Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Gabby Petito: "She Touched The World." Others Not So Much

 Gabby Petito has been found! 

Thank the gods she has been located. Well her body has been located. The family can at least have that much. Still the boyfriend needs to answer what happened. The incident is not a good one; girl goes missing and last one to see her is the boy friend. The boyfriend being cagey. The media gets a hold of the story.  There are pictures being painted daily by both the main stream media and the social media universe.  Gabby is shown to be a happy full of life woman who may have been with a shallow controlling boyfriend. The last picture we see is a distraught woman dealing with an abusive possessive traveling companion. The Parents of Gabby reported her missing on September 11.  Numerous stories came out and helped lead to the successful find of her dead body. People took a deep interest and made it personal.  Some reason the masses connected with Gabby and her family. It is the one redeeming aspect of the tragedy, people showed that they care. The search result is not what anyone wanted. The family is seeking to grieve in private after the news of Gabby's found body. 

Gabby represents the ugly in what can happen to a young woman.  She was vlogging and sharing her life with the world. She went on a hiking trip with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend is missing (I expect them to find him dead at his own hand, but time will tell) and believed to be in the bush somewhere in Florida.  She represents the young, the possibilities of life and all what it can offer the young population. Her death is awful and there are many who mourn for her and her family. 

So why am I writing about a story when it is so wildly covered? It is precisely for the reason, everyone is talking about it. I want to jump on the train as well, who wouldn't? The story is compelling. You have a mystery, the anticipation of what is to come, some hope, a villainess twist, a distraught loving family, a fair maiden, you can feel empathy for the characters in this tale. How can you not? We have daughters, sisters, friends, friends of friends who could star in this story. A GoFundMe page is likely to be set up (one was set up for the search) for the family. The woman could be someone you likely know. This is what seemingly gravitates folks to a situation, a story; the connection it has to us, the familiar, Gabby could be someone you know or Gabby could be us (really you). Her parents could be you, or someone you are close with. It all comes down to us (me). 

This is why I think all the other Women, girls are not thought of, because they do not resonate with you. They are not the girl next door to you, the neighbour, the friends of yours. The media doesn't recognize them as the Gabbys of the world. The main stream audience doesn't affiliate with them, doesn't empathize with them, can't understand them. The media also does a weird thing when the "other" women go missing or are murdered. The media doesn't paint a nice picture. The woman is not pictured as an angel with a full life going on and ahead for her. Nope, the "other women" are not angels, in fact, accordingly to the media,  these Women could have been seeking their own demise. Who are these "other women" and why are they not being found? Why is there no media blitz, no social media frenzy? Why is there no search?  As Joy Reid said "No one is looking for us." 

The "other Women" are the Native Women, the Black Women, Asian Women, Latino Women, Trans Women, Gay Women, Women of Colour and Poor Women. 

Since the start of pandemic, there's been a spike in missing Black and Latina women - a phenomenon that follows yearly upticks of missing people of color, according to experts.  Data from the National Crime Information Center found that 19,545 Black women ages 18 and over went missing in 2020.  Nearly 71,000 Black girls ages 17 and under went missing last year.

No one wants Women to go missing, to go be killed, no one. The Gabbys of the world should be looked for, should be spoken about, should be grieved. The same could be said of 18 year old Jennifer Catcheway a beautiful young Woman. The Jennifers of the world should be granted the same attention, the same empathy, the same concern. Thing is, Jennifer is Indigenous. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Being Nice Should Be Announced To The World

I was hanging around with Ceremony people in Vancouver a number of years ago. There was this one fellow telling me about his efforts at Ceremony. He is what we called a Skhabay (Oshkaabewis is the proper way to say it in Ojibwe), a Helper. He wondered how come he didn't get things. There are gifts given out but usually the gifts go to the "head people;" people who conduct the Ceremony or have a good title. He felt unappreciated and not recognized for his work. After all, many of the Ceremonies are set up by the Helper. The protocol followed by people is to present a gift to the Elder, Medicine person when you seek their help. The Helper is important to the Ceremony but is not always acknowledged. This is not always the case as the Give Away is a Ceremony where people are acknowledged. The Give Away is exactly that, a give away of gifts. Ideally everyone in the crowd of a Ceremony (like a Sundance Give Away, Powwow Give Away, a Memorial Give Away, a Birth announcement Give Away, etc.) is given something. The type of gift is not the significance, it is the gift and what it represents and how the receiver of the Gift acknowledges the Gift Givers. For the fellow sharing his frustration with me, it is a normal feeling. We all need to be recognized once in awhile, to be acknowledged. Sometimes we need to speak up and let others know we are working hard, and should be acknowledged. I realize it is not always acceptable to talk about ourselves, but asking for validation is not a bad thing. The Helper hit me up for one hundred bucks, he borrowed. I never did get the hundred back (smiling as I remember this).

Three things I know I don't like: getting the middle finger, someone who lies to me, being called cheap. I find giving someone the middle finger is an ugly gesture and is actually worse than telling someone to go "F-themselves." The anger I feel from being giving the finger is visceral and immediate. I just want to pull out a defender shotgun (the short barrel black guns) and shoot at a concrete wall, and that is how much it upsets me. Why it brings such a reaction is beyond my understanding.  The second thing I don't like, being lied to, it is insulting. The lie breaks your trust. Lying to someone to make yourself look better is just not right. I am not a fan of the lie. Not the story lie (aka the bull shit story), but the lie to excuse your behaviour or actions, that lie is no good. The lie doesn't make me angry, it makes me sad. So sad that I want to take out a sharp bowie knife and cut up the laces on my Kirkland (Costco brand)  running shoes. Makes me want to have my shoes fall out of my feet as I am walking in silence.  The third thing I dislike is the cheap label. I'm not referring to the something is cheap, inexpensive label. If you can get something on the cheap good for you. I am talking about the person who is selfish, greedy and not willing to share. There are different kinds of cheap. There are people who hoard things. I am like that, I like things but end up giving things away. I do not agree with those who are cheap, not willing to share, the person who hoards for themselves. I know many people who are very generous. My Dad was one of those people who didn't know how not to share.  I also know people who begrudge others; begrudge them of having a decent job, of having a decent vehicle, of having a good partner in their lives and a host of other things. This person is the one who is truly cheap. They are insatiable with their want of things and begrudge others who may have a little bit of something. These three things should not be celebrated. Some people will say, "I'm forthright and honest" but in reality they are just being arseholes. Yet they announce their actions to the world like it is a good thing. 

There are things I like, it is the good deed, the unselfish act. Even when someone is not looking they do the nice act of giving, of sharing and being kind. The person who is working all day long in a difficult job but has the time to give a couple of bucks to the "down-on-their-luck-with-their-hand-out" individual. They are tired, maybe not having the best day but it doesn't change who they are; nice people. Then there are those who go on social media and complain: "Lorrie Steeves is really tired of getting harrassed (sic) by the drunken native guys in the skywalks. we need to get these people educated so they can go make their own damn money instead of hanging out and harrassing (sic) the honest people who are grinding away working hard for their money. We all donate enough money to the government to keep thier (sic) sorry assess (sic) on welfare, so shut the f**k up and don't ask me for another handout!" I am not sure but this doesn't sound much like being nice? Maybe I am missing something here. If we can go announce to the world we are not nice, shouldn't we be able to announce to the world, we are nice? 

I get it, if we tell the world how nice we are, it takes the "nice" out of being nice. It seems we are tainting the good with the message that we did good. It confuses me a bit though. I mean why is it so normal and accepted to say all sorts of nasty mean things? Yet if we say something nice, something charitable, something thoughtful, it is not looked at as a good thing? We are quick to condemn the good announcement of a good nice deed. I want to tell you about the things we have done and how they are nice things. Convention dictates it is not kosher to announce the nice things you do to the world. We should announce the good things; either some else's good or our own good. 

There have been many initiatives to showcase role models (we automatically assume role model to be good, right?) and good things happening around the world and in our community. So why can't we announce our own good things, good deeds? I am sure you are doing some good stuff and no one but you knows. I guess it is to be humble and I get that. Still be brave and let the world know you have done good and you hope to inspire others to do good as well. 

Let me start: My friend called me last night and ask to sleep over. After getting the okay from my wife (her permission to say yes), I said sure to my friend, "sure I can let you sleep at the house," and my wife sent me to pick him up. How's that for a start? Now you, please. 

I am good eh? 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

See My Scar? Where is Your Scar?

 "Hey, don't you worry about it Chief, Its not permanent. You want to see something permanent? Ba-ba-boom, Heh heh heh."  The movie Jaws has Quint and Matt Hooper comparing scars as the Police Chief Brody doesn't have the scars that measure up. 

jaws+copy.jpg (500×249) (

This the world we live in, we are always measuring who has the biggest or most scars. We do it with all things: our physical wounds, our battles, our income, our family turmoil, our historical wrongs, our psyche, our spiritual wounds, our grief, our internal damage. Who has the biggest scars? The Japanese sure have some big scars, after all they had the bomb dropped on them. Not just the bomb but two god-damned bombs. Can you imagine the scar that has been left? The Jewish population has at least 6 million scars and no one can deny that is a huge scar. The African Nation has some big scars as well; from having people stolen and sold in slavery to having their lands raped by greedy colonizers. What a large number of scars there for sure.  We hear the stories and are shown the scars. 

There are whole nations with so many scars, and there are individuals with many scars as well. There are the people who have faced violence, been raped, been tortured - physically - mentally - spiritually, have been killed. They have scars. So with all the scars, who has the most? Who has suffered the most? I think it depends on who is showing the scars. With Chief Brody in the Jaws movie he tried to look at his own scars when the fisherman Quint and the scientist Hooper were busy outdoing each other with showing their scars and the stories that went along with those scars. I share my scars and measure them against other people's scars as well. With grief; the loss of a Mom, a Dad, a Brother, a Son is a scar. We measure our grief against the grief of others. All different types of scars are measured. We see other folks with scars; the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. The Black population being killed over and over again by the police force. The many people who are seeking refuge in the United States, in Canada and in Western Europe; they will show you many different scars. The 26 million refugees that exist right now throughout the World, will show you different scars. 

Today and the following days we will be bombarded (no pun intended) with stories about the scars the United States of America has to show. The US is reminding the world about how seriously they were wounded and they have the scars to prove it. They will show you and tell you how horrible it was to get the scar. They will also tell you they have come out better because of the wounds and the scar will always remind them of how strong, how tough they are. 

The United States of America suffered a major wound in September 11, 2001. The wound came by way of an attack from the sky on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville. There is a song written about the Attack, entitled "where were you when the world stopped turning?" The message is of course about the scar and it is quite possibly the worse scar ever to have happened. It is the biggest scar from the modern United States population's point of view. Now ask an Indigenous person who has had their land occupied by the Americans and they will tell you about and show you different scars. Ask the African American and they may have different stories and scars to show you. I mean 400 years of being whipped, chained, punished, raped and owned could do that. 

There is no doubt the Twin Towers collapsing and the death of 3,000 people was tragic, horrible and awful. Is the biggest scar in the world? We all have our own scars and measure them with our own scales. We can appreciate their pain when they are showing you the scars. We hope they also understand there are many people out there carrying scars as well. We are in a battle of who has the most scars and the one who is winning is the one who has the biggest media presentation. 

Cherokee Fiddle, cause Good Whiskey Never Let Him Lose His Place

 Urban Cowboy is a 1980 movie with a soundtrack steeped in western songs that had great Redneck lines like, "single bars and good time ...