Rutland Man Says Human Species is on Track to Causing Its Own Extinction Event

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Allan MacKenzie has lived in Vermont sine 1978. MacKenzie, 60, lives in Rutland, and he is a janitor.

When asked if Rutland was a strong community, MacKenzie said, “It seems to be. There’s a lot of negative things here, but there do seem to be some positive things. There’s a lot of people who are trying to make it that way…who’s gonna win I don’t know. I guess you could say Rutland is kind of like a rope in a tug of war. That’s kind of the way I see it. But there are a lot of people who are working to try and make it that. So you’ve got to give them credit for that.”

“I’ve been here since ’78…I guess that says something. I grew up in the sea coast. That’s kind of crowded. That whole area from Portland down to New York, it’s all one big city. That’s probably one of the things that bothers me about Rutland is I see it turning into what I moved inland to get away from. It’s got a lot of the problems that big cities have without any of the benefits. That’s kind of what I’m seeing.”

MacKenzie has four kids. “Well actually five. I sort of adopted one. Not legally. I sort of picked up an extra one and then she went and married my eldest boy. But I had already made her part of the family…I made her an honorary member of the family and then she went and married into the family. I guess I thought she was kind of compatible with the family and I guess it turned out I was right since she married into it. She was a friend of my mother’s and as my mother died…she was the last person to see my mother alive and I decided…she was going through a rough time in her life so I decided to make her part of our family. She was upset about losing my mother and she recently lost her father so I was like, ‘Ok. Join our family.’

When he was asked if the five year average move rate of the American and high school graduates moving off to college had the effect of ripping communities apart, MacKenzie said, “Not really. I mean it’s not really new. I mean people have been moving out for centuries, really, when you stop and think about it. I mean the only thing that changes is the destination. In the early 1800s it was ‘Go West.’ People tend to move. And it’s probably a biological thing because normally with animals the young leave and go somewhere else where there’s food. It’s kind of a biological thing to get away from your parents and go somewhere else. I don’t see it being unique I guess.

When asked who he saw as leaders in Vermont, MacKenzie said, “I don’t really know. I don’t have an answer for that. And now that you mention it that could actually be a problem I guess. Nobody really stands out. Maybe we could use more noticeable leadership.”

When asked if elementary school students should be taught how to garden, MacKenzie said, “Probably wouldn’t hurt. On the plus side, the stuff that we’re eating, given the amount of preservatives in it you probably don’t need to be mummified like the Egyptians did,” he said laughing.

When asked if he thought human instincts were as complex as animal instincts, MacKenzie said, “That’s a tough question too. I suspect that humans are devolving. Not a real popular opinion but I’m kind of afraid that might be the truth.”

When asked if emotions are instincts selected by nature for survival, MacKenzie said, “Not really. Some are, some aren’t. Psychologists have had this debate going on about nature versus nurture. But the reality is that you’re grown with certain base programing, then you have learned behavior that’s added to that, but ultimately what you have is free will and the choice to do it. And humans are the only species on the planet that’s is self programming. Instead we seem to be trying to be the first species to cause an extinction event on our planet. Which is kind of odd and it doesn’t argue in favor of a very high level of intelligence.” He laughs. “Causing your own extinction event. It’s like, in what reality does that make sense. I mean, the global warming thing. That was kind of obvious back in the 70s if you were paying any attention and knew the science. So we’re going to argue about it for another 40 years until it’s irreversible. Good. Brilliant.”

 

 

 

Rutland Man Wishes they Taught Survival Skills in School

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John Tyler, 20, has lived in Vermont his whole life. He lives in Rutland and works at Jax in Killington. He loves living in Vermont.

When asked if the community of Rutland is strong, Tyler said, “I don’t know. I don’t really think they’re that strong. They don’t like teenagers they don’t like kids. The community doesn’t like them at all. They find us a nuisance.”

To make the community stronger, Tyler said, “If everybody kind of worked together you know, kind of helped everybody out. I’m a skater. I skate board. I get kicked out of everywhere. I’ll get arrested if I’m skating at Depot. The same with other kids too. If they helped us out maybe the kids in Rutland would do a lot better. If the community was to look at them and help them maybe they would look back at their community and want to help it. They have no one to help them so why would they want to help it?”

“This is where I live. Can’t go anywhere else. Can’t leave your family and everything else behind.”

When asked if there was any news not being covered by the local media, Tyler said, “Again probably helping out the kids to do better. People are complaining about kids going out spray-painting about causing trouble. It’s cause they have nothing to do. I mean everything costs money not everybody has money. They’ve got a skate park, oh, it’s like $12 an hour. And that’s the only one. The only one we have. Maybe then trying to change something people would want to change it. Because we’ve been trying to change Rutland for a while, trying to get something for the kids so they’ve got something to do so you know everything would go down: the drug rates the crimes, everything.”

When asked if college and the average American move rate of five years ripped communities apart, Tyler said, “Yes and no. I guess that’s kind of a debatable question. Cause you got people who like change. Some people love change. They love meeting new people. They love doing new things. Then you’ve got other people that don’t like change at all. Don’t want to move. Don’t want to change their lives. I guess it all depends on the person.”

When asked if elementary students should be taught to grow their own food, Tyler said, “Yes. It’s part of living. You’ve got to know how to grow food you’ve got to know how to live. They should also teach survival skills in school rather than all this algebra. Teach someone how to survive rather than work their whole life. Cause I mean at some point you might have to survive for yourself.”

When asked if he thought human instincts were as complex as other animals, Tyler said, “I think they’re all the same. We fight. We love. We’re protective of our family. I believe we have the same instincts as animals.”

When asked if emotions are instincts selected by nature for our survival, Tyler said, “Yeah. Some people can go in the heat of the moment they don’t think about it they just do it. So that has to be an instinct. It just happens. It just does. You do it.”

When asked if instincts should be taught in school, Tyler said, “That’s a hard question. I don’t really know on that one.”

When asked if he laments the loss of courting rituals or if he thinks they’re still alive and well, Tyler said, “I think a lot of people have lost touch with themselves and their cultures. Everybody is switching everybody has different beliefs. I don’t know.”

Tyler is on Facebook and he welcomes friend requests to make Vermont the most networked state in the nation.

When asked if humans are innately more selfish or selfless, Tyler said, “With today I believe it’s more about  being selfish because the economy is so hard, it’s not like everybody’s helping out each other they’re fighting to survive. They’re fighting for themselves.”

When asked if we focus too much on the economy and not enough on surviving together, Tyler said, “Yeah. I don’t think we focus enough on helping each other out. Rather than the economy. Cause if we help each other out the economy is going to go up.”

 

Burlington Playwright Calls Burlington a Paradise

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Maura Campbell has lived in Vermont most of her life. She grew up in Bethel and raised her kids in Randolph and moved to Burlington 15 years ago. She now divides her time between Vermont and Florida. She writes plays and works in the energy efficiency field. She is married and has four kids.

When asked if she thought the community was strong Campbell said, “Yeah. I mean it’s got an incredible arts scene, music,  theater, you know I think it’s a paradise. It’s really grown tremendously just in the time I’ve lived there, but there’s more to do than you can possibly take in in Burlington.”

When asked how her community could be stronger Campbell said, “In terms of the arts I guess. I think maybe if the University of Vermont…they have a theater department, but I’m not sure how well it’s integrated with the community. I mean we have the Flynn Arts and they do a great job, but I just would like to see the university’s theater department become even more vibrant than it is. I think they do a great job for their students, but I’m not sure that there’s a lot of connection between the local theater artists and the college. There’s some but I think it could be more.”

“I can’t really think of a better place to be…the people and the landscape and the art as well. Good food. Social consciousness. I’m proud to be a Vermonter.”

When asked if there was anything the local media isn’t covering that she would like to be covered Campbell said, “Well I think they do a pretty good job. I mean I would like to see maybe the television stations highlight theater more than they do. Like maybe they could have fifteen minutes a week just on what the scene is. People watch television. We have Seven Days and the Free Press, you know, but I think print is getting less and less attention. We’re really an electronic world. There’s certainly a lot on line, but there’s too much on line in some ways, but I think again the television stations could do some sort of, you know, like they do in bigger cities actually have programs, like New York City on Saturday morning. A great little show and I think WCAX could take something like that on, it would be awesome.”

When asked who she sees as leaders in Vermont Campbell said, “I see Vermont, because I’m in the energy efficiency world, we are really a brilliant example for the country in how we can make a difference. We have Efficiency Vermont, VEIC which is Vermont Energy Investment Corp, those two organizations are doing a great job of raising consciousness of global warming and weatherization. I work for an organization that has a low income eligibility, so folks that make under a certain amount get their homes weatherized for free. This is a huge topic right now I think, climate change and energy efficiency, and I know that Vermont is a small state, but we are a beacon of light, I think for the country. Again I travel a lot and I say, ‘Oh, I’m from Vermont,’ and the subject of energy efficiency comes up a lot. Folks know that about us. I’m really proud of that.”

When asked if she thought children should be challenged more seriously earlier in life, Campbell said, “I’m not sure what you mean specifically, I think they are already challenged in ways they shouldn’t be challenged. I think they are under a tremendous amount of pressure, I don’t think they play enough. When I say play I mean the kind of play I did. My daughter, I have a daughter who is a young mother, and she talks about the kind of childhood I had as called ‘free range’ childhood. And we have the opposite now where children are really supervised and controlled. Are they challenged enough? I think when I was a kid we had our own baseball teams and our own managers. Kids were everything. We did everything. And so I think those kinds of challenges are missing cause kids are… I think we’ve gone in the opposite direction to a point where I’m not sure how much it’s teaching our kids independence.”

When asked if she thought human instincts are as complex as other animals, Campbell said, “I do believe they are as complex. I think we have so much information, so much stimulation, not to mention medications, that I don’t know how well we are in touch with our instincts all the time, but again I think we’re the most successful species on the planet.”

When asked if emotions are instincts, Campbell said, “I think that emotions come from the un-conscious and so in some respects I’d say, ‘yes,’ because that is not conscious, they occur unbidden, so I guess so.”

When asked if humans are instinctively good people or instinctively selfish people, Campbell said, “Well I think that it’s something that changes over time. Definitely selfish because we’re so dependent, but as we become less dependent we have a choice to make, and what contributes to you going in either direction is a matter of great debate: nature versus nurture. I do think that some people, having had four children, I see some people more selfless than others and selfish for that matter. I don’t think either one is bad. I’m not judging them. It’s a matter of survival.”

When asked if she supported legalizing pot in Vermont, Campbell said, “I think I support legalizing drugs in general. There’s an example in Portugal where many, many years ago they decriminalized which I guess is the same as saying legalized, and they’ve taken all the money they used to use for incarceration and punishment and now put all that money into rehabilitation. It’s made a huge impact. And I learned about that recently and I don’t know a lot about it, but boy if that works I’m all for it.”

When asked what she does for hobbies and recreation, Campbell said, “I do yoga. I work in the theater. It takes all my free time. See to me it’s kind of work and hobby and pleasure. For relaxation I take baths and watch movies but outside of that I’m pretty much driven towards…and you know I spend as much time as I can with my kids. That’s my other hobby, just being a mother.”

Campbell’s advice to youngsters would be, “Get your education when your young because you will build on that education throughout your life and at some point you’ll understand that education really is really important. Your mind is so flexible and just such a sponge when your really young, and I say that because I didn’t finish my college education until I was 40, and I went to grad school later, but I really regret it.”

When asked what she hoped to get out of her presentation at PlayCon Campbell said, “Well I hope to make some new friends, meet some people I don’t know and share what I do know which is really the…I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve enjoyed some success and I’m not terribly selfish about that I want other people to benefit from my experience. So I’m going to share what I know and inspire some people to keep going. Encouragement is the most important thing that a writer can have, and I have a lot of encouragement to give.”

When asked how long she’s been involved with the Vermont Playwrights Circle Campbell said, “I’ve been involved with them at least 15 years when…I don’t know if they’ve been around…in a different form they used to produce stage readings of a play a year. They did that for me I think in 2000. So anytime they ask me to be involved with them I say, ‘Yes.’ They sponsor a lot of events, TenFest, and they get together and share their work monthly, which I don’t attend, but I support them in any other way I can.”

When asked about her plays Campbell said, “Flower Duet is a play that was produced in Burlington and then also last summer in Los Angeles. I wrote a play called Rosalie Was Here that was the subject of that was a young girl who was a convicted sex offender at the age of 11 and it was based on a true story. A lot of my plays are based on true stories.”

 

Playwright from Roxbury Praises “Great Artistic Community”

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Jeanne Beckwith has lived in Vermont since 2002. She lives in Roxbury. She teaches English and theater at Norwich University. She works with the theater group Pegasus Players and she is a playwright. “I’m somewhat of a native New Englander, but I’ve lived all over the country, and we came up here from the South and loved it. Have not ever regretted coming to Vermont.”

Beckwith is married and has four grown children who live all around the country and she has five grandchildren. Vermont Gossip caught up with her at PlayCon August 26, hosted by the Vermont Playwrights Circle.

When asked if the community of Roxbury is strong Beckwith said, “I would say it’s just fun. It is a fun community. We don’t come to much more than 600 people. There’s a school. There’s a historical center. We’ve got a nice church. We have a nice country store. I’d say it’s country strong. Town meetings are a trip.”

When asked what could be done to make the community stronger Beckwith said, “Roxbury’s somewhat poor. We’re worried about losing the school. There is a small grade school there and a lot of community heart is in that school. Maybe more community dinners.”

“I love living in Vermont. I think coming off of this beautiful long gorgeous summer that we’ve had I have a little bit of sadness in my heart for the ton of snow that’s coming, but it’ll be fun. It’ll be alright. But I love the people. I love the opportunities. It’s a great artistic community especially for theater artists.”

When asked if there was anything the local media wasn’t covering Beckwith said, “They should give the arts more coverage always. But Vermont does a pretty good job. I think that there is a lot of focus on problems in the Rutland area and problems up in Burlington and there are all these small towns in the state that could use some more attention, but they still do a good job.”

When asked who she saw as leaders in the state, Beckwith said, “I think that a lot of people who are involved in the arts in other cities and other towns around the state are quietly leading in one direction.”

When asked if children should be challenged more seriously earlier in life Beckwith said, “I think living in Vermont is a challenge for children. I think they learn early on. I come from the old school. I think we push those little babies too hard sometimes. When people start saying, ‘Oh we’ve pre-K and pre-pre-K’ and they’re starting kids so early. I know that we have a real problem with child care and working parents and just to stay ahead in Vermont needing what they have, but I think sometimes kids are made too competitive too early and I think that’s a mistake.”

When asked if she thought human instincts were as complex as other animals Beckwith said, “Oh I think more so. There are a lot of things that are instinctual that we’ve said are intellect and emotion and all those big words for how people deal with the world. We are a challenge and I think that much of our reaction to people is instinctual. I think much of our reaction to situations…We’re smart incredible critters. One of the things I do at school is teaching about the beginnings of writing and how the heck did human beings figure out how to write and is that now instinctual with us?”

“I think much of our emotional reaction is a, we call it a gut reaction…from the heart we come up with all different names for it, but I think that…I would say so. I would say that emotions are instinctual. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”

“There’s been a lot of discussion that altruism is actually an evolutionary tool for the survival of the species and we give because we get. That it gives us something. A lot of people say, ‘Oh I feel so good when I give someone something.’ It also creates a barter system of sorts in the world. I think our instinct is to be kind to puppies and babies because they’re all soft and round. I don’t know. I wouldn’t say humans are instinctually nice.”

Beckwith supports legalizing weed in Vermont.

When asked what she does for hobbies and recreation Beckwith said, “I will read a mystery book if I get a chance and sit in my garden with a glass of wine. Most of the time I’m either teaching or doing theater, and I don’t consider my theater work to be a hobby. That’s my life’s work, and my teaching is how I earn a living. I love how I earn a living.”

When asked if she thinks we focus too much on the economy and not enough on basically surviving together Beckwith said, “No I don’t see how you can have one without the other. So I think we need to focus on the economy and taking care of each other surviving together.”

Beckwith’s advice to youngsters would be, “Figure out what your passion is and embrace it figure out what it is that…it would be for you in life if you end up getting a job where you can hang out with your friends do something you love and somebody pays you for it. And have fun while you’re young. You’ll have fun later but it’ll be different.”

“I’ve been with the Playwright’s Circle since…almost since I got here…2003 Kim Ward was just putting it together and someone put me in touch with her and it started growing at that point. So about 12 years.”

Beckwith was at the PlayCon event Saturday because, “I helped organize it and I’m presenting one of the workshops,” she said. “I’m doing a workshop on people who want to start play writing. Beginning play writing.”

“I think we’re mostly interested in offering a service to people who are interested in theater and plays, new plays, there’s a lot of new work being done in Vermont. And that they feel valued and can network and have a good time. I see that around us right now. People are chatting, getting to know each other. It is always strong for the arts community.”

 

 

 

 

Burlington Lady Praises Junktiques Owner as “Amazing Human”

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Noelle Smith, 22, has lived in Vermont 3 years. She lives in Burlington and works at Dobra Tea.

“I think there’s a lot of amazing people who are all putting a lot of cool creative energies into this place and I think that Burlington especially is kind of like a place I that people come back to and kind of become nurtured and then leave again to go on adventures, and then they come back because it’s very sticky.”

To make the community stronger Smith said, “One of the things is housing costs are so high and you have a lot of college kids pushing lower income people out of neighborhoods that have been historically their homes and I think that’s problematic and creates tensions between communities. And also the cost of rent shouldn’t be as high as it is. It’s really ridiculous in my opinion.”

“Well there’s a lot of community leaders that I look up toward who are doing a lot of really cool things and just putting their heart and souls into the communities here and they’re not necessarily recognized on a larger level but they’re hugely important.”

Smith doesn’t know who she is going to vote for for the next governor of Vermont.

When asked if she thinks human instincts are as complex as other animals, Smith said, “Yeah. I do. I think that we’re kind of more focused on higher cortex stuff right now but I think that instincts are still there. It’s hard for people to tap into it and listen to it, the more subtle suggestions I think.”

When asked if emotions are instincts, Smith said, “I think that emotions kind of help me  go toward what is true and right and authentic to myself. It’s almost like a road map in that way. When you feel something is off you have ask yourself why this feeling is arising and it’s important to listen to that. And sometimes emotions get stuck places and a lot of people don’t know how to deal with emotions and it’s a long process to start learning, and I’m continuing to learn.”

“I think people are naturally inclined to be good and caring, and I think that things like community are very important. But I think that things like capitalism and consumerism are giving a lot of people the notion that humans are naturally aggressive toward each other. I think because of our hierarchical society and structures people don’t have a real sense of natural inclinations.”

Smith doesn’t really care if Vermont legalizes weed. “Sure,” she said.

“I do art and I write and I play music. I’ve been doing art stuff in town. I’ve been giving away pictures of drawings with my friend and asking for donations and people who don’t have anything just giving them stuff just to kind of get sharing outside of money. Just have art cheap and available and everywhere hopefully. So I’ve been in some interesting, not like battles, but we’ve really had to work around what’s going on with Church Street not letting artists be on the street giving away stuff. Whereas you have these corporate shops spilling all their sales stuff onto the street like all the time for these big sale things. I have some friends who are performers and during things like the busking festival they were continuously getting kicked off the street for doing things like performing magic tricks and stuff it’s just silly. I think that Church Street is very much the heart of this town but really it’s just an outdoor mall, so it’s like this weird thing going on.”

Smith doesn’t have a website for her artwork but she’s on Facebook.

When asked if she thought we focus too much on the economy and not enough on basically surviving together Smith said, “Yes absolutely. People think the economy is this giant monstrous thing that can’t be moved whereas industrialization has only existed for a couple hundred years and anything can change at any time. People feel really trapped and caught up in these big systems that have become very monstrous.”

Her advice to youngsters is “Don’t lose your innate rosiness. Don’t let the world turn you bitter. That’s a Tom Robbins kind of quote. Not quite, but I love it a lot. Don’t let the world turn you bitter. Keep your rosiness because becoming bitter and sad is the worst thing you can do for your little spirit at a young age. It’s good to maintain a playful spirit.”

When asked what was the most pressing issue of our time Smith said, “I think most of the issues are wrapped up in the idea that all the emphasis taking place on capital and money and the fact that we live in an economy of scarcity that depends on scarcity for profit. Whereas we really have abundance and we have the tools and the knowledge and everything necessary to have abundance. That’s creating a huge discord and it’s creating things like holding back electric cars that should have been released a long time ago. Or taking every last drop of fossil fuels before going a different way because these big systems we get caught up in. The idea that money is more important than life and happiness.”

When asked if she thought climate change was a serious threat, she said she did but she doesn’t like the way climate change fighting advocates portray their battle. “Yeah. However, I do think the framing of it is a little problematic. Often we’re kind of presented with images of the earth crying or being on fire being like, ‘Save us. Save the earth.’ But really I think what we need to be looking at is finding a way to save and preserve our ability to live on this earth in a healthy way. Humans aren’t, we don’t have as much power as we think we do and the earth will still be here and nature will still be here and bugs will still be here no matter what we do. If we want to continue to live in a healthy environment then we really need to be putting that as the focus above everything else. Right now people are kind of saying, ‘Oh if we have to save the planet or fossil fuels I guess we have to sacrifice the planet.’ It’s kind of what’s being emphasized which is ridiculous and silly. But most people are good and they know in their hearts what life is really about, so I imagine that this will just be one obstacle that humanity and the greater good will manage to triumph over.”

When asked if she supported a revenue neutral carbon tax, Smith said, “The whole focus on money is I think not the most relevant focus, but I’m down for taxes for environmental purposes if the money is going somewhere good. Which I don’t know if it always is.”

When asked if there were any hidden gems in Vermont, Smith said, “I would say Bread and Puppet in Glover is a fantastic experience in the summer. I would say that a group called Friends and Family which does music in Burlington is great for young students. If you can find them on Facebook they throw really amazing shows for people who are interested in music that is not super expensive. Junktiques is fun. Finn is an amazing human in Burlington he puts so much into the community, the owner. He’s just a really great person and I think a real leader in the community. He’s put a lot of his heart and his energy into really wonderful projects and providing great things for people.”

When asked if students should wear uniforms in class in an effort to reduce stress, Smith said, “I think it would’ve reduced my stress in high school, honestly. I’m all avbout self expression now, but I think I’ve been able to develop style because of the struggles of high school, but I’m thinking of all the money I spent on realy stupid designer clothes growing up to try to fit in and it was very important at the time. But I guess the bigger issue is more about this whole culture of driving kids against each other and the dynamics of the popular girls being mean to younger people and stuff like that. I think that you could emphasize different stories, and high schoolers would feel less necessary to follow along in that. I think the media has a lot to do with that too and also marketing to kids as far as toys go and games and movies.”

Smith doesn’t support same sex classrooms in an effort to reduce distractions. “I think that’s ridiculous notion. I mean the separation of genders and the separation of grades and the separation of ages and the fact that old people don’t hang out with young people and stuff like that I think is all just ridiculous. A lot of that also is just built up in societal expectations of people giving kids the notion that boys should be very sexually aggressive or that girls should be spending all their energy trying to look cute enough to land a date with a football player it’s just a really stupid waste of energy and time. And I thin that would be a really bad split it would create more disharmony and it would give kids less of an ability to look at each other as human beings.”

When asked if she tries to eat organic whole foods or if it mattered to her, Smith said, “It matters hugely to me. I do what I can when the money is there. You can go a long way eating the bulk whole grains and stuff like that, so I try to. It’s important to me.”

Obama’s Call for Gun Control Shows Limits of Government’s Ability to Protect us From Mass Shootings

Another day. Another mass shooting. This time in Oregon at Umpqua Community College. Ten dead, including the shooter. The mainstream media named the shooter and plastered his face all over the news making him famous for a heinous crime. But I will not. Let it just be said that another lone wolf with no hope, empathy, understanding or tolerance took nine lives.

But President Obama called Thursday for more gun control showing the limits of our federal government to protect us from more of these shootings. The United States leads the world in number of guns per capital at 88 per 100 people. If a potential mass murderer wants to get his or her hands on a weapon he or she will. Passing background checks or magazine limits isn’t going to stop an individual hell bent on gaining infamy in a blaze of glory to fight for their cause, and it is going to divide this country sharply because gun rights still has strong support among half of Americans.

What President Obama should call for is an end to the deep spiritual sickness in our country that nurtures these lone wolves and the media’s response of making the murderer(s) famous. The spiritual sickness is caused by our low morals. Anybody who freshly remembers their twenties can tell you that guys lie, cheat and steal to sleep with as many women as they can and this is causing a deep spiritual sickness. Women, instead of creatures of motherhood who we all fondly remember as children, are seen as sluts. This is fact. I’ve lived it. Morals in the rural parts of  our country and in the city are pathetically far from the good instinct we were born with. We have called monogamy into question and almost nobody in their 20s believes in it.

President Obama should be calling on the future generations of our country to listen to their instincts to be selfless and loving and respectful of the bigger picture. President Obama should be calling on everyone to find their niche in society and feel like they belong. He should call on the media to stop glorifying these killers. He should be calling on us to report people who are shy and solitary and intervene with them before they turn to violence to act out their resentments.

President Obama should look at the other way our government can lead: have a heart. When laws are the only way that the government intervenes it seems cold and heartless. The government’s priorities are carried out in the heartless courts where heartless lawyers and judges bustle about their private fortune making business. Obama should be the face of this leadership because he is our president. He should visit rural communities and encourage healthier millennial behavior; behavior that respects women as future mothers and future leaders of our great nation.

Only when we tackle the deep spiritual sickness in our country and persuade the main stream media to stop reporting on the killers and making them famous will we see an end to mass murders. Instead of focusing on gun laws which will divide this country and bring out the fangs of the NRA, Obama should address these would-be killers in the eye through the television and tell them that there is hope for our society and their place in our society. He should remind us all to be more welcoming of strays and lone wolves. When we feel love we are not as inclined to stray from that love into criminality.

I would like to call on you the reader to think about anyone who seems isolated and cut off from society and intervene with them. Invite them over for dinner or go for a walk with them. Anything we can do to unite together more strongly is good. Go door to door and introduce yourself to your neighbors. I have. Let us break down the isolation that this society breeds and unite around a common cause: peace, love and solidarity.

Burlington Man Said Organic Food Is Getting Less Expensive

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Paul Simmons, 59, has lived in Vermont since 1979. He lives in Burlington.

“I think the recent changes they made in the 80s and 90s has made it a lot more successful as a community.”

“They need to have more town friendly businesses, and more activities on the lake to attract more tourists. I think that would help.”

Simmons sees Vermont leadership in Senator Jim Jeffords and Senator Bernie Sanders.

When asked if kids should be challenged more seriously earlier in life Simmons said, “I think they still need to be allowed to play.”

When asked if he thought human emotions were as complex as other animals’ instincts, Simmons said, “They’re different. They don’t work exactly the same.”

When asked if he thought emotions are instincts, he said, “I think they have a factor, they interact with instincts.”

“We’re a mix of selfish and giving people.”

Simmons supports legalizing weed. “We need to stop wasting money putting people in jail for useless purposes.”

He bikes, skis, travels and swims.

“We need to make the changes in the economy so everyone can survive together better. More jobs, a better spread of the wealth to people bellow the one percent.”

His advice to youngsters is, “Go to college and graduate so you can have a good career.”

When asked if climate change poses a serious threat, he said, “It is a serious threat. Plus there are many other factors that are causing this weather now. I think now we’re in a ten, twenty year weather period change. We’re getting weather now more like we got in the early 80s.”

When asked if he would support a revenue neutral carbon tax to push us away from fossil fuels, Simmons said, “I think it might help.”

“Forty to 60 percent of [Americans] don’t make a livable wage. Everybody needs to be able to make more like 20-40 thousand dollars a year instead of $12-15[thousand].”

When asked if there were any hidden gems in Vermont, Simmons said, “Oh yeah, Stowe, the mountains, all the lakes in Vermont.”

“I believe in what I call the universal energy, that creates the ebb and flow of daily life.”

His favorite restaurant is Leunig’s Bistro.

When asked if high school students should wear uniforms to class in an effort to reduce cliquish behavior Simmons said, “I think they should wear what they want to as long as it’s not too revealing of the body.”

Simmons doesn’t believe in same sex classrooms. “I think it should be mixed so they can learn how to socialize with each other.”

When asked if he eats organic whole food Simmons said, “Some of the time I do if their affordable. It’s getting less expensive, fortunately [because more farmers are growing organic foods].”