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.
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.
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.