Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, June 26, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 12

Mountain View News Saturday, June 26, 2021 12 OPINION Mountain View News Saturday, June 26, 2021 12 OPINION 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 
Dinah Chong WatkinsAudrey SwansonMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterKim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Rich Johnson 
Lori Ann Harris 
Rev. James SnyderKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanJeff Brown 
Marc Garlett 
Keely TotenDan Golden 
Rebecca WrightHail Hamilton 
Joan Schmidt 

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I awoke this morning thinking I would rush out to the golf 

course to practice so that I would be prepared to play with my wife’s 

nephew tomorrow morning. I am kind of thrilled that he is willing 

to come and play golf with me as he is 21 years old, a second team 

All-League football player, an aspiring actor,and a really interesting 

guy with his own apartment, car and a job. The fact that he is will

ing and even enthusiastic about spending some time with 77 year 
old me is surprising and gratifying. I play golf whenever I can and continue to be absolutely 
wretched at it. Every day I plan to go out and practice but never do. Instead, once I get out 
there, I surprise myself (which shouldn’t be a surprise) and choose to play rather than just 
hit balls on the range. Not that I really know the answer, but I think that the reasons I do 
this are that if I choose to play and walk the course and do not rent an electric cart I know 
that I will be getting exercise. 

I would like to be around for a while and I believe getting exercise is a really healthy 
thing to do. Unfortunately, I have been walking the course in this absurd one hundred degree 
weather and forgetting to bring water with me. As a result of the pandemic, I guess, the 
water fountains on the course are not functioning and each time I play it feels like I am going 
to perish from dehydration; but I keep playing and walking without water and wonder 
why I do it. In fact, I wonder why I do most of the things I do. Playing without practicing 
is kind of understandable. I would rather play the course, even by myself, always thinking 
about the next shot and feeling kind of proud of myself for walking at all. 

So, getting back to the point, this article is supposed to be about my continuing 
search for Who I Am and what do I like to do? I read somewhere once that one can tell 
what you like to do by actually noticing what you do do Anyway in filling out a questionnaire’s 
question as to what I like to do I answered that what I do most of the time is worry 
and, therefore, that must be what I like to do. I really don’t know if that is a truthful response 
but it sounds clever and surprising and I realize now that I enjoy saying clever and 
surprising things. I also notice that I particularly enjoy talking to strangers and just playing 
golf alone allows plenty of time to join with other golfers.

 Recently I have played a couple of times with retired professors and doctors. I have 
been very surprised to observe these older, retired men bragging to each other about the 
home improvements they have made. They have taken pictures of concrete walls and fences 
and display them the way I like to display pictures of my granddaughter. Construction is 
not for me! As I have written many times, one of my greatest joys is just being around my 
soon to be two year old granddaughter while someone else does the work of diapering, 
feeding, and bathing. You know the real work. I really just like watching her march around 
and laugh and smile and communicate. We are now reading Hamlet together as I believe 
it is my function to help educate her. She has already learned the first sentence of the play, 
“Who’s there?” and I hope more will follow. Actually, I think this process describes who 
I am. I am an observer who enjoys watching the way others live and learn without doing 
any real hard work myself as typified by my twice daily walk with my dog as I enjoy watching 
him hunt for squirrels. Writing these unpaid articles makes it all right to write them 
for myself and not really being forced to please anyone else. Really, I guess that is what a 
happy retirement is. Finding what one enjoys and learning a little bit more every day. It 
is my hope that you, your grandchildren, and their grandchildren will have the same opportunity! 
Okay, I am off to the driving range—but if I choose to play instead it will be all 






Tina Ford understands the toll of gun violence like few of 


us ever will. She lives with it every day. 


In April 2019, her, son, Armani Ford, a local high school 
Zero dark thirty. The soft, yellow glow from the streetlights 

football legend, was shot and killed in his hometown of 
powered down one by one as dawn broke through the crisp 

Clairton, Pa., a steel town in the Monogahela River Valley, 
darkness. I stumbled towards the package, dumped there min-

just south of Pittsburgh. He was just 23 years old. 
utes or was it hours earlier? I grabbed my switchblade from my 

In the wake of her son’s death, Ford helped found a local 

back pocket and cleanly sliced through the polyester binding, 

chapter of Mothers of Murdered Sons, or MOMs. Among other women who had 

the tall stack of papers waterfalled onto the damp pavement. I cursed. After a few 

buried children all too soon, she found comfort and solace. To her frustration 

minutes I had loaded the papers into my mom’s folding, metal shopping cart and 

and sadness, she found its membership kept growing. 

started my route, my mission - to deliver the Toronto Star to a 20 block radius inmy neighborhood. 

And the price of that loss, she said, extends beyond the heartache. The hole torn 
by premature loss of a child can mean missed work and economic hardship that 

“And make sure you deliver it before 6 am.” Barbara, my 4th grade classmate told 

leads to a bereaved person falling behind on their rent and bills. 

me as she handed me the coupon book. 
For too many, there’s no way out of that financial spiral. “We carry each other. 
“They get really upset if you give it to them later.” 

We help each other,” Ford said at a news conference on Tuesday. “I have strength 
from God. But this is serious. We need help.” 
“No problem, I’m an early bird.” I lied. 

Enter a pair of newly introduced House bills sponsored by Pennsylvania state 
Rep. Austin Davis, a Pittsburgh Democrat whose district includes Clairton. 

That summer I joined all the billions of working stiffs of the world -part-time of 

Davis’ proposals respectively would offer debt deferral to grieving parents and 

course. There are thousands of lousy jobs, but for a 10 year old, waking up each 

create a grant program that would offer financial assistance to those families. 

day before dawn is one of the worst. Actually the worst job is trying to collect the 

If they’re eventually approved and signed into law, the bills would give families 

newspaper subscription fees at the end of the month. I’d ring my customers door

“time to grieve without a fear of losing their homes,” Davis said Tuesday. 

bells, my coupon book in hand to collect payment and no one would answer eventhough I could see the front window curtains being surreptitiously pulled back 

That’s not just rhetoric. Research has shown that gun violence exacts a measur

seconds earlier. After a summer stint on that job I became less judgmental of “loan 

able economic impact on the communities where it occurs. 
collectors” and their baseball bat methods. 
Across five cities, gun violence slowed neighborhood home appreciation by 
I ended up being short-changed on my salary that summer, namely because I had 

about 4 percent, according to The Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center. The 
to pay myself out of the subscription fees I collected, and it’s funny how customers 

research also showed that surges in gun violence, defined as a sudden and sharp 
uptick in violence, also led to lower credit scores and home ownership rates. 

don’t want to pay for their morning editions when it’s delivered after the six o’clockevening news. I gave the complaint-laden route back to Barbara when she returned 

All told, gun violence exacts an economic toll of a staggering $229 billion a year, 

from summer camp, fortunately for me, we went to different schools. 

according to Brady: United Against Gun Violence. That tally “includes $8.6 billion 
in direct expenses such as for emergency and medical care,” according to 

After being turned down by McDonalds because of my age - too young and reck-

The Washington Post. And, as the Urban Institute notes, those costs are dispro

less at the deep fry station rather than too old and hard of hearing at the Drive 

portionately borne by communities of color. 

Thru booth - my older sister snagged the position. Soon, our home took on the 
ever-present scent of Quarterpounders and once she surprised us with her latest 

“We talk about gun violence as a public health crisis and a state of emergency,” 

uniform from the Golden Arches - a prison striped, colossal-headed Hamburglar 

said state Rep. Donna Bullock, the Philadelphia Democrat who chairs the Penn-

costume. I went to cheer her on at work, the promotional event coincided with one 

sylvania Legislative Black Caucus. 
of the hottest days on record. 
But as was the case with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ensuing emergency 
“Who wants to be in show business?” asked the assistant manager, 

declaration, families in need received services and financial assistance, Bullock 
pointed out. 

the junior employees who volunteered to be in the McDonaldland cast -May-

And if policymakers are going to walk the talk about the public health toll of 

or McCheese, Grimace and Officer Big Mac - melted inside the chicken wire and 

gun violence, then the families whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence 

foam constructs as they flailed outdoors to 70’s disco tunes. Although my sister 

should receive the same kind of help from the state. 

was bringing home the Filets O Fish, somehow I felt I dodged that corporate bullet. 
Bullock, the mother of two sons, says she prays the Black mother’s prayer every 

There’s a word for people who get their jobs by way of nepotism- Luckybuggers. 

day that her children return home safely and, then, referring to the mothers ar-

After my debacle with the newspaper delivery, and the two bucks an hour babysit-

rayed behind her holding photos of their fallen children, that “I don’t join your 
ting gigs, my parents let me handle the coat check at their restaurant on weekends. 

club — that’s real.” “Let’s do right by these families,” she said, by passing Davis’ 
I would pray for subzero temperatures and teeth-chattering windchill, the bigger 

legislation. “That’s the best thing we can do for these families.” 

the tip, the faster I found their coats. 
State Rep. Ed Gainey, now the Democratic nominee for Pittsburgh mayor, echoed 
that sentiment, arguing also that the cost and trauma of gun violence cut across 

I followed that up with a part-time job as a receptionist at my parent’s car dealer-

racial, geographic and class lines. 

ship. Other than taking calls and steering clients to the greedy jaws of our used carssalespeople, I had to register the transfer of ownerships at the DMV a few miles 

Policymakers, he said, needed to come up with more than band-aids, they need-

away. At 16 years old, I drove whatever “loaner” was on the lot - family sedans, used 

ed to learn “why people wake up with murder on their minds … Until we come 

clunkers, trucks, and one glorious time due to the lack of common sense from the 

up with a plan that addresses the root causes of crime, we’re going to be back here 

on-duty manager, got the keys to our top-of-the-line sportster. I made donut rings 

every year.” 

with the turbo chargers that didn’t belong on a 40 mph straightaway. That taughtme a useful lesson, you can’t fire volunteers or family -although death is a possible 

For Ford, who deals with the post-traumatic effects of her son’s death — anxiety 

option. And as for growing into an early riser, all I can say is “Lunch anyone?” 

and insomnia — that help can’t come soon enough. Until it does, she said, she 
and her fellow MOMs will persevere. “We can’t stop the violence in the streets,” 
Email me at 

she said. “But we can help the mothers.” 

John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The Pennsylvania Capital-Star in Harrisburg, 

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