Murky Waters

If you are a long-time reader… if you know me in person, you know that I am opposed to people exercising their Second Amendment rights by marching in Westcliffe’s Independence Day parade.

Prior to the 2013 parade, I attended a truly ugly town meeting to discuss the legality of marchers carrying guns.  The hissing and booing… the disparaging comments… the incivility of those favoring guns left me wounded. No one shot me, but I felt flayed.

Forth of July guns 2014


On July 12, 2013, THE SANGRE DE CRISTO SENTINEL estimated that “some 500 Patriots” marched. July 17, 2013 I blogged that the parade “sucked the soul right out of me.” It was one thing to see adults shouldering or holstering guns, but children! Children skipping along with guns… trying to keep up with Mom and Dad… trying their best to emulate the culture!


The following year, an estimated 150 people marched. July 7, 2014 I blogged, “I was not amused by the trigger happy marchers who flashed the three-finger salute. Visualize shooting a pistol. The extended index finger approximates the barrel; the thumb cocks the hammer; and the middle finger pulls the trigger. I found the pantomiming fingers as scary if not scarier than those with actual guns.”

If you are thinking that I don’t like guns, you are wrong. Growing up in rural New York state, I was well acquainted with guns. If it hadn’t been for Daddy’s gun, we would have had no meat on the table. We ate venison, of course, and rabbit and squirrel. (Call me if you want the recipe for squirrel pot pie.) One Thanksgiving, whether through thrift (my mother was the queen of thrift) or a tight budget, Mom stuffed two squirrels with dressing – much as she would have stuffed the more traditional turkey.

There is a place for guns. A family-friendly parade is not one of them.

It is not guns themselves that rile me; rather, it is guns and children. And so, when I saw the following poster in the Custer County Courthouse the other day, I nearly came unglued. I’m pasting in a photo of the “Dirty Dozen” poster – you can read the details for yourself.


I am not a fan of the National Rifle Association. Their resistance to the most modest of gun reforms does sit well with me. Surely, given the gun violence in our country, reasonable people on both sides of the table could come to a compromise. The stalemate is taking us nowhere.

4th of July 2014

4th of July, 2014

The poster is one thing, but being able to purchase tickets in the Extension Office is a step too far. I know and value our local extension office – when I have a gardening question, they are the people who have the answer. And although I am no longer active in 4-H, I grew up with 4-H as did our children – cooking, sewing, public speaking, photography, horses and cows – we did it all. It is quite possible that I learned more in 4-H than I did in school. After all these years, the 4-H pledge is still with me:

I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, and my hands to greater service to my club, my community and my country.

Checking the CSU Extension website, I read their mission statement: Extension is dedicated to serving current and future needs of Coloradans by providing educational information and programs that safeguard health, increase livelihood and enhance well being.

Selling lottery tickets to a gun drawing does not match the state extension’s mission statement.

To those who are entrenched and stand in opposition, why just buy  one ticket for yourself? Go whole hog. Buy six tickets for $100. Share the tickets with your children and your grandchildren. Only 600 tickets will be sold – your children have a good chance of winning a gun of their very own.

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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16 Responses to Murky Waters

  1. Caroline Vornberg says:

    Doris— I,too, ache . The “in your face, kill or be killed, right to add to the gun problem, well armed militia mentality is horrifically hateful and counter to our freedoms. There will be the open carry guitar bunch again for The Parade…..Join if you want!!!

    • timeout2 says:

      I like the notion of open-carry. Do you know if the marchers have a banner or posters that underline the march? Something like ‘Open carry music, not guns’.

      • Caroline Vornberg says:

        SALLY Barnes is our organizer. It began as a movement in Austin as OPEN CARRY GUITARmovement ….there may be a google on it. We carry cardboard guitars and play kazoos—-America the Beautiful and one other are our tunes.
        SALLY is 337-277-2874…..or just join us the morning of 7/4!!! We meet with paraders at Club America at 9. Very very separated from the hated gun toters…….

  2. Brent says:

    Agree. Clearly an inappropriate place for the fund raising, hair-raising poster. Common sense should prevail and it should come down. The only way for reasonable and effective change will be through the ballet. When the majority take back their representatives currently held hostage by special interests, then we can have constructive discussion and change.

  3. Maria Weber says:

    Ugh! I hope that kind of display never happens in our town. I was pleased to see the demonstration in the US House of Representatives yesterday or the day before.

    • timeout2 says:

      Yes, the marchers do paint our town an ugly color. And yet, a small but vocal minority keep lighting their candles and volunteering in community-building projects. I don’t want to ‘win’ as much as I want a stalemate and grudging respect from both camps.

  4. Monica says:

    Doris I will stand by you if you need me! It is just plain awful that the NRA can get their way.
    The gun worshipers scare me &their anger is unreal.

    • timeout2 says:

      The intensity of the gun proponents anger is very scary. Everything is black and white – compromise is not an option which leads to a bunker mentality where no one dares to raise his head above the trenches.

  5. inge says:

    What a well stated commentary! I, too, am disturbed by the fierceness of the radical right and the way I perceive that this community has been divided as a result. It saddens me further that the silent majority is often reticent to engage in the discussion knowing that reason will fall on deaf ears. ( I admit that I belong to this group and acknowledge the incorrectness of this position .) So, kudos to you for this article!

    • timeout2 says:

      Thank you, Inge. I answered Monica before I read your note – obviously we are on the same page. I understand your reluctance to get involved. I waffle. Some days, I just want to close the gate and sit in the garden with a glass of wine. Some days I turn my back on NPR, the BBC and all news local, national and international. I have to do it for my peace of mind. At my age, I can’t be grinding down my tooth enamel. Other days, when I watch our community activists fighting the good fight, I feel like a slacker… letting others carry the flag… waiting for a good outcome. I’m torn. Writing is easier than actually acting.

  6. marilynjh says:

    What you and they said. I stand with you.

    • timeout2 says:

      You are not standing with me – you are standing in Great Sand Dunes water. I’m jealous. Everyone needs to take a deep cleansing breath and cool off.

  7. Carmel says:

    You make so much sense! Which the gun nuts do not … they’re off the charts crazy. The morning of the Aurora shooting I was scheduled for a minor operation at a hospital in downtown Denver. I called and they said, yes, come, their surgeries weren’t canceled because the wounded were being handled at other area facilities. While sitting in the reception area, I watched the news with all the horrible details. I got so upset I went to walk the halls until they called me. All went well and I was discharged but at 3am the next morning I was in the emergency room. No complications, just distress in my recovery. I think having those images in my head before the surgery messed me up. Literally made me sick. And the nightmare keeps happening…

    • timeout2 says:

      Your story struck home with me, Carmel. Sometimes it takes a day or two for the impact to strike home. Which, when you think about it, is even more powerful than the pain that you experience initially. The horror festers and grows.

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