Sunday, November 22, 2015

"...For One Brief, Shining Moment...Every Twelve Months..."

November 22.

To most people born after, say, 1955. just another number on the calendar, inspiring little or no emotion with the possible exception of the first tremblings of the hustle and bustle of holiday madness just up the road.

For those born before that year, though, some inevitable thought and reflection.

Bobby Braddock is an acclaimed, award winning country songwriter and a Facebook friend.

He posted this articulate and moving remembrance on his page today.

 Fifty two years ago today,, around noontime, on a sunny but slightly chilly day in Dallas, the 35th President of the United States was assassinated at 46 years of age. I was a very young piano player, about to drive away from the motel where I was living in Orlando, Florida, on my way to a band rehearsal at the El Patio Club where we were playing. The lady who ran the motel yelled out that Kennedy had been shot. Her live-in boyfriend, a grizzly old redneck guy, hollered, "I hope they killed the n*****-lovin' sonofabitch!" By the time I had driven the two-minute ride down Orange Blossom Trail to the club, they announced on the radio that the president was dead. That night, the normally-packed club had a sparse crowd. We played mostly slow dance numbers and knocked off early. On the day of the president's funeral, I went into a jewelry store in my hometown to pick up a watch that had been repaired. A TV set was on, and the only sound was that of drum rolls and horses' hooves. I listened to network radio on my 45-minute drive back to Orlando, and except for the occasional soft voice of the announcer, it was those same sad drum rolls and horses' hooves the entire trip. I was an infant when Pearl Harbor was bombed, so the JFK assassination was the first national tragedy in my memory. It was a time I will never forget.

Other Facebook pages, especially those devoted to either Kennedy nostalgia or assassination minutiae, are offering up a lot of reminiscence today.

None of the major news sites and/or sources have much to say about the date, a random mention of it and its historical significance, here and there, the only acknowledgment to be seen or heard.

Inevitable...and understandable.

Because there comes a time, with every event in this life, when that event, without fanfare, sometimes with no notice at all, quietly slides over from the here and now to the once upon a time. 

Even the most dynamic, dramatic, even history altering moments have a way of, slowly but surely, moving from the front pages to the back pages  to the little cards in the drawers with the Dewey Decimals printed on them.

Or tagged links on Google, as the case, and the forward march of technological advance, may be.

November 22 has become one of those events.

That's the paradox of the blessing of time healing all wounds.

Scars remain for the life of those who felt the blade.

But memories fade. 

Tears of grief and loss eventually dry to be replaced with tears of joy and laughter.

And lives sometimes become legend.

Nobody understood that better than Jackie Kennedy.

" now he is a legend," she remarked sometime during that emotional and historic weekend, "when he would have preferred to be a man..."

And part of that legend was the framing of that life in the romantic haze of Camelot.

That framing done by Jackie herself in an interview with author Theodore White some weeks after the assassination.

The nation was stunned and needed to be consoled and soothed.

The thought of a young King, complete with beloved Queen, adorable Princess and Prince, struck down in blinding Texas sunlight at the height of his powers and the peak of his youth was just Shakespearean enough to be both crushing...and consoling....sorrowful...and soothing.

As memories faded.

Tears of grief and loss  dried and were eventually replaced with tears of joy and laughter.

And life became legend.

The day John Kennedy died, two reporter acquaintances of the murdered President were consoling one another.

"We'll never laugh again," she remarked.

He replied, "oh, we'll laugh again. We'll just never be young again."

Those of us who were alive at the time will surely agree that, of the two of them, he was right.

We started laughing again.

But we did get, and are still getting, a little older every day.

And, as it happens with getting older, we forget things from time to time.

Like names...and numbers...even dates.

But some things we still manage to remember, too.

Like names...and numbers...

...and November 22.


Friday, September 11, 2015

"...The Fundamental Things Apply..."

"You must remember this", the classic song begins.

A lot of that mindset appearing in print, on air and online today.

September 11.

9/11 in the more iconic presentation.

And on this 14th anniversary of that September 11, we are reminded, among the many things of which we are reminded today, that we should ever and always remember.

"Never forget" in the more iconic presentation.

Couple of inevitable truths about life, though.

Never is now, as it has always been, a long, long time.

And "never forgetting" is not something we're known for doing.

Double negatives, notwithstanding.

The history books are full of catastrophic events in the timeline of man that resulted in expressions of tribute meant to serve as mental post-it notes.

Remember The Alamo.

Remember The Maine.

Remember Pearl Harbor.

And, truth be told, we do, in fact, remember them. But, rarely, on our own. Most often, not without some outside stimulation that triggers a memory or, at least, an awareness.

A classroom discussion.

A "moments in history" meme inserted amidst the commercial break of a favorite TV or radio program.

A post or a tweet or a blurb on one social network site or another.

The thing is that time, as we are taught early on, heals all wounds.

And one inevitable side effect of that healing is the fading of the memory of the injury.

Even if the event occurs in our own life time, the process is predictable and unavoidable.

I wasn't alive when Crockett and company tried to ward off Santa Ana's advancing troops. I wasn't yet a living being when the ship named after the state was blown up for, well, whatever reason in was blown up.

And I was still ten years away from being bottom slapped into breathing for the first time, when the first wave of Japanese planes appeared on an early Sunday morning horizon with their payloads of death and destruction.

I was, though, a reasonably cognizant pre-teenager when the junior high school public address system was commandeered to announce that the President of the United States had been shot to death in broad daylight on a busy street in Dallas, Texas.

And I lived through a period of some years after, surrounded by fellow citizens of the time who were all convinced that an event so horrific and history altering would surely be a part of our everyday thoughts for the remainder of our lives, if not the remainder of time.

Because if ever there was an American event that deserved our complete and continued remembrance it was the brutal murder of John F. Kennedy.

It took about twenty years for the memory to go from vivid to vague, from rigidly recalled to reverently, but subtly, "oh....yeah.....that was a terrible thing wasn't it?..."

And two years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination, the airwaves and print pages were filled with mention and memory.

For about thirty six hours.

After which the event returned to its resting place in the inevitably dusty pages of history.

Along with the Alamo.

And the Maine.

And Pearl Harbor.

Chances are good, too, that the "60th" anniversary of 11/22/63 won't be a big deal.

Likely, no deal at all.

Time marches on.

Today is only 14 years since that September morning.

And social media is filled with observance and reflection and tribute and tears.

But, already, there are signs that "never forget" is evolving into "let us remember".

Maybe the thing to do with the emotional energy generated by this historic loss is take advantage of an opportunity lost after past historic losses.

Find a way to capture, and keep, the sense of pulling together and putting aside pettiness and

moving forward in that spirit of "one for all" that was so passionate and powerful and unbreakable on that day.

And let's "never forget" that we have the capacity to do that.

Every day.

All the time.

Because we've done it before.

When the Alamo fell.

And the Maine exploded.

And Pearl Harbor burned.

And JFK was buried.

We just didn't keep that momentum going.

We let it turn into reminiscence...and reflection...and memory.

The kind of memory that fades... time goes by.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Nicky Arnstein's Big Number "You Are Woman, I Am Man" Will Be Next To Go...Mark Our Words...."

Old saying.

Where there's smoke, there's fire.

New saying.

Where there's smoke, get over it.

A Michigan woman's Planet Fitness membership was revoked after she complained about a transgender person in the women's locker room. 

Yvette Cormier, a 48, said she was walking into the Midland Planet Fitness locker room last Saturday when she saw someone "dressed like a man." 

The person was wearing a wig and "a little bit of blush," but was "huge" and appeared "very manly," Cormier told ABC News today. 

"I just stopped right there in my tracks," she said. "It was a man for sure." 

Cormier, who had been a Planet Fitness member for two months, said she went to the front desk immediately. The man at the desk told her that Planet Fitness policy is "whatever gender you feel you are, that's the locker room you're allowed to go in," she said. 

"And then he said, 'We've had lots of complaints about him but we told him to go change in a stall,'" Cormier said. 

"He said, 'if you're uncomfortable with that you can wait until he's done in there,'" she said. "I stood back and said, 'How about he waits until I'm done in the women's locker room. Or get a unisex bathroom.' He asked if I would like to talk to the manager and I said, 'I'm calling corporate.'" 

When she called the corporate offices, she said, someone there confirmed that the person at the front desk was correct about Planet Fitness policies. 

"I wouldn't have signed up for this gym if I knew that ahead of time," Cormier said, adding that the gym is "failing to protect me if anything happens in those locker rooms with a man." 

She said she went back to the gym the next few days and "told everyone in the locker room what happened." She said everyone she talked to "was appalled." 

On Thursday, Cormier said, Planet Fitness Corporate called and revoked her membership immediately. 

"They said, 'You are talking to people about him in the women's locker room. You are making people upset.' That's my whole point," she said. "I'm telling them and warning them because you are not doing that. You allow men in there, and we are appalled by it." 

Planet Fitness Director of Public Relations McCall Gosselin said the gym is "committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members. Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity." 

The statement continued, "The manner in which this member expressed her concerns about the policy exhibited behavior that management at the Midland club deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement and as a result her membership was cancelled." 

Gosselin added, "As our statement outlines, her membership was not cancelled as a result of complaints about our policy, as we welcome all feedback from our members. Rather, it was the manner in which her concerns were expressed that club management felt was inappropriate, which resulted in the cancellation."

Hidden, not so well, it turns out, amidst the ostensibly good intentions of the Planet Fitness corporate policy here is an attitude that could, arguably, be offered as evidence of the real problem.

Loosely translated, it goes something like this:

"...We don't really have the time, energy, patience or, frankly, ability to deal with the demands of so many individual preferences and their accompanying demands, so, in the hopes that it will be seen as our best effort to be all things to all people at all times, primarily out of fear that the chances are less that one average, everyday housewife type will make our public relations life miserable as opposed to dozens or, God help us, hundreds of gays, lesbians, transgenders, etc, potentially picketing outside our front door , we suggest you suck it up and realize that what's going to happen here is we're going to pretty much leave it up to all of you to work it out amongst yourselves. Because, you see the real, unspoken truth of the matter is that we are sincerely sorry you feel uncomfortable with a policy that pretty much opens the locker room door to anyone anytime, but we're not scared of you. We are, truth be told, scared of them. Thank you for choosing Planet Fitness and we hope you'll just turn a blind eye, turn your IPod up loud to drown out any male sounds you might hear in the locker room and shut the hell up about it."

This more and more standard approach to this kind of thing is, in fact and unfortunately, what "political correctness" is, too often, really all about.

The Quixotic quest to literally offend no one at any time by, literally, attempting to be all things to all people.

At worst, nothing less than surrender.

At best, an exercise in futility.

Because this approach fails to take into account the fly that inevitably shows up in any ointment intended to sooth any irritation.

In mathematics, it's known as the lowest common denominator.

In our day to day lives, it's the he/she/and/or it who would take advantage of a situation for no other reason than they are self absorbed and that presents in the form of being self centered and selfish.

C'mon over baby / whole lotta selfish goin' on.

Reasonable people of any and all stripe (the key, and unintentionally hilarious, word being "reasonable" here... ) would, let's assume for the sake of our discussion here, have no problem with doing their best to accommodate others where possible.

Reasonable people would try, again we assume, to have, if not a sympathy, then, at least, an empathy for those who find themselves in the position of living a life filled with confusion and/or consternation about their gender identity.

Even reasonable people, though, would, once again, we assume, find themselves lining up on the "lock and load" side of any battle line resulting from having their own lives rudely and crudely disrespected by those who insist on exercising their rights by shoving them down the collective throat and/or using said "rights" as a justification for exhibiting not a moment's hesitation to live their lives in full tail mode, ready, willing and, even anxious, to wag the living shit out of the dog.

The fault, dear Brutus, isn't so much the presence of militancy.

The fault is the absence of manners.

And, at least until America joins other nations who have welcomed the 21st Century and starts thinking safe, practical unisex facilities, absence of manners will continue to be the fault line.

Which brings us back to smoke.

There was a time, in the not so distant past, that those who wanted to indulge their need for nicotine managed to feed their habit without flipping off those around them.

And nowhere in the exchange was there any mention of ridicule, chastisement or judgement of the smokers on the part of the smokees.

People were simply considerate of other people.

Both ways and all ways.

Simplistic as it might seem, this business of gender identity bringing a big brouhaha into the locker rooms and bathrooms of America is, whatever else it may or may not be, just another page from that very long and very established book.

How To Be Courteous, Vol 1.

Why, reasonable people ask reasonably, should it be a problem for those who "feel like a woman" but still possess the physicality of a male to simply do the courteous thing and use the male facilities?

The oft offered reason (read: excuse) is that ridicule, chastisement and judgement await the aforementioned Man! Who Feels Like A Woman! in that male facility.

So, let's see. What's really going on here is that the women's locker room isn't so much a place of actual, and rightful, belonging as much as it is a refuge from the bully faction?

Well, gee, that really is unfortunate, but, reasonable people once again interject, why should women be put in the position of having to deal with wondering whether that male standing next to them in the locker room or bathroom is a female feeling male or some red blooded peeping Tom male who knows a advantageous loophole when they come across one?

And let's not even go to the extreme of the child molester who uses this "gender equality" schtick as an E ticket to work his way into the ladies room and choose from any number of elementary school age opportunities that might come in.

Reasonable people are, for the most part, inclined to be understanding, conciliatory, even empathetic to males who, once committed to their sense of self, make the actual, complete move from male to female.

Or vice versa.

I doubt Chaz Bono creates much of a stir at his local Planet Fitness.

And Bruce Jenner will probably not be given much of a second thought.

But an actual male, regardless of his inner struggles, who wakes up on any given morning, feeling pretty, oh, so pretty and finds the door to the women's locker room open to him because of some cowardly avoidance of any reasonable stance by a fitness center.....

Well, now...that's a horse, or mare, of a different color.

Which, one more time, brings us back to smoke.

Reasonable people have no problem with someone asking them if lighting up a cigarette would be a bother.

Reasonable people have no problem with women being in the women's locker room.

Whether they started out in life as a woman or not.

But, reasonable people would agree with Yvette Cormier.

That a policy that is, underneath the jockey shorts or panties, as the case may be, no policy at all is, simply, an abdication of responsibility.

And those males who "feel like a woman" on any given day and choose to consider that feeling and no one else's?

Whatever else it may, or may not be, it's simply rude.

Was a time when folks asked "do you mind if I smoke?"

This man in a woman's locker room scenario is just a different plot twist in the same play.

And it's hard to disagree with a reasonable person who has a problem with someone saying to them.

"I'm lighting up and probably going to blow smoke in your face...get over it..."

The controversy is seemingly about chromosomes.

When, in fact, it's about courtesy.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

"...One Assumes It's Only A Matter Of Time Before NASCAR Will Be Expected To Stop Calling It A Race....."

There's a problem with pendulums.

The not so good thing about their swing in a few moments.

(CNN)You go for some target practice, look down the firing range and see at the other end that one of the targets is -- your brother, an old photo of him.

National Guardswoman Valerie Deant was devastated to see her brother Woody's image pierced by police sniper bullets, she told NBC6 in an exclusive report.
But his photo wasn't the only one of an African-American being used for target practice last November. There were six bullet-riddled mugshots of black males at the range.


No, says North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis. Two of his snipers were using them for target practice -- one of them is Hispanic, and the other a black male of Haitian descent. 

Their target, a row of black men, which the snipers left behind at the stand, was one of many. There are also groups of white males, Hispanic males and white women.

There are 22 images in all, including a white man holding a gun to a white woman's head and one of now-dead al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. "The same target inventory has been used for more than a decade," Dennis said in a statement.

The idea is to have an array of photos with faces that look similar, so the sniper can practice exactly picking out the right target and avoid killing the wrong person in a real-life situation, Dennis said.

The department uses mugshots of people they arrested 10 to 15 years ago, and Woody Deant was one of them. Deant told NBC6 that he was booked after a deadly drag race. He has walked the straight and narrow ever since, he said.

"I can sympathize with the family discovering their brother's photo on the target," Dennis said.
Dennis became aware of the family being upset in late December and ordered an investigation. It turned up no violations of law or department policy.

But things will change. "We realize how important this issue is during today's climate," Dennis said.
Snipers will no longer use mugshots of people they have arrested, but instead will buy practice pictures from commercial vendors.

And they are instructed from now on to destroy their targets after they're done.

There was, of course, a time when racism, in whatever form it happened to take, was not only prevalent but, arguably, intrinsic in the American way of life.

And, although all that needs to be overcome has yet to be overcome, we continue to hope and believe that it shall be overcome some day..

Not to mention that which has, to date, been overcome.

Given the history, so far, though, it's inevitable that society would have to experience some backlash, payback or, in a more family friendly term, a little swinging of the pendulum when it comes to racial 

It may be neither pleasant or appreciated, but when a group of people is required to shut the hell up and stay in the back of the bus for generation after generation, it's equally inevitable that when those shackles come off, there's going to be a lot of making up for lost time and diatribe.

To wit, the pendulum swings.

Martin Luther King articulated it very succinctly in 1955

And you know, my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression.  There comes a time, my friends, when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of humiliation, where they experience the bleakness of nagging despair.  There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life's July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November. There comes a time. 

That was 1955.

It's now 2015.

And you know, my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of every little stumble being trumpeted as yet another trampling by the iron feet of oppression. There comes a time, my friends, when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of anything and everything, no matter how minute or trivial, being associated with some new attempt at racial humiliation, where those who read and hear those associations experience the annoyance of despair at being nagged. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the sunlight of cooperation and humanity and left standing amid the piercing chill of yet another attempt to cry racism where none exists.

And there comes a time when those who make big deals out of absolutely nothing, who exploit every opportunity, who, in fact, even create opportunities where no reasonable person would think to create one, do a grave injustice to not only those who are still working tirelessly to eliminate that which divides us but to those who spent their entire lives doing just that.

There comes a time.

A time to take matters into our own hands.

And, even perhaps, grab a hold of that pendulum.

Stopping it's inevitable swing.

Because there's a problem with pendulums.

They simply cannot swing one way without swinging the other.

And, at some point, enough is enough.

There comes a time.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

"...There's A Reason We Use The Term 'Without Rhyme or Reason...."

12 people are shot to death in a Paris office.
The rest of us, obviously, react with shock, dismay, distress, fear, even a little anger.
And an almost instant need for answers.
Turns out that the fundamental answer is actually readily available.
The psychologically damaged zealots who carry out these heinous attacks cloak themselves in the robes of righteousness, screaming out their "allegiance" to their God (in this particular incident, with the terrorist's favorite trademark phrase that pays "Allahu Akbar") neatly, almost as if it were professionally scripted, between the gunshots that took a dozen lives.
The irony of the whole "righteous robe" metaphor, by the way, can't be lost on even the most obtuse observer when you factor in that these "brave defenders of the cause" always manage to include face masks that hide their identities in their execution/assassination/massacre wardrobe choices.
But, that's a cowardly lion of a different color. And a topic for another time.
In the case of the Charlie Hebdo killings, we naturally gravitate towards trying to unravel the complexities, examine the underlying causes, decipher the intricate psychology of what would drive any human being to inflict injury and death on such a horrific scale.
Turns out it's really not all that complicated.
Three gutless, tragically pathetic wastes of life's precious gifts killed someone because that someone made fun of something.
And then killed eleven more someones because they happened to be in the building at the time.
As with Aurora, as with Sandy Hook, for that matter, as with the killing of JFK fifty years ago, we are so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event that we almost instinctively seek, if not crave, deeply layered explanations.
When the fact is it's not at all complicated.
It ain't brain surgery.
And no DSM is required in order to understand what's going on here.
All you need is a dictionary.
noun: reason; plural noun: reasons
  1. 1.
    a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event.

noun: excuse; plural noun: excuses
  1. 1.
    a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.

The aforementioned gutless, tragically pathetic wastes of space who carried out this mass murder tried to cover up their gutlessness with the aforementioned standard wardrobe choices and outcries of supposed allegiance to their divine inspiration.
And the disrespect of others toward that divine inspiration was the reason they would give for their actions.
If they could shout a reason at us given that, of course, they have already been hunted down and most delightfully exterminated as pure evil always deserves.
They killed twelve people because those twelve people made fun of something.
At least, given the circumstances, that was what seems to be the reason.
When it, arguably, wasn't the reason at all.
They killed twelve people because those killers were gutless, tragically pathetic wastes of life's precious gifts who, for whatever reason, wanted to kill people.
And that those twelve people made fun of something was an excuse.
Not a reason.
There's no excuse for that.



Thursday, January 1, 2015

"....Sometimes Caution Shouldn't Be So Much Exercised As Given An Exhausting Workout...."

It's one thing to armchair quarterback when a game is lost.

It's quite another when a life is lost.

(CNN) -- The father-in-law of a mother fatally shot in an Idaho Walmart by her 2-year-old son says she didn't have a mean bone in her body.

"Everybody that met her, knew her, loved her," Terry Rutledge said about Veronica Rutledge, 29.
She died Tuesday after her young son grabbed a gun that was in her purse and shot her in an apparent accident, authorities have said. The two were out shopping with other family members when the shooting occurred.

Rutledge put herself through school and was a chemical engineer, Terry Rutledge said.
"She was a fun-loving, outgoing, outdoorsy person. Her family liked to camp, hike, do outdoorsy things. They loved being together," he said.
He added that she had carried a gun for years and had extensive training.
"I cannot put any blame on my daughter-in-law because I know her, the training she's had ... I don't take it lightly ... I cannot put any negligence on her part. It was a terrible accident," said Terry Rutledge.
He told CNN affiliate KREM 2 that the gun used in the shooting had been kept in a concealed zipper pouch in her purse.
One gun expert described what happened as a "perfect storm."
The toddler was able to unzip the pocket and grab the gun -- without being noticed. He was also able to grip the gun and exert sufficient force to fire, at least three pounds, Robin Ball, owner of Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop in Spokane, Washington, told KREM 2.
"Murphy's law just came into play today in so many ways and there are irreversible consequences for that," Ball said.
Almost before this young woman's body had been gurneyed out of the store, the piling on of second guessing and shoulda coulda woulda-ing began to sprout up on line like crabgrass at the first sign of spring.
Most of the Monday morning play by play consisted of criticism of the young lady's leaving herself vulnerable by allowing a gun and a two year old to be within such close proximity of each other.
Others, more gracious in their observations, simply agreed, in principle, with what the gun expert eloquently offered. It was a perfect, and tragic, storm.
There's something both poignant and pesky in the human condition that seems to trigger when we are faced with something undeniably horrific.
The term "trigger" of course both an applicable description and an unintentional pun.
We feel the need to make sense of it, ostensibly for those who have experienced the horror but, in the clear light of truth being told, mostly for ourselves.
And that need often presents as the expression of opinion which often presents itself in the form of, at best, critique and, at worst, outright criticism.
As if, of course, anybody asked.
Any "chastising" of Veronica Rutledge on my part is both inappropriate and disingenuous.
At the heart of the matter, it's really none of my business.
As to satisfying my own poignant, pesky human condition, though, I'm moved to offer this.

Between the calls for compassion and the cries of criticism in this tragedy lies a lesson.

For me, it takes the form of remembering that I treat, and have always treated, weapons with the
same attitude as I treated driving a motorcycle in the day (and, for that matter, driving a car to this day).

A single moment's lapse in attention and/or diligence can result in injury or death.

And I was, in a non-dramatic, non-morbid way, always aware of just enough fear of that possibility to stay out in front of the took on the form, of course, of assuming the worst, even "pessimistically" thinking of the ways in which things could go wrong and doing whatever I could to prevent them.

But, because of that mindset, I never had a bike accident (although others who weren't paying attention tried to change that stat only to be thwarted by my "assumption of their carelessness").

And, to date, I've never had to face the insanity of dealing with a loved one killed by a weapon in horrific and unexpected moment.

Life can be cruel. Even the most diligent of us can be blindsided.

Shit happens.

But if ever there is a time in our lives when it pays to be an alarmist and/or a pessimist and/or a cynic as opposed to relying on faith and optimism and good luck in life, it is when we start up the engine of that motorcycle that we are straddling.

When we put that car into "D" and put our foot on the gas.

And when we put a deadly weapon and a child anywhere near each other.