U.S.A. Student Activism–March On!

Auntie Says…My thoughts are with the American students. March on!

Columbine. That word pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

It was April 1999 and I’ll never forget seeing the images of terrified high school students running for their lives. I, like everyone else, was horrified and sickened, but It got worse—much worse. School shootings in the U.S. became, I hate to say it … commonplace.

While for the most part I don’t talk politics or religion, my heart and voice are with every student in the U.S. marching and protesting for a safer tomorrow. I’m optimistic as I witnessed the planned walk out one month to the day after the Florida school shooting. It was an illustration of choosing a course of action in solidarity and it makes me proud.

The young people of today are the voters of tomorrow. Getting angry about the abhorrent gun laws, political rhetoric, and the seemingly lackadaisical attitudes surrounding school shootings is not only necessary, but required, for change. It takes a lot of courage and tenancity to take those first steps against the status quo and I applaud these young people for what they’re doing.

Like many, I’ve wept as the body count rises in the name of U.S. democratic freedoms. Even from a  distance where I don’t feel the same physical (gun violence) threats, I can still understand the grief faced by so many —too many. I seriously don’t know how they all cope and carry on after such harrowing circumstances.

In Canada, we don’t face the same fears about school shootings, but we still feel our neighbor’s pain and the aftershocks of grief and anger. For every individual that dies, there are survivors—the other students, the family, the teachers, staff, and first responders—forever changed in a way that we can only imagine, but there’s also the public. Let’s not forget the average person watching the tragedy unfold on TV and how it affects them. It’s a mood of uncertainty and helplessness suffered by millions of people in both the US and Canada. It’s a sad truth of the day.

Even if you don’t think your kid is aware of the news and current events, believe me—they know. The kids talk about it to each other and in class. They watch YouTube .It’s not a secret and yet as far as I know, the schools here don’t do anything like security drills or heightened vigilance. Who knows how much all the school gun violence south of the border is adding to the anxiety and depression for teens everywhere?  After a televised incident, I’d bet that all the teachers and administrators walk back into the school with a heavy heart. How could you not? It doesn’t matter where the incident occurs, it affects us all.

When I see the anger and determination on the faces of those young people marching, it gives me hope. Hope that there will be change. Hope that someone amongst those students, is a strong and forever leader—a compelling voice—that will bring about positive transformation. I also hope that the protest continues until it’s voice is so strong that it can no longer be pushed aside or ignored.

We joke about having ‘first-world problems’—school shootings should not be one of them. Let’s pray that the students voices raised in protest will be heard and acted upon. #NationalWalkoutDay #StudentsForChange #EndGunViolence #AuntieSays

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan. She can be reached at faye.arcand@icloud.com  or www.fayeearcand.com 

Auntie Says…With change, comes social responsibility.

Marijuana? Cannabis? Pot? Blunt? It really doesn’t matter what it’s called because in Canada it’ll soon be legal. For many who have prescriptions for medical cannabis creams, pills, oils, tobacco etc., the merits and positive affects, and usage, of the drug are not in question. The prescribed ongoing use under a doctor’s care is a great alternative for some patients to find relief from chronic pain or other medical issues. I’m sure it’ll be such a positive thing for them not having to deal with the illicit label associated with their medication.

The reality is though, that not all marijuana, or cannabis, users are the same. There are those that take it with a prescription, there are recreational-weekend users, the once in a while puffers, and then you have the trend of the wake and bake/daily (and often all day) user who are not under any medical supervision and/or personal scrutiny for their behavior.

For those that don’t know, the term ‘wake and bake’ (aka morning glory), is all about preparation. Before you go to sleep, you ready a joint/bong/bowl/pipe (whatever method you prefer) of marijuana, making sure it’s within reach so you can smoke it immediately upon waking. Some say the high achieved through wake and bake is superior, more intense, and lasts longer because the body absorbs more THC since it’s in a fasting state and isn’t fully awake. Others say it just kickstarts their day.

My concern about the wake and bake is that it may not stop there. Is it just a morning thing or is it all day? every day?

If it goes into all day, I say—you have a problem because your ‘habit’ (that’s a gentle word for addiction)—affects not only you, but others as well.

Life, and living it, is about finding a balance. If you’re getting up every single morning and reaching for your weed like this, you need to have a look at your life. If you wake and bake and then go into an all day smoke-fest, sadly you’re missing out on opportunities because you’ve become a functional stoner.

If you had a partner who woke up, rolled over in bed, and took a long swig of tequila every morning—just to calm their nerves before facing the shower or getting out of bed—would you be concerned? Then later, in traffic, she gets tense so pulls out the tequila and takes a couple of shots—just to take the edge off—an hour later she has an exam at school—oops, better have a few quick sips to get rid of the jitters. Every hour or two—just quick shots to get through the day. I mean come on, alcohol is legal—right?!

Would you wonder if they were impaired after drinking all day? Take that same scenario and replace the drinking with smoking pot. Does it make it any more acceptable? Would you be concerned? Are you impaired?

I know that marijuana can relax you or have a euphoric affect, but it can also bring on anxiety, panic, paranoia and memory loss. It also causes cognitive and physical impairment. It slows your reaction time, affects your co-ordination, slows your decision making, screws up your ability to judge distances, and can lower your blood pressure—all of which can present problems when doing your everyday activities. I recognize it’s different for everyone.

Smoking dope, with a wake and bake and all day/everyday, affects not only you, but those around you. Heck, even Woody Harrelson, the dope smoker extraordinaire, quit smoking because, as he said in Variety Magazine, “it was keeping him from being emotionally available.”

Sometimes you need to stop and think. Would you want the doctor who’s doing your vasectomy in the morning to wake and bake? or how about the semi-truck coming towards you on the freeway— or your kids school bus driver — did they partake in their morning glory? Does any of it make a difference to you?

You need to remember that pot is addictive and you can become dependent on it. One common argument is that marijuana is just an herb and can’t be harmful or addictive because it’s all natural. That argument doesn’t float. Nature produces a long list of indulgences from nicotine, to sugar, to opium—all highly addictive.

As legislation and regulation come down the pike there will also be more enforcement. Are you ready for that? The police will eventually be checking for THC levels while driving etc. There’ll be many changes that come with legalization and it’s not going to just be a free for all.
Long term medical and scientific studies of usage, affects, and benefits will be done and available for us to learn from.

It’s an exciting time of change in our country. That change comes with the social responsibility of exercising our personal growth, ability to make wise choices, and defining our own boundaries. You all know where Auntie stands.

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the south Okanagan. Email: faye.arcand@icloud.com or http://www.fayeearcand.com
Faye Arcand
faye.arcand@icloud.com

*Published by Black Press