Sides

I don’t really like people, in general. As a species, I often hate us.

But my hatred is not strong enough to outweigh my compassion and overall kindness. I ignore what I don’t like, more often than not. I don’t have the need to randomly call people names, especially if they are complete strangers to me. I have all sorts of my own biases – racial and otherwise – but they aren’t so ingrained in my psyche that I feel the need to act out as a result. Or attack someone because of them, or anything else. I don’t think certain people deserve more or less than other people, and certainly not because of something superficial that is out of their control.

I think people in general should stop couching their hatred in politics. It’s not a political view. It has nothing to do with Liberal or Conservative, left or right, political parties or perspectives, nor even individual candidates.

Being “politically correct” has nothing to do with politics. It’s about not being an asshole.

If you want to talk about, say, abortion, and whether or not it should be legal…that’s more of a political issue. Though, even that one is tricky because it involves a person’s right to choose – specifically a woman’s – so often sexual politics come into play in those discussions. I have my own views on that, and to me, there really isn’t any other way to see it, but many folks try, anyway.

As is their right. The difference is, I don’t try to legislate their opinion.

So…another topic. Say education. That’s something that could fall under the realm of politics. People will forever quibble over the details of how money should be spent, where it should come from in the first place, whether sex ed has a place in a public school classroom or not…that’s what politics are for. Quibbling over the details, and sometimes even having an actual discussion about them.

It is not, however, a place where a majority group (I’m looking at you, straight white guys) should exert pressure to ultimately deny members of minority groups the same rights they themselves are afforded.

We have so many laws and regulations which were created to curb the number of incidents in which stupid people hurt themselves or others. We have so many more which were crafted with the intention of stopping people from being cruel to one another.

But you can’t legislate kindness. Hatred is there whether there are rules against it, or not. People just couch it as a freedom of speech or some other such policy in a political forum, and continually seek the “right” to openly express it. We’re seeing more and more of that right being exercised after the US election fiasco last week. So many people chose not to vote at all, or voted independent, or just voted the party, without actually thinking about what it meant.

It’s not about being Republican or Democrat this time. From what I can tell, there are two kinds of people, and the categories do not fall into the political realm, but rather into the personal/social/emotional one. And I’m not sure that anyone is able to change which category they fall into, let alone if they’d want to change it up. I’m pretty sure I can’t, as even though I have hatred and darkness inside me, it’s just not strong enough to overpower my basic, better-natured instincts. I don’t have to curb it because it’s the law or uncouth or even politically incorrect. It’s just who I am inside. I am in part both kinds of people, but one ultimately outweighs the other.

The way I see it, you’re either a kind, caring, compassionate and ultimately flawed human being…

Or you’re an ignorant, intolerant asshole.

Don’t Read This One

Seriously, I’m just ranting – you don’t need to read this one.  I feel like I say too much, but not nearly enough, and am just trying to get out of my head for a moment.

It’s okay to give this one a pass.

I’ll write something else later.

Either way, here goes nothing…

To say I am frustrated and disappointed with the Fire Marshal would be an understatement. There really are no words, yet at the same time, there will never be enough words. I can’t wrap my head around what appears to be a flippant dismissal of the loss of life, and responsibility, and justice…and while none of that can bring back those kids, I feel like a half-assed investigation only adds insult to injury. I mean, isn’t the main function of a Fire Marshal investigation to determine the cause of a fire? Not just call it inconclusive, sit on it for over two years and then say, “Oh, I don’t know, it was probably caused by (this first guess). Case closed.”

I don’t think a Coroner would just wave his or her hand and say, “I don’t know…the person probably died because of (this first guess). Case closed.”

Or maybe they would. I don’t know if anyone is doing their freaking job anymore. I have lost confidence in the people who hold such positions to carry their share of the responsibility in determining what happened, and how similar tragedies can be prevented in the future.

They didn’t even interview the lone survivor about that night, let alone any of the people who were at the apartment so often it was like a second home to them. Yet apparently felt it was fine to ask me questions through a friend. For the most part, though, they just made an assumption and called it a day. An assumption that was quite likely incorrect. Didn’t even look into anything else; any other possible cause.

One smoke detector had no battery, the other was probably not working – they’re not sure. Just that everyone reported that no smoke detectors were going off when the fire was discovered. One was located above the stove in the kitchen, and one outside the boys’ bedrooms at the front. So…I guess the one in the kitchen also served as the regulated-by-law smoke detector that is supposed to be outside of the girls’ sleeping areas, as well? A little double duty from over the stove in the kitchen?

That both exits were on the same side of the building doesn’t seem to have raised any concerns about the apartment being up to code, nor the fact that walls were added to turn the space into a 4-bedroom instead of two. I have a screen shot of the rental ad – well, a rental ad for that apartment. Not necessarily the one the kids answered when they found the place. But basically the same. It wasn’t turned into a makeshift 4-bedroom for them specifically. It was advertised as such. Are two smoke detectors really enough for a 4-bedroom when one of them is in the kitchen area? Above the stove, for Pete’s sake?

That the landlord is not legally responsible for maintaining the smoke detectors is frustrating. Apparently we as a society feel it is up to a group of kids in their early 20’s to dutifully check to ensure everything is in proper working order when they move in, rather than the owner dude renting the space to them in the first place. I didn’t check mine until this all happened, because I know that the landlord checks them regularly, but when I found that things like this can not only happen, but also be my fault, I became a little more paranoid than I was before (and I was already really paranoid). I am not in my early 20’s, though. Not on my own for the first time. I was 41 when I started testing my smoke detectors more often than the landlord was doing it.

The kids’ landlord didn’t do it at all. Not in the time that they lived there, at least.

And apparently the Fire Marshal doesn’t deem that an important factor, either. Doesn’t think any of it is, really. So what if three kids and a little kitten lost their lives? No one need speak for them. No one need determine the reason how any of it happened. I used to believe people in those positions would fight to do their jobs to the very best of their abilities. That not knowing wasn’t a suitable answer. That guessing was never the way.

Which means I watch too much TV. Turns out to real people, it’s just a day job, and then they go home, without giving another thought to those who will never get to go home again.

I get that everyone’s just doing the minimum required. I get that nothing can change what happened, no matter how much investigation is done. I understand (almost) all of it on a reasonable level, but that doesn’t change my frustration and sadness and disappointment and anger and hurt and…just…overall upset-ness. The minimum effort raises more questions than it answers, and those kids deserve more. The families deserve more. Ethan deserves more. He at least deserves the chance to fill in some of the blanks for those investigating what happened. He was there, after all, and he’s the one who has to live with those memories for the rest of his life. At least ask his side of it, if it’s your job to determine what happened. To me, that actually falls under the bare minimum, but then again, I’m not the Fire Marshal. Just someone who, on some level, will never really understand any of it at all.

I go over that night in my head constantly, you know. Constantly. I wasn’t there. I’d never been inside the apartment until after everything had been taken out. I didn’t even know any of them but Alysia. But I picture it over and over; my mind is full of unanswered questions about how everything happened, trying to fill in the many, many blanks. I feel like if any one thing had gone differently that night, they would all still be alive.

If even just one smoke detector had gone off, for example.

I had a dream last night that I was choosing between…like, it had something to do with Spanish, even though I don’t speak it. But essentially, I had to choose whether I would learn to help Spanish-speaking people in a legal forum, or a musical one. I know. But hey, music speaks, too. I had the impression that either I would be working for people’s rights – the rights of those who could not communicate effectively due to the language barrier – or if I would help in a more spiritual/emotional way through the implementation of music and dance programs.

I chose law, and even in the dream I couldn’t believe I was picking the more difficult road.

I just felt it would be the one where I could be most effective and make the most difference.

I chose to speak for those who could not speak for themselves.