Friday, November 07, 2008

Gallimaufry & What Didn't Happen

When M. and I left our hotel room on Tuesday, the lobby was full of the crackle of police radios. Everywhere you looked in downtown Chicago, there were cops standing around.

These are some kind of federales outside a federal office building on Jackson Street.

I was happy, therefore, to get home and learn that the huge crowds at Barack Obama's rally were mostly good-natured and that there was no celebratory rioting.

• I will be watching for progress on rebuilding the Temple of Artemis.

• When Obama made his ill-considered remark about those of us in flyover country "clinging to guns and religion," my first thought was to wonder which religion(s) he had in mind. Oleg Volk, a Russian-born photographer now living in Tennessee, created an image that mirrors my thoughts.

• And this post on "alternative" gun culture is all about others who don't want to be victims, such as the Pink Pistols.



Blogger Yvonne said...

If you take the guns away from everybody, that works. We tried it in the UK... seems to work.

Wow, the word-verification for this comment is pologami - that's either "the art of folding small round mints with a hole in" or a love-in at a polo match...

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...

Yep, it worked so well that Britain's violent crime rate will soon surpass the United States!

So now you have a knife problem. Pretty soon you'll have a rock-and-tree branch problem.

Hint: It's the culture that matters, not the inanimate object.

That, and having lots of unarmed victims around makes life easier for the human predators among us.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Pitch313 said...

I gotta say that I don't get where you're going with these gun links.

Do you hint that Pagans ought to take up guns? That some already have? That some sort of armed struggle is coming and Pagans better get ready?

Volk's photo could just as well as used any political or cultural emblem in the background. Yes, some of the meaning might be slightly shifted, but the armed part would remain if there was an American flag or a Crucifix or name your movement/oppressor.

I guess that I'm missing your point about girls, guns and pentagrams...

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...

Pitch, follow the link in the last bullet (heh) item...

Self defense is a human right, that's what I'm saying.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

But we haven't had a Dunblane, a Hungerford, or a Virginia Tech since guns were made harder to obtain.

And it's never really been the norm for people to carry guns in the UK.

Yes, self-defence is a human right; but the corresponding responsibility is reasonable use of force.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...

For heaven's sake, Yvonne, research your own history.

The UK had no gun control laws until the 1920s, when the issue was the fear of Bolshevism infecting the miners, factory workers, etc., leading to Red revolution.

Me, I'm with George Owell. Remember his famous line (written during WW2 when he was encouraging socialists to join the Home Guard): THAT RIFLE HANGING ON THE WALL OF THE WORKING-CLASS FLAT OR LABOURER'S COTTAGE IS THE SYMBOL OF DEMOCRACY. IT IS OUR JOB TO SEE THAT IT STAYS THERE.

Historically, gun control is not about crime, but rather about one segment of society oppressing another.

The Nazis effected it so that no one could shoot back at the brownshirts.

In the post-Civil War American South, gun control's purpose was to keep freed slaves defenseless against the Ku Klux Klan and similar organizations. I learned that from reading Stephen Halbrook's That Every Man Be Armed

Gun control is not so much about crime but about one group's oppression of another.

The more defenseless you are, the more you are at the mercy of the people who know what's good for you.

Self-defense is a human right. Thomas Jefferson's line about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is meaningless if you don't have the life part. ;-)

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...

I should say that your comment about "reasonable use of force" is appropriate.

When I got my Colorado concealed-weapons permit, I had to learn the law about when deadly force is permissible and when it is not. (The permit does not convey any extra powers in that regard!) So now I am better informed than I was before.

Naturally, I do think that deadly force is appropriate at some times.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Pitch313 said...

What are we Pagans resisting/acting against/preventing here?

Do we need to carry guns to do it?
Concealed guns?

It's not the knowing about guns or about how to use them that I'm wondering about. It's what is out there that makes guns necessary to Pagans. Do you think that Pagans are in that great a jeopardy, Chas?

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...

Geez, Pitch, I am not trying to rack up your paranoia here.

For the record, no, I do not think that Pagans are in special danger -- although that I heard plenty of "conspiracy porn" to that effect maybe 25 years ago.

No, but shit happens. I have a fire extinguisher in my house (in fact, two) of them, but it's not because I'm a Pagan.

And it is definitely not because I somehow desire a fire -- outside of the woodstove, that is.

See where I am going with this? Be prepared.

5:29 PM  
OpenID rozewolf said...

Chas, Loved the photo link.
Guns have a purpose. Protection, recreation, food gathering. All valid reasons. The important issues are safety and education.

To be honest, I'd be more concerned about a food riot or a mountain lion in my back yard than someone attacking me because I'm pagan.

For the record, I live in a county with more concealed carry permits than the Denver Metro Area by percentage. It has one of the highest numbers of registered guns in the country as well as the number of unregistered guns. This is also an area where most people don't lock their doors or their cars or worry about their kids running down to the local park unattended.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...


Thanks for the comment, but one thing confuses me: Colorado does not register guns.

Or is Walsenburg different? ;-)

8:49 PM  
Blogger Pitch313 said...

OK, I do get--Be Prepared!

The matter of Pagans and guns is, of course, interesting and complicated on its own. Myself, I don't think that it's "un-Pagan" to have and use guns. But I do recognize guns going against the grain of a lot of Pagan subculture.

And, yes, we're also citizens.

Maybe what stirred up my curiousity so much was the photo,
which alluded to many "armed struggle" photos I've seen over the years.

Plus, the stories I've been reading in the immediate aftermath of Obama's election about people lining up at gun stores.

Still, I do have one more question, which may have more to do with Colorado. You got a concealed permit. Is this because it's frowned on to carry a gun openly in Colorado?

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...


Open carry is permitted in Colorado.

However, what is legally permitted may not be wise or appropriate in all circumstances.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...

Continuing ...

As for the Pagan subculture, I know a number of California Pagans who are shooters too.

And, in casual conversation at festivals here, I have found the number of Pagans familiar with firearms to be about like the general population, if it's true that 40 percent of Americans are gun-owners. (Frankly, I suspect that that number is low.)

12:11 PM  
Blogger Pitch313 said...

First, I hope that you will keep blogging about Pagans and guns. it's an interesting topic.

Second, and to be frank, in the pagan subculture I know best--Nor Cal--guns and shooting is just not all that popular. And my sense, at least, is that the overall sentiment is that guns don't yield good solutions to spiritual or environmental/ecological or cultural politics issues.

Maybe this comes out of a different experience of protest and resistance (non violence as strategy/tactic) for Pagans of my cohort.

Way back when I was young, I really did have to make a serious moral choice about using guns for anything more than target plinking. I choose not to. (I grew up in and around the hunter subculture and in and around the military subculture. I got killing things with guns. And I got killing people with guns--including tales of WWII combat on the Pacific Islands and its aftermath.)

10:52 AM  

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