just like ramming my head against a brick wall

Today is a crappy day.

Last night when I was on my way out of work I realized I had made a mistake, forgetting to send an order for a semi-important customer. I couldn’t amend the situation at that time, and it’s probably not a big deal, but I always feel bad when I mess up, even if in fact no one is actually let down.

Immigrate2US is running at an all-time slowness right now, and all I want to do is read about some new approvals and converse with my cyber-buddies.

I can’t write anything good the last few days. I want to get a column about immigration in to the Journal Sentinel right now, or by tomorrow or the next day, and nothing coherent is coming together. It doesn’t help that I read this excellent op-ed in the Denver Post (which I via Immigration Orange) that I 100% agree with, only to read the comments and become profoundly depressed by what often appears to be the majority opinion on this issue. I want to advocate for this issues as much as possible while I have the plaform in the paper, but it’s also extremely disheartening to encounter almost nothing but hate, ignorance and xenophobia every time I write about it. It also makes me want to move to Mexico no matter what happens with our case. Because really, why would a person want to live in a country where the most vocal are all the idiots?

In the last week I’ve been in contact with the authors of some more prominent immigration blogs. I’ve enjoyed the networking and I’m more than happy to promote other people’s sites and generate traffic here. However, I’ve also been spending more of my downtime reading immigration articles, columns and reports as well as writing my own responses to Pastor Mike, Monty and other comment authors, and right now it all feels a little overwhelming.

I have to work at Qdoba tonight, and all I want to do right now is go home and sleep for about 12 hours. When I get into an intellectual funk, however, Qdoba is often a good catharsis, so it may actually end up lifting my spirits.

Finally, I miss Fermin. I’m an independent, generally optimistic person, and I really believe not dwelling on our separation is best for me. It’s not denial, just coping. I stay busy, work hard, remain a productive member of my community and workplace. But some days, when all this stuff piles up, and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight, and I don’t have a trip planned to Mexico, I just want to give a big middle finger to this country, quit my job(s) and move to Mexico.

Addendum: Another cause for my funk: In the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, right-wing bloggers and gun-rights supporters are suggesting that were there more students carrying firearms on campus, this might not have happened!!! Another blames the victims for not defending themselves. And one of the first responses from the White House, when asked if they felt this event might change to the debate about gun control, was to state unequivocally that Americans have the right to bear arms, but not break the law. Well, the shooter didn’t break the law, ladies and gentlemen, until he shot his first victim. I mean, is this really what we want? A society where everyone carries a loaded gun on them just in case they are the victim of a random psychopath’s rampage??? Disgusting, I just can’t even express how disgusting that line of thinking is. What would have prevented this tragedy would have been the inability for the assailant to purchase a gun, plain and very simple.

I hope you’re all having a better day than I.


13 Responses to just like ramming my head against a brick wall

  1. jennie says:

    Oh, Laura, I’m so sorry. I don’t know how you do it. If I were living life in your shoes, I think being away from Fermin would be enough to send me over the edge. It seems to take a lot for you to reach a breaking point, which says a whole lot about your character. I admire the way you handle everything and am amazed at how little you really do write about crappy days.

  2. maconulaff says:


    You said “Well, the shooter didn’t break the law, ladies and gentlemen.”

    That is false statement and as a journalist you should be more careful with your statements. He did break the law the moment he used his firearm offensively and shot and killed his first victim. The distinction is not minor or cursory. Yes, firearms ownership is legal. Committing murder is clearly against the law. He made a clear choice to violate the existing laws.

    That very same day millions of Americans went about their day carrying firearms without committing murder or going on a rampage. And millions are carrying again today. And events like this will probably lead to more people exercising their choice and right to carry a firearm for personal protection in the future.

    Is it a tragedy that many Americans feel the need to carry a firearm for personal protection? I think so. But I understand and recognize their right to make that choice.

    If you would investigate further, you would find most of these tragic events occur where people do not have an effective means to defend themselves from these psychopaths. Psychopaths are not necessarily stupid. They recognize where they can carry out an effective attack.

    Creating “gun-free” zones only creates target rich environments where psychopaths can act with impunity and the likelihood of their success is ensured.

    My heart aches for your situation with Fermin.

  3. laurafern says:

    “That is false statement and as a journalist you should be more careful with your statements.”

    Point taken, although this is not exactly an outlet for me as a journalist, but my statement has been edited.

    I’m wondering if other countries where firearms are less available have the same frequency of shootings that we have in this country. This is a naive question, but I really don’t know. It seems that among generally peaceful, functioning societies, (I’m thinking Europe, or even Mexico here) the U.S. is the only one that allows such widespread purchase of handguns and is also the one with the most violent shooting sprees. Something to research. Or someone please provide examples if I am wrong.

    Speaking of which, I was talking with Fermin about this last night. He said it’s pretty much illegal to have a gun anywhere in Mexico, other than in some very rural areas, where there are permits to have a hunting rifle. I don’t even know if rifle is the right word, but it sounded like a very primitive sort of large, awkward gun. Handguns are simply not allowed. Mexico certainly has it’s violence, but school shootings, mass random murders, not so much. Their children are also far less likely to be spending hours and hours playing ultra-violent video games. I’m not making a correlation, just suggesting that in my opinion, a society less fixated on violence is my preference.

    Had someone been trained and armed in one of those classrooms, perhaps they would have been a hero, but that scenario, which is slim in any case, does not justify in my mind a society where most anyone can carry a gun. I’m not a psychopath, in fact, I am not acquainted with any psychopaths, but I wouldn’t trust myself or 99% of the people I know carrying a handgun.

    I have no problem with very highly trained individuals carrying firearms, but most people are not highly trained, and have no interest in becoming highly trained. Most of them, if they want, can still get their hands on a gun. Not all murderers are psychopaths, some are just angry and go over the edge. People are people, and guns provide too much power for the average person to handle. I don’t think the average person conducts himself in a manner serious and sober to merit that sort of power.

    I live in an urban environment, and the apparent accessibility of guns, while not the *cause* of violence, does escalate the urban violence. The more guns, the more chance that some angry person is going to get their hands on one and do something stupid.

    While there are certain populations that purchase firearms for hunting, sport shooting, or really just to feel safe, the majority of those people do not live in, for example, the city of Milwaukee. Yet every time someone mentions gun control after a city shooting, angry suburbanites and rural residents lash out. I mean, we require training and licensing for driving, why not for carrying a gun? Are both not equally dangerous and threatening for public health?

    Okay… longest freaking comment ever.

  4. Shelly says:

    australians are not allowed to purchase firearms and the result is a much more peaceful society than our own. when mark and i were over there it really did give me a greater peace walking home at night knowing that we didn’t have to worry about that kind of violence. the australian prime minister actually commented about that in the wake of this horrible event – that his heart when out to those people, but that it is a reflection of the lack of gun control in our society.

    thanks for your statements laura.

  5. maconulaff says:


    I loved Switzerland. Felt very peaceful there too. Where every household have a machinegun and ammo at the ready. So perception of safety is not always reality. And that is where I believe part of the problem lies. We create “gun free zones” to make people feel secure and safe. But in reality we are creating areas that are more dangerous.

    What if the VT psychopath had encountered armed security on campus? We know from all news accounts he planned and plotted this attack. Would armed security on campus altered his planning? Would it have discouraged him during his planning phase to keep seeing armed security on campus? Would it have allowed a more rapid response to stop the shootings? How could you or I or anyone, including the parents of the victims, ask those security people to try and take down the shooter while they are unarmed? Did our “gun free zone” desires give this psychopath more opportunity and delay the ability to respond?

    Also, do some googling about the success of australia’s or great britain’s gun control success. And I don’t mean go to the brady campaign or the nra or similar advocacy groups on one side or the other of the issue. Every objective source I have seen has indicated crime in both countries is increasing (including those committed with firearms – even though they are banned).

    Laura – fwiw: If concealed carry in Wisconsin had not been vetoed by the govenor, it would have required a permit process and contained training requirements. It didn’t mean you could just shove a pistol in your pocket and head out onto the streets of Milwaukee. Concealed carry was essentially a licensing process and did include a training requirement. Go back and re-read the bill – your requirements as specified were included in the version that was passed through the assembly and senate.

    Going for the longest comment record!

  6. Shelly says:

    maconulaff – the reality is that there is less violence in australia. it’s not a perception.

  7. laurafern says:

    Jennie — I wanted to say thanks for your kind thoughts and support.

  8. lbraun says:

    Laura, I’m convinced that there’s something in the air this week — everyone seems to be a little on edge! While reading this post, I found myself saying, “my thoughts exactly.” I hope things have improved a little for you since yesterday…the good thing is that things go in cycles, so if all else fails, if you wait around long enough, sooner or later things are bound to start looking better 🙂

  9. maconulaff says:

    Interestingly biased.

    I said
    “And I don’t mean go to the brady campaign or the nra or similar advocacy groups on one side or the other of the issue.”

    You used information from
    “Special thanks to Mary Lewis Grow, National Coordinator for Student Pledge Against Gun Violence, for these statistics.”

    Sounds like an advocacy group to me…..

  10. laurafern says:

    No, I used information from athealth.com:

    Athealth.com is a leading provider of mental health information and services for mental health practitioners and those they serve. Our online community consists of psychiatrists, pediatricians, family practitioners, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, counselors, researchers, educators, school psychologists, caregivers, and others who meet the diverse needs of those with mental health concerns.

    Anyway, are there people who are in favor of gun violence among students?

    Statistics are statistics. I also spent some time reading the statistics from the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, which shows that Austrilia and the U.K., just for example, have significantly lower numbers of completed homicides per capita along with very, very little gun-related murder, where the U.S. has an overall MUCH higher number of gun murders and a lot more murders per capita in general.


  11. Anonymous says:

    At the bottom of the page was the credit for who assembled the statistics for Athealth.com and it was the reference I cited previously, an advocacy group.

    And I definitely agree that statistics are statistics. They can be manipulated and massaged to product any result you want. A quick visit to http://gunfacts.info would suffice to stymie the statistics war as related to the US.

    The United Nations has long stated the goal of stripping all citizens of firearms rights and only allowing law enforcement to possess firearms. Funny, that seems largely why people hoped on boats and headed for the US. Information comparing countries of such diverse cultures and economic structure is a practice in deception itself. That’s like the e-mail that used to go around comparing the cost of a gallon of gas to a gallon of snapple. There is no statistical relevance that can be draw from those comparisons.

    I will agree to disagree as I have tremendous respect for you and your convictions. And as this is your site and forum, you, of course, may have the last word on this topic.

  12. laurafern says:

    I was too annoyed earlier this week to do any further discussing of this issue, but this morning I thought I would just take a look at gunfacts.info…

    I can’t say I was surprised that the alleged neutral source not only has a section on “Pro-gun books” but the author is a commentator for NRANews and Gun Talk and describes himself as an activist for gun-owner rights issues. It also triggers a lot of pop-ups and features numerous ads for things like “pistol ringtones.”

    If a person wants to discount United Nations statistics as biased, at least come up something less obviously biased. The U.N. stats I looked at were NOT interpreted, they were simply lists of gun deaths, overall homicides, and all other sorts of crime stats for a lot of countries.

    “The United Nations has long stated the goal of stripping all citizens of firearms rights and only allowing law enforcement to possess firearms.”

    Good for them.

    “Information comparing countries of such diverse cultures and economic structure is a practice in deception itself.”

    I completely disagree with this statement, on many levels. I’m a believer in the global community, and think Americans could learn a lot if we paid more attention to cultures and nations. From experience I do not believe we have a monopoly on the good and virtuous. We do many things right, which is why many people seek to immigrate here and emulate us, but we also do many things wrong.

    That’s my last word, as this is my site.

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