Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm simply amazed...

... at how huge an issue this early swearing in has become. I suspect the average voter has more important concerns than this, but it's an interesting debate. The important thing is that whoever makes the decision makes it independent of what's on the August meeting agenda. It has to be made on principle alone.

Link: Herb Moncier's argument for early swearing in.
Link: My argument to leave decision up to the elected commissioners.

Bonus Link: PDF Copy of Moncier's motion.

More of my rationale is given here.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Vote! AUGUST 7th. Vote!

Early voting totals are abysmal. I know it's hot. I've been walking in it at night, sweating buckets, going door to door. If I can do that, surely you can get out election day and vote.

Low participation doesn't help any of us. Maybe you're waiting for the tradition of voting election day, the festive atmosphere. I hope so.

Maybe the drag of the poor economy, high gas prices, and high food prices has you down. It's got us all down. But in this year especially, you have a chance to have a real impact. The Commission we vote in will set the tone for the county for the next 6-10 years, and that will have a major impact on the economy and liveability of this community.

Don't say your vote doesn't count. Look at Florida in 2000- a national election decided by less than 200 votes. There will absolutely be several close races in Knox County this Thursday.

Vote. And when you go, take a friend or two with you.

County Car Policy

Larry Van Guilder of the Shopper runs the numbers for us. Well done.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

For those wanting to donate....

The UUA has started a web site for donations to help the victims.

Anyone reading who wants to help me do the weeding in front of the church this Saturday morning can shoot me an email as well.

Monday, July 28, 2008

An amazing vigil service tonight

The room was filled not just with members, but people from all over Knoxville. When the hands went up for who was from other congregations, the huge number of visitor's hands drew applause from the UUers.

The President of the UU Congregation from Boston spoke, the high points being:
  • We may feel anger, but we are also filled with understanding and compassion
  • This will not change who we are and what we believe
  • There is power in the community that has been forged out of this tragedy, and we should not let it go away
The surprise ending? The kids came out to sing "Tomorrow", the song they didn't get to finish in their production.

When you're faced with a day that's grey and lonely
I just stick out my chin and grin and say
The sun will come out tomorrow
Tomorrow... you're only a day away.

Thank you Chris, Mitra, Rosemary, and William for filling us with hope on this day.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Unspeakable Tragedy

How does this happen? Why? Will we ever know what motivated this individual?

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and thoughts for our injured members. I'm quite shocked and appalled at the early media reports of fatalities with no confirmation. I would ask all media to desist in those situations barring any official confirmation because we still have worried families in the hospital and nobody needs to make reports that (we pray) turn out to be false.

I would like to go on record regarding what I said to the media, which certainly did not include any conjecture regarding the condition of my fellow members (the people I helped were certainly not critical cases, and I'm hoping that the other cases were not much more serious than theirs).. My understanding is they are at UTMC, the best trauma center in the state, and being cared for, and I don't care for the 'we think' reporting.

If there's another source of information leading to these rumors of fatalities, I don't know what it is and I would hope that the media would be much more careful. Not just in this case, but any similar case. I know they are trying to get the news out, but please think of the people in the hospital waiting rooms. Please.

My goal (as I didn't have to await an interview) was to help people in the community to have friends or family members at the church to understand what happened, that the situation was being VERY well managed by KPD and emergency response, and that we are a very strong community already helping each other through this.

For future inquiries, please contact the church (who has not yet defined any official spokesperson, but it sure as hell isn't me) or the Knoxville Police Department.

And keep those prayers going. Again, my thanks out to KPD, KFD, the Red Cross, and my fellow members of the church, especially the brave men who stopped the assailant. And thanks to the outpouring of support from the community. I hope another situation never presents itself where we need to do the same, but be assured, if it does, we will be there standing with you.

Update- it's late evening. The news has already broken regarding our two losses, Linda and Gary. The media, in a vacuum, is making wild guesses regarding motive.

At the vigil tonight, it was clear that we aren't so focused on the 'why', but more on consoling each other, and helping those affected cope with the tragedy. One person commented that what "why" could there be that we would condemn? Mental illness? Hate? Neither of these would be a subject for rebuke by our congregation. So we will focus on the healing, especially the children who had to witness the tragic events. To labor on the question of whether the world is basically good or basically bad is a waste of time- the world is what WE all decide to make it.

And we thank the community (and other communities) for their outpouring of support. While we hope we never ever have to return the favor, we will of course stand with you in your time of need also. From the professional counselors that have offered their services to the person just making sandwiches for strung-out victims, we are grateful for everything.

You can read more about Gary at a site put up by his nephew.