It has been a difficult week here in the United States of America. I am not surprised that my usual Sunday guest columnist, Paul Curran, wants to write about the shootings in the country south of his Canadian border. He points to at least some of the unrest and worse as tied to to our passion for free speech and what that means and can lead to. In his weekly email that accompanies his column, Paul wondered if I’d want to publish this piece or not. Of course I will give you your weekly forum, sir, no matter whether or not I agree with your point of view. That’s how strongly I believe in our concept of free speech.
Welcome to the weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. Please come in and go through to the living room. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B, have prepared a nice, air-conditioned, comfy place for us so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. The weather this morning is rainy with a high just over 70 F. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer. We have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our worldwide readership and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger. We can relax with a cuppa in the air conditioning while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. Ellie likes to be patted, so please indulge her when she greets you. Have a piece of cake (or any of the sweets on the next table) – electronic sweets are all calorie-free! How has your week been? Are you enjoying the weekend? Any special activities?
The Girls and Friends for Tea
Along with the rest of the world I was saddened by the shootings in America this week. First, the two police shootings of blacks where the officers have already been found guilty in the public forum based on home video being circulated on the Internet. Then it all culminated in the deaths of numerous police officers in Dallas at the hands of a black shooter.
This has raised the level of anger and blame substantially. As a Canadian, when I see the incidents in the U.S. the first thing I do is wonder is if they could occur here, of course. Aside from the difference in gun laws, however, we have laws against promoting hate in public. In the U.S. a great deal of faith is put in Freedom of Speech. Here that does not include speaking hate about a group in public – a fairly common occurrence in the U.S., if the media we see is any indication.
I commented on one blog on how this added to the situation that resulted in the deaths, and I was soundly denounced. It seems that even in the dark times of the recent killings, that any talk of Freedom of Speech being reigned in to disallow hate speech, is considered obscene. In fact I was told “…I can call you out when you disrespectfully and petulantly spread bullshit on my blog.” https://amusingnonsense.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/more-than-thoughts-and-prayers/
That said, I can feel from the tone of the many American bloggers who chose to comment on the Dallas shootings that the emotional stress is escalating. This is a recipe for further shootings as tempers start to reign and calm consideration goes by the wayside. As I grieve the loss of life on both sides, I fear the escalation of shootings.
Any opinions on Freedom of Speech or gun laws or any other contributors to the hatred and shootings? This is a very sensitive topic, as I have come to realize – even when the purpose is to address the causes of the incidents and an attempt to improve the atmosphere. Please do not think that I am pontificating – for I am not. The issue is very large with roots going back centuries and any one change is unlikely to solve it completely. It will take a collaboration of groups and a system of changes to begin to address the problems. That said, American ingenuity and determination can solve this. You have achieved many huge tasks, some including changing your society. Such achievements make it clear that this current problem of race relations and police brutality can be solved.
Our prayers and thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones or had friends, family or colleagues injured this week. I know our friends to the south can find solutions to their current problems. Do you have any thoughts you would like to address about this topic? Please feel free to comment as you wish.
Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea on this weekend. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Have a great week.
High Tea in Harlem