Saturday, August 19, 2017

Turquoise Lake, near Leadville, Colorado - Photos

Compassion, Love and Peace

This is going to be my last political posting for a while....  the news just keeps getting more disgusting, appalling, and hopeless each day.  We, humanity, seem to be degenerating at a great rate at this point in time.
   I am still reeling from the attacks made by all the groups that poured in to Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend for the "Unite the Right" gathering.  We are having a march in Denver, tomorrow, to celebrate the life of Heather D Heyer, the paralegal killed last Saturday by a professed Nazi supporter.  This is too little, too late, but we will honor the memory of a young woman who was protesting hatred by marching quietly on a street with her friends.
   There has been an outbreak of attacks against innocent people this week.  First, Thursday evening, the van attack on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain - that left 14 dead and over 100 injured.  Then the attack in Camblis, a two hour drive south of Barcelona. (Camblis was where some of the planning for the 9-11 attacks took place.) There was also an explosion there the night before the attack at Las Ramblas, and police now believe that the people involved in the Barcelona attack had been planning to bomb several places before "something went wrong" at their manufacturing site, and they decided a vehicular attack was in order.  The driver of the van at Las Ramblas is still at large and being sought throughout Europe.
   Then there was the knife attack in the market square of Turku, Finland the following day.  An 18-year-old man from Morocco attacked several women with a knife, killing two. He reportedly targeted eight women, one of which was pushing a baby carriage.  Two men tried to intervene, and both of them were stabbed, as well; one of whom was so severely cut that he may lose his arm.  The suspect was shot in the leg, arrested and taken to the hospital.  Four other men have been arrested with suspected ties to the attacker.
    This morning, a man in the Siberian town of Surgut, in Russia, stabbed at least eight people, seriously wounding two of them. The Russian police fired shots at the man and killed him.  They are investigating the incident.
   Friday night:  In Kissimmee, Florida, two officers responded to a call and were apparently ambushed.  One officer is dead, the other in serious condition.  A man has been arrested.
     In Jacksonville, Florida, two officers responded to a call about a man considering suicide.  He greeted them with shots from a high-powered rifle, shooting one policeman in both hands, and the other in the stomach.  The man was killed by the officers.
     In Fayette County, Pennsylvania, two officers approached a man to serve a warrant.  The man reached into his backpack, pulled out a gun and shot both officers. The officers shot and killed that man, also.
      Too much death and destruction for me, folks....   I know this happens every day in our country, and around the world.  But I want PEACE  for all.
      Then there is the ousting of Steve Bannon from the White House - he's going back to Breibart News to spew more hatred and ignorance.
      The world needs help - compassion, love, and peace need to rule this place.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Abandoned Places in Colorado - Photos

Cabin in Animas Forks built in 1873

Main Street of St. Elmo built in 1880

Six-engine railroad roundhouse in Como

Mill on Crystal River in Gunnison County

This community started out named Castle Forks City, then it was known
as Chloride until 1882, now it is abandoned Ashcroft

Part of the Caribou Silver Mine buildings

Sunnyside Mine building near Eureka

Disgusted By Events in Charlottesville, Virginia

I was thoroughly amazed to see robed and hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.  I guess I've been living like a mushroom....  In the past few years, I have read of small gatherings of Klansmen in what I considered to be small, rural, "backwards" towns and communities.  I really was stunned to see so many KKK members appear in Charlottesville.  The large groups of people carrying flags emblazoned with swastikas amazed me.  The young men, and the few women I saw, astounded me.  I felt as if I had been caught in a time warp and taken back to the 1920s and the 1930s in the Deep South.  The hatred that was being radiated by those two groups, the armed militias, and the hangers-on was palpable.  It was frightening.  And it ended up being deadly.
   I was brought up being proud of my Virginian heritage - the island of Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, always has been a part of the Commonwealth of Virginia; except during the Civil War.  Chincoteague did a thriving seafood business with the cities sited on the Atlantic Ocean from Ocean City, Maryland up to Boston, Massachusetts.  When the state of Virginia seceded from the Union, the men of Chincoteague voted to stay in the Union, with Maryland.  (I have to admit that half of the young men on the island fought on the Confederate side, and half on the Union side.  My family was heavily involved in the seafood trade, and the young men were in the United States Army and Navy.)  The men on my father's immediate side of the family fought for the Union, too - volunteering in Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio regiments.
    I know my Virginia history very well - the colonial leaders, the leaders of Bacon's Rebellion (one of my many-times great-grandfathers was hung at Jamestown in 1676), the members of the Continental Congress, the five Presidents from the Commonwealth. I know about the campaigns in Virginia during the Revolutionary War, and during the Civil War.  I have pored over history books, private letters, and reports from soldiers and officers during those wars.
   I was astonished when no policing action was taken against the protesters who marched across the campus of the University of Virginia carrying "Tiki torches" as they made their way, and chanting racial slurs.  I was especially upset when photos and videos showed the protesters attacking quietly standing counter-protesters with mace, pepper spray, and other chemicals.
   On Saturday, when I saw the armed militias marching along with people carrying the swastika flags, and beside them, the white robed members of the Ku Klux Klan, I was disgusted, dismayed, appalled, and angry.  These people had clubs in their hands.  They were carrying wooden shields.  Some of the protesters were wearing better body armor than the police; most were carrying better weapons than the police; and they also had police-grade riot shields.  -  And that's the main reason why our law enforcement officers could not confront these people - there would have been a terrible carnage just due to the fire power of the guns belonging to the protesters.
   Yes, the protesters had a permit to gather and protest in Emancipation Park, where the statue of Robert E Lee stands.  But they had a permit for a peaceful gathering.  Their actions Friday night showed they were not a peaceful group.  A judge signed an injunction to stop the gathering at 9 a.m. and the gathering was supposed to begin at 12 noon; but protesters had begun gathering before 8:30 that morning.  At 10:30, police reported that the protesters had clashed with the counter-protesters and that two people were injured.  At 11:35, law enforcement officers announced publicly that the event was now "an unlawful assembly" because of the previous violence and the judge's injunction. The protesters, and the counter-protesters, were told to disband and go home.
   People began fighting instead.  Luckily, no one was shot.  With the outbreak of violence pouring into multiple streets around the Park, Virginia Governor McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. The crowds of protesters and counter-protesters are separated.  The Unite the Right group is still pretty much contained in Emancipation Park; the counter-protesters (for unity and not division) are marching down a street more than 700 feet away.  At 1:40 p.m., a car suddenly accelerates into the crowd, then reverses, striking more people, and quickly disappears.
   A 32-year-old paralegal, Heather Heyer, who was attending her first march, was killed outright.  At least 19 others suffered injuries, five of whom were in critical condition in the hospital later that evening.  It has been announced, at this time, that all will recover - except Heather Heyer, who was buried today.
   The nasty man living in the White House has yet to say Heather Heyer's name.  He has yet to apologize for the blood on his hands.  He thanked Heather's mother for being very nice to him, when he made his first Twitter announcement.  Verbally, he said that the problems were caused "by many sides; many sides" on Saturday.  On Monday, 45 read a speech directly from a teleprompter, and anyone could tell that he hated reading those words out loud - he did not want to place the blame on the white supremacists he has curried, nor the neo-Nazis he has groomed, nor the anti-Semites he has egged on.  Yesterday, he went off script again and said the counter-protesters were as much to blame as the Unite the Right supporters....   The man needs to be certified and placed in a rubber room in a straight jacket.
    Thank goodness the FBI is investigating the whole thing.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Changed My Mind - Confederate Statues Should Be Removed!

Since this past Friday night, when the first assaults happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, I have had many discussions with a great many people of many different beliefs and ideologies from around the world.  And I have decided that my last blog was in error.
    I believe that statues dedicated to Confederate leaders, Generals and soldiers should be removed.  They stand for a lost cause of men who decided to support their states, and their way of life, rather than to support the Union of the United States of America.  These statues should either be donated to southern cemeteries, or they should be melted down and the metal used to help rebuild our country's infrastructure.
   I still believe that all Americans should be taught the reasons why the American Civil War was fought - which were mainly economics, but it was economics of the South, based upon slavery.  And slavery was, and is, intolerable - for anyone of any race, creed, or nationality.  
   Please forgive me for my stubbornness in not seeing the statuary of Confederate men as a form of praise for what they decided to stand for.  
   I was wrong.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Statues of Slave Owners

What would we destroy if we removed all statues of slave owners?
Here are a few that would vanish...

The Charioteer at Delphi


George Washington

Julius Augustus Caesar

Thomas Jefferson

Pharaoh Ramses II

Genghis Khan

History and Statuary

As a person who reads and studies history, and as a person who enjoys art and statuary, I am disturbed by the thought of destroying and/or removing statues due to history.  I tried to get started on this point last night, when writing about the protest and counter-protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.  But I decided I needed to write about the confrontation, and not what was, supposedly, the cause.  The purported reason for the Ku Klux Klan, and the "Unite the Right" groups congregation was to protest the removal of a statue of General Robert E Lee.  The Lee statue had been erected in 1923 in what was then named the Robert E Lee Park.  In the early 1970s, the name of the park was changed to Emancipation Park.
   The City of Charlottesville set up a committee several years ago to discuss the fate of what could be considered "divisional art," which included statues in the city.  The majority of members on this committee were African-American, and the committee had planned for them to be the majority, as it was decided those members could best decide what would be offensive to people who were black.  Two propositions were put forward for statues, plaques, and markers that might be deemed offensive to the black community: (1) to just remove the items that were deemed offensive and/or demeaning; or (2) to leave them in place with the viewpoints of several historians, both African-American and white, as to what the items represented, and explaining their parts in the history of this nation, and, particularly, in Virginia.  The committee voted to keep the statue of Robert E Lee; the elected City Council voted for it to be removed.  After the furor caused by the removal announcement, and the planned protest of yesterday; a judge granted an injunction that nothing should be done to, or with, the Lee statue until January 2018, when the City Council must, again, make a decision.
   Now, I am very definitely a white, or Caucasian, person.  I have very pale skin which freckles and burns.  I have light colored eyes.  I was born with red hair, which turned brown in my teens, and turned grey in my 20s.  My DNA results state that I am north European through and through.  I love history - but I was raised in the South and grounded in my Virginia roots.
   My friend for ten years, and room-mate for two years, is a woman of African-American descent.  He grandmother was a Louisiana Creole, and I have been able to trace parts of her family into the early 1800s, as slaves.  She has one DNA proven forebear, however, who was of French descent - and I have been able to trace that part of her family tree back to the late 1500s, to an area that is northwest France and southwest Switzerland.  I frequently ask her viewpoint on things - and especially regarding the removal of statues, in particular, this one of Robert E Lee in Charlottesville.
   This is one of the very few areas where Beatrice and I do not see eye to eye.  Of course, as far as I can trace back, my family has been free white people.  Beatrice's great-great-grandparents were all born into slavery in the southern United States.  Her father and Uncle served in the US military - her Uncle in the Army, and her father with the Tuskeegee Airmen.  My Aunt and Uncles served in the Army and the Navy.  She was born and raised in Denver, Colorado - me: Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and Virginia again.
   Beatrice believes that any statues of anyone who served in the Army or Navy of the Confederate States of America; or those who served in it's Congress or Administration in any way, should be removed and destroyed.  She believes that any person who owned slaves should not be depicted as statuary, or in art.  I do not believe that these statues or the people they represent should be revered, but I think that their statutes should be left in place.  To document the past.  To show what can happen when a country believes that slavery should be allowed.  There should be interpretive areas with information and short films that tell who the people were, why they made the decisions that they made, and what happened because of those decisions.
......  If we destroyed all statues and paintings of people who owned slaves throughout history, millions of pieces of great works of art would be destroyed. Slavery has existed in one form or another since the beginning of humanity's history.  Pharaohs had slaves. Romans had slaves. Vikings had slaves.  Any people who were strong enough, or clever enough, to conquer another people had slaves.   ....
    History happened.  History is history. Bad decisions have been made throughout the world in every era and in every country.  (Heck, the current Administration in the USA is a fantastic example of bad decisions!)  I think we need to learn from the mistakes made in the past.  I think people should be taught about choices and what happens when decisions, especially bad ones, are made and acted upon.  I don't think we should tear down statues that people believe might be hurtful.  The statue might represent everything that a single person completely and totally hates and vilifies - but it should remain standing to remind others what awful things can proceed when a man makes an incorrect decision....