Friday, July 20, 2012

The Shooting in Theater Nine - Stories From Within

This is one of those crazy stories that came out of the Colorado shootings today, that has so far left 12 dead and 38 injured.

On June 2nd, 2012, a shooting occurred at the Toronto Eaton Centre, one of the people whose life choices barely kept her from death that day, was Jessica Ghawi, who blogs under the name Jessica Redfield, and this is her story:

Late Night Thoughts on the Eaton Center Shooting
I can’t get this odd feeling out of my chest. This empty, almost sickening feeling won’t go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm‘s way. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting.
What started off as a trip to the mall to get sushi and shop, ended up as a day that has forever changed my life. I was on a mission to eat sushi that day, and when I’m on a mission, nothing will deter me. When I arrived at the Eaton Center mall, I walked down to the food court and spotted a sushi restaurant. Instead of walking in, sitting down and enjoying sushi, I changed my mind, which is very unlike me, and decided that a greasy burger and poutine would do the trick. I rushed through my dinner. I found out after seeing a map of the scene, that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot I just ate at and opened fire in the food court full of people. Had I had sushi, I would’ve been in the same place where one of the victims was found.
My receipt shows my purchase was made at 6:20 pm. After that purchase I said I felt funny. It wasn’t the kind of funny you feel after spending money you know you shouldn’t have spent. It was almost a panicky feeling that left my chest feeling like something was missing. A feeling that was overwhelming enough to lead me to head outside in the rain to get fresh air instead of continuing back into the food court to go shopping at SportChek. The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would’ve been in the midst of gunfire.
I walked around the outside of the mall. People started funneling out of every exit. When I got back to the front, I saw a police car, an ambulance, and a fire truck. I initially thought that maybe the street performer that was drumming there earlier had a heart attack or something. But more and more police officers, ambulances, and fire trucks started showing up. Something terrible has happened. I overheard a panicked guy say, “There was a shooting in the food court.” I thought that there was no way, I was just down there. I asked him what happened. He said “Some guy just opened fire. Shot about 8 shots. It sounded like balloons popping. The guy is still on the loose.” I’m not sure what made me stick around at this point instead of running as far away from the mall as possible. Shock? Curiosity? Human nature? Who knows.
Standing there in the midst of the chaos all around us, police started yelling to get back and make room. I saw a young shirtless boy, writhing on a stretcher, with his face and head covered by the EMS as they rushed him by us to get him into an ambulance. The moment was surprisingly calm. The EMTs helping the boy weren’t yelling orders and no one was screaming like a night time medical drama. It was as if it was one swift movement to get the boy out of the mall and into the ambulance. That’s when it really hit me. I felt nauseas. Who would go into a mall full of thousands of innocent people and open fire? Is this really the world we live in?
Police start yelling again “GET BACK NOW!” Another stretcher came rushing out of the mall. I saw a man on a stretcher, the blanket underneath him spotted with blood. Multiple gunshot holes in his chest, side, and neck were visible. It’s not like in the movies when you see someone shot and they’re bleeding continuously from the wound. There was no blood flowing from the wounds, I could only see the holes. Numerous gaping holes, as if his skin was putty and someone stuck their finger in it. Except these wounds were caused by bullets. Bullets shot out of hatred. His dark skin on his torso was tinted red with what I assume was his own blood. He was rushed into the ambulance and taken away.
More people joined the crowd at the scene and asked what happened. “There was a shooting in the food court,” kept being whispered through the crowd like a game of telephone. I was standing near a security guard when I heard him say over his walkie talkie, “One fatality.” At this point I was convinced I was going to throw up. I’m not an EMT or a police officer. I’m not trained to handle crime and murder. Gun crimes are fairly common where I grew up in Texas, but I never imagined I’d experience a violent crime first hand. I’m on vacation and wanted to eat and go shopping. Everyone else at the mall probably wanted the same thing. I doubt anyone left for the mall imagined they witness a shooting.
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
I feel like I am overreacting about what I experienced. But I can’t help but be thankful for whatever caused me to make the choices that I made that day. My mind keeps replaying what I saw over in my head. I hope the victims make a full recovery. I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am. The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.

As seen on her blog here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

BDE: Harav Elyashiv

‎I am not one to post news stories. But this one is too big to pass up.

The Posek Hador, Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, has passed on to a better world.

He was 102 years old.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

50 Shades of Grey Trilogy

After reading the trilogy a few weeks ago, I wondered how I would approach the subject in my blog. And then it hit me. Just say it like it is, and make lots of jokes that tie in to the book.

For starters, you may wonder what would possess a guy to read these books. And for that I'll respond by stating the facts: For 19 weeks the 3 books have ruled the Top 3 spots on the New York Times Bestseller list. The second fact, 120+ days straight on top of the Amazon Bestseller List (70 days taking the Top 4, with the Box-Set added in).

Now that we got that over with, let's approach the facts of the story.

Yes. The books are about sex. Domination. Sex. Sex. And oh yeah, did I mention sex?

But that's just half the story.

Behind all this is the story of an innocent girl, who falls in love with one of the richest men in the country, and has to get used, both by her husband, and to the fact that she now can have literally anything she would like.

With car accidents, car chases, shootings, whips, ransom, and loads of cash being shot all over the place, it actually makes for a pretty compelling story line throughout the trilogy.

But all everyone focuses on is the sex.

Because that is the taboo side of the book.

The part that makes everyone want to read it.

I read it because it was supposed to be a good read.

And while there are lots of grammatical errors (remember, they were originally written as e-pubs and had no editors), a repeated switch between American English and English English, and some inconsistency errors, it turned out to be a good trilogy, that kept me into it until the end came around.

So yes, I would recommend this read to my friends, but no, I wouldn't tell them to admit that they actually read it.

And yes, I'm sure many people have questions about the books, and whatnot, and as usual, feel free to reply here, or email me, and I'll tell you if the books are right for you, or anything else you may want to know about them ;)

Oh, and for those wondering, there is indeed a movie deal out there, and yes, I will go out watch it when it comes out. And not for the sex, but for the possibility of seeing Angelina Jolie again!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When Does An Event Become History?

So today I saw this and it got me thinking.

Yes, the person who made this picture had a point. We are told to never forget The Titanic, 9/11 and the Holocaust.

And yes, people do tend to brush aside slavery in this land (not saying my thoughts, just what is fact).

But here is where I have to draw the line.

Let's diagnose these four events, if I may (and I may, because it is my blog).

The Titanic - ~3,300 deaths. Killed by an accident in a ship hitting an iceberg. Year: 1912. (~2,400 rich people; ~ 900 hard working crew members)

9/11 - ~3,000 deaths. Killed by terrorists. Year: 2001. (All except 19 of which were hard working people, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time)

The Holocaust - ~11million-17million. Killed by a ruthless dictator. Year: ~1930s-1940s. (~6m Jews; ~2.5m Soviet POWs; ~10,000 Homosexuals; Among others)

African Slavery in the US - ~11million. Killed through slavery and associated acts. Year: ~1519-1867. (50% mortality rate during capture and storage; 10% mortality rate during ocean travel; 50% mortality rate during 1st year)

Now again, I am not putting down slavery, because no, we should never forget it, it is a horrible thing.

But you have to take certain things into account.

Look how long ago it happened.

Slavery ended in America 145+ years ago. The Titanic is rarely mentioned anymore, as it is 100+ years ago. The Holocaust is easily forgotten by many, and not spoken about to a lot of children, although it is only ~70+ years ago. And 9/11 is the one most mentioned, because it is still fresh in our minds.

No one says "Never Forget Black Death", even though ~450million+ people died. Why? Because it happened almost 700 years ago.

With time, things aren't forgotten, but they are pushed back.

No one will ever say slavery was a good thing, or that we should forget it. But after a while, as the ones who were around when it happened die out, they become History.

A part of our past, and something to remember for the future.

Yes, I do think that within ten years, The Titanic will become an obsolete talking point (unless they make another movie...ugh, please don't).

By the year 2,075 the Holocaust will be a thing just known in History books, as it will be over 125 years old, and 3 or 4 generations in the past.

And yes, I do believe that by the year 2,125, 9/11 will be a thing for the History books. A thing that few will know about in great detail, and unless made into a National Day of Mourning, will become known only in the East Coast cities of New York, Washington D.C. and Shanksville. I proudly am one of the "United By Hope" members, who every day is reminded of what happened on 9/11. And my kids will most definitely know about it. But who is to say what will be passed to their kids, and the ones after that.

How many of you outside of Oklahoma City can tell me these three things:

  1. The year of the Oklahoma City Bombing.
  2. The date of it.
  3. The main perpetrator.

Chances are some of you will know #3, and that is all.

All horrible acts get pushed to the back, because time moves on, and those closely associated with them disappear from this world.

So no, I won't be forgetting American slavery, but like the Black Plague, it is now a thing for the History Books.