I Don’t Know Why Bad Things Happen: A Tornado Post

I just got off the phone with a friend discussing the horrific tornado that blew through Joplin, MO Sunday night. It only took minutes to flatten a six-mile stretch of land, destroying homes, businesses, a high school, and human beings.

The tornado also destroyed a patient wing of the St. John’s Regional Medical Center. Survivors are being transferred to other area hospitals.

Kelley Fritz, 45, of Joplin, rummaged through the remains of a storage building with her husband, Jimmy. They quickly realized they would never find the belongings they stored there. They had lost much of what was in their home after the tornado ripped away the roof. Their sons, ages 20 and 17, both Eagle Scouts, went outside after the storm.

“My sons had deceased children in their arms when they came back,” Fritz said. “My husband and I went out and saw two or three dead bodies on the ground.”

After learning of so much death and destruction, my friend asked me, “Why does this happen? I know everything happens for a reason, but I can’t understand how this is part of God’s plan.”

I don’t know why bad things happen.

I do know that God doesn’t exist to make our lives worry and hassle-free. He doesn’t exist to make us happy (whatever that means), keep us healthy, give us money, or prevent us from suffering.

God exists simply because He does. He’s the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the creator of all things. We exist because God created us.

When Job cried out to God asking him why, God gives him this answer:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.Who determined its measurements—surely you know!

Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Roughly translated: “Who are you to question my motives?”

When tragedy strikes, when loved ones are lost and innocence is shattered, our hearts break and we silently (or loudly) scream, “WHY?

Asking why is fruitless, because our limited knowledge of God’s universe can’t begin to comprehend His reasons. God did not let this happen or make this happen in the way that we think of things happening. Just as God does not exist to make us happy, He doesn’t exist to torment us either.

Disasters happen. Life on Earth ends. This life is a blink, and right now at this very second, God knows exactly when and how your time here will end. That doesn’t make Him mean or vengeful; it just makes Him God.

We can’t possibly understand the plans God has for us. Why would He strike a little girl blind and deaf? Because He knew how many lives Helen Keller would touch (get it? Sorry, couldn’t help myself). Why would He allow a boy’s brothers to sell him into slavery? Because without Joseph in Egypt, God’s promise to Abraham couldn’t be fulfilled, as his descendants would’ve starved to death.

He knows what He’s doing, even if we don’t. I don’t know why bad things happen, but I trust that the Lord has a plan, that he will bring triumph from tragedy, and that ultimately, I know that no matter what happens on this planet, He holds me in His hand, because I am His.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t cry or rage with grief.

I am only human.

Ignorance Is Not Bliss in Egypt

Here’s the gist of it in Egypt:

  • President Hosni Mubarak has been in power for 30 years.
  • The people of Egypt don’t want Mubarak to be president anymore.
  • It’s illegal in Egypt to protest the government.
  • The Egyptians protested anyway, using social media like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to coordinate their efforts.
  • The Egyptian government promptly shut off all Internet and cell service in the country, shutting its citizens off from the world and each other.

I am not going to speculate on whether or not the Egyptians have a right to protest, or even if they should protest. I have no opinions to offer about the relationship between the United States and Egypt, because I’m not fully educated on the subject. A great writer once said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

I do know that Egypt is supposedly one of our allies in the Middle East. Mostly because our mutual distrust of Iran unites us. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, or something like that.

The people of Egypt probably aren’t too keen on the United States right now, since their government is trying to end their protests partly with tear gas made in the USA. Ah, nothing like using American-made products to quell protesting citizens. No one better give Barney Frank any ideas, mmmkay?

I don’t know exactly what the end goal for the Egyptian protesters is. I get that they don’t like the current regime. But what’s their ultimate goal? Remember the Bolsheviks? They violently overthrew a corrupt government ‘for the people of Russia.’ That didn’t turn out so well … Remember Stalin? Super evil dude.

On the other hand, the Boston Tea Party led to the American Revolution, from which emerged a new nation that became the greatest and freest country in all of history.

I don’t know if the Egyptians are Bolsheviks or Patriots, and I would be an idiot to speculate. Of course I hope they want a truly free society, instead of replacing one oppressive government with their own oppressive government, but hope is not truth, and to blindly assume that the people of Egypt are purely good while the government is purely bad is naïve.

What I can speculate on is the power of social media and networking, and the danger of letting government regulate it. Whether or not these protesters are protesting for actually democracy or just another regime change is irrelevant to this point. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are basic human rights (we in America have legal rights to them as well, but the rest of world isn’t necessarily as lucky), and protesting one’s government falls under the whole ‘pursuit of happiness’ thing.

The people of Egypt used Twitter, Facebook, emails, texts, and more to coordinate their efforts. The initial manpower didn’t have to be huge. They didn’t need to send people out to knock on doors and share the information. They did it from home, blasting it to hundreds and thousands of others, who joined their ranks. They worked together, quickly and efficiently, to get the protests organized and to rally the people. Every person in the chain of communication felt like part of something; they might be just one link, but that chain needs them.

This is what we’ve seen over the past few years in our own country. A sense of camaraderie and partnership formed over the interwebs that was near impossible even just a decade ago. We have a free-flow of information and dialogue; first-hand accounts of events live-tweeted, speculated on, compared with other accounts, related to the past, and used to make predictions about the future.

Social media has been an integral component of the conservative uprising we’ve seen in America. We are no longer isolated – we have found each other and realized that there are more of us than the mainstream media wanted us to believe. We have organized rallies, we have cheered one another on, and we consoled each other when Jerry Brown was reelected Governor of California.

Watching the Egyptian government take away its people’s ability to communicate rapidly and efficiently makes me grateful to live in America. And fearful to ever let the authorities have any power to regulate our online access. The government should fear its people, not control them.

MTV, Skins, and Total Depravity

I kept seeing Skins mentioned on Twitter. From the context of the tweets, I figured it was another Jersey Shore, which I’ve never bothered watching. I’d rather do dishes, and that’s saying something.

This morning, I saw a bunch of news articles saying that MTV stepped over the line with the show; it amounted to pedophilia, etc. So, knowing nothing about it other than what I’ve mentioned, I found the episode online at MTV’s website.

40 minutes of my life I dearly wish I could get back.

I wouldn’t say that it amounted to pedophilia, since even though the actors were portraying 16-year-olds, they looked like they were in their mid-20s. At least. But the depravity, oh the depravity.

The entire premise of the show was a group of high school kids trying to get the virgin in their group laid. Oh, and make money for narcotics by selling pot.

Other observations:

  • An eccentric teen over-doses on pills, then wakes up like it was no big deal
  • Grand theft auto of an SUV at the ‘Rich Kids’ party, which they then accidentally drive into a lake
  • They all come up from the drowned SUV, which is highly unlikely due to their drugged up, liquored up, up-all-night state. (Also, that link totally takes you to MythBusters)
  • Glamorization of promiscuity at every level, even showing some gussied up lesbian hookers
  • Goodness and honor and truth are portrayed as undesirable qualities in every scene

That’s just off the top of my head. It was awful, awful, awful, and the few cuss words that were bleeped out made me snort in derision. It’s ok to show a teen attempting suicide and treating it like a joke, but we can’t hear the f-word? Give me a break.

MTV’s rationalization for this show is that these are issues that kids are dealing with. If that’s true, which I’m sure it’s not, then we’re screwed. The parents were irrational yelling machines, the teachers had no authority over anything, and the kids were celebrating depravity and debauchery Sodom & Gomorrah style.

If MTV were really concerned about helping kids with these issues, they would be establishing a program to mentor kids in juvie. Because that is where undisciplined little hellions end up … if they’re lucky.

The unlucky ones end up dead in the gutter.

PS- I have officially, for the 400th time, become my mom by using the phrase ‘dead in the gutter.’

PPS- I am, for the 400th time, ok with that.

Giffords, Guns, and Political Pandering

The vitriol spewed by many ‘news’ sources after the mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, last Saturday has been pointless, political, and extremely uncalled for. A congresswoman was shot through the headand will probably never fully recover. Six people died, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl.

The Left came out swinging against their favorite target Sarah Palin, claiming that she has blood on her hands and that she caused the massacre. Apparently guns don’t kill people, metaphors do.

It wasn’t just Palin that the left accosted, but the Tea Party movementin general. Because, you know, Tea Partiers are so violent. That’s why there are always so many arrests at tea party rallies. (That was sarcasm, by the way. Tea Partiers may be crazy about Glenn Beck, but they’re not violent.)

Read the rest at The Stir

The Liberal Litter Bugs on the Mall

On Saturday my friends and I went to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to check out the museums and monuments and to generally revel in being American. I even got to ride the metro for the first time ever! It was very exciting, and I learned a new rule: Don’t touch anything on the subway.

It was a gorgeous day in the capitol. Seriously, It was so pretty I almost heard music playing in the background. It was also full of a bunch of people wearing purple shirts and carrying fancy-schmancy SIEU signs.

Is a $0.49 piece of poster board and a magic marker not good enough for yah?

The “One Nation Working Together” rally was Saturday, so unions and other leftest groups bussed in thousands of attendees to whine and complain that America sucks. Like one of my friends said, it’s easy to get union members to come to political events. Monday mornings roll around awfully fast, after all.

We even witnessed a couple of UAW chapter bosses checking people off a list as they saw them. It kills me that we didn’t get video.

While it was a bit crowded, it was nothing like the photos I saw from the Restoring Honor Rally, or the 9/12 March. It was obvious that the attendance was a fraction of what it was for conservative events.

Being the responsible, law-abiding citizens we are, conservatives left the lawn as they had found it: Green and clean.

The lefty liberals? Not so much. Here are just a few shots of what we saw on the Mall.

Fight the debris, Nimrod

Obama supporters did this

Poor Abe had to witness this

One Nation attendees, you should be ashamed of yourselves

What a sad day. The left can’t get people to an event without bussing them in and making sure their bosses cross their names off the list. The left can’t make their own signs, they have to be handed flashy manufactured ones. The left can’t even get people to respect the National Mall, a place that deserves reverence. The left can’t get a group of people that claim to care about the environment to, you know, actually care about the environment.

I overheard one of the attendees talking to a park ranger. “I just don’t understand,” he said, “Why is there so much trash? I heard there wasn’t any at that Beck rally … How did they do it?”

Because conservatives aren’t a bunch of whiney litter bugs with no sense of personal responsibility.

That’s how.

The Hotel Room Story from the Red State Gathering

Last Thursday I decided to attend the Red State Gathering in Austin. Which started Friday.

It might have been the most impulsive thing I’ve ever done. Well, aside from getting married. But that’s worked out rather well, so maybe impulsiveness is good.

Before I booked my last-minute flight, I figured I better make sure I could get into the dern thing. I texted Caleb Howe and asked if I could come. He let me know my name was on the list. Awesome.

I booked my flight, booked a sitter for the kids, and let Ashley Sewell know that I would love to share a hotel room with her.

Fast-forward 24ish hours. I got to Austin a couple of hours before Ashley, but she told me that she had added my name to the room so I could get a key. I went to check in, letting them know that I was sharing a room with Ashley.

“We have you in your own suite, Mrs. Erikson, would you like me to add Ashley Sewell to the reservation?”

“You have me in my own room? A suite? Wait, what? Why?”

“I have a suite booked for Jenny Erikson, that’s you, right?” the very nice lady behind the counter asked me. She obviously thought I had come in on the short bus, and was trying to point me in the right direction.

“Yes… is there another Jenny Erikson booked?”

“Are you Jenny Erikson with Red State?”

“Um. Yeah…”

“I have you down for a suite. Would you like me to add Ashley Sewell to the reservation?”

“Wait a sec. Speaking as someone that doesn’t have the funds for a suite by herself, who’s paying for this room?”

“It’s taken care of,” she told me. I know Caleb said he’d hooked me up, but I had been thinking along the lines of a press pass. Red State likes me, but not that much. Knowing something fishy was up, I decided to take the key and check out the room. I called Ashley on the way up.

“So it appears that Red State has comped my room.”

“Seriously? Why?”

“No idea. But I’ll take it. I’m headed there now to check it out.”

“Wait, they seriously comped your room?” She asked again incredulously. My thoughts exactly. We were still speculating on it when I got to the room and fumbled with the key card. I walked into a suite all right. And saw an open suitcase. And then heard the toilet flush. And then RedState’s Managing Editor and CNN contributor Erick Erickson walked out of the restroom.

“Ash? I’m going to have to call you back.”

So yeah. That happened.

P.S. Erick is a super nice guy, and I really appreciate his ability to laugh at the situation.

P.P.S. I think my name has now been officially changed to “Jenny Erikson, No Relation.”

An Islamic Mosque at Ground Zero … Seriously?

On Monday night, members of a Community Board in New York Cityvoted 29-1 in support of the construction of an Islamic mosque atGround Zero. The Manhattan project plans to open its doors onSeptember 11, 2011, the 10-year anniversary of the deaths of 2,996 people in the name of Islam.

Yeah.

Frankly, I can’t think of anything better than building a place of worship for the religion responsible for every single terrorist attack on America in recent history. Wait, maybe I can. How about not building it?

Islam is not cool. I’m all about free choice, so I have no problem with people choosing to believe whatever they want to believe. If someone wants to be part of a community that oppresses women and encourages violence, then they are welcome to join it. I just hope they never change their minds, because the penalty for leaving Islam is death.

Read More (And be sure to check out the comments! I’m everything from a hero for bringing this to light to the cause of the 9/11 attacks.)

Disaster Response

It’s been over two weeks since an explosion on an oil rig killed eleven people and started spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of 210,000 gallons per day.

Two weeks.

The information has been spotty, to say the least. First the fallen rig wasn’t leaking. Then it was.

Then safety procedures in place since 1994 to burn off the crude oil in its earlier, containable stages were not followed.

Then some terrorist guy that graduated terrorism school in Pakistan before moving to the United States and becoming a citizen tried to blow up an SUV in Times Square in New York City. He almost got away too, after purchasing an airplane ticket and boarding the plane despite being on the on No Fly List. I seem to remember that panty bomber being on that list too. Don’t worry, I’m sure the system is working just fine. Solid B+, I say.

President Obama has been very busy. Attending Nerd Prom. That’s in-the-know way to refer to the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. I’ll spare you the embarrassment of having to ask like I did last week,”What the heck is Nerd Prom???”

Oh yeah, and Nashville’s quickly becoming the next Atlantis.

It’s time to do something, people.

Contact your Congressmen in Washington and tell them the answer to this slick disaster is not to bankrupt us by shutting off even more of our fuel.

Contact the FTA and let them know that if they’re going to have a no fly list, they might as well start actually enforcing it.

If you have the means, donate your time or money to help the mer-people of Nashville.

At least that’s what I’ll be doing. I refuse to feel helpless and sit back and twiddle my thumbs and hope everything turns out ok. Sometimes life throws you curve balls. Sometimes those stray balls smack you in the face. I’d rather be someone that gets back up to the plate, black eye and all, than someone that fears ball games for the rest of her life. Because if you never get back up to that plate, there’s no chance you’ll ever hit that home run.

Sorry for the baseball analogy. It was either that or American Idol, as both topics are dominating my tweet-stream at the moment…