#writephoto — Serenity In the Midst of Madness

4217516E-452E-4D41-9B94-1FA7922107B2Michael sat on the wooden bench by the side of the calm stream, hoping to find that, in what is arguably the most bountiful nation on the planet, there was yet a trace of humanity left.

He had been under a tremendous amount of stress since last night, when yet another mass shooting in America took place. It’s not as if there were no warning signs that such a tragedy would occur. This latest one, in Thousand Oaks, California, was the thirteenth mass shooting — where four or more people were shot — in the United States in the twelve days since (and including) the attack at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27th. Thirteen mass shootings in twelve days.

How many more interviews would Michael, an investigator for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, (aka, the ATF), have to conduct with the survivors of these shootings and of the next of kin of those whose lives had been tragically cut short?

Michael sat on the bench by the stream, tears in his eyes and a profound sadness in his heart, wondering if he could ever find any serenity in the midst of all the madness.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Also for these one-word prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (trace), Daily Addictions (bountiful), Scotts Daily Prompt (warning), and Word of the Day Challenge (kin).

One-Liner Wednesday — Death and Horror

E82A676F-9B92-43AB-BED4-476CB6478312Before I present my one-liner for today, let me first confess that it’s actually a two-liner. Sorry for bending the rules a bit.

Let me also say that I’m quoting Eliot Spitzer, the disgraced former Attorney General and former governor of New York. Sorry about that, too.

Anyway, here’s what Spitzer said:

Yes, people pull the trigger, but guns are the instrument of death. Gun control is necessary, and delay means more death and horror.

So why am I quoting Spitzer? Because I think what he expressed is a rational response to the NRA’s refrain that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

The only way to reduce the incidence of more death and horror from mass shootings like the one on Sunday night in Las Vegas is, as Spitzer said, to pass common sense gun control laws.

If a disgraced politician like Eliot Spitzer can see that, why can’t the Republicans in Congress, whose refrain is always “now is not the time” to talk about gun control. But delaying such a discussion means more death and horror.

Yet for Republican legislators, it seems that never is the only good time to talk about gun control.


Written for the One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G. Hill.

FFfAW — Blowin In The Wind

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I’m still reeling after a day of reading about and watching the news coverage on TV regarding Sunday night’s horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas.

As I think back to other recent mass shootings, such as the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT., the holiday party in San Bernardino, CA., the movie theater in Aurora, CO., the church in Charleston, SC., and so many others over the past decade, I’m reminded that we, as a nation, have done nothing to stem the tide of such senseless gun violence other than to offer our thoughts and prayers. And offering thoughts and prayers accomplishes nothing.

I’m also reminded of Bob Dylan’s song, “Blowin in the Wind,” especially the verse that goes, “Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see.”

How many times can we experience these mass shootings in our country and pretend that there is nothing we can do to address them? How long are we going to stick our collective heads in the sand like we are a nation of ostriches?

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, ‘n’ how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, ‘n’ how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind


I apologize. I know that this post is not flash fiction. I also know that it’s well over the recommended 100-150 words for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers prompt. But when I saw the photograph by Elaine Farmington Johnson, which may or may not have been taken after the Pulse nightclub shooting, I had to use it to express my thoughts about what just happened in Las Vegas and our lack of resolve in dealing with gun violence in this country. I hope Priceless Joy, whose prompt this is, and all who read this post, will forgive me for breaking the rules.