Wiser Words

I think we can now agree I shouldn’t post while emotional. My post on Friday after learning of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, was written quickly (without editing, gah) and just isn’t what I meant it to be. I’ll leave it up though because many people were kind enough to read it and comment. I also think it does show one reaction to news of 26 dead at an elementary school.

Yesterday we took the boys to Old Town in Gdansk. It was softly snowing. The river was frozen. We ate at one of our favorite restaurants and enjoyed hot chocolate and classic Polish Zurek. After our late lunch, we walked the main street and looked at lights as snow continued to fall. We were able to see the Christmas market and eventually find our way back to our car. We dusted off the snow and headed home for a quiet night in our cozy apartment. We had a near-perfect family outing. It was pure Christmas joy and family love. It both soothed my nerves from Friday’s news and broke my heart. I can’t even imagine how those families are feeling, how snow and beautifully lit trees will bring back the hurt again and again.

All is calm; all is bright.

All is calm; all is bright. I am so lucky today.

And then I read my father’s words and felt even stronger hurt for our country and the things that are broken. My dad is a good man, and he tries to see both sides of every issue. He thinks his feelings through, and rarely acts hastily. He also doesn’t try to share them on Facebook because he prefers a real-life discussion. So, his published words really made me think. Here is what he posted on his Facebook:

“Tougher gun laws or no? Lots of discussion with good arguments on both sides I guess. What occurs to me is our whole culture seems to glorify violence, greed, and sex. I think it has dulled our senses to what we have become. When my grandkids are here, I can’t even watch most television because of the trashy programs. The same ‘caring’ Hollywood personalities that take a high and mighty stand on social issues make a huge living on sex, violence, and greed. Our legislators care more about getting re-elected than any other objective, and fill their pockets from donors and influence-buyers. It is hard to name a big formerly solid organization that hasn’t been tainted i.e. religious entities, boy scouts, teachers, unions, police officers – you name it. Social media is so dangerous today we should not let our kids use it unsupervised.

My heart aches for the victims and families of this latest atrocity. We are all hurting if we have a speck of humanity, and we should all consider what we have made important in life.”

Those are some really good points. I think this isn’t just a tragedy about a school and its inhabitants being so grossly violated, but it’s also a picture of what we’ve become. And sadly, they were probably not the only children killed by guns this week. My friend Addye left some comments on my post Friday that spoke to this as well. She was saddened and angry by the deaths on Friday, and it was important for her to remind us that violence is not so newsworthy in many cities in our country because it is just so common.

We also will be talking more about mental health issues after this. I alluded to it poorly in my original post. Whether or not the killer was mentally ill is not the main point. Mental illness does not egual evil; most people who suffer from mental illness are not destined to go on violent rampages. As with gun control, I meant to say I hope this tragedy brings about a discussion on how we view and treat the mentally ill. We cannot leave them to suffer because we assume they are dangerous or unworthy. And we can’t paint all persons who suffer from mental issues with the same brush. They are as individual as the rest of us. Don’t push away this tragedy and say it was an anomaly because the gunman was crazy. Don’t use that as a reason to do nothing.

That brings me to my real main point from Friday. We can’t keep getting upset and then doing nothing. What is bothering you today? Are you sad that guns are so easy to get? Are you mad that you have lost family members to mental health crises because they had no support? Do you wish we showed violence and other harmful activities less often on TV and in movies? Then do something. Change your family. Change what you talk about. Bring up the hard topics and try to get people talking in a constructive way. And please, please, write and call your politicians. We need to make them accountable to what we want as citizens.

Finally, I would like to share some wiser words I’ve read this weekend. As a writer, I try to read the best, and it makes a difference in my writing and in my heart. I’d like you to see what I find to be well-written arguments and concerns. Some are calls to action, and some are just hearts pouring out their pain.

“Every country has a sizable contingent of mentally ill citizens. We’re the one that gives them the technological power to play god. This is all about guns — access to guns and the ever-increasing firepower of guns.” by Gail Collins of the New York Times.

“Why in the world do we regulate teddy bears and toy guns and not real guns that have snuffed out tens of thousands of child lives? Why are leaders capitulating to the powerful gun lobby over the rights of children and all people to life and safety?” by Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund.

“I cry for the parents, running to the school as if they themselves were on fire, hearts pounding, praying out loud, please let my baby be safe, please let my baby be safe.” by Alexandra at Good Day Regular People.

“As a culture we must set better priorities.  We have created an environment where an abstract sense that everyone is entitled to own guns in this country trumps a safe reality for our children.” by Korinthia Klein at Korinthia’s Quiet Corner


If Not Now, When?

I admit that I am easily riled. I can get angry or excited pretty quickly. Yes, I’m very cocker spaniel puppy that way. I’ve learned over the years to slow down and think before I act on my impulsive feelings. Usually.

I’m not going to wait today. I’m going to get it all out because this is important. It’s important that good people start getting angry and active.

We need more restrictive gun laws in this country. We need them yesterday. And we need more access to mental health services. Yeah, I’m making that connection early in the wake of the Connecticut tragedy, but I know that these two things are related.

First, don’t tell me not to ‘politicize’ this today. I’m not. I’m personalizing it. I’m owning my anger and frustration and acting on it. I’m using these feelings to act and do my part. I’m mad. I’m anxious. I’m terrified. I’m sick to my stomach. And the only way I can do something is to voice it, to write about it.

Things I’m thinking about today:

1. “Guns don’t kill, people do.”

Yeah, that’s true. But you know what? People with assault rifles kill more people faster. Angry, drunk, or mentally unstable people commit rash acts that are only intensified with a gun in arm’s reach.

2. “Cars kill more people every year than guns, should we outlaw cars?”

No, we don’t outlaw cars, but we do have many restrictions in place to make them as safe as possible. Police monitor our driving and keep tabs on who is being responsible and who isn’t. And you know what? When it is warranted, we change those restrictions. Minimum driving ages have been raised since I was a teen. Why? Because as safety issues change, laws change. Well, for cars anyway, for guns we say, “No! Do not change ANY of my right to bear arms.” Listen, when our Constitution was written, guns took a lot longer to load and reload. Our founding fathers could never have imagined the power that modern weapons have. And that’s why our Constitution has provisions for change. Times change, and our morals and values do too.

3. “Criminals will find a way to get guns no matter then laws, why take away my rights?”

Drunks find a way to get behind the wheel too; let’s just forget about drunk driving laws. Or, we could keep enforcing the laws we have and maybe even tighten them if they are not strict enough. Criminals act against the law, but that doesn’t mean we abandon laws. That is ridiculous. Oh, my house was robbed? Crap, no use trying to make breaking and entering illegal then if people just do it anyway.

My main concern today is how to keep kindergarteners from being murdered at school. The only way I can do that is talking about ways to curb violence. And I believe one way is to put heavier restrictions on gun ownership. Will this inconvenience law-abiding citizens? Yep. Do I care? Nope. Add gun permit/regulation worries to that part of your life where taxes and the DMV live. I think it’s worth it.

I also think I need to do more to make my voice heard. And so do you. We need to be stronger and louder than the NRA. It feels like a mountain we can’t possibly top. I know. But, we won’t know unless we try.

Sick people kill children and teachers at school, but well people have a responsibility to learn from these tragedies and act.

What Is God’s Plan?

He may have said something inflammatory, but Indiana Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock did at least get me thinking. In case you missed it, Mourdock was discussing his stance on abortion in a debate with Representative Joe Donnelly. In explaining how he came to his beliefs that abortion is only okay if the mother’s life is at stake, he tried to point out why rape is not a valid reason in his mind.

“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” said Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer.

There are several different reasons people are outraged and angered by this comment, including the repulsive image of God planning a rape in order to bring a child into a woman’s life, but the thing that sticks with me is the idea of God’s plan/God’s will and what that really means.

As you know, I consider myself a Christian. I grew up in a Catholic family and now attend Methodist services when I’m home in Texas. (I cannot find a single Methodist in Poland.) I also consider myself a bit lost at times on my faith journey. There are many teachings I struggle to live out and many I just don’t understand. A lot of the distress is due to my human frailty and weakness. Some of that uncertainty is from lack of study. Some of the doubt though comes from thinking on my own and listening to my own heart.

The doubts brought on by the second thing have me wondering if I’m really faithful at all. Am I willing things, God in particular, to match my life because it’s so hard to live up to His calling? Am I being naive about the love I feel He has for us?

My father and I have had discussions about whether or not someone like Mother Teresa would be in heaven if she were not Christian. Would her many good works and generous deeds be enough? Or would God turn her away if she didn’t believe in the resurrection of Jesus? My heart wants to believe that God knows her heart enough to love her and grant her a heavenly place of rest, but that is not what’s taught. I place my husband’s family in this category too. His sweet Bubbie passed away in 2010, and I loved her so much. She welcomed me to the family right away and loved me easily. But, she was Jewish, so obviously she did not believe in Christ as the Messiah. The God I feel in my heart would never turn Bubbie away. Nor would he reject my sensitive, giving brother for being gay.

See? It seems like I’m believing things in my own way according to the world I live in. Am I confusing my love for God’s?

And this brings me back to Mourdock’s comment and the concept of God directing our lives. I believe God gave us free will. I’m pretty sure that’s in the Bible. (Seriously, I’m not well-versed on the verses.) So, does God’s will trump mine? Why give it to me then? I’m not asking to be snarky. This question rattles around in my head all the time. What does the phrase ‘God’s will’ even really mean? I interpret it as what God wants done will be done. I do believe He can move mountains and part seas. But does He intend for a woman to be raped in order to have a child? That doesn’t sound right.

Some people refer to this concept as God’s plan. To me that insinuates a life He’s already plotted for me. But, again, if that were so, why wouldn’t He plan for everyone to believe in Him? Did he plan for 2006 to be the year I lost my brother and my son? And this question has been with me for a long time: If my life is already written in God’s book, why does He command me to pray? The word ‘pray’ is in the Bible at least 100 times (depending on the translation used). We pray for healing and peace. We pray for guidance. And I believe my prayers are answered. My husband is the answer to a prayer. My kids are as well. I prayed hard that losing my son would not make my parents abandon their faith. They absolutely have not.

I see the awful things happening around the world as consequences of man. War is the product of humans and their anger and pride (mostly).  Car accidents happen because people are careless. Rape is the product of sickness of the mind. But did God make it happen? Man, that’s rough. I just can’t make my heart believe that.

I see God as our parent. And just as a parent cannot stop his or her child from being hurt, God can’t either. He has to let us reap what we sow because He gave us free will. But, like a loving parent, He does His best to provide us love and comfort when we hurt. Like a mother staying up to make sure the kids get home safe, He offers to carry our fears and worries as His.

Then my brain stumbles again because God is not like me, really. He can make trees grow new leaves every spring. He raised His own son from the dead. Why can’t He stop pain and suffering? And why does a woman leading a decent life get raped and pregnant?

Again, I’m not asking to be argumentative. I really do wrestle with these very big faith questions often, and I think Mourdock’s words made many people think about ‘their’ God and what He does and does not do. I wish I had the answers, but all I have to offer is my faith that God is love.

What Are You, Chicken?

I am not really an ‘issues’ blogger. (Well, apart from my personal issues and the hilarity they produce.) I don’t read the news of the day and then share my opinion with you. To be honest, it’s mostly because I fear being unarmed in a battle of wits, especially when lack of sleep has made me think it’s neat how the TV turns on when I press a button. I also believe there are so many good writers who can make you think about current events. Again, fear keeps me from joining them, specifically the fear of being less eloquent and thought-provoking. (I’m really a big chicken, aren’t I?)

For example, today I want to talk about Chik-Fil-A.

See? Not exactly breaking news is it? But I read a really great post (On the blog Native Born) that had some civil, thought-out reader comments as well, and I decided it was okay to weigh in. My opinion matters too. Because my opinion is not just about Chik-Fil-A; it’s about a human rights issue.

I support gay marriage. No, I don’t just support it; I want to actively get you to see how important it is to let adults marry the people they love.

And that starts by telling you I won’t be eating at Chik-Fil-A anymore. I will not support a company which takes its corporate profits and donates them to hate groups. Dan Cathy can run his business however he wants. His religious beliefs are his to spout. Further, my right to not support any of that is just as real.

So, enough being, and talking about, chicken.

My friends know that my brother Michael, who passed in 2006, was gay. He was also willing to give his friends the shirt off his back. He was very conservative and prayed the rosary. He loved movies; he had at least a thousand DVDs in his personal collection. He was a great older brother who kept our family together and connected. He was handsome. He was also human. He loved and wanted to be loved by one man forever and ever. I’m going to keep using my brother and other gay friends of mine as examples, so you don’t forget we are talking about humans. These are real brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends, and parents.

The meat of the matter (sorry, can’t help myself) is that my brother should have had the right to be married. Did he have the right to be married in your church? No. Your church can have whatever rules it wants about who can be married there. Most churches already do. A Muslim cannot get married by a Catholic priest, but a Muslim can still be married. Besides, I doubt a homosexual would want to be married in a place of worship that assumed homosexuals were unredeemable sinners for being in love and acting on that love. (I’m not singling out Catholics here, or even Christians.) The end of that ceremony could get awkward. “I now pronounce you Adam and Steve. You may go to hell.”

Have you ever heard anyone’s coming out story (the story a homosexual tells about telling friends and family their sexual orientation)? They usually have a common theme. That common theme is fear of losing relationships. They fear friends will turn on them. They fear family will disown them. It happens over and over again. What else did my brother fear? He feared physical harm. I sit here in a world where I can hold my husband’s hand and only worry if I have anything sticky on it that may gross him out. (From the kids, obviously. I stopped picking my nose last year.) My friend Vikki, from the blog Up Popped a Fox, made a fantastic comment regarding this point in the piece I mentioned earlier. She said, “Every time I kiss my partner or hold her hand, I look around to gauge our safety because, often, our affection has consequences – stares, comments or worse.” Think about that for one second. Kissing the love of her life could get her physically harmed. If you think that is an exaggeration, read her coming out story. Read other accounts. Check out the Human Rights Campaign web site. Ask around. It’s real.

The Human Rights Campaign also has a great feature where they rate businesses on how they treat their LGBT workers, which brings me back to chicken. (Later, can we talk about how gross raw chicken is? Just, yuck.) I have seen the comment that boycotting Chik-Fil-A will one, not hurt them one bit, and two, is kind of lame because what about all those other businesses that are morally suspect? I believe that my money does speak for me, and it will impact them. How? Well, if everyone who believes this sticks to it, then yes, we are making a difference. And to the other point, can we ever know what businesses do with our money? Um, yes, if we ask and look. I care about this issue, therefore I will do my best to research how the businesses I frequent support or reject it. I may support a place that is sending money to the devil himself due to lack of good information, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to avoid it to the best of my abilities.

And finally, let’s get to the elephant in the room. (Hey! What’s up religion? How are things?)

I am a Christian, and I have many friends and family who are as well. I have great discussions with my dad about faith and the practice of our respective religions. We don’t always agree, but I love the questions he raises in my heart because they help me find my way. I do not know all I can know about my faith and what it means for me. I have to also tell you that my faith got me through the year my brother died. It was also the year we lost our first child, Carter, to a stillbirth. My husband and I drew closer to each other and closer to God. I really believe that got me through it. So, yes, I’m a believer.

I just have a hard time with making other people follow my faith. I know Jesus calls us to convert, but I think there are many ways to do that and still be kind. One of the best ways to tell of your faith is living a faithful life. When people ask me how I survived losing my child and my brother, God is one of the answers. I hope that leads people to take a look at my faith to see if it can offer them hope as well. But I don’t expect all Americans to live by the Bible. Our laws are the laws of man, based on the heart of the people who vote. Many things in this country align with Christian beliefs, but that is not really the point. How do we, as a country, define traditional marriage? Whose tradition is better? We have human and civil rights that we should extend to all. Your religion (or lack of one) may guide your morals, but those morals should not infringe on the people around you. (So, if you think murder is morally correct, well, sorry, that infringes on my rights, so, no.) They should uplift your fellow man, and offer them the same chance to live a life THEY deem good and right.

It’s entirely possible I’m doing it wrong when it comes to being a Christian and an American. Maybe I’m supposed to make everyone be like me. That doesn’t really feel right though. I mean how many people do we need that think popcorn and reality TV bingeing is a good lunch?

Lessons from Daddy

I worked in the marketing department of an engineering firm one summer in college. (Yes, this job was super helpful in my teaching career.) Anyway, I worked with a group of three ladies, and we talked and laughed as we worked. I’m pretty much the most open book ever, so they learned a lot about me and my family. One day, my dad came by to see a friend of his that was an engineer there. He also got to meet my co-workers and see my first-ever cubicle. After he left, the ladies said, “I thought he’d be much bigger.”

This was not a dig at my dad’s size but a confusion based on how I described him. It seems that the way I talked about him made him seem 10 feet tall and bulletproof. The stories made him out to be like Gandalf, wise and legendary, but certainly not old and grey! Those are highlights.

Grandpa holding a wee twin. He was great at feeding them and caring for them. Just don’t ask him to put their teeny socks on.

It is not an exaggeration though that my father is much sought after for his wise counsel on everything from resumes to woodworking. His advice is considerate and no-holds-barred; he will tell you where you made mistakes in the context of getting you to a better position. He takes this role very seriously no matter what question you ask. He has time for you and your concerns. Every person in his family knows this.

Super Grandpa helping put together every piece of Ikea furniture ever made. Sorry.

That’s not to say he is only a serious man with serious thoughts. My sons adore playing with him. They have since they first knew him, and I know they always will. He was their first hide-and-seek partner! He sends them Oreo’s and Matchbox cars in the mail. And don’t even get me started on how they ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ over his stories. No one tells better stories than Grandpa.

Grandpa getting ready to take the boys to the library with Nana and Mommy for story time. He’ll never know how much it meant to me to have him come over and sit with me and the boys. I know I babbled every time, but I needed to talk. He made me feel less anxious.

I could go on with my father’s good traits and lessons he’s taught me. But that’s not what I have in my heart. What I want to say can’t be said it seems. It is banging all around my mind. Thoughts of health and home. Thoughts of pride and love. Wanting him to know he is what we need no matter what life throws at him or us. Wanting him to know that he can’t solve all his family’s problems, but we love him for wanting to. We love him just being near us and with us. I can’t express how it feels to have him be so close to our kids. I can’t say how much he helped me with my early days of parenting and suffering with PPD. He and my mom have just been invaluable for my whole stinkin’ life! 😉

We love you Dad/Grandpa. We can’t wait to see you next weekend!

Faking It For Easter

Oh, holidays.  How I love you and fear you at the same time.  I get a kick out of my children learning your customs and finding all of your joys.  You are a wonderful reason to see friends and family.  And no one awaits the feasts associated with a major celebration like I do.

But you do know how to bring the stress.  Family is great.  Most of them are wonderful to be around. Ahem.  I also don’t do so well with pressure situations like decorating or cooking. (Yes, I love food.  I do not love making it.)  And then there is that big stress you always throw at me.


You must decorate all the things.
Photo Courtesy: http://www.cutecottageoverload.com/

I try so hard to enjoy the special days, but sometimes I can’t feel it or even fake it.

Easter 2006 was one of those tough times.  My older brother Michael had passed away in late January.  His death was unexpected and obviously quite awful.  Then, in March, we lost our first son, Carter Austin who was a stillbirth.  Again, this was an excruciating loss for all of us.

But, for some reason, we thought we’d have a normal Easter celebration.  My brother Robert and his family were in California and could not join us.  My husband’s family didn’t join us either; it was just my parents, my husband, and I.

I started the day by going to church.  By myself.  Bad move.  I’ve been to church many times by myself.  I do it because I like being there, though I’d rather be with someone I care about.  However, since the deaths of my brother and son, going to church makes me cry quite a bit.  It’s not anger at God for what’s happened.  It’s not just sadness.  It’s just an overwhelming outpouring of emotion.  Of course I cried and sobbed that day in church.  Shaking shoulders sobbing.

Then, my husband and I went to my parents’ house.  My mom is somewhat obsessed with Easter and Christmas and decorates anything that doesn’t move.  (She has half my inheritance tied up in decorations for those holidays.)  This Easter was no exception despite the fierce hurt.  She wanted so much to make it a great day for us; I know it was done with love.

But it was kind of too much.  It felt like we were pretending to be normal when we weren’t.  But I can for sure appreciate the effort because many times that spring and summer, I pretended to be okay until I actually felt okay.  Happiness is a habit sometimes.  (I was sad a ton too.  It’s okay to be sad when people you love are gone.)

My mom made a traditional Easter meal which ended with lots of leftovers.  I have no idea what we talked about.  I’m not sure anyone genuinely smiled.  It was not a joyous feast to say the least.

We took my brother’s convertible for a ride.  This car was my brother’s prized possession.  He had wanted it and worked for it his whole life.  It was so him.  We feared the car was going to be taken away due to some issues with his insurance.  It was breaking my parents’ hearts to think that someone else would have his treasure.

That ride was beyond sad.  It just felt like we were trying so hard to have him with us, but it wasn’t working.  I was miserable.  It was hot and my parents blared music they thought Michael would have liked.  I could not pretend to take comfort in this gesture, and I am sure I hurt my parents’ feelings.

When we got back to their house, my mom and I were both crying.  I told her I was sorry I had ruined her day, but I just couldn’t be happy when my son was dead.  She was feeling the same way.  She cried about how she now knew the sorrow her own mother carried around.  (My mother’s sister died when my mom was nine.)  We hugged and cried together.   It was actually a good conversation about our sons.  It led to some honest sharing and deeper connection between us, although I hate that we are both a part of this club.

My husband and I went home and rested and tried to find comfort in each other and our home and the garden we had for our son.  It had been a tough day.  A holiday got the best of me that year.

But, just like every spring brings another chance, every holiday that comes is another opportunity to find joy.

We are currently living in Poland while my parents are still in Texas.  That does not stop us from enjoying holidays together.  This Easter, my mom has sent two boxes of decorations and cards and cupcake mixes and treats.  (There were jellybeans, but someone ate them all.  I blame stress.  Or low blood-sugar cravings.  Or something.)  We have the beautiful baskets she sent last year ready to go.

It's Easter in a box!

So, you see my friend Easter, we still carry on family traditions and enjoy the great things you have to offer.  We make it through tough years and far apart years.  You and all your other holiday friends are always welcome at our house.

Living On The Defensive

That’s what life is like if you are a minority.  That is the everyday feeling of being a young black male in America.

My sons are so very lucky.  They are white males.  Their parents are both college educated.  They were born at the front of the line, and I know that.  They do not struggle for food or shelter.  Education is valued in their home.  They are safe.  They are loved by so many people.  They have the whole world open for them; in most instances, it’s just a matter of them working hard to be successful and happy.  Will some things be hard for them?  Yes.  Will they have heartache and disappointment? Sadly, yes.

Since my boys were born, I’ve become so much more sensitive to kids who do not have what they have–children who start life way behind for one reason or another.  I ache for the momma that has to send her child to work instead of school.  I cry for the children who have absent or negligent parents.  I’m mad when someone decries the welfare system but doesn’t offer a solution for those babies who need it.  I am incredulous that there are kids in America who don’t get read to every day.

I usually don’t get into controversy, and I’m not trying to say I worry about other kids more than mine, who seem to be all set.  Oh no, I worry for my sweet little guys all the time.  I want to be so great for them, and I want them to have so much joy and success in their lives.  We have to work for that just like everybody else.

But I never worry they will be killed for the color of their skin.  That they will be immediately discounted or even suspicious-looking because someone hates them on sight.

Trayvon's mother needs you to care about him. Humanity needs you to care about him.

I do believe that’s what happened to Trayvon Martin.  No, I wasn’t there.  But I’m not an idiot.  I see the facts stacking up, and it makes me sick.  If you have not read or heard about this case, I urge you to do so.  There are a lot of intelligent people weighing in on it.

This boy, this child, was pursued and killed by a grown man simply because he looked like “he was up to no good.”  What made him look suspicious?  A hoodie, sneakers, and dark skin.

The police are using Florida’s so-called Stand Your Ground laws to justify their lack of investigation.  George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon, claims he was acting in self defense, and Florida law allows lethal force in those instances.  Fine.  But how about the police go forward on the premise that MAYBE Zimmerman is lying to protect himself.  You know, just in case a man who shot an unarmed teenager WHO WAS RUNNING AWAY FROM HIM might have acted improperly.

Recently, it became public knowledge that Trayvon was on the phone with a friend when he was supposedly committing some sort of crime which involved being black and in possession of Skittles.  Police are saying they did not know about this witness because she did not come forward when they asked for witnesses.  Um, how about you check Trayvon’s cellphone?  You know, the one you took as evidence but apparently just threw in a drawer somewhere?  How about you SEARCH for witnesses?  Treat this like a criminal investigation into the death of someone’s young son?

Look, the DA may not have enough for conviction, but the police department’s job is to investigate thoroughly and not just take a man’s word that he acted in self defense.  I think if the police had treated the crime scene and other eveidence as if the crime was committed against Trayvon, they may have found what they needed.  They may still now that the federal authorities are involved.  I pray they do.

I 100% believe Trayvon was killed because someone hated the looks of him.  I pray that George Zimmerman is punished, and that the Sanford police department is also taken to task and punished for their lack of action.