No Paradise

I was on Kaua’i for eight days in March, and three people drowned during that time. Death is a tragedy. It has a lasting, awful impact on the families. Sunday night while I was on the phone with a friend, a pedestrian was decapitated by someone driving a stolen car with a mountain bike on top of it. I watched three helicopters search for the suspect, as yet unfound.

War is terrible. People get killed. Massacres are horrible. It is impossible to say one massacre is worse than another.

We must go on living, and take care of each other. There are many problems to face, sudden death is only one.


The Survivors

“Finding Me” by Michelle Knight; “It’s OK to Tell” by Lauren Book; “A Stolen Life: A memoir” by Jaycee Dugard

These books tell the stories about three young females who have seen the worst of humanity – childhood sex slavery. Imprisonment, mutilation and manipulation were imposed on them. Their predators had their excuses and justifications, as always.

Knight and Dugard were held captive for many years. Knight was horribly abused physically, yet Dugard was so brainwashed she wasn’t sure her mother would accept her and her two children, born in captivity.

Book was abused for several years by an emotionally disturbed nanny, who made Book feel as if she were an accomplice to her own destruction. Finally Book complained to her father, and the nanny is now in prison.

Knight was already the survivor of severe childhood sexual abuse by a family member, with the aid of her parents. It is not surprising that Knight has avoided her birth family.

Survivors need more support and belief. These incidents are far more common than we admit. It is not a personal problem or a family problem, it is a social problem.

Baltimore: Break the Code

Twenty-three years ago I told a young friend, “Riots are not good. But someone’s death is a good reason to riot.” Referring, of course, to Latasha Harlins, a young girl shot to death over a bottle of juice; her killer given probation. The Rodney King tape just put the match to the fire.

Putting blind faith in the police and whatever they do is stupid. Insisting “protocol” was followed when an incident occurs (but paying millions of dollars, later) is extremely short-sighted. Holding onto a code of silence isn’t working. Omerta should not be lauded as a social value.

We need to know how Freddie Gray was murdered. All the uniforms in America won’t change that.

Death by Snorkeling: Don’t Take the Bait

Drowning deaths are up in the State of Hawaii. I was there for 8 days, during which 3 people drowned, one at Waipouli, Kauai, near my hotel.

Snorkeling is not strenuous. I’ve done it myself. Strong currents and large waves can kill you, though, and rising sea levels might be contributing to this problem.

The Garden Island newspaper had a very informative article about Kevin Garvey, who almost drowned at Larsen’s Beach. Kevin saw the signs about the dangers, and the 13 recent deaths, but went into the water anyway. He left the shallows and swam into deeper water, when he found he could not get back because the current was against him. Then a large wave hit him and tore off his fins.

His 16-year old son, Taylor, grabbed a Rescue Tube (made available at some beaches), went out, and helped him get back to shore. Without Taylor, Kevin would have died.

Don’t worry about snorkeling, just check out the water conditions. There’s a new campaign in Kauai, “when in doubt, don’t go out.” Mahalo!

Book Review: “Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore” (Walter Mosley, 2014)

Having left behind the carcass of Easy Rawlins, Mosley takes on the voice of Debbie Dare, a busy porn star.

The plot is just as dubious as a porn movie, requiring many suspensions of disbelief. Wedging numerous street stories onto one character results in a Ms. Potato-Head effect. Mosley gives repeated, graphic descriptions of rectum-bashing, to the point where one begins to suspect he is thinking of his own, and not without pleasure.

Debbie receives our sympathy when she expresses her concerns about returning to the straight life, given the permanence of her images, her physical revealment in dozens of porn flicks. The aftermath of crossing socio-sexual boundaries can persist for a long time.

I borrowed the book from the library, and the price was right. If you need to relax, and you’re too tired to watch porno, try it.