. . . figuring out what it means to love.

There are days when I just want to cry over humanity.

Many of you may have heard of Megan Meier, the 13-year-old girl who killed herself after her “online boyfriend” — actually the mother of a slighted friend — wooed her and then spurned her, saying “The world would be a better place without you.”

We know the name (and address, and workplace) of the woman who incited her death, but faces no criminal charges, because bloggers uncovered it. In fact, the blogging world has blasted a near-unanimous burst of fury against her. For some examples, read the post where her identity was first uncovered.

Read through the comments, if you like. Here are some typical examples:

“I seriously hope Lori Drew kills herself . . . Good riddance to bad effing trash.”

“If I was Megan’s father I would’ve put a bullet in her head. This is a sickening story. How dare LORI DREW, A KILLER not even have an ounce of remorse.”

“Some anonymous douche said ‘Do you want to drive this woman to suicide as well? Would that be fitting?’ Yes. Actually, it would be VERY fitting. And I highly doubt that any of us on here would feel any sympathy for the poor wittle witch who’d driven a little girl to suicide ON PURPOSE and WITHOUT REMORSE.”

Maybe I’m overreacting; I spent much of the day reading and talking about Civil War rhetoric, in which supposed moral and religious leadership sanctioned cold-blooded slaughter because they were so convinced that they were the right side. Well, some of them were. Slavery was a terrible wrong, just like Lori Drew committed a terrible wrong.

But that doesn’t mean that we can adopt the exact same tactics. And the fact that so many people see absolutely no contradiction in inciting the death of a woman because she incited someone else’s death . . . it makes me shudder.

This is how the church went astray, how it so often goes astray even now. We forget that the law of love governs all of our lives, and that even while we work for justice and righteousness, we need to constantly question whether each action fits within that law.

As is so often the case, the historic peace churches provide some of the best lived examples here. After the shooting in an Amish school that left five girls dead, the response from the grieving community was simple. “The Amish neighbor came that very night, around 9 o’clock in the evening, and offered forgiveness to the family [of the shooter].”

A moment of sanctity

Up on the second floor of City Hall, not far from the city clerk’s office, is a little white trellis archway on wheels, decorated with flowers and white lace. I’d noticed it a long time ago, and quickly realized that it was designed to provide a little class and formality to a dry civil marriage ceremony. I always thought it was just for photographs, though, not the ceremony itself.

Today, I had to drop off a document to someone in City Hall for comments and corrections. While she annotated the document, I watched as a city clerk pulled out the trellis and guided two young women underneath it. They were both very beautiful and quite young — I can’t imagine that either was that much over twenty — and both were women of color. One wore a tight, short-skirted white dress, and carried a bouquet of brightly dyed silk flowers; the other wore a white tank top and ragged, hole-covered jeans.

The city clerk, a middle-aged woman in plain work clothes, read the vows and guided the young women through the ceremony, as the witnesses — a young woman and man of similar age — looked on. The whole ceremony probably took five minutes. Finally, once the exchange of vows was complete, the clerk offered that they kiss each other; they held each other tight, kissing each other deeply and delightedly while everyone clapped. As they walked away to finalize the paperwork, they couldn’t stop beaming at each other, even when one of them started crying with happiness.

It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in ages. It made me happy to live in this part of the country, in a way that nothing else had before. Because while all the stories in the media, about middle-class white couples who’ve been together for thirty years, are well and good, they’re not the only ones who benefit from same-sex unions. It’s people like those girls, young and hopeful and recklessly in love, already facing enough economic and social discrimination aside from their sexuality, who need and deserve the same legal legitimization as everyone else.

In the news today

Hrmph. This “updating regularly” thing has really fallen by the wayside in the past few months. My apologies.

Anyway, this is a brief post, primarily for the purpose of bragging and talking about my summer jobs. I just opened up the New Haven Independent, and my two bosses were in side-by-side articles. First, this guy is the head of Traffic and Parking; he took over the department a couple of months ago, and even though I was assigned a different internship for the summer, I love working for him so much that I’ve fought to keep working there one day a week. He’s one of those people who’re a delight to work for: he’s incredibly competent and dedicated, and he balances genuine idealism with experienced pragmatism. I didn’t have much to do with the events in the article, beyond being present for several of the Indiana Jones planning meetings, but it’s a good example of how fun it is to work for someone who actually cares.

The second article is the one I’m most proud of, though. The Mayor had a press conference today at the police department. Well, all that data he cites about shootings in New Haven? That’s what I’ve been working on. Half of the PowerPoint presentation linked by the article was copied straight from the data and observations of trends that I compiled, analyzed, and wrote. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting them to cut-and-paste so completely; it’s a little intimidating to be watching the Mayor giving a press conference and realize that he’s quoting what you wrote, stylistically awkward turns of phrase and all! ::grins::

Still, it was fun; and more than that, it feels good to know that the weeks of work I’ve been spending are actually getting out there. I’ve been spending eight hours a day, four days a week, immersed in case files and criminal records of people getting shot or shooting each other. It’s been . . . overwhelming, and challenging, and hilarious, and depressing, in turns. Part of me wishes that the police department kept better electronic records; but part of me realizes that by having to enter in all that information in painstaking detail, I immersed myself in the details and trends of the shootings in a way that simply seeing the numbers wouldn’t have accomplished.

Anyway, that’s been my summer so far. I’ve been doing lots of cooking — I baked pita bread for the first time this week, and it came out delicious — and I need to nudge myself to post those recipes and photos. Here, have a link about a romantic and sad story about a transsexual Pakistani and his young wife.

Whitey always tell him, “Ooh, he speak so well!”

The Racial Politics of Speaking Well, a great New York Times article about the use of the world “articulate.”

William E. Kennard . . . recalled that in his days as partner at a Washington law firm in the early 1990s written reviews of prospective black hires almost always included the words, “articulate and poised.” . . . “It was a law firm; all of the people interviewing for jobs were articulate,” said Mr. Kennard, 50, who is also on the board of The New York Times Company. “And yet my colleagues seemed struck by that quality in black applicants.”

A whiter shade of guile, a Guardian review of Blood Diamond that places the movie in a tradition of “white people nobly rescue oppressed blacks” films.

If there is anything black people the world over have learned from Hollywood – and there isn’t a whole lot – it’s that no matter how bleak the situation seems, they can always rely on some resourceful, charismatic and, in some instances, shapely white person to bail them out.

The title of this post is from “These Are Our Heroes,” an excellent song by Nas. “Let’s hear it, one, for the coons on UPN-9 and WB, who ‘yes massa’ on TV. . .