‘Machine Guns For Rent’

Amongst several other counter-culture proclivities, I have been anti-war, anti-weapons of war, anti-nuclear most of my life. In the mid- to late-1980s I started regularly going to the Nevada Nuclear Test Site to protest atomic bombs — first with Sane/Freeze, then on my own. I was arrested and dismissed several times as I tresspassed in an effort to stop nuclear bomb experimentation. Today I consider it rather silly but yet a badge of honor that because of those protests the FBI would not clear me to participate in the 2000 census — even though, because I installed satellite TV systems I had been inside, on top, underneath and in many cases in the bedrooms of almost every household in Anderson Valley. I knew who lived here, and where, better than anyone.

At the Nevada Nuclear Test Site I first met and became friends with Corbin Harney the spiritual leader of the Western Shoshone people whose ancestral lands, Newe Sogobia, comprised the testing grounds. The Western Shoshone considered themselves to be the most bombed nation on Earth and began issuing permits to us protesters allowing to be on their land but of course the federal government did not honor these permits even though there had been a treaty signed in 1863.

From Wikipedia: “The Treaty of Ruby Valley was a treaty signed with the Western Shoshone in 1863, giving certain rights to the United States in the Nevada Territory. The Western Shoshone did not cede land under this treaty but agreed to allow the US the ‘right to traverse the area, maintain existing telegraph and stage lines, construct one railroad and engage in specified economic activities. The agreement allows the U.S. president to designate reservations, but does not tie this to land cessions’."

Somewhere around 1990, on a vist to Newe Sogobia, my lady friend Coconut, my daughter Marygold and I decided to stop by in support of a demonstration at the Dept. of Energy office in Las Vegas. It was agreed that we would not involve ourselves to the degree that we would get arrested. To that end I found myself in the parking lot with only a small handful of others while the main body of the demonstrators were blocking and trying to shut down activity in the office building itself. One of the young men arrested was being carried past when a small pocket knife fell out of his pocket immediately in front of me. I bent down and picked it up, gingerly holding the closed knife in a non-threatening manner I said, "Officer," thinking the arresting policeman would want to include this in the arrestee's personal property to be returned to him upon release — standard proceedure. Immediately I was slammed from behind and roughly put into submission mode, arrested and booked into jail. For what, I don't know.

Somewhat swifter than usual, the maybe 30 of us in the cell I found myself (there were other cells) were processed and released about 3 or 4 hours later. Missing from my returned personal property seized upon my arrest was a brand new Swiss Army knife given to me for Christmas by one of my children. With a "tough shit!" attitude the property clerk did not even want to hear my complaint at the knife's disappearance. I was pissed, both for my ridiculous arrest and my stolen property.

Coconut and Marygold were waiting and as I was quite hungry we went to a nearby Denny's restaurant. While sitting there telling my story and waiting for the food I happen to glance out the window and saw across the street a fairly large white building with a banner in bold red lettering that proclaimed "MACHINE GUNS FOR RENT." Excusing myself I proceeded to march across the street and stomp into the gun shop with a visibly puffed up attitude and demanded gruffly, "I want to rent a machine gun!" The clerk behind the counter didn't bat an eye. "That will be $50 and $15 for each clip of ammunition." A few seconds passed as we both stood silently looking at each other then I turned and walked out the door.

Those mentally turbulent thought-filled seconds betrayed the chasm much broader than just between two human beings. Corbin's message had always been, "There is only One Air, One Water and One Earth." At that moment as I do today so wish there was only One Heart, One Soul, One Goal for Humanity.

There is no way to deploy an atomic bomb without killing thousands of non-combative people. The only purpose of a machine gun is to kill as many people as possible. If our big brains truly translated to intelligence why would either of them ever exist?

2 Responses to "‘Machine Guns For Rent’"

  1. LouisBedrock   October 24, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I’m sometimes dismayed by the tactics of Black Lives Matter; however, they have a point, don’t they. Cops, who are supposedly civil servants, are out of control.
    Four years at a decent liberal arts college should be one of the requisites for being a cop.

    We need to end impunity for these sons of bitches.

    What happened to you is inexcusable.

    I cannot answer the question you pose at the end of your article, but I’m glad you have posed it.

  2. LouisBedrock   October 24, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Police forces in the United States—which, according to The Washington Post, have fatally shot 782 people this year—are unaccountable, militarized monstrosities that spread fear and terror in poor communities. By comparison, police in England and Wales killed 62 people in the 27 years between the start of 1990 and the end of 2016. …

    Criminal policy, as sociologist Alex S. Vitale writes in his new book, “The End of Policing,” “is structured around the use of punishment to manage the ‘dangerous classes,’ masquerading as a system of justice.” …

    Police forces, as Vitale writes in his book, were not formed to ensure public safety or prevent crime. They were created by the property classes to maintain economic and political dominance and exert control over slaves, the poor, dissidents and labor unions that challenged the wealthy’s hold on power and ability to amass personal fortunes. Many of America’s policing techniques, including widespread surveillance, were pioneered and perfected in colonies of the U.S. and then brought back to police departments in the homeland. Blacks in the South had to be controlled, and labor unions and radical socialists in the industrial Northeast and Midwest had to be broken. …



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