Trigger Happy

2014 07 04 wc 069Fourth of July has come and gone, and Westcliffe’s Fourth of July parade sponsored by the Wild West Cowboy Church came off without a hitch. A hitch? Well, there were guns this year, but no guns saw action. Just guessing… maybe only 150 parade participants (half the number who marched last year) carried guns in support of Second Amendment rights.

Some believe that the Second Amendment, the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, is under threat. Yes, Tea Party adherents have every right to protest, but a Fourth of July Independence Day parade should be a family affair, not a political rally. Perhaps they could find another time and place to voice their concerns.

2014 07 04 wc 074I find it curious that as Custer County strives to increase tourism, “branding” is not a bigger issue. Yes, we have towering mountains, a lush valley, more cattle than people, and a thriving cultural scene, but young children, guns slung over their shoulders and marching down Main Street, is not a brand that we want to promote.

Hillary Clinton is not everyone’s cup of tea, but since stepping down as Secretary of State (2009-2013), she has commented on how her service in that capacity opened her eyes to how the United States is perceived on the international stage. Foreigners think we are gun-crazed.

2014 07 04 wc 083Heaven forbid that any foreigners read the July 3rd Wet Mountain Tribune. One of the Letters to the Editor was written by Roger Aukema who commented on the Senior Citizen’s Center where a NO GUNS ALLOWED sign is posted. It is hard to imagine anyone taking issue with this sign, but… according to Aukema, some are challenging the rule and “encouraging all gun owners who believe this rule should be lifted to show their support.” Really! And just who is going to take-down a group of Seniors eating their lasagna?

Is it any wonder that foreigners think we are gun-crazed in this country?

2014 07 04 wc 084I was not amused by the trigger-happy marchers who flashed the three-finger salute. If you haven’t seen the three-finger salute, read on. Visualize shooting a pistol. The extended index finger approximates the barrel; the thumb cocks the hammer; and the middle finger pulls the trigger. All things considered, I found these good-humored marchers with pantomiming fingers, as scary if not scarier than those with actual guns: there is nothing light-hearted about shooting.

The three-finger salute is a call to action, not a call for debate. To my mind, the three-finger salute verges on crossing the line between free and hate speech.

2014 07 04 wc 017Three cheers for the Community Band for participating. I thank them for putting Community ahead of politics in what has become a polarized event that many groups have decided to boycott. For sheer fun, I loved the Search and Rescue volunteer who played a wounded hiker. Carried on a stretcher, he gave a feeble wave – that of a nearly dead man striving to recognize the crowd. It was great theater: we need to get that man on-stage. And not to forget Paca Peace Ranch and their winsome alpacas. A little civility and a little peace.

We do tend to hang with “our own kind,” but when too many good-hearted people boycott the Fourth of July because of the militant nature of the parade, something is wrong. As Emily Dickinson wrote: The soul selects her own society, / then shuts the door; / on her divine majority / obtrude no more. / Unmoved, she notes the chariot’s pausing / at her low gate; / unmoved, an emperor is kneeling / upon her mat. / I’ve know her from an ample nation / choose one; / then close the valves of her attention / like stone.

Anger and militancy lead to deafness… deafness “like stone.”  All this head-butting does a disservice to the true goodness of our community. No one seems to talk about our leading the state of Colorado in per capita volunteerism. That’s the story we should highlight.

Calling for more gentle giants and fewer militants.

Calling for more gentle giants and fewer militants.




About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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9 Responses to Trigger Happy

  1. Pari Morse says:

    Well said, Doris!

    That old fart in the top photo needs a sign that says:



    • timeout2 says:

      Thank you for the laugh, Pari. I guess BIG GOVERNMENT is a buffet table – take what you want (that would be the meat and gravy) and ignore the rest (that would be the vegetables).

  2. Mary Pralle says:

    Enjoyed seeing the parade thru your eyes since we quit going to it when the guns took over. Guess they got their rights, but we lost ours to enjoy feeling safe at the town’s parades.

    • timeout2 says:

      Dear Mary, When you write “We quit going to it when the guns took over,” you speak for many thoughtful people. All quite sad. That said, I was heartened by the fact that we did see fewer guns this year. Maybe next year (wishful thinking here) we will see half as many again.

  3. Marty Wolff says:

    What a great article. Just came from a Silver Cliff board meeting and Paul Sage of the Sentinal asked us what we thought of the “No Guns” sign at the Senior Center. The mayor did a great job of telling him they are a separate entity, and we don’t tell them what to do just because they use the basement of our building. Those 2nd Amendment people are nuts, if you ask me, and that makes them scary. Thanks for stating yourself so well.

  4. Monica says:

    Great article as usual.
    Thank you

  5. Joan Liebman says:

    A liitle late in getting to read this, but I sure don’t want to miss telling you thanks for the topic and your wonderful writing. Our kids and grandkids used to come down that weekend and the parade sas a big highlight for all. We’ve skipped the parade the past two years because of the guns and I look forward to a time when we can, once again, enjoy it and all the festivitirs again.

    • timeout2 says:

      Thank you for reading, Joanie, and thank you and Mike for shouldering so many volunteer efforts on behalf of the community. The two of you definitely should be nominated for “Persons of the Year.” As for the parade, I take it as a positive sign that fewer guns were on-parade this year than last. A trend… maybe?

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