A little bit about a lot of things:

•  I like senior citizens. My goal was always to be a grumpy old guy, you probably know the type. I got the grumpy down pretty good years ago, and now I think I’m officially closing in on “old” as well, so hopefully my goal will be achieved.

One of the highlights for me last week was visiting the senior meal site housed in the McConnell Adult Education Center....I have to tell you that I had so much fun visiting with them and watching the interaction back and forth between them.

And, they even pointed out that I was old enough to join them for lunch. Yep, that’s true.

I ran into several favorites who I haven’t seen in a while, including 97-year-old Ray Caseri, who is still going strong and enjoys holding court at the daily gatherings. He is kind of the elder statesman there...and from what I can tell loving every minute of it.

The seniors gave high marks to the food program, which is now operated by the Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District’s nutrition services department.....I have to say that my school lunches never looked as good as what they were serving. Eating school lunches again every day would kind of be coming full circle, wouldn’t it?

But I also really enjoyed the social aspect of the gatherings. The coffee’s on when the room opens around 10:00, and folks are welcome to come and visit or play cards while they wait for the 11 a.m. lunch. That’s a hugely important component, as is providing seniors access to sound nutrition.

Most importantly, there is a lot of spirit and a lot of life in that room.

I might pop in more often.....

•  Okay, it’s official. The gopher(s) win.

After battling gophers (mostly in vain) for several months, we thought we noticed fewer plants disappearing from our garden of late, which was encouraging.

We thought maybe the gophers had moved on, or that our cat Molly might have had some hunting success.

No such luck.

I discovered when digging through our forest of zucchini and other squash plants last weekend that a gopher had mounded dirt to almost cover a good-sized squash. I picked it....only to discover that it had been almost completely eaten from the backside. It was almost fully hollowed out, with no visible hint from the surface that it was being eaten. Really?

I found one other in similar condition, so would suspect that there are more.

We’ve had what I assume are raccoon feasting on melons and squashes from the surface, and now gophers are going at them from below. The birds are helping themselves to our peaches and figs, for good measure.

Guess we’re sharing the fruits of our labor (actually, most of it is Kat’s labor) with members of the animal kingdom this year.

I don’t mind that to a point, but this year it feels like we’re running a smorgasbord for them.

•  What is wrong with us?

The senseless killing of three people and wounding of several others at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Sunday hit far too close to home. What compels somebody to cut through a fence to gain access to a festival and then start randomly shooting people? Violence has always been with us.....but doesn’t it seem like violence is becoming all the more pervasive in our society?

What possesses somebody to shoot up a school, or rain bullets from a hotel room down into a festival crowd, or walk into a nightclub or a church and start firing with no apparent provocation? Granted, some tragedies are predicated on a flash point.....a lost job, a beef with a co-worker, an acrimonious divorce. That of course is no justification for violence, but I think that we all feel at least a little better in processing tragedy if we at least know that there was a “why.” Without the “why” question answered, the violence becomes all the more chilling.

At what point do we become numb to such acts? Hopefully never.

Do you blame mental illness? Or a society in which violence is freely depicted if not celebrated through movies, games and other avenues? Hatred? Oppression? The deterioration of even the most basic of values? The erosion of true human connection because of social media and other influences? Absence of accountability and personal responsibility?

When you look at such acts and ponder the deeply divided state of our country, groups spilling hate, overloaded systems which no longer impose consequences to deter crime and social trends which tear down long-standing norms, becoming deeply discouraged about the world in which we live is easy.

Even on the most difficult days, we can remind ourselves that there is much good in our world as well and find solace in that fact.

But perhaps it is time to honestly ask what more we can do to to stand up against senseless violence.

I believe that, more than anything, the erosion of our society in general is responsible for many of the challenges we face....and increased violence is just one of the results.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.