Scott Harrell's taking the day off to hone his Surfer Doctor blurbs, leaving yours truly to craft Sh*t Happened. I'm refreshed after over a week off, and certainly the rest of the country, well-rested after that extra hour of sleep this weekend, is doing just fine this bright November morn—
Oh, for fuck's sake, people. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
A sick excuse for a human opened fire on a small town Baptist church in Texas Sunday, killing 26 people. Not gonna use his name because I'm not into making murderers famous and, truth be told, I'm pretty happy a neighbor had a gun as well and used it appropriately. I'm sick of asking "how many times does this have to happen?" because clearly we have an infinite tolerance for senseless murder. The New York Times called it our "country’s newest mass horror." Surely our president will finally admit we need to talk about gun control, right? Guess again: At a Japanese news conference shortly after the shooting, he told the media this was not "a guns situation." He did order federal buildings to fly at half mast, though, which I'm sure will prevent another mass killing by someone with a history of violence — he was court-martialed and discharged from the Air Force for allegedly beating his wife and kid — who still managed to get a gun. Man, I wish Obama had taken our guns. Thanks, Obama.
The worst thing about this — aside from our "leadership's" denial that this massacre-by-AR-15 could be slightly related to the AR-15 itself, the dead bodies stacking up against that denial, the irony of people sending prayers to a community who were shot and killed while praying, and, of course, the tragedy of each of the 26 lives cut short? The auto-generated "related content" on the Times' web site, all linking to other massacres, including one on "notable" shootings at churches. Because we're so desensitized to church massacres that only some of them make the top 10 list. SAD.
In perhaps the best display of irony this weekend, St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted his condolences to the victims of that shooting, also saying "Looking forward to the day state & national leaders do more than just tweet after a mass shooting." Oof. On the other hand, St. Pete hasn't had a mass shooting or allegations of race-related police actions since he took office, so maybe his tweet isn't so much "ironic" as an expression of disgust from a strong leader who would like our state and federal elected officials to step the hell up.
Speaking of news at home, we have our own sick excuse for a human — whoever shot and killed three people in Seminole Heights last month. The police believe the shootings are related but can't figure out how. It's been the subject of a New York Times article, which is not exactly great for businesses there. Note: we are totally not using the phrase that rhymes with "ethereal biller" because why sensationalize the tragedy of a community when the killings are horrific on their own? Kudos, though, to David Lee, who owns the vacant building at 4725 N. Nebraska in Seminole Heights. He decided to erect a mural honoring the victims, unveiling it at Sunday's Taste of the Heights, where no one died, thankfully. OK, yes, one man was shot over the weekend — but he's expected to be OK, and police pinky-swear this isn't related to the other three.
After all that, let's end on a good note: The Lightning honored CL's former intern, Lis Casanova, as a Community Hero of Tomorrow (here's part of why she's awesome). They gave her a $50,000 check — she's giving half of it to the James Weldon Library on the south side of St. Pete to help with literacy efforts and to enhance the library's African American History and Culture collection, because although she spent her senior year of high school homeless and has had to struggle for every damn thing she has, she's more bothered by the poverty in the economically-depressed, predominately African-American community close to her college campus.
Now, all we need are 27,000,000 more humans like her and maybe we have a chance.
Here's the full video of Twiggy the Squirrel waterskiing. I feel like we might all need it by the end of the week:
Cathy Salustri is the arts and entertainment editor for CL Tampa Bay and looks forward to the day when every squirrel has its own set of waterskis. Contact her here.