04 June 2019

Prince Edward Island By Bike

I just found notes on my phone from a bike trip on Prince Edward Island several years ago. I had thought to put individual posts with photos on the blog, but never got to it. Here you go, as dictated into my phone in the tent along the way. The notes end the day before we finished the trip. The pedal broke again, on an uphill, and the boy wiped out, but was uninjured, and we made it back to our car without further incident.
PEI TRIP

Day One. Monday August 15 North Cape Coastal Drive, 50 miles. Jacques Cartier Provincial Park to Mill River

We left NYC on  Saturday  morning. Google thought it was a 13 hour drive to Charlottetown, where we'd meet George, who would drive us to the northwest end of the island. But between traffic, gas stops, and an apparent time warp, after nearly 13 hour we were in Nova Scotia with six hours left to drive. And as we were setting up our (new) tent for the first time (in the dark), it started to rain. 

By morning, it was still raining, with no sign of letting up, so we decided there was no point in rushing the drive just so we could bike in the rain. So George dropped us off at Jacques Cartier provincial park in the evening and we fixed some supper and went to sleep. 

In the morning we rode north and west 28 km along the coast to North Cape where we had lunch and walked to the lighthouse and helped gather stones so the offspring could build a tower. We turned with to ride the road on the west side of the cape making good time until I heard the snap of a broken spoke. I duct-taped it into place and took the downhills slow, and we rode to St. Edward, where Paul Dalton keeps a shop in his basement. 

Paul, it turns out, doesn't just repair bikes but rides them, long distances. He's not sure, but he thinks he might be the only person who's ever ridden two Ultraman triathlons in one summer -- with an Ironman in between. An Ironman is a 2 mile swim, a 120 mile bike ride, and a marathon -- 26.2 mile run. An Ultraman is twice that. He also bicycled from Vancouver to Newfoundland  couple of years back, 4200 miles in 57 days. 

Paul replaced the spoke, trued the wheel, and gave us water for the dog. It was late in the afternoon so Paul suggested we take route 2, the main route through the the center of the island, to save time. He assured us it had a paved break down lane and would be safe. Trucks indeed slowed down before passing us, as did many cars, most of whom also gave us a very wide berth. We arrived at Mill River Campground long enough  before dark to cook our meal. 

Day two, August 16. Confederation Trail, Mill river to Linkletter. 40 miles. 

When I heard about the confederation Trail, a rails to trails path that runs from one end of PEI to the other, I assumed it would be packed--kids, dogs, parents with strollers, hikers, bikers out for an hour or two. But it turns out to be empty. We see half a dozen other people all day and we ride in silence away from the road, the only sounds our own conversation, the breeze in the trees, and birdsong. Goldenrod and Queen Anne's lace and purple flowers I don't know line the path, and the air smells divine: fir trees, camomile, clover, freshly cut wood, and hay. Also the occasional skunk and dairy farm. 

We make an early stop in O'Leary and finally find gas for our stove, for which we've  been searching since we arrived in Canada. (For reasons I don't understand, you can't buy the stuff in NYC. The Mate, who does the camp cooking, has been valiantly producing meals over a can of Sterno, so this is a happy moment. 

The Offspring calls, Stop! and The Mate and I stop. Are you okay?  He points: "raspberries!" We stop and forage; it turns out there are also blackberries. Off the vine in the sun is, as far as I'm concerned, the only way to eat blackberries, and these are divine. 

Riding on the packed gravel surface of the trail is more comfortable, but slower, than road riding, and it takes us seven hours to rise the 40 miles to Linkletter, our next stop. We arrive hungry and tired. 

Day 3 August 17 Linkletter to Cabot Point. Rain.  25 miles

We wake to rain, persistent and soaking. After two fairly long days a rest day might be nice. We bring breakfast into a little shack with a picnic table and study our maps and contemplate our options. A younger couple turns up, suited up in full rain gear and ready to go. They're also towing a dog trailer and Jojo says hi to their puppy. 

We don't have proper rain gear on this trip, but by midday we're getting restless so we pack up and ride to town for lunch. Three miles with a headwind driving rain into our faces and we're wondering if we should just turn back. But after a big meal and lots of hot tea we are feeling rejuvenated and the sky is a little brighter so we press on. 

The first half of today's ride is on the Confederation Trail again. There's a town at our halfway point and we stop for groceries. Briefly, the sun comes out. 

I discover that my overloaded rear wheel has been churning up gravel and my rear brake, both derailleurs, chain, and cog set are covered in gravel. I rinse it off as best I can with plain water, but I really need WD-40 followed by White Lightning dry lube.  My chain makes crunching noises for the rest of the day. 

Then it's back to drizzle. Today is a short day, though, and we make it to Cabot Point Provincial Park in the late afternoon, with enough time to do laundry and get organized.

Like all of the provincial parks, this one has an area for bikers, with campsites separated from the cars and RVs. Our tent is surrounded by thick fir trees. The rain has finally stopped and the moon is near full and I can hear the wind in the trees and the surf in the distance. 

Day 4, August 18, Central Coastal Drive. Cabot Point to Cavendish. 20 miles. 

I'm happy to be back on roads after a day and a half on gravel, which makes for slower travel, plus my gears are still grinding away. After yesterday's ride in the chilly rain, I'm famished. Bananas, orange juice, half a package of cookies, nuts, dried fruit--we're all burning calories like crazy. I'm getting tired of eating. 

Today's roads prove hilly. We have some glorious downhills and some labored hauls back up. Since The Mate is towing Jojo in his trailer, I've got the stove, two cook sets,  camping gas, and all our food. We're both loaded more heavily than usual and we're feeling it. 

Traffic is also heavier here as we approach the birthplace of Lucy Maud Montgomery and the places she described inAnne of Green Gables. A car peels by us going way too fast around a blind curve, the driver leaning on the horn. The license plate tells us the car is from off island. Later we're passed by twelve members of Quebec's Hell's Angels, all in need of mufflers. When the next car is a pickup towing a camper, it's an unusual relief.

We stop at a campground in PEI national park, pitch our tent by the beach, and go for a swim. The water is much warmer than what we're used to on the Maine coast--heavenly. The rain comes in and there's thunder in the distance, and the beach clears.

The Mate and The Offspring decide to ride two miles into town after dinner. While they're out, thunder rolls in again , this time closer and louder and clouds rolling in across the ocean. In a hear the rain on the water and I run to the toilets. While I'm there, the clouds break and I get soaked running back to the tent. A gust of wind flattens the tent as Jojo cowers and I worry about the guys. The rain blows over and I take some photos of the sunset. Right about dark, the guys show up. They'd been sheltered at the ice cream place during the downpour and then biked back from town. 

Day 5, August 19. Cavendish to Stanhope. Bike paths in PEI National Park, plus Route 6 between. 20 miles. 

The guys bought a can of WD-40 on their trip into town and I empty the whole thing onto my chain and derailleurs, getting them reasonably clean. I'm able to ride without constant grinding and crunching sounds. 

The down side: every night in a campsite is a crapshoot. If our tent is downwind of someone's campfire, I end up breathing a lot of smoke. Last night, I lost. The campground was dense and full and lots of people were keeping fires burning through the rain and there's a huge amount of smoke everywhere and it gives me an asthma attack.  I wake repeatedly in the night dreaming I'm drowning and keep taking more medicine.  By morning my lungs are clear but I'm exhausted and it's a tough day's ride. 

We ride along the coast on a paved bike bath in PEI National Park, our nicest ride so far on the trip. But to get to the next section of the path, we have to ride along Route 6, one of the most heavily traveled roads we've been on. As usual, most of the drivers slow down and give us plenty of room, but the occasional truck or RV passes hair-raisingly close. We return to the bike path but the eastern segment isn't as beautiful as the earlier part and we're exhausted from riding in traffic on choppy up and down hills and we cut the day short. 

Day 6 Aug 20 Confederation Trail, Stanhope to St. Peter, 35 miles

Our neighbor last night made a completely smokeless fire, using the trick of raising the fire ring -- like many in OEI's campgrounds, consisting of a truck wheel-- with a small log, allowing the fire to draw. 

We finished out the bike trail in the national park and then went back onto route 6. Traffic was lighter, maybe because of where we were, maybe because it was Saturday morning. But we turned off onto a road with a three digit number and it was seriously quiet and moved back to the Confederation Trail.

The section we rode today is supposed to be the most beautiful section, and it was lovely, but in my opinion not more so than the other sections we've ridden. More birches, less spruce. Lots of wild roses, but all gone by; maybe in season they make that section particularly nice. Raspberries in profusion. Wide open fields of blueberries with signs warning against trespassing. We see more cyclists today, including some other families, but the trail is still very quiet. 

Travelers Inn in Mt. Stewart was playing Supertramp, made us salads with hummus and some of the best home fries ever, and was adorned with huge paintings of women that looked like mug shots. It turns out they are, sort of: they're painted after mugshots of Australian convicts from the 1930s. Creepy and compelling. 

We stopped at a pizza place for gluten free pizzas and subs. While Fhe Mate and The Offspring ordered I sat outside nibbling almonds and keeping The Animal company. A guy roared in on his lawnmower, rode up to the pump, filled it up, and roared back off. Meanwhile an eagle circled overhead. We've also seen great blue herons, blue jays, rabbits, ducks and geese, gulls, and various birds I can't identify. 

We're stronger than we were when we started riding, making better time and riding more comfortably. I'm sleeping soundly and I've almost completely forgotten about the US presidential election. I had the opportunity tonight to get on wifi, but decided I don't have any interest in looking at email or Facebook and I definitely don't want to know what The Donald has been up to. 

Day 7. Confederation Trail to the terminus at Elmira and then local roads to East Point, then back west to Campbell's Cove Campgound. 40 miles. 

The trail from St. Peter to Elmira runs along the shore at first and then cuts into the woods again. A long section is lined with maples whose branches meet overhead to make a long green tunnel, and it's completely magical. A slightly bittersweet day of endings, as we reach first the trail's end, at a railway museum we decide not to enter, and then the end of the island, where there's a lighthouse only I opt to climb. Here, as on North Cape, there's little traffic, and drivers give us plenty of room. 

We finish the day with a ride back west to the campground at Campbell's Cove. The view is over open ocean and we pitch our tent on the beach. A neighbor in an RV sets up a palm tree and plugs it in. Here, as on North Cape, there's little traffic, and drivers give us plenty of room. 

After sundown it's a clear night and the moon hasn't risen yet and The Offspring gets his first view of stars without light pollution. He's appropriately awed. 

Day 8 Monday Rest day

We opt for a second night in the same campground, taking our first rest day of the trip. This is one of the nicest campgrounds The Kate and I came Ed remember staying in, a combination of the facilities and the nicest people.  We move to a tiny cabin because rain is in the forecast and it sounds like a nice opportunity to stay dry. We eat ravenously and do laundry. The offspring and I get in a swim before the rain comes while The Mate bikes a few miles down the road to a farm. 

The rain comes, on and off.  We could have ridden through it, but we needed a rest day. The guys have found some other kids to play games with, and I take a nap.

We settle in for the night and I don't hear the wind I've become accustomed to, and I find I miss it. I seem to toss and turn rather than falling soundly to sleep as in the past several nights, maybe because I'm not dead tired from riding, maybe because we're sleeping in bunks, in separate beds, not like pa k animals in the burrow of our small tent. But eventually I sleep and later I wake to the sound of pouring, driving rain, and I'm glad not to be I n our tent above the shore. I wAke again later after the rain has stopped and walk across the grass to the toilets and step in puddles up to my ankles. 

Day 9, Campbell's cove to Brudenell provincial park, 45 miles. 

We awake to discover that the wind has shifted and is blowing due east, and hard. We set off along the East Point coastal road, and the  views are  beautiful and traffick light, but the wind gusty and progress difficult and slow. So we return to the Confederation Trail, away from the coast and protected by trees from the worst of the gusts. But the headwinds still mean slow progress and it takes us s ver hour to ride the 25 miles to St Peter's. We stop for a long lunch and decide to stop our ride and stay in the campground a km away. But then The Offspring decides he'd rather ride anothe 15 miles today so tomorrow's ride will be 10 miles shorter. And so we set off on one of the roads across the center of the island to cross to the south coast. The wind is now a cross wind rather thanked on, but the road is very hilly. We leave St. Peter's at 5 pm and we have to make good progress to make Brudenell by dark, and we push through

On the way up a long hill, The offspring calls to me. I stop. He pulls up beside me and tells me his pedal has cracked. I put a couple of zip ties around it for stability and wrap it in a couple of yards of duct tape and hope we can make it to Brudenell. I twist the tape the last few wraps around so it won't be too slippery. We ride a few hundred yards and I ask him how it feels. "Sticky."

19 May 2019

Flying as an Environmentalist

The amount I’m flying this year is getting me down, because it’s hands-down the most carbon-intensive thing I do, and it negates all the carbon reductions I achieve by eating vegan, biking to work, and trying to reject consumer habits.

I’m flying this year to four conferences to give papers on ecocriticism — the study of how literature and other cultural artifacts like art, movies, and historical documents describe or depict how humans interact with the environment. My scholarly work deals with how the literature of early medieval England represents humans and the environments they occupy and imagine — from wilderness and forests through farms and their homes.

My engagement with medieval ecocriticisms is explicitly activist. I believe that thinking about the ways that humans of the past engaged with their environments can help us understand our present. I also believe that we’re in a time of climate crisis, and ecocritical humanities has to recognize that, and our scholarly endeavors have to advance understanding of the need to act, NOW. So that means I also need to act, myself — and all the flying is a real problem.

The last time I flew, I googled “carbon offsets” for flights, and rapidly went down a rabbit hole of conflicting information. One article claimed individuals don’t need to buy carbon offsets, because airlines are taking care of it. For example, they claimed Delta was providing carbon offsets for all travelers through certain airports, including the one I flew through. Turned out they were only doing that for flights taken on Earth Day.

I decided to create my own carbon sink by planting a tree for every flight I take this year. Here’s number one:


It’s a tiny, baby swamp white oak, maybe a foot tall. I planted it in a gully by Long Branch’s elementary school, with the help of a colleague and friend who has a contact there. In the photo, I’m building a cage made out of hardware cloth that will help protect the little tree from predators, mostly deer, and from accidentally being mowed. I’ll need to check on it periodically, and if we have a dry spell in the next four years I’ll have to water it.

My flights to Detroit, San Francisco, Albuquerque, and Charlottesville will add up to carbon emissions of about 3.4 tons.

A tree can sequester one ton of carbon in 40 years.

I plan to plant four trees this summer to offset the four flights I’m taking. And the labor of doing that is making me think harder about conference planning for next year, because I plan to continue planting trees to offset my own flights. But we’re in climate crisis now — we don’t have 40 years for the trees to grow.

13 March 2019

Avoiding Plastic, Week One

A week into my commitment to avoid single-use plastics, an update.

The knife and fork set that my dad gave me, with 1960s-era vintage plastic handles, is traveling in my bag. I’ve been packing lunch and even dinner to avoid take-out. I ate out once, and put the leftovers in a plastic container I had with me, rather than taking a new one that I would then end up throwing away.


For the most part, I feel pretty good about it.

Sunday, though, was a fairly epic failure. I drove my son to Jenkinson’s to apply for a job and went to a coffee shop to wait for him. I ordered a latte — in a paper cup, because for once I didn’t have my reusable mug with me — and didn’t think to ask them not to put on a lid.

He got hired on the spot. I didn’t even have time to drink the coffee before we headed back to join some people at a restaurant for lunch.

One fender-bender later, we got hung up for so long my friend ended up getting my meal wrapped up to take home. I ended up with a salad in a styrofoam clamshell, rice in more styrofoam, and tofu and broccoli in an aluminum container with a plastic lid.

Plastic 2, Heide 0.

Still, it’s been easier than I anticipated. It’s also making me take a hard look at my grocery cart. 

A bottle of ketchup or hot sauce that will last for a few months seems less problematic than the box of tofu that will make one meal, or the tub of vegan yogurt that I’ll finish in three or four breakfasts. I’m paying more attention to whether I can get a comparable item packaged in glass, which is fully and indefinitely recylable, unlike plastic*. I’m avoiding the containers of delicious but environmentally disastrous tomatoes. 

I said last week I thought it would be almost impossible. On Sunday, I was foiled by one mistake and one bad driver. But I’ve definitely reduced the amount of plastic I would otherwise have used during the week, and I’m feeling good about going into week two

—————
* You can sterilize a glass bottle and refill it with beer, or whatever, or you can break it up and make a new bottle. You can’t make a plastic water bottle into another water bottle. Contamination problems mean that food-grade plastic can only be recycled for non-food uses, like fleece sweaters (that then shed microfleece particles every time they go through the washer) or plastic park benches. Either way, it’s not going away.

05 March 2019

Six Weeks without Single-Use Plastic?

Lent isn’t my holiday, but I hope those of you who observe it won’t mind if I borrow it to re-commit myself to a couple of environment-friendly habits that have been hard for me to get behind.

It’s true, global warming isn’t going to go away because of the individual actions of a few tree-huggers. (I will admit to being a tree-hugger.) We need corporate and government action. 

But we also need personal change. We need to find ways to say “no” to the endless cycles of consumption encouraged by capitalism and the marketing that supports it.


Lent begins tomorrow, March 6, and runs through April 18. Six weeks is a good time span to establish new habits. My goals: Buy nothing new, and give up single use plastics.

I don’t anticipate not buying new things is going to be difficult, not for six weeks. Once Lent is over, I’ll see how much longer I can keep it up.

Giving up single-use plastics is going to be a much bigger challenge. I’ve developed the habit of carrying a mug with me. I start my day with coffee and when that’s gone I switch over to water. So I don’t use water bottles or coffee cups.

But I’ve come to rely on take-out meals to get me through busy weeks, and it’s going to be hard to go six weeks without a take-out meal. It’s going to be hard to remember next time I’m at a reception not to grab a plastic plate and fork to have some cut up fruit or vegetables and hummus.

I might make it through six weeks without any single-use plastic items, but I’m certainly not going to be able to make it through six weeks without any plastic at all, because of the ubiquity of plastic packaging that comes with groceries. Most of those containers are bigger than single servings, so it’s not technically single-use, but it’s close.

I just went to the grocery store. I bought a couple of bars of soap in cardboard boxes, but inside the boxes — plastic wrap. Yogurt, in a plastic container, dishwasher detergent pods in a plastic bag. Garlic and onions, each in a plastic mesh bag. Almonds and walnuts, each in a plastic bag. Biodegradable plastic garbage bags — in a plastic bag. Calcium tablets in a little plastic jar, and two toothbrushes, both made of plastic and packaged in more plastic.

So at the same time that I’m trying to quit single-use plastic, I’m also going to try to limit the plastic packaging that comes with my food.

Wish me luck. It’s going to be hard.

01 February 2019

Biking in the Cold

I'm teaching in two places this semester. My home institution, Monmouth University, has graciously given me permission to teach at New York University, where I have the absolutely amazing privilege to run a graduate seminar on Medieval Ecocriticisms. What that means, though, is a lot more travel, and I'm trying not to drive if possible.

So  yesterday I biked 2.5 miles from my place on the Lower East Side to the NYU English Department, and then a few hours later, biked home again. It was probably at or close to the day's high of 17 degrees when I left, and down to 15 or so for my trip home. This morning, when I walked from my Long Branch rental to campus at Monmouth, it was five degrees.

I am not a hero, I am not an amazon, and I am not a monster. I'm just well prepared. For my bike ride yesterday, I wore a dress with warm leggings and a wool sweater -- and over that, snowboarding pants, a down vest, a warm winter jacket, down-lined gloves, a hat, and a gore-tex helmet cover. Plus Dermatone, a Swedish ointment that's kind of like lip gloss for the face (and, importantly, does not make me break out), to keep exposed skin from frostbite.

In the United States, our lives are organized, economically and culturally, in ways based on a historic sense of natural resources being endless. And on this large continent, for many decades we could reasonably believe that they were.

Twenty years ago I'd have said biking in single-digit temperatures was impossible. But I learned how to do it, and biking at 15 degrees yesterday was brisk, but not uncomfortable. I got cold hands and feet, but there are degrees of cold, ranging from tolerable to dangerous, and I was nowhere near danger.

Even as it's becoming clear that we not longer can operate on the assumption of limitless resources, we have built lives that are structured on that idea. Which means changing our lives means changing our ideas about how housing and communities and commutes are organized, among many other things. That's complicated, but it's not impossible. We can change our behavior, individually, and we can lobby our elected officials and hold corporations accountable. It's hard, but we can do it.

Also: Choosing to commute in the cold without the warm cocoon of a car is a good reminder that there are many people who don't have a choice: their jobs require them to be outdoors in all kinds of weather.

11 January 2019

What Will You Do? A Birthday Request


I’m turning 55 this month. Facebook has been encouraging me to set up a donation link and ask all my friends to contribute to my favorite cause. Instead, I’m asking my friends to do something about the environment.

Climate change has become a huge problem, and we are all going to be affected in our lifetimes. You don’t need me to tell you all the ways we’re doomed.

I’m not going to tell you what to do — we need action in so many different spheres and at so many different levels. If you’re going to keep up a commitment, it has to be to something that you feel is meaningful and that you are comfortable doing. 

We need government action, we need corporate action, and we need individual action. We need carbon taxes, we need businesses to adopt environmentally responsible processes, we need better public transit, we need better pedestrian and bike routes, and we need to stop consuming and wasting so much stuff at the individual level.

Maybe you’d be comfortable making a weekly phone call to an elected official — local, state, or federal — urging them to take positive action on some issue concerning the environment. Maybe you hold stocks, and you can try to persuade the corporations you invest in to take more environmentally responsible actions. Or you are vested in a retirement account and you can persuade its managers to disinvest from fossil fuels.

Maybe you want to try giving up fast fashion, spending more money on fewer items of clothing that will last longer. 

Maybe you want to try eating lower on the food chain, or cutting back on beef and dairy, which are worse for the environment than vegetable sources of protein but also worse than chicken and eggs.

Maybe you think it would be an interesting challenge to give up single-use plastics, whether water bottles, take-out containers, or soap and shampoo bottles. Maybe you can persuade your favorite take-out place to switch to paper containers. Maybe you’ll get a reusable coffee cup and get your coffee shop to put your morning brew in it instead of into paper or styrofoam.

Maybe you want to turn down the heat and put on a sweater, or in the summer turn up the heat and put on a fan. Maybe you can buy your electricity from a company that uses renewable sources, or even put solar panels on your roof.

Maybe you’re willing to give up your lawn, and the chemical fertilizers and pest control chemicals you’re using to maintain it, and instead create a yard full of native flowers and shrubs that will attract bees and butterflies and birds, and native trees that will do those things plus sequester carbon and provide summer-time shade that will reduce your need for air conditioning.

Maybe you believe environmental justice should be our biggest priority, and you want to volunteer for a few hours a month with an organization that helps both people and the environment.

Maybe you’re contemplating a move, and you want to choose a new home based in part on environmental criteria: well insulated? In a multi-unit building, so it can share heating and cooling via walls adjacent to other units? Close to public transit so you can take a bus or train to work or to school? Close enough to work so that you can walk or ride a bike?

My own commitments for the year are to recommit to a number of environmentally responsible habits, including use of public transit, avoiding take-out, and keeping my shopping for anything other than necessities to a bare minimum, and to get back to blogging about environmental issues. My goal will be to post weekly. Once a month, I’ll tell you what I am doing myself to help the environment. In other posts, I’ll provide more information about the things I’ve mentioned above, along with links to sources, as well as other ideas about things we can do to make the world a better place, big as well as small.

Do I have 55 friends who are with me? Please post in the comments section, or if you’d rather be anonymous, message me. Thank you.

14 December 2018

Six years. A moment. A lifetime.

It’s been six years since the Sandy Hook shooting, 20 little kids murdered by an angry white man, and it feels like just a minute ago, and it feels like a lifetime ago.

All the shootings since then, schools and other places, all the angry white men collapse in my mind and I want to run to where my son is and hold him tight and somehow make my body protect him from the violence.

At the same time I feel like I’ve gone through a lifetime of sorrow and loss of illusions that we cannot, as a nation, do anything about this.

We fetishize the Second Amendment, though we have legislative and judiciary branches of government whose job it is to update and interpret the law.

The claim that we already have laws and they don’t keep guns out the hands of criminals is disingenuous. With no nationwide concensus on gun laws, we have ended up with a patchwork of weak laws and loopholes that lets anyone with gas money drive to a neighboring state and buy as much firepower as they want.

We regulate cars and Sudafed, lettuce and Adderal. We regulate free speech and voting. We have, since the original composition of the Constitution, abolished slavery, prohibited alcohol and allowed it again, extended the vote to former slaves and to women.

Yet as a nation, we deem it impossible to create national limits on the sale of automatic weapons, or create national standards for background checks.

And so people keep dying. Children keep dying. People of color, women, gays. Straight white men get killed, too, some of them police officers. People keep dying, and we keep avoiding naming the killers: men, white men almost to the one, a slim majority of them involved in domestic violence.

As a nation, it seems we can’t imagine limiting the rights of these white men to their guns, and so every week we go through spasms of grief about another killing, and then we go right on with our lives. I’ve gone numb. How about you?