not alternative facts

A Speak Out and Repurpose duo.


The Marked Man – a repurposed drawing from 1971.

Writing for Quartz on January 31st Jenny Anderson wrote an article entitled The psychology of why 94 deaths from terrorism are scarier than 301,797 deaths from guns.  In it she references a paper by Linda Qui writing for Politifact in 2015 entitled Fact-checking a comparison of gun deaths and terrorism deaths  in which Ms Qui quotes figures gleaned from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System.  Looking at all deaths on US soil between 2005 and 2015, 71 were due to extremists attacks and the majority of 301,797 due to home grown gun violence.

The President of the United States wishes to make America safe by instituting an immigration process that will require extreme vetting for those seeking refuge for lives that have been shattered and broken by war and terror.

Looking at the figures quoted in the papers by Ms. Anderson and Ms. Qui one can only conclude that the only place for extreme vetting to make America safe is to vet those seeking to obtain weapons for their own personal use and which end up killing their fellow citizens in numbers that are simply staggering.

The President should be welcoming refugees to his country in the spirit so clearly spelled out in the words on the Statue of Liberty, and as a priority look to solve those home grown crimes of violence that are clearly due to a failure of gun control and for which he is now responsible.

“There’s a battle outside and it is ragin'”



I couldn’t resist re-purposing this image, which I originally posted three years ago, as a final submission for this week’s Photo Challenge: H2O, to celebrate the Nobel Prize for Literature being awarded to Bob Dylan today. I shall never forget hearing “The Times They Are A Changin'” for the first time in the sixties. His lyrics seem even more relevent today than they did all those years ago.

Read them, listen to them, reflect on them.


“Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.”

Bob Dylan  1963

Darkest before the Light

containers iv

Over the last few days the events around the world have seemed so apocalyptic that I felt a need to express the emotion that I know we all must feel as we look at images of agony, despair, sadness and grief every day.

My initial response to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers was meant to be amusing and light-hearted. A shredded piece of paper “O help” is prominent amongst thousands of similarly shredded pieces lying within the shredder; a simple straight forward technically successful photographic image.

container i

However it was only when I re-posted it as a monochrome image for Leanne Cole’s weekly gallery Monochrome Madness that I started to see it in a completely different light, as something much more than just an amusing photo. It became a photographic metaphor for a sense helplessness, a real cry for help to stop the madness.

The second photograph I posted for the Photo Challenge was a peaceful-looking view of container ships in English Bay Vancouver viewed from a trouble-free beach. What could be more peaceful?  But with today’s re-edited photograph of those ships waiting in the Bay the view is much more foreboding.

I know this post is unusually dark for me, but sometimes there is a need to make an honest statement expressing how we really feel. Today, as I reflected on all the the sadness in the Netherlands, Malaysia, the Ukraine, the Middle East, Nigeria, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, Britain, Canada, the United States and all the other places in our world where there is so much grief and loss, it seemed this was a day for honesty.

But I will end on a note of hope, a musical note, the prelude from Bach’s first cello suite play by the great humanitarian Pablo Casals. It is always darkest before the light, and tomorrow it will be lighter I promise, but today for me is a day for reflection and sorrow as I send my deepest sympathy to all those who have lost their loved ones wherever you may be.