Tomorrow morning I'll be driving to Tassajara Zen Monastery in Carmel Valley, California. There is no Internet in Tassajara. Cell phone signals do not reach into the valley. There is one telephone that is shared by all of the students and guests. Suffice it to say, it will be difficult to reach me. Postal mail does reach Tassajara. But I doubt anyone who reads this is gonna send me a letter.
While I'm away the guy who moderates the comments section will be putting up a few articles I wrote. These have been published elsewhere, but they haven't been seen for a while.
Also, I put up that "Secure Your Mask" piece on SuicideGirls. So if you want to go look at it again there, you can.
Last night I got word of a mass shooting in Akron. The shooter killed seven people and seriously wounded two others before he was killed by police. The full story is available at this link (click here).
I first heard the story from my friend Miki in Japan. I assumed it must have been some sort of drug-related thing. There are, unfortunately, far too many people doing far too many drugs in Akron, Ohio. About an hour later I got a message from my friend Mark saying that most of the shooter's victims were close relatives of a mutual friend of ours.
Since the police have not released any names yet, I'm not going to do that here. I'll call Mark and my mutual friend L. Back in the early 90s I shared a rundown punkrock house in Akron's North Hill neighborhood. I inherited my room from L after she moved out and into a better place. I used to hang out with her sometimes and drink tea. Every guy I knew back then had a thing for L and so did I. She was beautiful and intelligent and radiated a kind of purity and wonderfulness that I find impossible to describe. But if I think about her I can still feel it even though I haven't seen L in over a decade. She ended up moving in with the leader of a band called Sleazy Jesus and the Splatter Pigs. In spite of his band's name, he was a really great guy. It was a good fit.
I don't know what to make of any of this. It appears that the shooter was the boyfriend of L's sister. That's L's sister's boyfriend, not L's boyfriend who was in the band. I don't want to speculate about why this happened. But one cannot help doing so. In any case I'm not going to put my speculations up on this blog.
I hate it — just absolutely hate and despise it — when people try to make some kind of a "dharma lesson" about every damned thing that happens. I hated it when people did that with David Coady. I'm not going to do that now.
I'm full of grief and anger today. I'll be working on that for the next few weeks. L's boyfriend has thanked their friends for their expressions of support but asked that we respect their privacy. So I'm doing so. I ask anyone reading this who either knows L or feels inclined to try and figure out who she is (seriously, please don't, there's a reason I'm not revealing her name) to do the same. Sometimes people need to be left alone and this is one of those times.
I'll chant a chant for L's family and light some incense at the altar down in Tassajara. What else can I do?