Vol. 12    No. 20
OCTOBER 2, 2017
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                                       Keeping the Faith
Dealing with The Big “C”
Frances Huntley-Cooper, Sharyl Kato, and Teresa
Tellez-Giron Talk about Overcoming Cancer
While I am normally an optimistic, positive person who sees the glass as always half full, I do have to admit sometimes that life sucks. There are
things that seem to happen in twos and threes that seem to hit you right in the gut and knock the wind out of you and it seems like you’re going to
die right then and there. It seems like there is misery everywhere.

While Hurricane Maria left the Caribbean Sea well over a week ago, her impact has been left like an ugly scar over the face of Puerto Rico. Due to
the severity of the storm, electricity and communications were knocked out. I have several friends from Puerto Rico who didn’t know what
happened to their families and could only watch the news footage and despair.

So far, so good. As of this writing, none of their loved ones perished during the hurricane. And now they have to decide how to cope with the
hurricane’s aftermath.

It will be months and months before electricity and communications are restored. It is said that the hurricane knocked Puerto Rico back 100 years.
And so, should my friends bring their loved ones to Madison to stay while the island recovers or perhaps stay permanently and start a new life?
Or should they give them the generators and other supplies they need to remain in Puerto Rico. These are very hard decisions to make.

I urge my readers to give what you can to the Puerto Rico Relief Fund of South Central Wisconsin. I have already made my donation by visiting
www.unidoswi.org, which directs you to the relief fund’s giving site. The relief fund is operated by people who have extensive contacts in Puerto
Rico and have the ability to get the resources to the grassroots people who will be doing the hard work of helping Puerto Rico recover. Please
help them out!

And then as I was working on this issue on Sunday night, a rumor came my way that Marcus Miles, a friend and fellow photographer had died. I
was astonished by the rumor and spent a couple of hours networking with other people to ascertain the facts. I was incredulous when I realized
that the facts made it clear that Marcus had died on Saturday morning. Out of respect to the family, I didn’t mention it to anyone or do any posting
until Tuesday afternoon. That was the humane thing to do until all of Marcus’ relatives and loved ones were notified and the family was prepared
to make it public.

By Tuesday morning, there were countless posts to Facebook of people expressing their grief and posting the photos that Marcus had taken of
them and their loved ones. They were beautiful photos of a very diverse community that Marcus was a part of. Through his art — for it was more
than just taking photographs — Marcus really enriched a lot of people’s lives. I am so glad that I devoted the April 17th middle spread of The
Capital City Hues to Marcus’ photographs when he had a gallery showing on State Street. I was glad that we had given him his due.

I would run into Marcus often, either when we were both taking photos at events or at social gatherings. I felt a certain kinship with Marcus
because we were both involved in civil rights and both loved taking photographs of people. I think the first time that I met Marcus was about 20
years ago when he was taking photos at a NAACP banquet, a perfect blend of his loves.

I just saw Marcus last week and we talked about several things including that his lower back was giving him problems and he had some
personal difficulties. But it goes to show you that we never know the day or hour and so you have to live life to the fullest each and every day.
Through his photography, Marcus lived fully until the end.

And then if Marcus’ death wasn’t enough, reports started coming in about the horrific shooting in Las Vegas that has killed at least 59 people and
wounded over 500 more. One would think that it took a small army to carry this carnage out. But it was the act of one man who was under the
police and family radar, a man who had almost 20 guns in his hotel room, shooting down on festival goers with fully automatic weapons that must
have had large bullet belts attached.

The talk of the need for gun control quite naturally came up. I would think it was plain to everyone that all of our right to life supersedes the right of
people to own military hardware designed to inflict massive casualties. Those weapons belong on the battle field and not in civilized society.

Trump spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that the immediate aftermath of the shooting was not the time to talk about gun control. I
wish Trump had felt that way when he started bringing up Puerto Rico’s financial instability to blame Puerto Rico’s catastrophe on the hurricane
victims while search and recovery efforts were just getting underway.

I heard that some of the country music artists who were performing at the music festival and had been against gun control were now changing
their opinions based on the carnage that they witnessed and miraculously were not victims of. Obviously, we haven’t reached the threshold of the
number of victims from a single incident necessary to sway this nation to enact gun control of these weapons of mass destruction. How many
victims will it take> One hundred? Five hundred? How many martyrs do we need before we will once again become a civilized, peaceful nation?
There is a special place in hell for the members of the NRA whose desire to be totally free of gun control results in the bloodshed of innocent
victims. When will this insanity end?