Welcome to the Week in Review for June 11th to June 17th: “The world is a beautiful place to be born into.” —Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Saturday, June 11th This week begins with the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Details come from Everywhere, which reported that at approximately 2 a.m. today, a gunman wielding a tactical rifle entered Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida and left 49 of our fellow Americans dead. Pulse is a gay club, and a fixture in the Orlando’s LGBTQ community. Historically, places like Pulse have served as safe spaces for an often-marginalized and maligned group of individuals that has contributed mightily to our country’s beautiful culture, and this senseless attack has left us beset alternately with icy-cold grief and white-hot anger. Later in the week, we will watch Anderson Cooper read the victim’s names and cry.
Sunday, June 12th The world got a much-needed and all-too-brief dose of levity today, with a report of a Greek marriage ceremony where the presiding priest punched the brother of the groom in the face. According to the Cyprus Mail, the fighting father was incensed at the man’s mild display of horseplay during the service, and decided to get physical. Amazingly, after the altercation—which saw the father of the bride being restrained from retaliating—the not-so-happy couple did actually manage to tie the knot. In fairness, while it’s hardly becoming behavior for a priest to be punching his parishioners, we have to say this is the only case of abuse by clergy that has ever made us smile.
Monday, June 13th The rational behind our long-stated pledge to never visit a country where women are considered property and bourbon is illegal was on gruesome display today, when the New York Times revealed that a court in Qatar convicted a Dutch rape victim of adultery. According to the Dutch Foreign Ministry, while the woman will be free to return home shortly and her one-year sentence was suspended, she spent nearly three months in custody after reporting being drugged and assaulted at a hotel patronized by foreigners in the barbarous, backward Middle Eastern nation. The fact that Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup speaks volumes about the staggering level of corruption in FIFA.
Tuesday, June 14th A Nebraska family’s vacation to Disney World took a tragic turn today, when their two-year-old son was dragged from the banks of a man-made lagoon by an alligator and drowned. Details come from the Orange County Register, which reports the attack occurred just steps from the park’s luxurious Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. While Florida’s reputation for crazy criminals is well-known, the Sunshine State is also America’s own little version of Australia, in that it loves to party and is also totally loaded with things which will kill you. From an early age, natives are taught to be wary of any fresh water, and this heartbreaking case demonstrates just how justified those fears are.
Wednesday, June 15th Here in the United States, student loans have exacted a terrible financial toll on a generation of students. But today, we received notice that the situation could actually be worse, via an India Today article detailing how users on Chinese peer-to-peer lending site Jiedaibao are forcing female students to submit nude photos with their applications, and threatening to publish them in the event they can’t repay. Along with the humiliating collateral, the rates on the loans are astronomical, with 30-percent-per-week interest quickly putting many borrowers underwater. Now, we have myriad differences of opinion with the Chinese government, but how about a crackdown folks?
Thursday, June 16th Today brought more confirmation that random, deadly violence is not confined by any national borders, when British lawmaker Jo Cox was murdered in the street after attempting to stop two men in her district from fighting. For her efforts, one of the brawlers both stabbed and shot the Cambridge University graduate and mother-of-two in front of horrified bystanders. Details on this infuriating waste of life come via NBC News, which ran tributes from several of her Labour Party colleagues, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and crushingly, her newly widowed husband, who said “Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.”
Friday, June 17th We end this particularly horrible seven-day stretch on the calendar by seeking solace, as we have so many times before, in the sage, sparkling words of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. In his transcendent poem “#11” from Pictures of a Gone World, the world’s greatest living author of verse writes, “The world is a beautiful place/ to be born into /if you don’t mind happiness /not always being /so very much fun,” before stating “even in heaven /they don’t sing /all the time,” and reminding us, gently, about our fragile mortality. Next week, we sincerely hope world events don’t fill us with an overwhelming sense of desperation and dread. We humbly request our readers to go out and experience all the joy they can.