Well, for all the drummed-up controversy of having people of all ages and backgrounds march with (unloaded) rifles in the Independence Day Parade here in Westcliffe, what really happened was a parade of celebration of American independence from tyranny in support of our Colorado Sheriffs. This was—by far—the longest parade I’ve yet witnessed on Westcliffe’s Main Street, with estimates of 450 to 500 people joining the march with various arms. I’ve never seen so many Gadsden flags in one place.
Who could have ever predicted that the very people advocating self-government could have possibly governed themselves? Nobody could have seen it coming!
Except, perhaps, those who understand that firearms in the hands of citizens are not a threat to other citizens. As author Robert Heinlein said, “An armed society is a polite society.” People tend not to trample the liberties of others when they could put their lives at risk in doing so. It’s ironic that some of the very people who claim that man is inherently “good” are also those who also fear ordinary citizens—“good” people—possessing firearms for self-defense. How can this be rationally reconciled?
While wandering across Main Street after the parade, my wife overheard a man who was interviewed by News 5 saying to someone, “I called them thugs. I said they were thugs.” Maybe “thug” was part of an important talking point to get across? It turns out some of that interview made it into this article and video which you can see at KOAA.com. But if you watch the video, you may notice that nobody was acting like thugs. In fact, I heard nothing but clapping and cheers as those toting rifles marched past. Does public possession of a firearm really make you a thug? If so, why do we have police, and why do they carry guns? In this same article by News 5, it seems Mr. Poisson—who’s certainly entitled to his opinion—believes that folks demonstrating some of their Creator-borne rights are necessarily “thugs”, counter to the plainly-observable facts of a civilized (and polite) celebratory event.
And speaking of opinions, the editor of the Wet Mountain Tribune wasn’t shy in expressing his own a couple of weeks ago, including this little nugget:
Rightfully, the Chamber recognized the potential danger this could pose to parade spectators; the long-term damage this could cause to our local tourist industry; and the obvious liability issues – civil and criminal – if something were to happen.
. . .
As we stated, we’re all for brisk and thoughtful discourse on the whole issue of gun rights as they apply to the Second Amendment. But the Tea Party’s blatant disregard for public safety, its attempt to thumb noses at common decency, and its tactics that can be deemed no less than playground bullying resulted on one of the Wet Mountain Valley’s great summer celebrations to be cancelled. Thanks, Party spoilers.
Wow. Indeed, “common decency” was simply thrown out the window when those marching in the parade decided to march with unloaded firearms in support of—and with—our Sheriff! Horrors!
I’ve never seen this town as bustling with people as I did last Thursday. Stores and restaurants were jammed full of customers—some still toting their rifles and sidearms. And yet our own Chamber of Commerce made the decision to shut down the parade, rather than enjoy a celebration of liberty. Maybe you believe this was a right decision, but I don’t see how the Chamber best represented its merchants with this decision. How does that make sense? If not for the quick action by the Town of Westcliffe in deciding to sponsor the parade, many of these folks probably wouldn’t have come to Westcliffe for their Independence Day celebrations. And that would have been a real shame.