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?