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Yeah, I was just reading in the Bible where Jesus said he absolutely loved it when he could kiss his wife and kids goodbye not knowing if he as husband and daddy would return, sling his automatic weapon over his shoulder, walk into the jaws of death, and have a GREAT REASON to KILL SOMEBODY, WOOO HOOO!!!

I know I’m supposed to be being kinder, not stronger, not righter. So I’ve suppressed the urge to say this directly to people… I almost forgot I wanted to say it yesterday, but today I hopped on facebook and… I’ll just say it here.

I wholeheartedly agree: Captain Richard Phillips is a national hero. What a horrifying situation. His poor family! What a brave man. He left his ship with the pirates to ransom his passengers, crew and ship. If he’d lost his life it would have been a horrible tragedy– but it would have also been a loving and honorable sacrifice.

I also agree that the sharpshooters who freed him are heroes, truly brave and honorable, who waited to shoot until they felt his life was in danger.

What I do not agree with is all the high-fiving and ‘that’ll teach you to mess with us, sucka’ I am hearing and seeing everywhere regarding the rescue.

Human life was taken.

The sanctity of human life is a favored platform from which to bash political opponents, women forced to ‘choose’ and the unwarshed.

I guess life is sacred unless the sucker deserves it?

When you get down to it, whose life is less precious than another’s? And whose pain or need or sin is greater than another’s? Are we sure we can say?

There is theft of property, which is wrong, and then there is violence against human beings and other living things– double, triple, exponentially more wrong in my book. Most criminals just want property, not to hurt anyone. Many criminals want property in response to, in an attempt to get out of, insane, inhuman conditions– and that’s the kind of conditions they have in Somalia, for darn sure.

Vice Admiral Gortney of the US Navy says this incident could further destabilize this part of the world.

I am very, very proud of how the Americans involved handled this situation. They did what they had to do. Their own lives were at risk. They are heroes. They rescued a hero.

But taking a life is a horrible consequence, and further horrible consequences are possible.

Celebrate Captain Phillips’ well-deserved rescue and the rescuers– God bless them for bravery and honor!

But this is a grave situation.

Those pirates blundered into what has become an international incident and three lost their lives.

Yes, we do reap what we sow, in this world or the next… but do we as fallible human beings get to decide what others reap?

The pirates left the boat peacefully, and kept the captain alive perhaps in hopes of saving their own sorry skins.

I wonder what was going through their heads in those last hours? Were they thinking of wives, children, villages, their once innocent and hopeful childhoods left behind? What they would do if they survived? Or were they just bloodthirsty, greedy animals? Or a bit of each? We’ll never know, I guess.

There are so many people suffering in Somalia– hunger, violence against women, violence in general, corruption, lack of education… how now can we get at the root causes of this piracy, instead of just picking people off one at a time, allowing the cause, and therefore the violence, to continue?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/12/AR2009041200467.html?nav%3Dhcmodule&sub=AR

P.S. Speaking of theft and harm to other human beings… is this true? What is the truth?

From Johann Hari, London Independent columnist, April 13, quoted on the Huffington Post (thanks bro)

The words of one pirate from that lost age – a young British man called William Scott – should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: “What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirating to live.” In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention.”

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish-stocks by over-exploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea-life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia’s unprotected seas. The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”

This is the context in which the men we are calling “pirates” have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a ‘tax’ on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and it’s not hard to see why. In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters… We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.” William Scott would understand those words.

if true…

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Tuesday May 5 at 4pm, The Governor’s Square Library Kids’ Club will embark upon their exploration of the fine artworks of the Picturing America series.

Kids 5-12 are invited every Tuesday at 4pm, and parents are asked to donate their time, healthy individually wrapped nonperishable snacks, water, or juice boxes.

Discussion questions will help kids reflect on and remember┬áthe women– mothers, grandmothers, relatives, older sisters,┬áteachers, church friends and others– who nurture them, create a positive environment for living, learning and growing, and help to build our community.

Our stepping off point will be Dorothea Lange’s poignant portrait Migrant Mother.

blog post photo

Learn more about this important work of American history and art at the Library of Congress website: http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/128_migm.html

Please bring a child aged 5-12 Tuesday May 5 at 4 pm for snacks, thought provoking discussion and as always a little bit of fun.

See you Tuesday!

“It is not true that we only have one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.” — S. I. Hayakawa, beautifully stenciled on the back wall of the new Pike Road Branch Library

Yesterday’s opening celebration at The Pike Road Branch of Montgomery City-County Public Library, near Crockmier’s on Vaughn Road, was a very special and worthwhile occasion.

Pike Road’s library has always been something special. It has a caring and hard working Friends of the Library group and dedicated library users who assist a dynamic and creative librarian, Lynda Maddox. Supported by Montgomery Public Library’s centralized Extension, Administrative, and Collection Development departments, Lynda and a corps of dedicated volunteers have been running excellent library programs and services for years– in dilapidated trailers which have even lost their roof a time or two over the years during our very active storm seasons.

Several who spoke at today’s ceremony expressed gratitude for those trailers– and noted that today’s grand opening finally brings the Pike Road Branch and the wonderful work done by Lynda Maddox and the Pike Road Friends and volunteers to a facility that reflects the high quality of service, dedication, and patrons who are Pike Road’s library.

Even with the library jammed full of dignitaries, well-wishers, vases of fresh flowers, media cameras, members of the library’s board of trustees, library staff and delighted families with children, the first impression upon entering the library is of space and comfort. The retail space has been renovated to provide every useful and enjoyable aspect of library services– from funky, functional and comfortable seating in the magazine area to an enticing children’s area.

A retail space is often a wonderful place for a public library branch. The surrounding businesses bring people to the library; the library brings visibility for the surrounding businesses. Mr. Johnny Sullivan of neighboring Crockmier’s welcomed the library very kindly and asked that the library call upon him for any need.

The delightful decorations high on the walls marking the various sections of the library are beautiful altered books. Each letter of words like ‘Juvenile’ or ‘Fiction’ made a little work of art out of a book that was once too damaged to remain in the library’s collection. Marilyn Heard and George Evans created these and other finishing touches which are just the right mix of satisfyingly chic, and comfortingly, solidly antique.

A similar ethic was applied as the new facility was furnished. Library Director Jaunita Owes reminded the crowd that nothing from the old facility was thrown away. We have not lost; we have only gained. Much of the shelving in the new library came directly from the Pike Road trailers. With the help of Gaye Smith and Business Interiors, gains included tables properly wired for computer connectivity, elegant, dare I say funky, and truly comfortable furniture for the reading area, and attractive and functional additional shelving– all of which came together to compliment the way the space beautifully combined old and new.

Relationships were also a great gain from this process. New relationships resulted in greater understanding between all parties, greater creativity, greater bang for the buck invested, and an amazing end result. We hope we can continue to build relationships and experience this level of creativity, bang for the buck, understanding and teamwork as the public library strives to grow in ways that serve our community’s needs best.

Reverend Dilbeck of Pike Road Baptist Church said he was very sorry to see the library leave his neighborhood. The responsive Dedicatory Litany he led blessed all present with the reminder that we must commit to uphold the principles and values for which the library stands, and to daily support– with our time, with our finances, and with our pursuit of those values and principles– of our library’s service to the people of our community.

Longtime Friends of Pike Road Library spoke of the history of library services in Pike Road, dating back to when the Pike Road Library consisted of a bookmobile visit every two weeks– and the joy those visits brought residents. Elected officials very briefly and modestly highlighted their role as this project began to take wing, and spoke with great pride in this wonderful accomplishment of team effort. Each speaker’s words reflected the dedication and hard work of those who have brought this project to its beautiful and functional fruition. Library Director Jaunita Owes, whose gratitude, delight and pride were evident, was very thorough in her recognition of the varied contributions of so many dedicated people and agencies.

Speakers noted that achievement and excellence have their price, in money, and in hard work. Renovating, moving or building a library is an incredibly detailed and laborious practice, often guaranteeing grey hairs and high blood pressure for any librarian involved. But in balance, very little was said about the months and days and long, long hours required to make this happen. Focus was overwhelmingly on the joy of seeing it come to pass. The unbelievable smoothness of the transition was credited to the hard work of Pike Road’s Friends and volunteers.

Several speakers noted that children have been riding bicycles over to the library for weeks, pounding on the locked doors to ask ‘is it open yet?’ This speaks well of the need for the library’s presence at this location. Won’t those kids be thrilled now! It is also a reminder to those planning the development of that area of our community to remember the children, parents with strollers, and perhaps older adults who need it to be safe and accessible for walking and cycling.
I hope too that Commissioner Ingram’s mention of outdoor tables, a grocery and a possible coffee shop will come to be. Our communities need comfortable, welcoming ‘third spaces,’ open to all, where we can meet and mingle outside our separate churches and families and truly become community.

Long time volunteer Mrs. McCain was present handing out programs and reminding the attendees who continued to flow in to sign the guest book. She finally sat down after hours of assisting at the occasion. We spoke for a few moments and she said “I am so glad we have reopened! I’ve been going through withdrawals since the library closed! I even found myself buying two books!”

Buying books? The horror! No wonder the hard working Pike Road Library volunteers got the the library’s books packed, a week-long job at least, in a day and a half! They need their books before their passion for reading drives them to do something they’ll regret!

After the ribbon was cut to officially open the library, there was a stampede toward refreshments that were as delicious as they were beautifully presented. The Friends of the Pike Road Library and Incredible Edibles provided a lovely and truly Southern assortment that included ham biscuits, mini mandarin chicken salads and key lime tarts, sweets of every description, sweet tea, and the best cheese straws I have ever tasted. As the crush began to ease, I found a quiet spot to enjoy the occasion and my refreshments (two heaped plates!), socialize a bit with Mr. Pickette, President of the Friends of the Montgomery City-County Public Library, and simply people watch.

I saw a young parent in the children’s section using her cell phone to tell someone “it’s so beautiful!” Her face radiated delight. I am sure that on this one special day her delight in finding such a wonderful facility just wiped awareness of the library’s ‘no cell phone’ rule right out of her mind. It was just that good. I’m sure she can be excused just for today.

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