Have to say, this is really f*cking good. (Published in Voyage Denver Magazine)

I think we have a tendency to blame the demise of our society on social media. I get it, the constant stream of everyone’s “all things good” can make us feel like we’re failing miserably at the whole life thing.

But, there are some legitimate positives- getting to see snippets of our friends and families all over the world, for example. It can also be a gateway to connect with people and opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have access to, ones that can change our lives for the better.

Here is one such connection:

Voyage Denver Magazine is featuring a series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, “…to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.”

Long/short, they saw this photo I posted on Instagram and wanted to share it on their site.  They followed up with an invitation to do an interview for the series.

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Photo by Jenna Sparks

My first reaction: Ummm, are you sure about that? But I knew the focus was on empowering women, and god knows, I have a substantial amount of knowledge on what NOT to do. And, I have acquired a fair amount of insight along the way.

So even if just one woman is inspired to rise up and “…take the world by the lapels,” (to quote Maya, the ultimate role model) then I did what I set out to do.

So thank you, Voyage Denver, for inviting me to share my hard-earned lessons-learned.

And I have to say,  I read it and thought, damn girl, that’s really fucking good. ;o)

http://voyagedenver.com/interview/life-work-brooke-breazeale/

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Point, Aim & Shoot (but choose your weapon wisely)

I decided it was finally time to break through the cobwebs of “A Gypsy’s Tale” to make sure you’re still out there and to assure you I’m alive and well. And I am, which is what I planned on writing about (a welcomed change for all of us, I’m sure)

But then this bullshit happened, and I’m pissed off. And acknowledging it seemed a bit more important than telling you where I am on the spectrum of well-being.

I’ve been checked out of politics and what’s happening in the world for quite a spell, for survival purposes, really. But this isn’t the time to check out…because too many innocent people are not surviving.

We have to fight back, all of us, but not with weapons that kill. We have to disempower the perpetrators with weapons that disarm- ALL of the perpetrators: those who supply, those who demand, and those who kill.

My weapon of choice?

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Quote by Nikita Hill

I pose this question with acute trepidation: What will it take? What will be the tipping point to make “our leaders” take immediate, severe action to stop this?

In 2017, we experienced a record number of gun-related death, in 2018, another record high. As of today, there have been 251 mass shootings in 2019 alone.

We are on day 216. (Do the math)

*Released by CBC quoting non-profit Gun Violence Archive, which tracks every mass shooting in the country.

More than 90 gun violence incidents have occurred this year in our schools, and 3,200 youth and teens killed or injured by a gun.

Yes, these statistics vary in accordance with what is being measured, i.e. some do or don’t tease out exact numbers of suicides vs. homicides vs mass shootings.

But that’s not the point.

The point is, our country is plagued with gun violence, and innocent people are being persecuted and murdered…and it’s horrifying.

Equally as horrifying is the fact that “we” are the perpetrators. Our nation has proudly demonstrated that we value “the right to bear arms” over the inalienable human right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“Nazi ideology can be defined in four parts: expansion, racial purity, power, and militarism.”  (Nazism: Definition, Facts & Ideology)

Be clear, I’m not taking the stance that all guns should be banned or that everyone who owns one has malintent. My weapon is pointed at the lack of gun regulation and assinine justification for selling automatic weapons in our country.

The only reason anyone “needs” an automatic weapon is to kill on a massive scale.

And who wants to kill whom on a massive scale in the United States? Ruthless, fucked up, racist TERRORISTS targeting innocent people they label as “intruders”, minorities, or fill-in-the-blank “deviants”.

So, here’s the pivotal question: why are we still selling automatic weapons and producing firearms at such an alarming rate, and to what end?

Well, we know why, don’t we? Guns mean money, and money “trumps” lives… especially with Trump at the helm.

But “to what end? This has yet to be seen, with no end in sight.

But what has become very clear is this: the founding principle of our country meant to be the essence of who we are as a nation is simply not true.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

   – The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

And this- the denial of the inalienable rights of American and global citizens- is the very reason I’m mortified to be a citizen of the United States.

 

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Stats

“The United States has the highest gun ownership rate [in the world] with about 101 guns per hundred Americans [latest estimation rose to 120]. Serbia is ranked second in the firearms per capita with a rate of 58.21 guns per 100 people. Yemen has the third highest gun ownership rate in the world with a rate of 54.8 guns per a hundred people.  (World Atlas)

“Guns killed nearly 40,000 people in the United States last year.”

“In 2016, a study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that Americans were ten times more likely to die as a result of a firearm than residents of other high-income countries, as classified by the World Bank.”

“A 2017 survey estimated that there are three hundred and ninety-three million civilian-owned firearms in the United States, a rate of 120.5 guns for every hundred residents, twice that of the second-highest nation, Yemen.”  (The New Yorker]

“From 2009 to 2017, there were at least 173 mass shootings in the U.S.

“In at least one-third of mass shootings, the shooter was legally prohibited from possessing firearms at the time of the shooting.”

“Mass shootings that involved the use of high-capacity magazines resulted in more than twice as many fatalities and 14 times as many injuries on average compared to those that did not.”  (Everytown for Gun Safety)