Letter From New York 12 03 15 Avoiding past mistakes….

Claverack Cottage.  San Bernardino shootings. Domestic terrorism. Nick Stuart.  Newtown. Milwaukee.  Milwaukee 53208. Stephen Ambrose. IS. Radical Islam. World War II.

It is six o’clock.  The world beyond the cottage is dark after a day of grey and drizzle.  I went out only to do a few errands and spent most of the day at home, working on paperwork, prepping some things for my class in January, following up on some things.  It felt positive, moving through the endless amount of “paperwork” a life in the 21st century demands, even when most of it is digital.

The world has ticked on since I last wrote two days ago.  There was another shooting, in San Bernardino.  I thought about writing something on the train coming up from the city but I felt a bit punched in the gut by it all.

They are now working to determine if this was an act of domestic terrorism.  It might well have been.

My friend, Nick Stuart, and I met for a martini last night before my train.  He arrived ebullient. Just before he came to meet me, it was announced “Newtown,” a film he is Executive Producer of ,was accepted into Sundance.   Today he found out he is about to be a grandfather; his oldest daughter Rihannon is going to be having a baby in June.  We’ll celebrate more on Tuesday and Wednesday, both days I will be seeing him.

Some had told him that “Newtown” was an old subject and its time had past but given what has been happening it is more relevant than ever.  Today I read that there is a mass shooting of some kind on an average of once a day.

So “good on you” Nick, as my Aussie friends would say for having preserved with this project. 

Another one, on mass incarceration, which is nearing completion has been requested by the White House for a screening.  Who knew that Milwaukee had the highest number of prisoners per capita than any other city in America?  It is titled “Milwaukee 53208.”

The room is filled with the sounds of the ticking of a small grandfather’s clock.  It has been part of the background sound of my life since I was born.  It was on a shelf in the hall just beneath the stairs that went up to my bedroom.  Lately, I have been calling it the “heart of the house.”

It makes me feel like I am living in a soft womb of a house, comforted by the sound of a heartbeat.  It is part of what makes the cottage special.

I’m also doing laundry, a grounding task if ever there was one. 

I’m reading Stephen Ambrose’s history of World War II.  It’s a bit drier than I expected but gives a look into the horrors of that war.  As awful as it was, it reminded me that America and Canada were probably the only combatant countries that were not ravaged on the home front by the war.

It also has taught me how much the world and our country were changed by that conflict.

I am wondering how our world will be changed by the current conflict in which we find ourselves? 

Perhaps I am being a historical romantic but it feels as if we are living through another tipping point in history as we struggle with IS and radical Islam.

If the couple in San Bernardino were, indeed, domestic terrorists we face ongoing “Paris style” attacks and it will be a struggle to avoid mistakes of the past such as the encampment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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