sorrow.

2 what he saw small crowd

He doesn’t see only these individuals.  He sees in them John, the Beloved Disciple,  representing all of us who become disciples – all of us “beloved.”   And He sees Mary,  His virgin Mother,  still pure and worthy to be his mother, and He sees in her the Mother of all beloved disciples.

3 what he saw

“What Jesus Saw From the Cross” — I hope . . . me.



The book What Jesus Saw From the Cross,  written earlier in the 20th century by Rev.  A.G. Sertillanges, a priest who lived in Jerusalem,  is available today for purchase.


April 17, 2014

purple bar

An echo from the words in the last posting –  “not in the way Jesus would have it done.”

We move from Spy Wednesday to Holy Thursday.    Jesus spent the day teaching, then it was time to get ready for Passover when the sun went down.      (My sunset today, as evening begins.) SAMSUNG

“And the evening and the morning were the next day.”

So by biblical reckoning,  from Thursday evening until Friday just before sunset, was the last 24-hour period of life for Jesus on this earth, as we humans live it.

This was it.  This was the Day that all the Old Testament sacrifices had been pointing towards.  This is the Day  that all New Testament Christians re-present, re-enact,  re-enter the reality of, each time there is a Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:    Malachi 1:11 –  From the rising of the sun to the going down, my name is GREAT among the Gentiles;  and in EVERY PLACE there is SACRIFICE, and there is offered to My Name a clean oblation;  for my name is GREAT among the Gentiles.

So said the God of Abraham,  Isaac, and Jacob – the God of the Israelites.   The only place and time that everywhere, all the time (from the rising of the sun to the going down)  that a SACRIFICE is offered by the Gentiles is in the Mass.

And so on Holy Thursday, we see the beginnings of “what Catholics do.”

Instructions were given to the Twelve by Jesus:     How to pray.   How to wait for His return.   How to be priests.   What the new “unbloody”  (without animal blood)  sacrifice would look like.  How He would go, yet remain among us,  truly present in intimate spiritual communion — His Body and Blood.

bread and wine

He also gave power to His Twelve disciples to carry on.  He taught them to be  servants, to be servants to each other –  and one day, a few centuries afterwards, a later Peter would describe his office as being The Servant of the Servants.


12 men.  12 men to carry on and make present for us the sacrifice of the Cross.  12 men who had to experience the demonstration of the meaning of service by having their feet washed… by Jesus, their Master, who would now be their Servant in the greatest way possible,  dying for them, later that day.

That’s the way Jesus “would have it done.”

Today,  it is an option —  an OPTION — to re-enact the footwashing of that evening.   But if it is done,  it must truly represent priest-to-priest,  priest-serving-priest,  in a brotherhood of service to the Lord.

(Women and non-Christians is not the way it was done then or afterwards.    Otherwise we would be changing the meaning of what was done.)


April 17, 2014

purple bar

This is Holy Week for Christendom, of course you’ve heard. . . a solemn, somber, heavy drag on our attention that gets deeper and deeper as the week goes on and we remember with more detail and devotion the last movements of Our Savior here on earth.

From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday we know pretty much where Jesus was each day of this week,  but for most of us,  life goes on.  We go about our business, especially during the first part of the week.    We work;  we play;  we think. . . .


Son got to work on Spy Wednesday.  With chain saw in hand he was actually doing what we call a Corporate Work of Mercy –  helping the older people next door get rid of a tree that had fallen in their yard.    It was a win-win-win:  clean yard for them;  firewood for me;   good works done for Son’s soul.

Meanwhile – indoors,  Gravity was creating some work for me to do –


That was a pretty old book shelf, being asked to do some pretty heavy work.   The wooden pegs holding up the shelf just gave way.   Life’s little problems.    Life goes on — on Spy Wednesday.

And about 2,000 years ago?    Same thing.   Jesus had Twelve disciples, but eleven of them were from up north, in the hills of Galilee.   Only one other was born in Judea – from whence the Messiah was to be born.

That one other went about his business on the Wednesday of this week too.

judasThat’s a portrayal of Judas.   We know him from the town he came from,  Kerioth, which is most likely in Judea.   We give him the last name of Iscariot.   What was in his mind that Wednesday?    What made the “business” that he went about so different from what we do . . .   when we “go about our business”. . . not thinking more about the end of this week?

There’s a very fine line there.    He thought he was going  about God’s business.

It was just not Jesus’  business.

Not in the way Jesus would have things done.   God – yes.  Jesus – no.

It didn’t end well for Judas.




April 15, 2014


We used to take this as a warning:

“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.” –John Marshall, McCullough v. Maryland, 1819


(A dark Tuesday tribute to our Rulers who understand this principle well.)



TUESDAY – 2 UHM . . .

April 15, 2014

As it says in the sideline,  random information passes through the Spruce Tunnel –  and on Tuesdays I often pay sardonic tribute to the Victors of 2012.  However,  the tributes are beginning to sound more like signs of defeat,  so the Spruce Tunnel will stay out of the news reports from now on.   After today.    You can find out the news for  yourselves, if you stay away from the entertainment-news offered to us on television.

There is enough going on out there to make ten Tributes to Tuesday today,  but I’m hearing a lot. . .   a lot. . .   and I have a lot to protect .

Well, . . . . so last bit of current events:

If you lose control of the vocabulary,  you lose the discussion.   That is, if one side determines the definitions of words, then they’ve already won.   Nice people don’t expect that.   Nice people play by the rules and don’t change the meanings of words.

So I shall use the word “rumor.”    Rumor means that  something may or may not be true.   Rumor means that  even though something is true,  if it is not supposed to be talked about,  then you can say “it was just a rumor.”

Here are some rumors I was going to talk about –  rumors I heard from news reports and saw in person –

I was going to talk about the fact the rumor that we owe more to China than we are able to pay.

“I heard” they are buying up lots and lots of gold, and are demanding more and more payment for their goods in their own currency — because they don’t want the U.S. dollar used.

I was going to talk about the fact the rumor that one out of ten homes sold recently in California were sold to a Chinese citizen.

I was going to remark how many people I’ve visited across the country are proud that their elementary schools have a “project” –  to teach every student how to speak Mandarin.     Seems to be a big trend….although that’s just a rumor.

There are rumors that there are Chinese advisors present at all our military exercises.

I heard the rumor that the Chinese are minority holders and sometimes majority holders in U.S.  energy enterprises.

They are very interested in solar power facilities – like out in the desert southwest – and need more land.  Just a rumor created by observers.

There is a “rumor” that many of our states have granted to the Chinese “economic enterprise zones” — that way they can ship goods to themselves, here,  and they don’t have to pass through foreign customs – like ours.

We send to China tons and tons of money, as much as we can although it won’t pay our debt,  and they use that money to buy tons and tons of land in our country.

In another set of vocabulary words this would be called  a real estate takeover or  real estate looting – but our Rulers just do the best they can to stay afloat, so we can’t think of it like that.

I remember an “almost argument”  I had with an old neighbor across the street.    I had seen on his living room wall-size bookshelf a framed photo of the then current president –  I gave a small gasp because in the news at that time was the handover of all – ALL – of our patents on CDs to the Chinese.     I heard people complain that they had just invented something,  got a patent for it,  and the patent was run through the Chinese at the patent office.     From an Australian newspaper came an article that quoted some Chinese officials as laughing about “our boy in Washington.”    I’ll never forget that.   They contribute much to certain presidential candidates to get them elected . .  .   but that’s just a rumor, again, okay?

So that day with my neighbor, when he defended the picture of that president of “long ago,”  I had a flash of anger at the blindness of some people and said, “Well, I can’t prove anything to you, but you’d better make sure your grandchildren know how to speak Chinese.

I didn’t know I’d real be visiting with friends out West whose children are actually taught to be proud of their facility with Mandarin.

So,    I hear a lot of things.  I don’t know for sure “what is.”   I don’t know “what will be.”    But I know “why”  and I’ll use subsequent Tuesdays for the whys.









April 15, 2014

If you’ve been here before,  you know my interest in all things “Cowboy.”   I have a longstanding subscription to American Cowboy – the only magazine which I seem to read over and over, until the next issue comes.


What we used to see in the movies was only a brief era in American history, just a few decades, really.  But the cowboy mentality exists as an important part of what used to be the American mind.   Independence, self-reliance, honesty,  hard work, taking care of yours and your own, including family and neighbors, living locally and in the present reality,  wherever you are.

Alert to Danger (last weekend) –
Cowboy Americans

And that doesn’t mean you don’t pay attention to what’s going on around you – further away.   Danger lurks – always – and must be dealt with, because that’s the nature of the world we live in.    But, you take care of that too.

One of you is duly elected to be  sheriff – a local law enforcement agent.

Cowboy sheriff to protect us

Sheriffs are the Good Guys (usually)  for us.

Then someone far away changes the rules,  runs some ranchers out of business,  makes you pay money for what you’ve been doing for over a hundred years,   then doesn’t do with the money they took from you what they said they would do, and then start running off your cattle with helicopters,  separating the frightened young calves from their mothers,  running the cattle till they drop from exhaustion and extreme thirst – because the foreigners don’t know how to care for the land nor the animals on the land….

Cowboy cattle died first

Their public excuse is to save some turtle that has always lived in harmony with your cattle and are doing quite well,  but now the foreigners have to “save” the turtles from your cattle.   It would be funny except those foreigners had to kill off hundreds of those turtles because – then they didn’t know what to do with them and couldn’t afford to take care of them!

Americans came from all over the country to help in the stand-off.

Cowboy Flag

Which became a stand-down.     Temporarily.

Temporarily.  Because when you cross Big Brother (communist/socialist/progressive/leftist/whatever) –  then they get mad.

Cowboy weilds power

They wield more firepower.    They can drive people out of their homes, as they did in Florida a few years ago,  to make room for an elite golf course for their friends….    They can drive people out of their homes to make way for an elite yacht club.     Or they can try to drive cowboys off their land to make way for a Chinese solar energy facility.

On and on it goes.

You’d know all that.   If you were like a cowboy:  American, alert, and taking care of your own problems.



If you’re still doubtful about what the non-shoot-out is all about,   check out Agenda 21 –  soberly,  seriously.    In case you don’t know,  your local government is rapidly and quietly implementing it in your area.   Every time you run into a regulation or rule that tells you you can’t do that anymore,  you can’t  go there anymore,  you  have to do this or that  from now on – whether or not these rules apply to your own private property.

“Cowboys”  are honest and they hate to be lied to.    The ranchers discovered that the fees they had to pay because of New Rules were not being used for what they were supposed to be used for…but they were being used to ruin many ranchers off their land.  Legally, of course.

Check out also what this land was going to be used for.   You’ll find the government was going to give it away.   To another country.     Hats off to our Rulers, in this Tribute to Tuesdays;  they sure know how to make friends.   From elsewhere.



April 14, 2014

Gee whiz.     Around here in the Far North  we’ve got “Spring forward and Fall backward”  to remind us about the change to and from Daylight Saving Time, and a third one:   “Fall in Spring” !

Our weather forecast map:

Fall in Spring weather map

And  here’s a photo-report from my cousin in the Far, Far North this week.  “Traffic”  on her street:

Traffic for Lois

Maybe that’s “Winter in  Spring.”

Her deer are diligently keeping watch over the maple sap,  which, I assume,  is diligently trying to run:

Maple watched by deer

All that area is covered up with snow right now.  Spring didn’t quite make it there yet.

Well, in spite of that weather map,  it really won’t be winter for us.   A few inches of snow?     That’s just Fall.

As in “falling leaves.”


That photo was taken a week ago.  All our beautiful snow melted away and exposed the autumn leaves that had fallen after all that raking last…well, last time we had “Fall.”  There’s nothing to do but to do it all  over again.


We’ve had some pretty,  sunny days to do the yardwork,  but sometimes I wonder if I’m just on the edge of possibly maybe beginning to feel that sustained yardwork is for younger people.    Like the teenagers down the street.



I lost count after thirteen “barrowfulls”  of leaves and sticks,  but who’s counting anyway?   It’s not like I’m complaining.    I really do love the outdoor work – free exercise, you know,  without gym fees.

And yardwork is a good way to keep track of things.    Take inventory.  See what’s  going on in the lawn department:


Swirly holes.  All over.


Looking for last year’s acorns.   Going to have a good crop of squirrels this year.

Spring.    Anticipating new life.  Passover.   Anticipating the Messiah to the ones who brought us news of the Messiah.    Easter.   To the ones who acknowledge the Messiah –  and the certainty of New Life,  just as certain as Spring weather will come.


April 13, 2014

Throughout our lives we’ve heard the stories of Holy Week, from Palm Sunday through the Closing of the Tomb.  Stories,  with lots of characters.

crowd at st peter's  By chance, I heard a sermon today, coming out of the Vatican.

Pope Francis delivered a short sermon for Palm Sunday, heard by many in the world,  Catholics and non-Catholics alike.   His words  for us were a challenge to look into ourselves and discover just what our part is during this week.


Our “part,”  as in a play;  which character would we be?

Which one of the disciples who accompanied Jesus into the Garden of Gethsemane?

Am I the disciple who sleeps during the suffering of Jesus,  without strength and enough will to carry me through?    Without knowledge of the seriousness of the issues,  of sin and its costs, of love and its self-sacrifice –  so I go about my business. . . and take my rest when I need to?

Am I one of the disciples who begins to pray…and wearies?

Am I one of the soldiers who is just “obeying the law” –  just “doing what I was told to do?

Am I one who solves problems by the force of a sword,  verbal or otherwise?

Am I one who can show signs of love and friendship, but in my heart I have my own thoughts and own interests in mind.

Am I one who scatters when the going gets tough?

Am I one who mocks the things of Christ?

Am I one who chooses not to believe the most obvious to human reason:  that God exists and God is Love and Justice…and Mercy?

Am I silent when Christ is misunderstood, mocked?  

Am I cynical and wash my hands of the whole affair?

Am I repentant?  

Am I open to understanding, hope, and faith?

You can make up your own list of questions,  but let the people who lived at the time of the Crucifixion haunt you.



April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday,  when the winds of happiness swirl and rise up like a dust devil, stirring the dry leaves and dead dust along the way.   The people in the city that day were like the dry leaves and dead dust,  lifted up and stirred in their attentions and emotions.   They were happy that day for having a great prophet come into their midst, perhaps even a messiah from God.

The many in the crowd waved palm branches, and laid their palms and cloaks before Him not knowing they were fulfilling centuries-old prophecy.

Palm sunday crowd

They were who they were just as we are who we are.  And without submitting to the work of God in us,  that’s all we will be.    Dry leaves and dust, swirled around by the changing opinions of our times.

Palm Sunday reminds us that we are one of the people in the crowd.   Unless you think you are “special”  and “apart from the crowd”  and “exempt”  somehow,    we are all just  one of many in a city,  one of many humans of all kinds.   The Savior goes before us and we —  ?

We must follow Him, and in following Him become His disciple, and in becoming His disciple,  then we must love Him, and in loving Him, we come alive and are changed and become . . . better –  like Him.  He is the Way.  He is also Truth — finally! we can follow Truth! — and He is our Life, for now and after passing through our deaths,  He is our Life forever.

Where do we learn more?   It’s a difficult task today.  There are many “shepherds”  who don’t shepherd us to the Good Shepherd.   They have “issues” of their own, and for whatever reason do not or cannot speak out, .  They are mute, for us;  “dumb”  was the old-fashioned word meaning one cannot speak.

As the Prophet Isaiah spoke of the Messiah,  so he also spoke of the Messiah’s shepherds,  and how they would one day cease to point out the Messiah for us.  .  “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.”  (Isaiah 56:10)

A little harsh, maybe;  they need our prayers.  But still – it’s a warning.  If our watchman are silent,  we must still search out Truth, learn what Jesus has taught, and come to Him and to his Church.

Otherwise we’re just being swirled around by the Dirt Devils, following the crowds and popular opinion,  and the Dumb Dogs allow us to remain as useless dust, returning to the dust we were made out of.



April 8, 2014

Just thought I’d expand on one of my sentences from that last posting:  “During Lent we acknowledge and grieve for past failings. ”

purple bar

It can be said that in some way, small or large, we contribute to the moral fiber of the nation we live in, so our private good or bad moral behavior is of social consequence.   Lent is good for the soul;  Lent is good for the nation.

So let’s look at what kind of “failings”  a nation can have:   Violence.  Hatred.   War.    Sexual immorality.    Injustice.    Lawless Leaders      We can all name even more.    Sound like a nation you know?    Now multiply the intensity of all that by a hundredfold –  and you have the ancient people of Assyria, at a certain time of their history.

I knew this from my university studies,  but one time, more recently, one of my classes was studying the book of Jonah,  so I needed to do some more research on just why Jonah was sent up to Assyria.


What I learned still sickens me.    Don’t even use your imagination.   Once those images are put into your mind,  it’s hard to live with them.

The Assyrians made many recordings of their atrocities, the better to intimidate their enemies.

Assyr horses

A good question for us today during Lent is  why can people hurt each other?  Why does such evil exist?   Or, as we ask today:   If God is good, why does He permit evil in the world?      The horrifying evil committed by the Assyrians was spreading throughout the region.   It was increasing, not lessening.  Whole populations were being mercilessly wiped out – the only way to be “safe” was to become part of the Assyrian war machine –  and participate in the evil.

Couldn’t a Good God put a stop to this?    Yes, that was the plan.   But He didn’t carry it out just then.    The Reading given to us on this particular Monday in Lent tells us that God gave them “a chance.”    “To know, to acknowledge, and to grieve”  for their past “failings,”  just as we must do during Lent.

as prophet jonah

So he picked a guy, one from among His Chosen People.   His name was Jonah but forget the “whale”  – it wasn’t a whale and that was only a minor incident showing that God wins – you can’t run away.

as ninevah

Jonah was sent right into the “heart of the monster,”  to Nineveh,  the beautiful capital city of Assyria.  It was so large that we’re told it would take three days just to walk across it from one end to the other.     And Jonah preached to them….dumb as it sounds,  he really did say the words, right out in public,  that God wanted the Assyrians to hear.    “This is how awful you are,  this is what I will do, unless you repent and show your sorrow.”

as sackclothAmazingly, they did.   Sackcloth and ashes.  And they received another 40 years of strength and prosperity, much less violent and evil now –   40 years,  until their children grew up and became forgetful and ungrateful and fell back into the former ways of their parents, and God did away with Assyria.  For the next  2800 years,  this is what Nineveh looks like  –

as ninevah now

But this isn’t a history lesson about Nineveh.  It’s a story for Lent and how it works.  In the little time we have left of this year’s Lent,  we can remember:  evil does exist, and sometimes we’re responsible for a little part of it.   God really does hate for us to do bad things, but He offers us a chance, first.    It’s called our Lifetime.    A chance to think,  acknowledge,  be sorrowful,  repent and do penance.

God is good.

Deo gratias.




April 8, 2014

During Lent we acknowledge and grieve for past failings:

purple barAnd we try to have a resolve to do better;  that is, we make definite, specific plans to do better, so that this isn’t just an academic exercise.

But. . . uh. . .  people can feel that way about other things in life too.    It’s Tuesday,  the day I often write another “Tribute”  to the victors on that Tuesday,  11-06-12.    I wasn’t going to do it again today because I did something that was  a lot of fun today, and I didn’t want to spoil the mood,  but then, when I came home,  I listened  to a shortwave radio discussion, and heard something that made me remember, oh, yes, it’s Tuesday…   Heck of a Hoax Day (Cont.) –  Part 2.

So what did I hear?  The two men on the radio were discussing current affairs in general,  international politics and economics.      They were informative and in a jolly mood even though the threat of Deep State Tyranny was their topic.  As they were discussing how that developed, they chuckled and said “Isn’t it funny how mystified the Americans are!  They know something doesn’t sound right,  but they don’t know what’s going on.” 

Well, some of us do, and more and more of us are beginning to dig in to the background of .  .  .  things.    Briefly,  I wondered along with them about why we are letting this happen to us, but I realized that one of the reasons was staring me in the face.   My radio.  Specifically,  my shortwave radio where I can hear news and information reported with detail, with background, with context, and with intelligence from around the world.    Then I remembered,  I’ve been a DX’er since I was a young teenager, as I’ve written here before.   I used to be able to listen to The Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, and these good radio services from the U.S. enabled  people in socialist countries  to learn what was going on in the rest of the world with (clandestine)  shortwave radios.   It kept the hope of freedom alive in many people.

Now the situation is reversed.    The erstwhile Free World is no longer free, and the former socialist tyrannies are beginning to state their support for the moral values that had made the West free and safe  at one time.    Now there is so little information flowing to us that these two people on the radio tonight could openly discuss the clueless Americans who are wondering “what happened” to them.

You might not want to read any more.      If you think our Constitution is outdated and can be rewritten  (as a sixth grade Common Core textbook exercise has it) and if you think the State is the one who provides “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for us,   then you could stop reading right here.   But if you wonder what I’m talking about and if you want an example,  I’ll risk a visit by these little digital critters . . .


. . . .whose job it is to search out and identify  “key words” that . . . you know.

But since that’s “not true”  – right?  –  then I will put in here some lines of a recent article that I read from The New American journal.     Because –  Because –  Because  I’m quite sure this wasn’t reported by the American  entertainment-news corporations,  because there’s a lot of information here:

I read the words in blue.     But I offer no personal opinion.   ///

At the conclusion of the U.S.-EU Summit held this week in Brussels, President Obama and his European colleagues released a joint statement reaffirming their common commitment to civilian disarmament as mandated in the United Nation’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).


A US-EU Summit last month.   Good, huh?   Make nice with your friends.

While globalist and establishment media reports focus on the summit’s attention to the events in Crimea, there is a provision at the end of the statement that is of much greater concern to Americans aware of the crescendo of calls for restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.    Paragraph 33 of the declaration released on March 26 states: “We reaffirm our joint commitments on non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control.


Non-proliferation of big nukes?    Nope.

Article 2 of the treaty defines the scope of the treaty’s prohibitions. The right to own, buy, sell, trade, or transfer all means of armed resistance, including handguns, is denied to civilians by this section of the Arms Trade Treaty.


And then, how about an innocent-sounding objective like “registration”?   After all, don’t we register our automobiles?

Perhaps the most immediate threat to the rights of gun owners in the Arms Trade Treaty is found in Article 5. Under the title of “General Implementation,” Article 5 mandates that all countries participating in the treaty “shall establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list.”


Now you may understand why the man who presently occupies our wh  it  e  ho   use   announced in a speech this week that he is authorizing Congress to implement a plan for RFID chips for anyone who owns a gun…a bracelet or a chip….(Or maybe you weren’t told about that speech.   All the attractive young newsreaders seem to be for  the UN/EU National Socialist gun confiscation idea.)

In very clear terms, ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty by the United States would require that the U.S. government force gun owners to add their names to the national registry. Citizens would be required to report the amount and type of all firearms and ammunition they possess.

Section 4 of Article 12 of the treaty requires that the list be kept for at least 10 years.

The first act of the national socialist party in Germany to gain effective control  was to confiscate guns…..  (oh, you already know all the countries where that took place….)

According to the Common Core Social Studies texts being implemented more and more for our poor children,  “The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution requires gun registration for every citizen.”     (Or, alternately:  “The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution allows only duly registered militias to have guns.” )     I’m a former public school teacher;  I take great offense at teaching lies to our children.

So, there you are.    Information that is very hard to come by.   Maybe we need a “Radio Free United States.”     “The Voice of . . . the Free World.”   And then you’d need to buy a shortwave radio…or use your Internet radio services.   And then we’d need the spirit of Lent to inform our entire lives.  Let’s see where we’re going wrong –  and resolve to do better.

Tribute to Tuesday!!   Hats off to our Rulers!!   Very, very  cunning.



Oh,  to my non-American readers:   America already has strict gun laws:   guns cannot be owned by felons or by people with mental illness, for instance.    The shootings you hear about are largely committed by criminals,  gangs fighting over drugs, turf, or revenge, and in many urban areas,  the perpetrators are not even American citizens.      And the “mass shootings” you hear about are 100% committed by people with mental illness on SSRIs,  powerful psychotropic drugs that produce such things as paranoia and murderous ideations.   (It’s on the drug labels.)

You also don’t hear about the numerous crimes that have been STOPPED  by nearby citizens who own guns legally and have a permit to carry and who happen to be able to bring the violent crime in progress to a halt – saving many, many lives.