Syndicated Columnists

It’s been a hot, cruel summer. We all need a break from the crazy

Magdalena Gomez wept as she talked about her father, who was rounded up in a Mississippi immigration raid.
Magdalena Gomez wept as she talked about her father, who was rounded up in a Mississippi immigration raid. YouTube/Dallas Urban

From the moment you arrived in late June, you were hot, wet and apparently very, very angry.

Truth be told, May had already stolen your thunder, recording near-triple-digit temperatures by the end of the month.

By the end of the heat wave, I had retreated indoors, popping my vitamin D tablets like I always do, trying desperately not to complain about the heat or the rain.

Your discontent, if I might call it that, seemed to mirror our own.

Ransomware attacks. Chicken sandwich wars. Children in cages. Mass shooting after mass shooting after mass shooting.

You no longer felt like the fun season I’d gotten to know when we would host cookouts, camp outdoors and welcome our kids home from school and college. You were a place called crazyville, and I had to laugh to keep from crying.

From the time you arrived on June 21 until now, I’ve counted more than 100 mass shootings. August arrived with one of the worst in U.S. history. Twenty-two people were gunned down at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart. The suspect is facing murder and hate crime charges.

Then just five days later, before we could heal from the shock and loss, you dealt us yet another blow. Hundreds of undocumented workers at seven Mississippi food processing plants were arrested, leaving their children to fend for themselves.

A video of an 11-year-old girl named Magdalena sobbing as she begged for her father’s release went viral.

As you wound down, even the normal was starting to feel like the abnormal.

Along with pencil, paper and erasers, children returned to school outfitted with bulletproof backpacks, and teachers with protocols of active shooter drills. And the rest of us? If we had any sense at all, we were starting to case the exits in stores and movie theaters just in case another mass shooter showed up.

I mentioned the ransomware attacks, the last of which happened mid-August and appeared to be a coordinated effort across 22 Texas cities. According to news reports, each was simultaneously held hostage for millions of dollars after a sophisticated hacker, perhaps a group of them, infiltrated their computer systems and encrypted their data. The attack instigated a statewide disaster-style response that included the National Guard and an FBI inquiry.

Is it any wonder that people are on edge? About everything?

By early this month, you must have been feeling a bit of pity for us.

While we pleaded for Congress to do something, anything to help curb the violence, Walmart announced it would no longer sell “short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons’” It will also discontinue sales of handgun ammunition, the bulk of which, I understand, is used in murders, assaults and suicides.

Just as I was starting to feel hopeful, you unleashed Hurricane Dorian upon the Bahamas, leaving at least 50 dead and 76,000 homeless in its wake.

To be fair, you haven’t been all bad.

In the midst of all the mayhem, you gave us a few things to celebrate, to remind us of who we are at our best like Woodstock and the Apollo moon landing. Coco Gauff, at just 15, won three matches and became the youngest player since 1991 to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon, her first Grand Slam tournament, and teenager Bianca Andreescu bested Serena Williams to win the U.S. Open.

Which reminds me. Away from the tennis courts, another kind of battle was taking place on the fast-food scene as Popeyes battled Chick-fil-A for best chicken sandwich.

It looked like Popeyes had won, but the chain, not expecting its success, ran out of chicken just weeks after its Aug. 12 launch, ticking some customers off. One of them became so enraged that he pulled a gun at a restaurant in Houston. Another thwarted taste-tester in Tennessee is suing the fast-food chain.

Without so much as a mention of the childish Twitter war between President Donald Trump and Chrissy Teigen, you’ve been a crazy few months, summer.

Thank goodness you'll soon be gone.

It is my prayer you will consider your ways and return to us next year a kinder, gentler season.