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Life Without a Father: A Queer Parent Offers Their Take

I cannot help but to notice all of the ads that are on my social media feeds right now. Father’s Day is right around the corner. While I take my hat off to all of the great fathers out there who are doing their best to handle the trials and tribulations of parenting, it’s not a holiday I enjoy celebrating. I have not seen or spoken to my biological father in several decades now.

I highly doubt that we are going to have a reunion any time soon. I’m fine with it, quite honestly. It’s something that I made peace with a very long time ago. In many instances, it is best for both parties to move on. Some people just aren’t cut out to be parents and they need to stop forcing it. All I learned from him was a valuable lesson about the exact type of parent I did not want to be.

I feel confident when I say that I have been able to break this cycle. I’m not just a parent, though. I am a queer parent. There are a wide range of people out there who seem to believe that a child who is raised by queer parents will grow up to follow in their footsteps. It’s sad that such a narrative would continue to persist during the Information Age but here we are.

If this argument was even a little bit sensible, I would have grown up as a cisgender straight person. That does not take away from the fact that there are a number of people out there who would like to strip me of my basic human rights. They operate under the false belief that every home needs a mother and a father, in the traditional sense.

With so many broken homes and undeniable traumas that have been created by these settings, you would think that people would be willing to let go of this idea by now. At the moment, me and my partner are raising three children (with a small dash of assistance from a former female partner and a sperm donor) and things are going just fine.

My goal is a simple one: to raise happy, healthy children who are kind and responsible. I’m not going to remain dependent on the idea that they need a father in the home. There’s no need to fall into these types of traps. All a child needs is a home that is loving and safe. Children of same sex parents do not struggle in this regard. Studies show that we are doing a wonderful job.

The current administration may not agree but we are not about to allow these charlatans to ignore the facts. These hate mongers view queer parents as something that society needs to do away with and we wish that people were not willing to go along with this divisive rhetoric. People may look to use religion as a means of justifying their retrograde views but that does not mean that you need to, as well.

It’s easier to cling to a few passages from an old religious text than to admit that you are wrong. We all have much left to learn. No one is a finished product, no matter how old they may be. All we can tell you is that our kids are happy, healthy and well taken care of. They are not worried about the lack of a father in the house and you shouldn’t be, either. My kids do not have a “Dad” and we do not celebrate Father’s Day. It hasn’t stopped us from doing just fine!

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“Superhero of the homeless!” Chants in Santiago describe real-life Batman that gives food to the homeless

Kelly Taylor

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Unlike the fictional city of Gotham, the streets of Santiago are very real, but running in the dark, and fighting hunger is a true life superhero with the face of the Dark Knight, Batman. 

Now he doesn’t ride a Batmobil or know the first thing about Brazilian jujitsu, but he does his best in making life better for the homeless on the streets of Santiago by bringing them food on a regular basis. He doesn’t solve crime or own any special combat gadgets, but he protects the homeless civilians from the villain of hunger and malnutrition.  

With his Batmobil-esque SUV, he rides around the city distributing hot meals in his impressive costume- a cape and two masks, one with the typical bat ears and eye slots, and other for protection from the Coronavirus (even the fictional batman wasn’t immune to viral diseases. So yeah, this one had to protect himself.)

The self-proclaimed “Solidarity Batman” is contributing his quota in making lockdown and the wave of the pandemic less agonizing for individuals on the streets, and we must say that he is doing a hell of a job. Many of his beneficiaries have only good things to say about him, and are super grateful for his selfless acts of benevolence.  

Just like Bruce Wayne, this Batman knows his way around words, and he sure drops a few words of motivation, humor, and affection to people alongside giving them food. 

What a guy! 

He fills their stomachs, and gives them words of hope? If we didn’t know better, we would be clamoring for the Avengers to consider him joining their team- Captain America certainly needs some real competition in motivational speaking. 

According to him, Batman was the perfect superhero for his mission, as he represents community unity, and is loved by the people. 

“Look around you, see if you can dedicate a little time, a little food, a little shelter, a word sometimes of encouragement to those who need it,” he said in an interview. 

Just like most masked superheroes, Santiago’s Caped Crusader prefers to keep his identity unknown. But his face doesn’t matter, does it? His good works already paint him as a beacon of hope and the world would be a better place if there were more of him running around.  

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Rescuing a Dog That Was Abandoned in a Lake

Renee Yates

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People get trapped in lakes relatively frequently. It’s always important to know that other people will try to help when a catastrophe like that happens. Dogs and other animals can get into similar situations. Dogs can swim a little bit, but they’re not the best swimmers. They can also panic when they’re in these circumstances. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who are willing to help them. 

Quenton and Rebecca Champ live in Texas, near Lake Houston. This is in Houston. For the most part, the two of them tend to see similar animals near the lake. There are many wild birds that rest there. However, for the most part, it’s not an especially vibrant ecosystem. 

Many animals are nervous about living on or near lakes that have a lot of human homes near them. Wild animals tend to avoid humans. The animals that live near lakes tend to be fairly small. There are lots of insects and rodents there, and the birds will eat the insects.

People who come to visit lakes will usually appreciate the natural beauty of the lake itself. They won’t necessarily focus on the wildlife in a lot of cases. While people will go to the ocean just to see whales, dolphins, sea birds, fish, and other famous animals, there is just less to see in lakes like Lake Houston. It’s one of the most famous lakes in the area, but it’s not known for its animal life.

Of course, since there are lots of people in the area overall, that means that there will be lots of domesticated animals, like dogs and cats. These animals don’t know how to survive in threatening natural areas, since they have depended on humans for their entire lives. When they do get stuck in places like lakes, they will often struggle with basic survival. They’re also more likely than many wild animals to get trapped inside of lakes in the first place.

Rebecca Champ saw evidence of this trend firsthand. She saw something that appeared to be swimming around with no direction in the very center of the natural lake. 

She could not see what the animal was at first, given the size of a lake like this and the relative size of a dog. It just looked like a big, dark shadow. Fortunately, she had a set of binoculars, which made it easier for her to identify the animal herself. It turned out that it was a dog and not something wild. 

Rebecca Champ and Quenton Champ may never know exactly what happened to the dog, but it looks like it was abandoned in one way or another. It would explain how it got there in the first place. Many dogs would not be especially good at swimming that far. 

Even though dogs can be curious about lake habitats, they’re not going to want to go exploring at a distance like that. Too many former dog owners seem to believe that a dog’s natural instincts are going to suddenly appear, and the dog will be able to function in the wild like any other animal. Dogs that have always lived indoors cannot do this, because those survival skills are at least partly learned behaviors. What happened to this particular dog is not very surprising as a result. 

Rebecca Champ and Quenton Champ own a boat, and they were able to use that in order to successfully rescue the dog. They performed the boat rescue well. The dog was very cold, but it looks like the poor animal is still going to be all right for the future. 

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Culture

A Cat Who Plays the Piano

Renee Yates

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Cats often spend most of their days trying to get the attention of their owners. Many people find it hard to type when their cats are around, since their cats will frequently jump on their keyboards when they’re trying to work. Some cats will vocalize almost all day, and their owners try to interpret what different vocalizations mean. 

While cats are often trying to tell their owners that they want to be fed, they often just want their owners to pay attention to them. Cats are still social animals, even though they’re often considered independent and solitary. 

Winslow is a cat who has found an entirely new strategy, and his might be particularly effective. He actually has a tiny toy piano that’s conveniently situated right beside his bowl of food, whether it’s a full or empty bowl. He seems to play a few specific notes each time, making it almost sound as if bells are ringing. 

Many cat owners like it when their cats vocalize, but some cats are unusually noisy. It seems like this was the case with Winslow, and he still is quite a vocal cat. Kate Nyx is his owner, and she is a musician. The piano was her idea, and it’s not a skill that Winslow picked up by accident or by simply observing her.

Kate Nyx didn’t want Winslow to constantly vocalize, which used to be the case for him. He used to be quite loud, and cats tend to make the same sounds over and over again. Kate Nyx trained Winslow to use the piano instead, which means that she gets to hear something different when Winslow wants to be fed. 

Of course, Winslow now knows that the piano works. When he wants attention from Kate Nyx, he’ll still play his piano. Interestingly, he also uses this trick to let her know that his cat litter must be changed.

It’s possible that he would use the piano if some other problem presented itself. Cats have been known to help alert their owners to different threats in the past, even though dogs tend to be better at this. Winslow’s little piano might become part of a sort of backup security alarm in some ways. Of course, for now, it’s just a creative device that gives Winslow the opportunity to more effectively communicate with his owner. 

It seems that Winslow is not an especially patient cat, since he’s often already at his piano two hours before dinner. If he isn’t fed immediately, he’ll still vocalize. Winslow also seems to like to vigorously rub his face against the piano, which also causes another very brief echo of piano music. 

Winslow’s skills have already made him a celebrity online now. A clip of him playing the piano has already managed to get a million views, and the clip has nearly one hundred thousand ‘likes.’ The clip itself should only get more attention as more people hear about it and share it with their friends.

Kate Nyx also wrote a short and charming song about Winslow, and it has its own video. This song is sure to make a lot of people happy, and some people have already said that they’ve listened to it several times. The song has over one hundred thousand views, and it may soon be as popular as the video that specifically features Winslow and the piano. 

Many cat owners will recognize a lot of these situations themselves. It’s possible that after hearing about Kate Nyx and Winslow, more people might try training their cats to use little pianos or something similar in the future. 

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Good Samaritan Saves Four Kids After Witnessing Car Plunge into River

Kelly Taylor

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It was an average evening for Harrell Fischer who was working on his boat one night in Sacramento, California. Suddenly he heard gunshots. Like out of a movie, he watched in awe as a car sped by and crashed into the river.

Immediately, Harrell and his friend jumped in the boat to rescue the passengers. The second he opened the car door, a child’s face was staring back at him, followed by little hands reach out to him. He reacted immediately after realizing four children, ages two-to-six, were trapped in the sinking car.

Thankfully, Harrel and his friend were about to rescue all four devasted children, who were in shock, from the freezing water. The boy who Harrell saved first said, “He killed my mom.”

There is a twist in the story. Before the car plunged into the river, the mother of four was shot in the head and killed instantly by the father. After the car crashed into the Sacramento River, the father exited and refused to help Harrell and his friend save the children.

The shooter in the crime is 27-year-old Mendiko Cuarzo who was sitting in the passenger seat when an argument ensued. The conversation became heated and he shot the 23-year-old mother. Mendiko is the father of three of the four children. The shooting caused the vehicle to run off the road and into the river.

This experience was incredibly traumatizing for the children. In addition to watching their mother be murdered while driving, they must deal with that loss. Also, their father will now go to prison so these children will be without either parent.

Harrell Fischer has mixed emotions of being at the scene. He is glad that he was there to save the lives of the children but also not happy he had to bear witness to the murderous situation and neglect from the father.

Investigators continue to look for motives in the killing. Cuarzo has previous convictions including illegal possession of a firearm.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has witnessed a sharp increase in gun violence. The number of gun-related deaths has been trending upward when compared to the same period from 2019 as the peak of the virus continues.

The economy has seen an unprecedented increase in gun sales and, when combined with social isolation and economic distress, the country’s long-standing gun violence crisis is intensifying. The murder of these four children by Cuarzo is the latest representation of this issue.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted weak gun purchase and access laws allowing guns to fall into the hands of those with ill-intent. The pandemic also further emphasizes the structural inequity of the nation. The virus is putting vulnerable populations, such as children, women, and communities of color, at high risk.

The resulting impact has been lethal and devastating to local communities but also identifies that through policies, laws, and programs, citizens can remain healthy and safe in the future.

In addition to the increase in gun purchases, domestic violence is spiking due to the prolonged financial strain on middle and lower-income households. This leaves domestic violence victims trapped with abusive partners, many of whom have easy access to guns. Having access to a gun makes it five times more likely that an abuser will murder his female victim.

These troubling statistics indicate that there is a need for quick political action on proven programs and policies to keep families safe during these times. Some of the focal points must be a reassertion of the federal regulation of ghost guns, enact Extreme Risk laws, raise awareness of firearm storage practices, and increase funding for gun violence programs.

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A bus that broke down resulted in the most unlikely of friendships

Shannon Jackson

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It was a hot 92-degree day in Milwaukee as Shamika began her daily bus route. Shamika drives one of many city buses that provides cheap and convenient transportation for the inner city. As she drove the bus down the city’s streets, the bus began to buckle and make odd noises. 

After a few minutes of weird engine noises and trouble accelerating, fate struck. The bus came to a stop and the engine shut off, but would not turn on again. That also meant Shamika and the other passengers were left without air conditioning on that hot 92-degree day. 

With no other options, Shamika was forced to make the passengers leave the bus and wait outside. The inside of the bus was quickly heating up beyond 92 degrees. This happened because the heat entering the bus had no way to leave it, resulting in a sauna of sorts. 

As Shamika sat outside waiting for the city to send a tow truck for the bus, a young boy saw her. The boy was ten years old DJ Fromme or just DJ for short. He sat outside, killing time with his skateboard at hand. DJ watched the scene unfold and saw that Shamika was standing outside and was bored but looked unhappy. 

DJ then decided to walk over the Shamika and try to cheer her up. He pulled out his skateboard and asked Shamika if she wanted to learn how to skateboard. With nothing else to do, Shamika agreed. The two quickly formed a bond as DJ showed her tricks and other tips for riding the skateboard. 

Eventually, the two grew so comfortable with one another that DJ began to open up about his home life. Likely with no one else to talk to, DJ felt comfortable talking about his struggles with Shamika. DJ explained that he never met his biological parents. That alone had brought a lot of stress and negativity into DJ’s life, considering he was adopted. 

To make matters worse, DJ also told Shamika that his current legal guardian was diagnosed with brain cancer. Shamika did her best to listen and comfort the DJ while explaining the things in his life, causing him grief. 

After waiting a little while longer, the tow truck eventually arrived, and Shamika had to leave. Having been moved by DJ’s kindness and compassion, Shamika said goodbye to DJ at the bus stop and left. 

The story could have ended there, but Shamika decided to return the kindness DJ showed. The next day, Shamika knocked on the door of where the DJ lived. 

He answered the door and was surprised to see her standing at his doorstep alongside a brand new bicycle. DJ had said he wished for a bicycle the other day as the two became friends. DJ then accepted the bicyle and the two have contiued to be firends and a source of inspiration for others to be kind. 

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