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My grandmother (mother's mother) has had a hell of a life. She caught pregnant at fifteen, after my grandfather told her he was stable. Yes, she should have known better, but she was a sheltered girl in the early fifties, when sex ed was non-existent. She was shotgun wedded to my grandfather, who was a dedicated alcoholic by the age of eighteen. He was violent, and grandma didn't know how to escape. She had four kids in six years. The fourth one, Lyle, was the only one planned. At that time, you couldn't have a hysterectomy for birth control reasons unless you had four children. She was hurt, a lot. My grandfather knocked out most of her teeth in the next fifteen years. Broken bones, bruises, cigarette burns. Rape. (I don't care if they were married, if she didn't want to and he violently took her, it was rape) Threatening the kids, and being rough a little over the line with the two boys. One winter, on January 11th, according to my mother, he came home rip-roaring drunk. He argued with Grandma about nothing. He went to get his shotgun. She ran upstairs, and roused the older two kids, my mother and Larry, the oldest. They each grabbed a younger child and fled into the country night in their pajamas, coats, and boots, the little ones wearing only socks. They had to trek across a field to get to the neighbors to call Grandma's parents. The neighbors made the kids wait outside on the porch, in sub zero weather. They didn't let them in, offer them blankets, clothes, or a warm drink. They flat out told Grandma she better not steal anything, or make long distance calls. My grandfather, meanwhile, was shooting up the house. Every closed door had been shot through. There was a wrap around screened in porch that went all the around, and had doors on the west and east passages of the porch. They were both closed, and both had been shot through. ** My grandfather knew the children were with my grandmother. He was trying to kill the whole family** Despite what a monster he was, everyone treated my grandmother much worse. A lot of this was my grandfather's charm, good-old-boyness, and ability to lie. He blamed his drinking on Grandma's nagging and sleeping around, which I seriously doubt she ever did. She had never been made love to, only fucked violently. Not a person who's going to seek more sex, to me. He blamed their constant poverty on her crazy spending, when all four of her children have told me he might pay the I'm too pissed, finish later. I'm glad the bastard's dead.
I've seen uncompassionate people all to often in my life. It sickens me to live among them. I think the first time I came across an uncompassionate person was when I ran out on to my front lawn from my father chasing me, beating me. I remember falling to the ground and my father beating me in broad daylight. There were people around but they didn't do anything. They walked back into their houses and ignored everything. I hope when they close their uncompassionate eyes they can still hear me screaming.
I'm going to ramble a bit here, because I'm feeling frustrated and passionate. It all started a couple hours ago, when I wrote this on the side of a cardboard box in permanent marker and set it on top of a cart by the back door of a grocery store: "The hungry people of this city do not appreciate the employees of this store needlessly slashing open food containers and dumping their contents out. It's unnecessary and uncompassionate." I would have written a lengthy diatribe about how capitalism dehumanizes people, how my Food Not Bombs crew gives groceries to impoverished families in a destitute part of town, and how the comfort afforded them by their minimum wage was NOT worth the suffering inflicted upon others by such absurd malice, but I didn't want to make my friend driving the truck wait too long for me to finish. That, and I was wary of the principle of "the more you write, the less stupid people will pay attention to it", so I kept it brief. Sometimes employees destroy products as they're throwing them away so no one tries to resell them, or return them to the store for money. Sometimes it's in legitimate self-defense of the business being scammed for money. But we couldn't help but feel that they just couldn't stand the thought of human beings eating and not paying for it. Surviving for free. They go to great lengths to sabotage the food that a moment ago they decided wasn't of any value to anyone (and often not because it's bad or expired, but just because a new shipment came in and they have to clear out shelf space for it). And to keep people hungry? To force people to come in and pay? To force them to toil away at work for even more hours of their lives for less pay than they're worth? Or even worse, because they simply think people who eat trash are icky and want to make that trash unsafe to eat out of blind spite? Fuck that. Fuck 'Profits Before People' and fuck idiots that treat those outside of their comfort zones like they're less than human. My shoplifting prowess shall return their lack of compassion tenfold. Life matters more than money. Yes, they hit a nerve with me. Not just because the package of bagels that I wanted to keep in my backpack to eat while I was working in a computer lab got slashed open and dumped out all over trash (along with about 30 more), but because I'll have to see the families line up at my friend's house for Food Not Bombs tomorrow morning and not be able to split up enough groceries to feed their impoverished families without cutting into the money they need for medicine, school, rent, and other things that businesses don't throw out every night. I want to fucking burn down the house of every store manager that feels like he's something more important than a hungry person struggling to feed three kids without a college education or well-paying job. I want to liberate them all from the system that enforces these views, views of hierarchy that make them feel justified for selling their lives away. Justified for every time they fail to act like a decent human being, and fail to consider the suffering they contribute to. "At least we have money and property." Then they might start to realize what's important in the world. Then they might understand compassion for life. Then they might start to really live. The common self-professed Christian acts with nowhere near the regard for the poor as Christ, nor with his rejection of material wealth. Damn, for being a guy so full of happy Buddhist love, I'm awfully bitter. I guess I still haven't gotten this down yet.