Millennial Shite

Over the last few years, it seems like all the talk (negative talk) is about millennials. There seems to be a consensus from the older generations that millennials are lazy, unambitious soft cocks. While I can understand some of the criticism, I don’t really understand why there’s such an obsession. There’s so many articles, studies and discussions about millennials.

It feels like history is doomed to repeat itself. I obviously wasn’t around in the 60’s and 70’s but I’ve watched enough documentaries to know the previous generations shit all over the baby boomers and generation X. That’s clear to see with the opposing views and ideology expressed through the generational divide around the Vietnam war and the summer of love!

Ironically, it’s the kids who were conceived during that era or a little before that , who seem obsessed with millennials today. Many pick on the entire generation because of the politically correct nature we live in today. That one is somewhat fair…when you hear about trigger warnings in Universities it does make you wonder! Also, millennials have now become the key demographic for pretty much every company to pitch their products too…so, if somebody associated with a company pisses off the millennial PC brigade, it leaves companies with no other choice but to fire them.

The lack of ambition is a funny one, that one strikes me a bit odd. Could it be that people my age are lazy, uninspired bums? I don’t think so…everybody I know who is my age, who I went to college with or am related to has a job. I think the label may be blasted out because millennials want more for themselves…but do they want more than previous generations? I don’t think so….

Look at this way. While millennials were learning multiplications and long division in school, the generation hating on them were busy destroying the world economy and living well beyond their means. My kid’s kid’s kids will be paying off the enormous debt occurred by them.

What about the leaders who represented and were voted in by previous generations? It’s almost impossible to find a job that offers a pension. Unions and the positive residual employee rights that were spurned from them have vanished. While my wife’s father has very generous paid vacation, good health insurance, life assurance and a good retirement…we don’t have a good pension, the rest of the retirement funds have devalued, employers seem to offer the minimum paid vacation possible and healthcare? forget about it!

This week HP had a lawsuit against them for ageism due to a statement from the CEO about hiring young people. More and more companies are trying to hire millennials. Why? 1.) Their customers are mostly millennials too and who understands them best? 2.) Millennials are a lot cheaper than previous generations due to few employee rights in place and non-existent benefits. Also, entry level pay was hit significantly during the downturn.

When my parents bought their home, it was a different time…you’d meet with the bank manager. They’d do a quick scan through of your current employment, bank balance and some bills and you’d get approved almost instantly. Home prices were also much lower. Today, home prices have been inflated by the fact the banks did a lousy job of making sure the people could actually afford these homes, with every Tom, Dick and Harry buying multiple properties as an investment and the result is my generation is fucked!

So, if you belong to a generation prior to us, next time you want to criticize. Stop yourself and remember that your generation has fucked our generation and at least the two generations after us.

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Work is Killing Me

Today, I had a conversation with my boss about a co-worker who puts in crazy hours and is constantly agitated and sleep deprived. Over the weekend #first7jobs started trending on social media, this and more made my ponder life a little bit and here’s my findings:

Since I’ve moved to the US I have had several worrying changes with my health. Including:

  • Putting on 30lbs
  • I started getting really bad stomach pains every single evening\night
  • I rarely got sick in Ireland, I started getting very sick 3 to 4 times a year
  • Pre-hypertension
  • Pre-diabetic
  • Heart palpitations
  • Constantly sighing (as my brother pointed out)
  • Migraine headaches became more frequent
  • I have a lingering cough for most of the year
  • Lost interest in everything I use to have interest in

I’m fucking slow at the best of times. I never put everything together in a list before, either on paper or in my head, I just looked at each and tried to rationalize it. Like: you put on 30lbs because you eat like shit and you didn’t eat well the last two years in Ireland, so don’t blame America! Of course you’ll get sick more often, your body is adjusting to Arizona. The stomach pains have to be due to something you’re eating. (I even proved that assumption to be wrong by eliminating everything I usually consumed from my diet and took medication to no avail)… Prediabetic and prehypertension must be related to the rapid weight gain. The migraines are probably caused by dehydration. The cough and sighing is the dry air and of course you’ll lose interest in video games, you’re 31, it’s time to grow up…you can’t watch the premier league any more, it’s on at 7am etc.

Well, things change when I got fired from my job. I was unemployed for 4 weeks.

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Sharpen your razor tongues and judging fingers for this millennial drivel…recently there’s been a viral trend on Twitter and Facebook for first 7 jobs. I listed mine:

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I told my wife about it and she pointed out that I forgot my first job! She told me I was an altar boy. As an altar boy, it was usually just a once a week thing…some times we’d have to do Saturday and Sunday for an hour here or there. Some times we’d have to serve for a wedding or a funeral on a weekday but I never thought about it as a job…but hey, it was!! You went to school all week during the day, did homework in the evening and went to bed pretty early then you spent a few hours a week getting ready and serving at mass, all the while the pay was fucking lousy! We got a Mars bar from the priest at Christmas and usually about 5 pounds (Irish pounds) from the family for a wedding or funeral .(which looking back, I feel really bad for taking it but I didn’t know!)

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After this long diatribe…thinking about all of this together. I realize, I have actually been working since I was about 10 years old! I’m 31 now…that’s 21 years of my life. Up until recently, the best period of my life was 6 weeks in the spring of 2007 when I quit my job on the spur of the moment. I walked through Galway city on a sunny Friday afternoon eating a 99, flirted with some girls in some shitty red Ford Fiesta and all was right with the world! That experience, that six weeks has helped me enormously to this day. It’s the longest stretch without working that I have had going on 10 years…When I get really down, I think back to that and know that life can be that great again.

This is a strange place for many reasons but one of those reasons is that it’s a right to work state. This means your employer can fire you without just cause but wait, you also have the ability to quit a job with no notice so you win too, right?…wrong, if you don’t give notice you won’t get a reference. Only the employers win.

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When you are full time you work whatever hours are required and don’t get overtime pay. You get a set salary. But you get great benefits like training, which you will never get time to go to. You don’t get a pension if you are my age because pensions are not provided by most companies any more…that’s a luxury that the previous generations fucked us out of. You do get a 401k…for me, the best 401k program I got offered had a 4% match. Meaning my employer matched up to 4%…the worst I got was 1%. Well, wouldn’t you know it. My 401k has lost over 4% of it’s total value and considering overall the employers contribution was less than 4% of the total and the fact you get heavily penalized for taking out early, also you are not guaranteed a good return…well, you just gave control of your money to some firm that doesn’t give a shit about you…tough!

Well, now I’m a contractor! I have cast off the shackles of full time employment. I now work much less hours and get paid much more for it! If I have to work any overtime, I get properly compensated for it. I could be fired at any time but guess what? I could be fired at any time as a full time employee too! I don’t get paid time off but in a previous job, I was fired when I tried to take my paid time off 🙂 I don’t get a 401k…well, I bit the bullet and took all of the money out of my 401k anyways because I realized what I posted above…it’s a bullshit program, plus I personally believe putting my savings towards a home, is more in my short to long term interests at this moment in time.

The other day my wife said “hey, you haven’t complained about your stomach pains in a while”…she was right. I didn’t really notice but I haven’t been having stomach pains as regularly. I’ve just started exercising again (because I have time to!) and I have lost 6lbs. I have new interests like taking my son to go swimming! I don’t have to worry about phone calls, e-mails or instant messages from my boss.

Now that I put it together: High blood pressure, pre-diabetic, migraines, stomach pains, constantly sighing…getting really sick 3-4 times a year. Holy shit, I think I was dying slowly. Work was literally and yes I do mean literally killing me.

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Some day I shall return to my hometown and embrace the lifestyle the place is famed for, the lifestyle I was never privileged enough to experience at length! Galway, I salute you! Maybe the graveyard of ambition isn’t such a negative title after all, eh? Live a long happy life broke or a short miserable life rich…I think I know which one I want. See yee in 2 years, fuckers! Keep the crusties unwashed and the skinny jeans FLAM-ING!

 

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Tips for new Dads

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Our young lad is now 3.5 months old. At first it was pretty easy for me as a dad. I would try to help out however I could. My wife is breastfeeding which made things a little trickier so here’s what I have learned summarized:

  • Buy a Boppy pillow AND bring it with you to the hospital for the delivery. I never heard of o a boppy pillow before but it’s pretty much essential for us now. It’s a pillow that goes around your waist, which you can then prop baby on while you feed. It makes feeding so much easier!
  • Some resentment towards your baby is normal.Babies are fucking dumb! Growing up in rural Ireland I saw calves, lambs, puppies, kitten and even a foal being born. Puppies, kittens and lambs all come out in goop that mommy cleans up, they find their way to feed and all is well. The calves and foal are up and standing almost instantly. Animals need to get their shit together quickly in order to survive. Human babies are coddled and so they are useless! What’s more, your baby can’t show you affection or interact with you for the first few months…so they just cry, shit, piss and eat. They get frustrated when their milk doesn’t flow quick enough. They cry when they are overtired..Our child does not have colic but even so he gets fussy and at first it can be really aggravating…don’t worry about that, it’s normal. After 2.5 months it all gets a little better. It turns into a great feeling. Can’t wait to see him at the end of the day now.
  • When breastfeeding the milk won’t start to properly flow right away. Give it time and use formula at first. Don’t allow anybody to convince you that formula is not suitable…I have learned other women can be right fuckin’ assholes about breastfeeding ethics 🙂
  • My wife and I had a thought out strategy beforehand. Before baby arrived I would usually only get about 5 hours sleep a night. I stayed up late working until 1:30 am – 2:00 am. We figured, she could pump and leave milk in a bottle for me and go to bed at 9:00 pm. I would stay up. When he cried I would take care of it. Change him, feed him, burp him and rocking him back to sleep. It worked pretty well for the first couple of days. Mom would wake up though and want to help..I would have to tell her to go back to bed. After a few days she started to insist on getting up and feeding him this was because when the milk started to flow she needed to release every few hours or she would be in bad pain. We have completely ditched the original schedule. She just gets up because she’s somehow superhuman! We’re in backwards ass America too, so she went back to work after 6 weeks.
  • At first when he cried it was easy to figure out what was wrong…it was one of only a handful of things. He needed his diaper change, he needed to be fed or he wanted to be held. Here’s a great tip you may not get anywhere else….say you give baby a pacifier to help soothe him to sleep. Guess what happens then? You’ve added something else to the list of reasons to cry. He’ll now cry for his pacifier or when his pacifier falls out. Say you put on music for him…when the music stops, he may cry. You let him watch Elmo…Elmo stops, he will cry. Now…the good thing about music, Elmo and the pacifier is that you have something he’ll enjoy and will make him happy but you also introduce more things he’ll cry for. Be warned!
  • My technique for changing a diaper is: Get a clean diaper, place it under him. Get a baby wipe in hand…quickly open the dirty diaper and place the baby wipe on his dick (you must be quick! This is incase he pees with the diaper off..it happens a lot), lift him up by the legs and clean him off with another baby wipe. Once all clean take the baby wipes away, close the diaper. All gravy. We got a diaper genie for throwing the diapers into…it conceals the diapers so there’s no smell like you might get if just putting them in the regular bin.
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First American Slaves

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Recently there’s been some stories reported about Irish people claiming to be the first American slaves. This is pretty embarrassing but I feel the need to inform those who have seen those reports and comments that this is not the sentiment of the typical Irish person. Try not to hold this crap against the Irish. You see, my theory is that the Irish Americans hold onto many of the notions their original Irish ancestors who moved to the US in the 1800’s or early 1900’s likely held. Irish people back then competed against all other minorities for work at the time. Maybe the Irish Americans growing up felt their prejudice and bullshit was part of their heritage and want to keep that as their identity.

The Irish in Ireland have progressed as a people. So, while the Irish zigged, the Irish Americans seem to have zagged.

With that said, this article from Al Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/03/black-lives-matter-irish-slave-myth-160315092722167.html is almost as infuriating. To suggest there was no Irish slavery in America is to downplay the treatment of our ancestors, kind of the same way those using the Irish slavery stories as a way to downplay the injustice black people in America have suffered and continue to suffer. Irish slavery has no place in a discussion about racial prejudice today.

Irish people were indentured slaves in the US. Many were put in such deplorable conditions that they died before they ever received an actual pay packet. For anybody interested to learn more about the treatment of the indented Irish slaves, I suggest you read about Duffy’s Cut. A tale about 57 indentured Irish slaves brought to Pennsylvania to work on the railroads by an Irish contractor named Phillip Duffy. Much like some cases with black slaves, in this story it was a fellow countryman that subjected these people to the horrors they endured all on Amtrak’s dollar. The killing of the 57 Irish slaves (some were found to have blunt force trauma to the head) is possibly the largest mass murder in the history of the state.

My great grandfather lived in California in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. A couple of years ago my grandmother found a receipt for a grave plot in San Francisco. As I live in the US, I called the cemetery to figure out who was buried in the plot. It was two young Irish men who died in the early 1900’s. Both in their early 20’s. Maintenance was not paid for the upkeep of the grave. It had completely overgrown. One of the men died in a mental institution from “exhaustion” and “other mental illnesses”. I couldn’t find any more information about them due to the state only providing death and medical records to family.

I took a trip to the cemetery in San Francisco with a couple of small Irish flags, intending to put them on the graves. Unfortunately, the cemetery was massive and sadly the section they were buried in was filled with unmarked graves. I had the plot number and row number but it wasn’t clearly marked in that section of the cemetery. It was very sad. Two young men who possibly have never even had a visitor to their grave couldn’t be found among the hundreds of others buried in unmarked graves across from a fancy new high rise apartment complex in San Francisco, a city which has long since forgotten about those who left their lives there.

In closing. Throughout history almost every nationality has suffered from slavery. That doesn’t speak to the current situation in the US for black people. If you don’t believe there’s inequality, you are living in denial.

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The 2016 Election Bullshit

 

I’m sure I’m not the only person over in the US that feels this way but I can’t wait for the 2016 election to be over. I’m so sick of hearing about Donald Trump! I watched most of the Republican and Democrat debates until my son was born. It’s amazing once Conor was born I just didn’t bother. Not because he kept me so busy. He was asleep during the Democrats town hall and asleep for most of the last Republican debate. I just didn’t have the desire to sit through that shit again.

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I like Bernie Sanders but I can’t listen to him any more either. He sticks to his core issue which I understand. The massive gulf in wealth and equality is actually likely the lynch pin for majority of big domestic based issues. Inequality is helping to feed the military industrial complex, it’s keeping generations of families poor…anyways…I was about to rant myself about it, which I have done in previous posts but I won’t. I’m just making the point. I agree whole heartedly with Bernie BUT I don’t want to hear that same message again and again at this stage. The election circus starts waaaaaayyy too early!

I have decided. I will vote for Bernie in the primary here. If he doesn’t get the nomination which looks very likely, I’m just not going to vote this time around. I’ve voted in three US Presidential elections. I’ve actually voted Republican, Democrat and Libertarian! When I voted libertarian it wasn’t because I shared their believes. I sure as hell don’t! I don’t think everyone should be free to do whatever the hell they want. I believe a sizable minority of people are fucking idiots…dangerous idiots that need guidelines and shouldn’t be given free reign. I voted libertarian because I believed in their goal of getting at least 5% of the votes to try to get closer to presenting a viable third choice in the future.

This time around even if it’s Clinton vs Trump. I won’t vote. I won’t vote to prevent Trump becoming President even though I do believe he’d tear the hole out of the United States and possibly the world.

Change has to happen…I believe Bernie would start the very, very long road to boosting the quality of life for Americans. He won’t be able to accomplish everything he has set out, particularly if people don’t get behind him after he’s elected to help straighten out the rest of the assholes in Washington. As he has stated, he won’t be able to get anything done if he doesn’t have the support of the people once elected.

I believe Trump would give even more power to big business and worse still, do everything he can for himself and his interests and nothing for the average citizen. He may even cause massive global unrest. What if the rest of the world finally has it with the US swinging our dick around in everyones face? What if efforts are ramped up to either move to a standard digital currency or a new shared currency between some of the larger developed countries without the US? What if that becomes the new standard for global trade?…we’re in a very precarious position. We don’t have the policies and programs in place to absorb that happening. The value of the dollar would plummet….but hey, maybe it’s time for this empire to fall.

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I’m a Daddy!

Last Friday night\Saturday morning my finances water broke. Our original plan was to take our time getting to the hospital but were told to come right in if the water broke. I got the bag I packed just incase, grabbed our dog and loaded up into the car. Put a a couple of bags on the passenger seat…because, baby or not, I have to protect the interior! We stopped at her parents house and dropped our dog off and then we were on our way! 2 weeks before this, we had the baby shower, a week before, we moved to a new place and now as if it was planned, he was on his way.

As I said, we just moved. We decided to move closer to my finances parents. Problem being her OBGYN and hospital was closer to our old place…which was about 45 minutes away WITHOUT traffic. Luckily, we didn’t encounter traffic as it was after 12:00 am! We did however encounter a police helicopter flying low over the freeway with it’s search light on. I would later find out there was a car chase going on a few miles away at the time.

When we got the hospital, they took her right away to a room with a bed and hooked her up to a bunch of monitors. The nurse also tried to hook her up for an IV…she showed them the massive bruise on one of her arms from the last time someone in that hospital attempted to put in an IV (which was 2 weeks prior, she went to her OBGYN and had high blood pressure, we were sent to the hospital as precautionary measure..she was put on bed rest and the blood pressure normalized…it was just good old fashioned work related stress!). When the nurse came back she informed us that her OBGYN was on vacation and the on-call Doctor would come see her when she’s closer to giving birth. In the movie Knocked Up..that was a big deal. We didn’t really care. My fiance really liked her Dr. but as long as baby arrived and was healthy..who cares who’s there on the day.

What we didn’t quite anticipate was just how long she would be in labor. From the moment her water broke to our little son being born was just short of 26 hours. As you could image, the water breaking at midnight means that we had only just gone to bed to get some sleep. Neither of us had slept yet.

Over here in the US, as long as the babies and moms vital signs are good, they will keep waiting. My fiance wanted to do a natural birth but after about 20 hours with no sleep, she gave in and asked for the epidural….as crazy as it sounds, after 20 hours they said no because she was still only a 3 (3cm dilated).

2 hours later she begged for the epidural and told the nurse that she couldn’t do it any more, she would take a cesarean. The nurse got combative and said “Why?, the contractions are not even registering on the monitor. It’s too soon, the epidural wears off after 16 hours. You can’t get the epi until it’s safe and we know it won’t wear off”…anyways, I think to just appease her, she checked her cervix again and said it’s a 3 OR a 4…my fiance got upset and said “I’m not making any progress?”…the nurse reassured her “Oh no, it’s a 4, it’s a 4. I’ll call the Dr. and ask if we can get you the epidural”

Anyways, by the time the Dr. approved her to get the epidural, she had been in labor for almost 25 hours. She kept telling them she was feeling a lot of pain and a lot of pressure but the machine for measuring contractions barely moved from an 8-10. (for frequency). Finally they get the approval for the epidural but say it will take an hour to prep and get the anesthesiologist. At this point, another nurse comes in with the combative nurse…my fiance again spoke about feeling a lot of pressure. The new nurse says is the babies head low? Combative nurse says “it’s not that low”. They decide to re-position the monitors on her stomach. All of a sudden the line for contractions became very erratic. They go down to check her cervix again, they don’t even put a finger in and say “Ok, it’s time”

At this point it’s 01:15am. I had just told her parents about an hour before that, that it looked like baby won’t arrive for a long time. That the nurses were saying she was still only 3cm and the contractions weren’t being measured on the monitors. Now we found ourselves in the position that he was coming and she didn’t have any pain relief. She hadn’t slept and she was getting pissed off.

I didn’t really want to watch the birth but it happened so suddenly that the nurses asked for my help to get her legs into position and to help pull them up to her chest when she was pushing. But possibly the worst thing about the entire process was; because it was so sudden the Dr. wasn’t there. It just so happened that it was a full moon (apparently women go into labor at a high rate when there’s a full moon) so the Dr. was in the hospital for another birth…my fiance kept saying that she had to push. The nurses kept telling her she couldn’t she had to wait. They kept telling her to “blow out candles on a birthday cake”…which pissed her off even more! The Dr. got in just in time…She pushed maybe 4 or 5 times and he was out. She barely made a noise until the last push when she gave an almighty scream.

Baby came out and didn’t make a peep. In fact, I was the only one crying in the room. I was worried by mammy’s reaction, or lack of reaction at the time but have since realized mother mode kicked in and she was engrossed with watching him and what they were doing to him. Over here, they no longer wash the baby right away. So, they wiped him down with a towel and gave me some clamps to cut the chord with. The color came rushing into him and he was put on mom’s chest.

I’m not an emotional person but I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t think I would cry but I cried like a baby. Unfortunately, he picked up an infection. So we had to stay in hospital for a couple of days…it was very emotional. They made us leave him in a room with strangers…that’s when mommy cried. She’s been crying every day since but tears of joy. She says she feels completely different. As though she’s whole now. She also says, the birth was pretty traumatic but other than the last push, she can’t really remember what the contractions felt like.

A week into parents, I’m the man when it comes to burping him. The couple of extra days in the hospital gave us ample time to pick up tips from the nurses on swaddling, breast feeding, diaper changing etc. She now has her stupid 6 weeks off (yay, America)…He was born on a Sunday morning. I was back at work on Monday. (working remote from the hospital). I don’t think anything will match the euphoric feeling of holding him for the first time.

It was an incredible experience.

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Conor Crean Monaghan our little Thairish American. Conor in Irish means lover of hounds. His mother picked that. Crean is after the legendary Irish explorer, who went on multiple expeditions to the antarctic. Once braving an 35km trek to save a crew mate and a 1500km journey in a lifeboat to seek a rescue mission for the crew after their ship became crushed and stuck in the ice. He’s proving to be a tough little man himself, not crying when he was born…I bet Tom didn’t either.

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The Gun Thing

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This past weekend a 19 year old student from China, who was studying in the local University here was shot and killed. A woman crashed into the back of her car. She then proceeded to walk up to the girls driver side window and unload her gun into the girl. Causing the girl to hit the accelerator and crash into a car with 5 people in it, one of whom was a pregnant woman. The 19 year old girl died but the others were fine. There was an outpouring from the 3,000 Chinese students that attend the University. To me, it seemed like there was a lot less compassion from the American students and general public here. It’s as though they have become desensitized to it. This made me think a lot about my experience with guns since I moved here.

My first exposure to a gun in America was actually within the first couple of days of my arrival. I spent my first night staying in an airport hotel and then picked up a rental car to move to the next place. I moved into an extended stay hotel, somewhat close to where I would work. It was there that I saw my first gun. A family got on the elevator with me, they were dressed in cowboy gear and each carrying what looked to be rifles. I know nothing about guns…I felt a little uneasy but made peace with it in my mind and convinced myself that they were at some dress up event and the guns were likely relics that couldn’t even be shot any more.

Within a week, I moved into my first apartment. I paid out the ass for a place in a really nice area. I had read online that Phoenix had the highest grand theft auto rate in the country and had several thousand gangs! I wanted to make sure that I lived somewhere gated and safe. I moved to North Scottsdale. One of the fanciest, most posh places in the Valley. A place not so lovingly referred to as Snottsdales. The extortionate rent was worth my safety. I figured, after a year I would know the valley better and could move somewhere a little cheaper. So imagine my surprise when I went to check out the pool and found two rough looking guys, one with hardly a tooth in his head holding a handgun, looking at it with the chamber out. I got scared and quickly left.

Facebook brought out the timeline feature a few years ago and this year brought out the ‘On this day’ feature…you can see what you posted on this day in recent years. I knew that I was putting on a brave face and trying to stay positive when I moved here. In fact, I loved it here for my first 2.5 years. Phoenix was unlike anywhere I had ever been. European cities are nice but this was very different. It was an adventure. A new place to explore. Find good pubs, restaurants, meet people, get immersed in the culture etc. I find it amazing now that I seemingly ignored what was going on around me. I’m not sure when things changed exactly. My guess is that I went home for a visit and got sad leaving and started to look at Phoenix in a different light. Not just Phoenix, in fact, all of America.

People in Ireland and just people outside of the US say some things that are simply not true about America and Americans. Americans are smart and very hard working. They have the same wants and needs as anybody else and although the US government does some atrocious things most people are just trying to get by. The US gun culture is something that has been a source of preaching for non-Americans and a beacon of what’s wrong in America and having moved here now, I can say that it’s actually understated. You have to live here to realize just how bad it is.

Arizona is only 33rd in the country for rate of gun ownership. Arizona permits concealed and non-concealed weapons. I’m not sure which is more terrifying. Knowing someone has a gun or not knowing. I have met neighbors going about my business carrying their gun in plain sight. On two separate occasions, I have seen neighbors being reckless with guns. One, a chubby fella carrying a rife pressed against his chest with his forearm holding it there, while carrying a bag in his hand and ammunition in his other hand. The gun was bouncing up and down as he walked. If there was a bullet in there, it could have gone off and hit anybody. I saw another neighbor holding a handgun pointing out  in his hand as he carried boxes from his truck into his apartment with the same hand. This is the type of people who can legally own guns and it’s terrifying!

One year I lived beside guys from India and it was a relief because I figured the chances of a domestic dispute and shooting were a lot less likely. I moved to a nice area in a place called Chandler. We thought it was a quiet area. Our first week living there, there was a report of a man with a gun being seen in an area close to a school. The school was put on lockdown. People on Facebook and news sites commented on the story about how ridiculous it was that this was even being reported…that it’s in the constitution and under Arizona law he’s allowed to carry his gun out in the open. 4 hours after the story broke, the same guy got in a shoot out with the police….

Last year I took the I-10 to and from work. You may have heard of the I-10 last year in the news. That’s because there was a ‘freeway shooter’. A person with a gun taking potshots at cars on a busy freeway. The shootings lasted several days with 11 reported incidents. Much like the missing Malaysian airlines plane story exposing the amount of filth floating in the Pacific Ocean, the freeway shooter story exposed the amount of shootings that happen on that freeway on a normal weekly basis as the police struggled to figure out if the 11 shootings were all actually related!!!

I also happened to live about 6 miles away from a shooting spree. A man went around Mesa shooting people, including going into a college, demanding a kids car keys and then shooting at him. I lived half a mile from a native reserve that also just happened to be quite active for shootings. I worked in a company that had multiple offices in the area. The office a block away from mine had a workplace shooting….a man found out his wife that also worked there was having an affair with a co-worker. He shot the guy and then shot himself in front of his wife in the break room.

The most disturbing aspect of the culture to me is not just the shootings themselves. We have some shootings in Ireland…not many, most are in Dublin or Limerick but the shootings that occur are almost entirely from suicide or gang crimes. Criminals shooting other criminals. It’s not a good thing either but over here the shootings are not just on criminals. There’s shootings related to road rage. Obviously, there’s been the mass shootings on civilian targets. Work place shootings. Police shootings (many on unarmed men). Home invaders being shot (usually unarmed). Suicide by cop. Out of all of the shootings, even the one that happened at my company, I think the most disturbing to me was the one in which a 21 year old working in a petrol station was shot in the chest and killed because the shooter thought he was taking too long to give him his change. I worked in a petrol station for 8 years! At this point, I wouldn’t want my kids to work in retail or a service job here. Hell, I don’t think they would be safe going to school or just living here in general.

I was going to move to Seattle. I had thought things would be different up there and they are to a degree. Seattle is a much smaller city but there’s still shootings.  (There was an accidental shooting in a cinema just this week) It’s much more socialist but there’s still massive social problems. Others suggested that I move to California, which I found laughable as California is where most of the notorious serial killers lived. Also, obviously there’s been several mass shootings there in the last couple of years. I don’t think it matters if a state is liberal or conservative, left or right…the American attitude seems to be that when met with confrontation, you should escalate. People cum in their shorts when reading stories of a home intruder being shot and killed. Human life outside of you and your families lives don’t matter here. I guess that’s why there’s no Vietnam era type of protests about the terrible atrocities being carried out in the name of the American people. Underneath it all, with people wanting a gun for home protection, to prevent a tyrannical government, because the criminals have weapons, it’s clear that people here live in fear and I’m one of them! I’m scared over here.

I was sick at Christmas. On Christmas Eve, I knew I would be alone the next day so I went to my nearest grocery store to get some food. It was a Wal-Mart. They had armed Tempe police officers dotted around the store. I try to not go out after 8pm for a few reasons. It seems to be a busy time for shootings at places like Wal-Mart, like CVS and because drink driving is a huge problem here and that’s usually close to the time that Happy Hour ends.

America has given me a great opportunity. I have made and saved more money than I ever could while living in Ireland. The only way I could have made more money, is if I went to Saudi Arabia or UAE. If I went there, I would not have got to experience the country I was born in. I would not have met my fiance. I would not have had all of the great experiences that I have had here BUT I think my love affair with the US has fizzled out. Right now I’m just biding time to leave. I might move back to Ireland, I might compromise and move to a different country if my other half would prefer that but one thing is for sure, I want to leave America.

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