No Lives Matter

Cassandra Tondro, "We Come From the Earth," contemporary art

Hi Friends,

I’m sorry, but someone has to say it. Sometimes humanity sucks! Fourth of July pushed me to the edge of my compassion with a continual barage of what sounded like bombs falling from the sky until 1:00 in the morning, some so close they seemed to be right on top of my home. This despite the fact that fireworks are illegal here.

The deluge began three weeks earlier with fireworks every night, leading up to a culmination of nonstop explosions on the Fourth. A quick scan of social media showed that it was similar in many cities throughout the United States.

Never in my life have I heard such an ongoing rampage. Pets and toddlers were terrified, and I can only imagine how it affects the wild animals who cohabit our space.

I suppose blowing things up is an expression of pent-up emotions, and COVID-19 has certainly pushed us to the limits of what we can handle.

Sometimes it seems like humans are the scourge of the Earth, and I feel ashamed to be one of them. We can’t even get along with each other, let alone live in harmony with nature and the planet.

Perhaps you can help me to perceive this situation differently, with more empathy and grace.

How are things in your neck of the woods? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,

Painting at top: “We Come From the Earth, We Return to the Earth,” 36 x 48 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas.



  1. I do share your feelings Cassandra. I’ve long thought the only thing wrong with this beautiful planet was us, homo -so called- sapiens.
    I had hope that after the beginning of deconfinement, people would have learned and changed, things would change. But we’ve learned nothing.

    As for fireworks, not only are they a fire hazard in hot dry climates, in spite of precautions, if any are taken.
    The shop bought ones for private parties are not only dangerous but illegal.
    The official, national ones cost millions, millions. Each town throughout many parts of the world will have one or more for national celebrations, while people are starving, dying, while there wasn’t enough protection for health workers and workers at risks during the confinement and still now. These people put their lives at risk daily, many scared witless -they too have families- but getting up and going to work while some psychopathic world leader mishandled the situation so badly, did and said just about everything wrong.
    These millions are apparently available for fireworks. Should we not have priorities for allocating funds?
    People’s lives and safety vs a few minutes of ever bigger, grander, but pointless light explosions in the sky?

    I feel worse now than before. Nature was healing itself, I thought politicians meant it, (how very naïve of me), when they promised to make the environment their priority. Pass legislation to stop businesses, corporations, the travel and cars manufacturers from polluting. Forcing them to change their way. Look more closely at practices in mass farming, abattoir appalling practices. They haven’t. They won’t. And there are more cars on the road now than before. It seems the start of a new era was only a craving to find oneself in traffic jams.

    Sorry, not feeling too optimistic right now.

    Take care and thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings so candidly with us.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, too, Chloe. Things change so slowly, and it feels frutstrating. I had hoped that the lockdown would shake people up and wake them up to some of the changes that need to happen, but nope! It’s back to business as usual, and even worse than before.

  2. Cassandra. We’ve been blessed in Ojai with relatively little fireworks. Have discovered a good antidote to all the negative things happening in the world. Had chanced upon the harmonic convergence information a few days ago and signed up ( There are about 7 hours of programming every day (with replays available). Tuesday was day 3.It’s free. Have been able to listen to a few of the interviews and they have been so full of helpful, inspiring information, interspersed with beautiful music and visuals. We’re apparently in for a very rocky 5 1/2 more years. The coronavirus is giving us the time to go inward, deal with our shadow side and visualize the kind of world we want to live in. Am hoping a lot of people will take advantage of the time, because I believe that we’re at a crucial point. The earth will recover, but whether humans will be part of it, is up to us. take good care. I appreciate your thoughtful commentaries. Namaste, Kaarina

    1. Hi Kaarina. I had not heard about The Harmonic Convergence, but will check it out. I think you’re right that we’re in for some rocky years. I’ve heard that from others as well. Thank you for reminding me to visualize the kind of world that I want!

  3. Unfortunately I can’t agree more! I feel such shame living among some of these people. It is so distressing to me to see how wonderful our world could be if a few of these people just disappeared. I’m old enough now to see that all the education in the world isn’t going to change such meanness and thoughtlessness.

    It is too bad that so many of the ones losing their lives are the good people and the trash is too often left here.

    I have a pillow on my sofa that says “Don’t worry…just pray”. I see it all day long to remind me so I do pray constantly that something…..anything….will enlighten some of these blockheads. And then I pray for the rest of us that we have the fortitude to withstand this barrage of stupid!

    1. Hi Itssewgood! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve heard it said that we need the contrast in order to know what we want. If we didn’t have the contrast to point out what we don’t want, we wouldn’t be able to see what it is that we do want. One way to look at it, anyway!

  4. Oh, Cassandra! We had the exact same scenario. WAY to long on the 4th – from 10:00 AM until 2:00 AM – and they started about mid-June.

    And I had the same reaction. I was a cranky (sometimes furious) depressed mess with a cowering dog who had to be sedated just to function enough to go outside and pee.

    They’re illegal here in Puyallup (WA), too, except on the day of the 4th, but it’s never been enforced.

    Sigh. Hard to send love and light to our suffering world when I feel like I’m living in a war zone. Maybe that’s the lesson. Be glad I’m not!

    Blessings to you for saying this out loud. Now I feel less like I’m the only one angry about it.

    Have a better summer!

    Love to you,

    1. Hi Kay! Good point about not living in a war zone. What if we were, and we had to endure this everyday? But it does kind of point out the disparity between people — the gulf of differences of opinions and beliefs. Has it always been this wide? I don’t think so.

  5. It’s clear, we live in a self-absorbed world which continues to get worse with each passing day. I’m middle aged and was raised to have an awareness of others which meant you thought about how your actions could adversely effect others and either you refrained or altered your approach. Simple things like checking to see if someone is behind you so you can hold the door for them. Not leaving the dog outside if it begins to bark. Not burning a fire pit every night of the week with the smoke continually blowing into the neighbors windows. Signaling while driving. Not cutting people off or riding someone’s bumper. The list goes on and on but the number one thing today- not wearing a damn mask and social distancing. That too is just an inconvenience for so many. It just amazes me how many people are in denial. I lost my Mother to Covid back in April and with all of the social gatherings that continue to go on, we are far from being out of the woods. Unfortunately, each state will need to go through major devastation to wake up. Even then- look at the Covid carnage that occurred in New York, yet every single day the protestors are out in droves with many not wearing masks during a pandemic. Seriously- what is it going take? So yes, fireworks going off every night to all hours certainly doesn’t surprise me one bit. People are clueless. Too much unrest going on in this country and frankly, I think it will get far worse before it gets better. I reflect upon the days and months after 9-11. It brought out a sense of patriotism, unity and people overall were gentler and kinder. That was the only positive thing out of that terrible time in history however, those days are long gone. So now I ask myself- where is this country going from here? Are we going to become a kinder and gentler nation once again or are we going in the opposite direction? Something to think about…

    1. Hi SomethingToThinkAbout! I’m so sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. That must be really hard. I’m not sure how we got where we are as a country, where we’re so divided. I guess it’s been happening gradually, and I just didn’t recognize it until Trump’s election. Now it’s even worse than four years ago. Yes, I was raised to be considerate of others as well, and I don’t understand this self-centeredness. It’s hard to see.

  6. We have recently relocated to vancouver, Washington. Fireworks are very legal here; huge tents selling them all over the city in a fair like atmosphere. “support your high school band, buy your fireworks here”.
    Of course, the landscape is very different with greenery everywhere and dampness from Spring and early summer rain showers.
    From a hilltop where we are temporarily staying until our new home is completed, at 9:30 at night the sky in all directions was lit with showering colorful blasts of brilliant color.
    This is the norm. Many people prepare their pets by closed door and confined spaces; veterinarians prescribe tranquilizers for the most fearful.
    We, not joining in any festivity, were nevertheless amazed by the sights and sounds, and we were not comfortable with the noise. It felt like we were in a war zone.
    But, we are from California where it is illegal and even more scary because of fire danger,
    Absent the community festivities, we found this celebration to be the only evidence of a celebratory event. And, to Washitonians, this was normal.
    So much of life experience I believe is relative to the environment you live in, and were raised in. Although we share many common values, how we experience our lives is also relatively influenced by our geographical social environment.
    This is not written in support of prolific fireworks, but it is an example of how the same occurrences can have effect how differently people react to the same.
    Sunday following the night of the 4th was light and beautiful, quiet and for the moment very peaceful for me. I felt a sense of community; a city that shared “the rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air” that shouted out, we have a commonality, our country and there is still within us a deep connection as part of this struggling nation beset with dark clouds of cultural and economic insecurity magnified by horrific injustice on many levels.

    1. Hi Donna! Thanks for sharing your story. It’s interesting that where you live the fireworks made you feel connected to community. Maybe it’s partly because they’re legal there. Here it’s seen as an angry and rebellious act by those who want to create chaos and mayhem.

  7. Oh, Cassie. You are right, of course. We have such a flawed species. Selfish. The night of the 4th I read there were 40 fires around the Los Angeles area– house fires, brush fires (!). At that time no one knew how many were started by fireworks, but there were a lot more fires than on any ordinary night. In Pasadena we know about the origin of one. A man and his 13 year old son with fireworks managed to burn down his neighbor’s garage and, I heard, had the house siding smoldering also. They were arrested. That’s a hard way to learn a lesson. Wouldn’t a little thinking have been easier? And then the air quality index all that night and the next day was worse than I’ve ever seen before– 350. Asthmatics and I had a hard time. I’ve been coping with another problem lately. My 20 year old grandnephew in Massachusetts made a trip on a commercial plane to Arizona, the coronavirus hot spot of the country, to visit a friend and go to a huge Trump rally. He was so disappointed the rally was canceled. I know this boy. He lives in a redneck area in Western Massachusetts. But what is wrong with him? He left thinking that he might have antibodies, but not knowing one way or another. How many people could he endanger? How many people might die because of him? Did he care? Does he simply believe Trump about the virus? Where is his intelligence? The next weekend he posted pictures of himself and a bunch of friend at the beach, all very close, touching, no masks. And a Trump rally? With no masks, no distancing? AND, a Trump rally??? Does he admire racist people, ignorant and stupid and arrogant people? How did he get this way? His parents are loving and caring (but right wing). How did all those people with fireworks become the people who don’t care if they are further traumatizing a veteran with PTSD, or 200 dogs, or their neighbors? How can a person be like that? Become like that? I’ve always thought that it is because they aren’t taught properly. Maybe their parents didn’t say to them over and over as my mother did, “And how would you feel if someone did that to you?” Maybe there is something missing in school education, like an understanding of how societies work, and how democracy functions. Another thing my mother impressed on me was that she was taught civics in school. We don’t teach it anymore, I think because it is viewed as political by the right wing. Maybe the answer is simply that until relatively recently our species lived in small villages and towns, and public opinion kept people in line. Maybe it is because starting in the 60s, the wonderful 60s, people seem to have been losing all respect for teachers, intellectuals, and scientists. And of course, right now we have a person with no empathy and no ethics at the top, leading the mob. How can we take children from their families and put them in cages? I think my grandnephew is showing off– showing off his macho– but obviously also, he does not value thinking. And how does it fit in that most of the perpetrators, at least of the fireworks problem and lots of the other problems, we think are men? Finally, we know that in some ways our species is naturally cruel and selfish– what percent of women are raped, after all? And what about slavery and racism? But why are some of us– lots of us– not like that? What makes all of this worse is that we feel, and usually are, powerless. You hear the fireworks night after night, but you, me, and everyone we know can’t seem to stop it. Here is the only remedy for our sanity that I know: thinking of all the good people we know. The Unitarian church holds so many admirable people, and I watch them and hold onto the vision of them and of all my non-Unitarian wonderful friends, and Barack Obama, and lots of others. When I left an abusive relationship, I used to look at each man in turn in the church choir and realize that I knew that man, I really knew, wasn’t abusive. That was very personal therapy. How to fix all this? I don’t know, because I really can’t figure out whether we evolved so that a lot of us are naturally selfish, cruel, and running on hormones, or if the problem is education of some sort– at home, or in school. We ought to at least try the education/parenting re-education route. But we’ve lost the battle right now in this country. Decency. So many are not decent anymore. The good news is Homeboys, bringing people who used to be in gangs and hurting other people back to tender family life and work. The good news is that we know decent people. But how to put them on top? I don’t know. Love, Chris
    P.S. I hope this isn’t too depressing, what I’ve written. I keep getting told I’m too negative, though I think of it as realistic.

    1. Hi Chris. Great stories! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Yes, I wonder how people get that way, too. Like you said, I suppose it comes from what they were taught and the modeling their family provided. I wonder if things have to reach rock bottom before they will turn around. Or are they already turning around? It’s hard to know from our small perspective. You’re right that there are many good people, and I like your suggestion of focusing on that.

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