Assault weapons poster art and free speech

The Citizen received a press release yesterday from the Sheriff’s Department regarding a poster that was hanging across the street from the main entrance to the high school. The 3 x 4 foot cardboard poster hung 10 feet above the ground and depicted two red stenciled brains, a black line and two, red, assault style rifles beneath.  There were no words and no signature. In light of recent tragedies, school staff and law enforcement were concerned about the poster.

Jimmy Descant, aka “Rocket Man,” a man who paints for peace, was found to be the artist. In the report’s own words “we know his intentions were not malevolent.”  But, what if it hadn’t been Jimmy?

On Facebook Jimmy is entertaining his “friends,” of which I am one, with cutting remarks about society.  It’s his right to speak freely.  Jimmy’s Facebook friend’s were  lauding his artwork, deriding law enforcement and calling him a pawn in the latest crack down on free speech in Salida.

Free speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas. Do I stand on the podium for free speech? Certainly. I just danced in the street on Valentine’s Day. Jimmy’s poster represents free speech, but if his message was anti-gun, or peace— his message failed. It was too veiled in it’s meaning to communicate his intent, and that’s where art and speech differ greatly.  The symbols he used confused and scared people. In this rural community young children and parents saw guns. Many of the people that were alarmed were tasked with protecting our children.

I am appreciative for artists who help to raise this kind of dialogue, and as a long time friend, I will defend Jimmy as one of the most passionate peace promoters I know.

But, as a parent, the two most important people in my life walk in those doors every morning. In this current political climate, assault weapon art outside a school is threatening. I for one am grateful that the school administrators, staff, and law enforcement took this as seriously as they did.

Let’s be clear about the difference between free speech and blindly defending art, particularly when sinister messages are the takeaway by the majority.


photo credit: Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office

The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.

86 Responses to “Assault weapons poster art and free speech”

    • Jimmy Descant

      So how do you feel now that the story is out there, and the artist actually offered up a "give" to the collective in explanation?

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      • Ed Castellon

        I still feel the same as the original post by Mrs. Donavan. I agree with nearly every point made in this discussion, regarding free speech, thought-provoking art, our strange gun culture, violence, etc.

        However, putting a poster with a gun on it near a school, when school shootings are more common, borders on irresponsible in my opinion. I don't care if the message was veiled or blatantly obvious. Anticipating a fear based response rather then an epiphany of the masses regarding guns should have been common sense. Why not make an exhibit or presentation, or graffiti up the nice clean wall on the YOLO building? Or tag the wall of the gun shop? Not too 'guerilla' for you? Nevermind, you put your art on a piece of cardboard because you're so thoughtful and peaceful warrior-like.

        Really, I'm not arguing the message, or that the fact there's a gun shop across the street is ok. My wife is a teacher, and while I don't base my life around fears, obviously random shootings are happening. Enough that law enforcement should rightfully investigate, and shouldn't be seen as some sort of Gestapo effort. Anyhow, It seems the only ones provoked into this discussion(on this website, anyway) aren't on any sort of fence about the subject.

        No, I don't want you to 'shut up', and please continue making 'thought-provoking' art. But really, don't expect me to pat you on the back for 'fessing up' because your actions possibly instigated false allegations, parental/police freak-outs(not discussion), or restating a message that really isn't very new. It all actually seems very selfish and arrogant to me.

        Chuck was right, parents don't fear art, they fear someone shooting their kids. I think you hit the mark in creating fear for some, which I find ironic for a 'peaceful warrior'.

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      • Jimmy Descant

        Hi Ed, I don't expect anyone to pat me on the back, but if someone applies a slap to the back of their own head from this, all the better. You may not appreciate my nuance techniques of applying the art, (where it was, what considerations I had for the viewer and the building and the aftermath) and what the outcome would be; but believe me it is for peace and understanding of where violence and tools of violence and protection lie in the community. Also, I am glad you are a thinking man, and hope you will share the discussion with your friends, neighbors, relatives, and public servants.

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  1. Wiggy

    Doesn't the public discourse encourage this kind of crazy behavior?

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    • Billy Carlisle

      I think we all need to be more aware and more vigilant. Discussion should help with that.

      Like (0)
  2. Mark Minor

    "but if his message was anti-gun, or peace— his message failed. It was too veiled in it’s meaning to communicate his intent, and that’s where art and speech differ greatly"

    Unreal. Too veiled. Robert Motherwell, you hear that? How about you, Pollock? Mr. Zorn, we don't understand your music!! And James Joyce, stop writing that Finnegan's Wake crap! Nobody gets it! This is 'merica---nobody wants to think! We just want the A-B-C/Cliff Notes version, connect the dots.

    The mythic, symbolic power of strong, raw images goes way farther than mere words ever can. I applaud Jimmy for putting up something without a "roadmap". Made a lot of people think. Call it a koan if you want--maybe its beyond rational explanation. But one thing is sure, his "art" or "speech" or "whatever the hell you want/need to call it" hit a nerve, and that gets people thinking. I'll take one of those over ten feel-good pablum-fests any day.

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  3. John Morton

    I for one am happy to let Jimmy Descant rot in the police state he begs for.

    A licensing fee and some heavy restrictions on first amendment activities could bring a sense of security back to our community. Free speech is at the root of most problems in our society - if we just outlaw fighting words and insults, I'm sure we could seriously cut down on violence.

    I can already see a new piece: brains over speech.

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    • Jimmy Descant

      Hi John, I didn't beg for a police state, and my intention is not constrain, but to enlighten, and too bad your feelings are of 'rot'. Given your predisposition of censorship, well, I'm here in the world and art scene to help you.

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    • Scott Knauer

      Huh? If John (assuming he isn't being facetious) really believes his above comment then I'd be much more concerned about people with those kind of ideas than I would about any piece of art.

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  4. Robin

    just an fyi...not all school resource officers are armed...the title comes with many definitions. I have yet to seen a job posting with a description.

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    • Jimmy Descant

      I haven't see descriptions either, but that is what it is... an armed police officer, an armed mercenary or security guard.... Did you know that the worst Sheriff in the country in Phoenix is training and implementing armed volunteers from the NRA (not law enforcement) into all schools? I wonder if he does psych tests on them before putting them next to kids.

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      • Robin

        Jimmy, Appreciate your honesty and that you come from a peaceful place, but from my experience in education, this is not always the case. There are in fact SROs that are unarmed. I do know that some districts are requiring armed SROs, but not all.

        Also to other writers....I am a teacher, and NEVER do I want to carry a gun in to my class room. Ever. Nor should it be required. Teaching about peace and effective communication are essential life skills. Carrying a gun in to a classroom seems a little contradictory.

        Newtown hits close to home for me. With that said....this discourse will only be taken so far with this gal. Enough said.

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    • Billy Carlisle

      Would you prefer an unarmed teacher step in front of a child to be gunned down and then the five behind him/her be gunned down. I would prefer an armed teacher to step in and kill the active shooter before another kid is killed. It is very plausible and feasible to train a teacher to be effective in this way. Not every teacher but some have the presence of mind and courage to function this way.

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  5. Bill Donavan

    Much of Jimmy's work is driven by peace. That's one reason we have his art hanging in our house, and Trey and I started the Citizen on the foundation that more (free) free speech was needed in the local media. But "feel-good pablum-fests" are not the only alternative to communicating important ideas and generating dialogue about social issues.

    For over 20 years Laura and I have made a living using images to communicate often complex topics. This is what we went to school for, but it's a tricky business. Anticipating response and tweaking your art accordingly is sometimes a significant component of effective visual communications. With this in mind (I) would've predicted that the image would scare people, and cause the authorities to react strongly. This position is objective and independent of the artist's motives. The effectiveness of powerful iconic visual images must be judged on many levels, and authorities with no exposure to political art who are operating in a tense gun climate is simply a reality in this venue.

    Ineffective messaging happens every day, I wish I could say I always nail it, but I don't. However, that tension is what I like about creating public art; the rules are loose and inherently subjective. You can seek data, but that data can sometimes ruin the process. Sometimes you gotta trust your gut as Jimmy did here.

    But, let's not confuse free speech issues and a predictable law enforcement response with well intentioned visual communications that missed the mark.

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  6. Dennis

    Seriously - this is Mayberry SFD going on here - obviously the "authorities" have reversed the equation expressed in this poster.
    People and vulnerable school aged brains are exposed daily at 30 to 60 frames per second guns, hate, violence, fear (video games, movies, "faux" news, wacko you tube, etc) and here is a simple cardboard poster stenciled with paint that causes one to pause. And think. And it is not in prime time. The "crime" here is about THINKING instead of fearful reacting. Get real. And BTW my kids were middle school age we were living in Lakewood when Columbine happened so I don't want to hear any B.S. about how a parent is supposed to think or feel about violent gun grazed crap out of our control - been there done that.

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  7. Jimmy Descant

    To the citizens, artists, and consciousness of Salida,

    Not knowing the extent of events leading up to and after the discovery of my poster, I was fine with being the anonymous artist. I purposefully made the art on cardboard to apply it to the building, instead of directly. When I first saw that it was gone I figured it had been removed by the owner, a collector of art, or the authorities. The poster was up for weeks and as far as I knew, nary a peep about controversy. But when the grapevine alerted me that someone else was being implicated in connection with my statement, I was shocked and came forward of my own accord to set the record straight.

    I found out that the way it occurred was the 'young man in black' (not Johnny Cash) was someone I knew who has mental health issues and tried to enter the school. I have never thought, and still don't, that he is a danger, and I sympathize with his parents as to their trials and have tried to help where I can in regards to art and interaction. Upon a visit to the school by the police, he was let go at first, then later arrested and questioned after the police discovered and removed my art on that shed thinking there was some connection. But I assure you, there was not, and is not, in this context. I work alone, mostly.

    I did not know any of this till this past week and not being Banksy, immediately called Chief Clark and Sheriff Palmer, and later detectives showed up at my door. After a week of analysis by our best in blue and all these national entities of intelligence, their first question was "What does it mean?" I smiled and said, with no smart attitude, "Brains Over Guns", a math problem, a fraction, a statement of positivity in a country divided. Their next comment was "Jimmy, we're actually glad it was you." I found them to be professional in their query and they felt I was sincere in my message as a positive one, so we left it at that with no arrest, but on notice that I would probably get a summons.

    Later I got a phone call from Sheriff Palmer, it was cordial. He was most worried that this was going to be another big dust up like the peace sign chapter, and I figured I knew what I would expect from the current DA. An hour later I was served with a summons, and two hours after that came the press release to all area media.

    My respect for the Sheriff's office was somewhat eroded after this release which was actually the real 'cryptic message' in it's own dark portrayal of events once learning the whole. It does a disservice. Many have commented and consensus is that it was from The Onion or dark side of Nancy Drew, but no hard feelings. But, I'd really like to take a look at those other reports though to see what conclusions were reached about the message, wouldn't you? If anyone thinks my art is about violence, destruction, or negativity, they don't know me, but can easily find out.

    When another friend learned about the placement, he was aghast at the idea of the poster being in eyesight of the school, but that same sightline looks straight across the highway to an actual gun store selling weapons and ammo. That view not so much attention for many people. Why is the idea of guns' represented on cardboard against guns so horrific, when we are in a whirlwind of real violence by tools of violence nationally and internationally? That's not to say that the owner isn't a nice person with a nice family, as are most gun owners. I'm not naive, or that mean, and I know we have it pretty good here. We still live in the whole world though.

    A common argument I hear is that a rock or a stick can be an assault weapon and should we outlaw table legs and on and on and on; which I find to be an absurd cliche. Opinion, but not really an argument. No matter how you use it, cherish it, or protect it, a gun and a bullet have one purpose; their destiny is to destroy something; minutely or catastrophically, if it's a piece of thin target paper or a human skull. There never was a bullet fired that landed on a soft pillow of air and stayed there.

    In my math fraction, the numerator has the best and most potential for expansion, open ended to the sky and top heavy. The denominator (supposed equalizer dominator) can only go down, into the ground, and be buried either by physicality or mentality. If a kid cries when they see my art or a man grimaces in hate for my opinion, that's the time to connect for the positive.

    Even though I have no children, I voted for new schools for an ideal. I believe that having ANY guns in the schools, around kids, for any reason, on any person is a failure of intellect for our community, and the way we seek to raise up the species. I believe in the intelligent staff and professional peace officers always close at hand. I believe teaching kids that a gun is the only possible tool to protect them in school and in life is the antithesis of strength, but the party line of the sickness of the NRA's administration. I think it can only take the rational actions of members to change it, or abandon it. War type guns, bullets, and bombs, domestic or export, in such a massive retching is a sickness, and the cure is not more sickness.

    So, in closing, let your shoulders drop, and breath... and think. This is not the end all moment of me as an artist or the gun, so let the discussions begin. I believe my time of stealth-like unsanctioned art projects is already over, and not just because the paper outed me as 52! But if you have the passion for something provocative and sanctioned on your own private property that you need to get out in positive reponse, you can find me, I'm not hiding, or leaving. Because I love this town, it's people, it's potential, and it's influences. I apologize for making people nervous near the school, and as the 'bad guy' I will take my medicine when the time comes and I ask that you to try to forgive my trespasses, as I have tried to forgive yours. But who's counting?

    Peace, Jimmy Descant

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  8. Mark Minor

    About the "protect the kids" meme, which keeps reverberating---how about an honest reality check here, those of us with kids. And that includes me, as I've two boys in the middle school. How many of you have video games like Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Mortal Combat, Saints Row, Grand Theft Auto at your homes? I would wager a fairly large number do. How many of your kids, even if they do not have them, or are not allowed (as they are in my household), know about them, or play them at other people's homes? Be honest. Have you looked at these games, and the horrific, angry, gruesome violence that goes on in them, most from a "first person shooter" perspective (whereby the player--our sweet kids-- become the "killers")? They are desperately sick, and reach to a level of awful violence that goes so much farther and deeper than anything we are seeing here (that is, assuming you are of the "dark message" school of interpretation of JD's piece---I'm emphatically not). These are games that every single kid I know of, knows of. And most either play or own one or more of them. This is the reality our kids live with. And dare I say, willfully and cheerfully choose to want to participate in. That is a scary reality to me, not two brains, a black line, and two guns spray painted on cardboard. No, the brains our kids see aren't whole, like these--they are the remnants splattered against the wall after the poor victim has been digitally shot by our kids having fun. This is where the true tragedy lies for me. Violence against life has been reduced to a cheerful pastime today. And Jimmy addressed that head on, without beating around the bush. Scary? Dark? Go to our local WalMart and buy Assassin's Creed, and then tell me about scary and dark influences on our kids. Criticism of a thoughtful art piece with kid's minds at issue really rings hollow when bounced off of the reality of life here, today.

    And the "private property" argument? Please. If the Roller Derby women (just grabbing the first example that popped in my head) affixed a poster for their next event on the same wall, would Quantico know about it? Would anyone even care? I guess, as a musician whose posted innumerable gig posters on all sorts of walls and windows I don't own, I should probably turn myself in to the Salida Police Dept. right now, and beg forgiveness for my trespass. Good thing I only put Care Bears, Hello Kitty and the Lucky Charms Leprechaun on my posters--that may keep the FBI out of the investigation.

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  9. Chuck Rose

    Artwork does not kill people, guns do. As long as we maintain that the Second Amendment is cast in stone we need to recognize more massacres will occur.

    As a country we have accepted the Second Amendment trumps all. We act as if the "unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" outlined in the Declaration of Independence are subordinate to the right to bear arms.

    Jefferson believed the Constitution should be torn up and rewritten every 19 years. Lincoln's operative philosophy was based upon the idea that the Declaration of Independence was the national ideal and the Constitution fell short and should be amended to move the country closer to the higher beliefs outlined in the Declaration.

    I am amazed that we are not talking about the rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" that are taken away from those killed by guns.
    I am stunned that after an gun massacre we run out and by more weapons. It is like buying kerosene after witnessing a fire.

    There are too many weapons in this country to fix the problem now. But by curtailing this absurd affection for tools that are designed to kill people now, we can reduce the chance of such horrible tragedies occurring in the future.

    The parents are not afraid of art. They are afraid of someone with a gun killing their kids. Lets be clear when we articulate our concerns. Then let us begin to fix what needs fixing.

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      • Lou Drakulich

        People kill people, period. No peace loving artist or liberal civic leader will ever change that.

        If it were not for firearms in the hands of good and sometimes brave people, society would be out of control. Massacres will be occurring in the streets, no artist would be free to express themselves on the side of their own building, let alone on private property and no liberal civic leader would have an opportunity to implement his or her plans for this or any community.

        The most heinous and publicized crimes of late have been committed by "seriously mentally troubled men" who where able to get their hands on weapons.This occurred, even though others knew they were "seriously mentally troubled" and failed to take "any" measures to prevent those "seriously mentally troubled men" from committing heinous acts.

        This is not a gun control issue, this is about a "seriously mentally troubled MAN" illegally entering a school filled with students, while (however coincidentally) some "avant garde" artist posted a large poster with guns and brains on the building across the street.

        Law Enforcement officials would be remiss not to take all of this very seriously.

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      • Jimmy Descant

        Well Lou, too bad you're interpreting my art upside down, but I hope that looking at it all for a while will help the tone.

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  10. Billy Carlisle

    History is littered with peoples who were annilated because they allowed themselves to be disarmed by the state. Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot all found it convenient to disarm their people before they slaughered them.
    More to the the incident with the too explicite art. I am all for free speech and applaud it. I also applaud our law enforcement people for investigating the matter. Nobody went to jail and everyone is at peace about the matter now.
    How do we maintain more vigilance in noticing odd behavior, depression, violent tendencies and other behaviors that may telegraph to us a person is becoming dangerous? What do you do when a family member's behavior changes in a way that raises concerns? How do we balance vigilance, prudence, and civil rights? These questions well handled and well answered will yield more rusults than gun control.
    Gun control will make us slaves to the state and victims to the common thugs around us. Gun control begats more crime and more victims. It has been proven over and over again that states that allow concealed carry experience lower rates of violent crime. Thugs focus on the weak and the defensless. We do not want to allow our government to disarm us.

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  11. Jimmy Descant

    Hi Billy, I and others are not calling for disarming, just stop this malicious profit driven sink hole of production and distribution of weapons of mass destruction. If we have 300 mil. guns in the country now, how many will be here in 5 years? I believe we are way past saturation. The NRA's focus on buying politicians and protecting the manufacturers is the cruel obvious intention, not the 2nd Amendment public stance. It's an arms race with them laughing at members who condone and promote for the detrimental end, a 300 million person Mexican standoff.

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  12. Billy Carlisle

    I respect your right to your art and your opinion.
    Best regards, Billy

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  13. Mohan

    Well thanks Jimmy. I'm sick of guns & violence pushed on our brothers & sisters as the norm. For example, children, elementary to middle to high school age, stay up half the night drinking mountain dew playing Call of Duty and this is their norm. I know because I work with some of them. There is an arsenal available for sale just next door to the Burger King, a block from Salida High School and this is normal for everyone. If it weren't we'd say something, right? Guess it's not normal or ok in Jimmy Descant's eyes- he said something about it. When we invaded Iraq in 2003 under obviously false pretenses war became the norm for us. How bad does any of us really feel that innocent people in Afganistan- men, women, children, entire families- are annihalated by our hand? Why don't we do something about it? Because war is normal for us. And how long until random mass shootings become the norm? I hope never. I hope every one is a tragedy and an outrage. And what does it take to prevent mass shootings in public places from becoming the norm? Posters of "brains over guns" might work. Be a good start, anyway.

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    • Jimmy Descant

      Thanks for thinking Mohan and your work with kids. As far as war, it's been going on so long, so many don't even think about it. Our current Pres cries for Newtown, but has murdered over 150 children in the Middle East with drone strikes, and calls that protecting America. A wasted Nobel peace prize, and sane future for our country. But I'm trying to fix it a little, locally.

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  14. Dick Carney

    Good job, Jimmy, of getting this much-needed conversation going. And in exposing society's hypocrisy, as your art often does so well. Gun stores a block from schools are fine, but not a poster with an image of a gun. How could anyone see this poster and interpret it as advocating violence? What is "cryptic" about it? I think "brains over guns" is a message that students should be hearing. It should be posted on the walls INSIDE the school. Keep up the good work, Jimmy, and let's hope this conversation continues.

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    • Jimmy Descant

      Thanks Dick, I appreciate the comments, and from the discussion we'll see how it is perceived from here on out. Keep the comments and art going!

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  15. Michael Haynes

    Might have missed it but if not could someone post a link to an image of the poster so we can see what the conversation's about?

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  16. Billy Carlisle

    Guns save lives, time and time again. Estimated numbers for firearms saving lives and preventing violence-from

    * Based on survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology,[17] U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year.

    * A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 3.5% of households had members who had used a gun "for self-protection or for the protection of property at home, work, or elsewhere." Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 1,029,615 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all "military service, police work, or work as a security guard."

    * A 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.

    * A 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons dispersed across the U.S. found:

    . 34% had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim"
    . 40% had decided not to commit a crime because they "knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun"
    . 69% personally knew other criminals who had been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim"...User ID: IP:URL

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  17. Steve Stucko

    What saddens me is that the many of those against the currently proposed gun control measures are either misinformed or are perhaps intentional spreading the myth that the goal is to remove all guns from the hands of the people. It’s simply about controlling access to weapons based on their criminal history and adjusting the line between legal and illegal weapons that already exists (treating semi-auto assault weapons in a similar fashion to the way full-autos, silencers and hand grenades have been control for decades).
    With a clear view of what the actual conversation is about, the arguments about the 2nd amendment and Mr. Carlisle’s statistics are not much more than noise that distract us from the true topic of discussion.

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    • Billy Carlisle

      One example of an over the top recently in process new rule in the Colorado state house as we speak. Back ground checks and for every gun transfer seems costly, but simple. There will be unforseen negative impacts from this new rule. Techincally if you receive a shot gun from your grand pa's antique collection you would need to pay for the check. What if your brother or siter leaves the state for some reason and asks you to store their personal hunting rifles while they are away. You got it, another fee, a nother documented firearm. Honest and previously law abiding citizens may be criminalized because of mistakes or oversights in this new over reaching law. We are being led down a path that is intended to leave us defenseless in the face of government power.
      I think there are many things we could be doing to prevent the criminally insane and felons from have access to firearms. Good enforcement of current laws would get you three quarters of the way there. The other quarter could be various interventions, like better mental health handling in this problem area and education/public awareness to notice preludes to violence. Taking guns away from law abiding citizens will only make us all more vulnerable. More restrictive gun laws will only hamper law abiding citizens from defending themselves. We will be doing this while we continue to ignore the criminal activity and mental health issues that are the real problem.

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      • Bill Smith


        It seems to me that increased background checks, by definition, cannot keep guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens. If you get denied by a background check, then are not legally allowed to have a gun and your attempt to purchase makes you not a law abiding citizen. Background checks currently prevent 10s of thousands of criminals from buying guns every year.

        Another point I would make- it doesn't really matter how many firearms you own - you are defenseless against the government. If they want to take your guns they will, and your AR can't reach up to 27000 feet. We have the best trained best equipped military in the world and if you think you can stop them if they get orders to bring you in, well, you are delusional.


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  18. Jimmy Descant

    I find Billy's comments to be the classic sidestep. First and foremost it's the NRA administration, the gun manufacturers, and the gun lobbyists that are doing the most harm, and intentionally by using the 2nd amendment as a smoke screen duck blind. But in all these statistics.... the gun is the frightener! disguised as the protector.

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  19. Billy Carlisle

    I got this from a friend who was a little too timid to post. Not exactly how I feel but interesting to hear others concerns and thoughts. This is worth reading.
    Some good discussion here. Could it be it is about degrees of tolerance and perceptions and how we react? Other?

    Our first and second amendment is getting its exercise and if our diligence to use them gets explained away, what little we have left of one will fade away with the other that is under attack now.

    All this discussion doesn't mean a thing when the gangs roll into the neighborhoods and control the people like in Mexico and many areas of this country. The military or police can't and won't be there.

    (My reaction to assault weapons)

    I wish it was all about what the gun control legislation is purported to be.

    I used to be on the side of the fence of the pacifists. I am still a peace person, but how many of us over our lifetimes have allowed ourselves and children to be entertained by violence?. How many of us have been involved in the military industrial complex in some form or fashion? How many of us have been involved in the penal system or law enforcement? Yes, our world would be a different place without violence. Can anyone imagine not having access to a weapon like the people in Mexico when the gangs come knocking? Guess who is moving in to our neighborhoods in the cities and maybe even here? Do I want to argue with a gang member about my second amendment?

    (Some kids are being home schooled these days. Maybe that is the safest). It is not the violence that scares me but the public's reaction to it that concerns me. I care not to go to the school and deal with the energies around them, especially now. I am contemplating a tour of the high school and I know I had better book my tour guide .

    We are afraid of our own shadow. Our children now are schooled in the equivalent of a prison lockup style environment. We are being played like a fiddle not only on the second amendment and first amendment, as per this discussion.................we have created a culture that feeds off of illusion and perceptions of a system that has us all allowing our dignity to be violated by an ever prevalent corrupt system. Do I fear my neighbor or the military style environment creeping into our lives. It could be both if we aren't careful. Yes, buying more guns hasn't brought us peace, but is that what guns in the hands of the public is about?. Maybe what we are dealing with isn't about anything we are discussing here. Does anyone remember the commotion over RT's political statements and displays, the sign on the building downtown about the Iraq war, or the peace sign on the street? Freaking out at Jimmy and or someone walking into our schools that looked suspicious are all reactions that are based on some really out of kilter perceptions. There are ways to deal with it all without over reacting. Who is next to cross over the paranoia lines? Could it possibly be intolerance rearing its ugly head, as a for instance? These times are going to put the 60's to shame.

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      • Lou Drakulich

        Moore is a propagandist and a liar.
        His mockumentaries are shot with a predetermined outcome. The information he presets is neither fair or equitable.
        Believe in whatever you wish, it's the American way.

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  20. Dick Carney

    Yes, Lou, people kill people. And more and more of them are doing it with weapons that no one outside of the military should possess. Anyone who envisions black helicopters coming to take their precious guns away whenever they hear sane gun safety measures being discussed, probably isn't mentally stable enough to be around firearms in the first place. And Michael Moore has more courage than every puppet the NRA can put in front of a camera.

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  21. Scott Knauer

    Lately, whenever I've encountered the short-sighted argument from one of my 'cold dead fingers' friends that says they don't want the government telling them what size guns they can and can't have, I propose allowing citizens to have rocket launchers. "Why not?" I ask them. "Where do we draw the line and WHY?" I've never heard a reasonable response to this question.... NEWS FLASH! Politicians aren't sitting around in back rooms calculating how they will be able to take you, your family and your underground food supply out of the equation by limiting the size of your magazine! Stop trying to preserve a phantom right that has nothing to do with your ability to hunt, protect your family or save you from a militia comprised of your unprepared starving neighbors. Whatever it is you're afraid of, I assure you, the size of you damned bullet chamber will not be a deciding factor. No one's going to take our guns. However, with the current trend of 'mentally disabled men' walking into public spaces and shooting up the place, it only makes sense to pass a law that just may limit the scale of carnage.
    The Fort Hood shooting that took place in 2009 killed 13 and wounded 29. If such can happen on the most populous MILITARY base in the world then don't tell me teachers carrying guns is the solution.

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  22. Lou Drakulich

    FYI.... At Ft Hood, like the other infamous shootings, of late, the victims were all unarmed and armed help was not readily available.

    OK, you joined the campaign to help government lighten the caliber and/or capacity any normal, non criminal, American Citizens can own while personally insulting them at the same time. Good for you!
    But what are you doing to help government prevent mentally troubled individuals from gaining access to defenseless victims as well as access to weapons of any sort?

    I like your work, and I have told you that.
    While I may not agree with your message, I understand it.
    You have missed my point entirely. This discussion should not be about you, your art or your message.

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  23. Billy Carlisle

    I do fear the government. Not because I am paranoid, but because I have read a little history. History is strewn with government initiated genocides. Even in the last century, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago, look at what the Serbs did to the Mulims insider Czecoslavakia. Consider that Pol Pot executed millions of intellectuals and professionals inside Cambodia. Hitler exterminated 33 miillion jews. Stalin crushed and executed millions who opposed his brand of facist communizm. I bet you can find a case for every decade for the last 10 decades where a government committed atrosities against an unarmed population. I want to be able to defend myself and die fighting should such a time come to this continent. Now you say,"We are a strong people with well organized peaceful government." Tell that to the Germans. I visited in Germany in the 1970s. The people who exterminated the Jews were still there. They were very civilzed and they were very ashamed of what they had done. Niether they nor their children could explain how Hitler came to power, nor how he persuaded them to committ those atrocities. Seemingly civilized governments and peoples can come to a place where they feel the need to impose their will on the whole population, even if it takes the state taking over all control at the point of a gun, and killing any who voice contrary opinions.

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  24. Scott Knauer

    Billy, I concur with your entire above statement. I was in the former Yugoslavia just 2 weeks before that war broke out, and believe me, there were no obvious signs of the impending atrocities other than an occasional anti Serb comment from a Croat taxi driver. I know deep down that many people in the US can find themselves behaving like Nazis if they are brainwashed properly and are desperate enough.
    But again, the ultimate debate here is guns, and limiting their capacity to kill many people/animals quickly. Notice I said above that a new law may reduce some of the carnage. Personally I doubt it will make much of a difference. Yet something must be done; a line must be drawn somewhere. Proper background checks also need to be part of the equation.
    The debate here, as best as I can tell, is NOT about taking ours or anyone else's guns away.

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  25. Billy Carlisle

    Knowing where the guns are is the first step, the step that comes before you take the guns. Without guns we are like rabbits before wolves.

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  26. Billy Carlisle

    This is for Bill Smith,
    Are you willing to set aside the Constitution of the United States? Is there a level of bureararacy and taxation that begins to negate the 2nd Amendment to our constitution? Are you willing to set the constitution and your civil liberties aside and live happily as a slave to the state. The current laws discussed and proposed are overly intrusive. If you have a military age son who owns firearms and he leaves the country, would you need to do a background check on yourself to hold the guns for him until he returns from service? Will you need to do a background check on him when you give them back? How much will all that onerous background checking cost? What if there is an exemption for family? What if it is your best friend who is leaving for war or the mission field, would they be exempted? How much are you willing to tax guns and ammunition? Most of us will ignore the rediculous aspects of the legislation at which point some folks will decide to risk being felons rather than being disenfranchised. I think the moto, "Live Free or Die" comes into play on this one. You say I will be powerless if the government comes for me. I will be free or dead. In either case I am free. I am one of the folks who will not submit to abuse or atrocities. I have had family members serving in most of the conflicts from the Revolution and up through Veit Nam. I can't vouch for the conflicts in this century but I am pretty sure I have a cousin who is serving currently. Not every war has been just, but fighting for convictions is an American Tradition. Without the committment of people who are willing to fight for liberty we will all be slaves. Supporting the government is a good thing, but rebeling against it if it tramples over civil rights is a civic duty as well.
    Respectfully, Billy Carlisle

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  27. Bill Smith


    I love the way you frame a discussion.

    Background checks are not an infringement of any constitutional right. Almost everyone agrees that the is a line between guns you can own as a private individual and those you cannot.

    Just because I believe, and the facts bear out, that background checks keep guns out of the hands of those we all think should not possess firearms does not mean I am a slave to the state. It means that background checks keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

    Should there be an exception for family? If I buy a gun and give it to my brother who is a convicted felon who or maybe who got off on his felony charge by pleading guilty because of insanity, are you saying that should be okay because he is my brother?

    If you want to "live free or die" go for it. I am just saying that if your fight is with the government and they want it bad enough, it will be the latter. That is a fact.


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  28. Billy Carlisle

    So what do you think of poll taxes? They do not take away your right to vote, but they can be a burden to the poor, and as such were ruled unconstitutional. I am sure I am not going to enjoy a legal debate with a lawyer, but to be fair you should concede that over regulation or unfair taxation can and sometimes does infringe on constitutionally guaranteed rights. Short of it is, that the constitutional arguments may have merit and will likely be argued at some point.

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  29. Bill Smith


    Of course over regulation can infringe on a constitutional right. It just doesn't do so in the case of background checks. Even conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia acknowledged this in his opinion to Heller. He wrote that the Second Amendment is “not unlimited” and is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

    Now I am sure you will agree with that statement?


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  30. MCS

    I enjoy reading the passionate opinions expressed on this website . I understand the desire to ban certain type weapons after so many recent shootings . But I also think the background checks only help to weed out the dummies that try to get a weapon knowing they are not permitted to have one . The sad truth is that someone with bad intent will be able to harm innocent people . We live in a pretty free society and you can not prevent certain events by asking law abiding citizens to give up some of their rights because a non law abiding citizen wishes to or has done harm to others . What we can do is demand that gun owners , at the bare minimum , lock up and put out of reach their weapons .The bad eggs will always find a way to carry out their dirty deeds , but if we are all just a little more aware of our surroundings and more alert as to what our neighbors , friends , family , classmates and others around us are doing , then , maybe we can stop some of this craziness that we are seeing and prevent more of it . There are other ways to prevent more violence than just banning weapons .
    It does not seem to be your intent to scare people with your recent art work Jimmy , but you have to admit that there were people aware enough to get the situation investigated pretty quickly . Good job people .

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  31. Jimmy Descant

    Many people have told me off hand, "you should have thought about this before you did it", and I say, "What makes you think I didn't think about it? or think all the affects and effects through?" The investigation, made inevitable by it's discovery through the variable of Matthew's visit to the school, was understandable and dutiful. But the authorities lack of commitment to what the poster actually says drove the art and the investigation to all these state and national entities, deciphering endlessly in 'what if's' for eternity. I love the dialogue that this event has driven, and seek out the truth in each individual person, for the good of the whole. The hidden parts of this story should be set to light also. Such as why Mrs. Donavan did not question the Sheriff's cryptic half truth of a press release, that I found scared more people than my art, before putting it out. Or why wasn't I contacted for my side of the story before going to print (ether)? Why didn't the Mountain Mail, Chaffee Times, or Citizen even bother to do ANY investigative journalism? So it's up o the citizens to draw out the truth, however it is seen, in the public and private forum.

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  32. Cory Scheffel

    Why didn't you sign your name to the piece?

    If art is meant to get attention, is it "justified" to complain about the attention it gets?

    If someone "misinterprets" art (for example seeing it as a threat instead of a sign for peace), is it good art?

    Is there anyone besides Chuck who are confused between the Declartion of Independence being a letter to the king of England saying why we want independence and the Consititution being a document laying out governance structure and individual rights?

    If the idea of the right to bear arms has run its course, why not deal with it constitutionally? Obviously, efforts to "work around" the constitution are nefarious in their approach to process, so wouldn't we want to do it right if this is what we as citizens value?

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  33. Billy Carlisle

    Good points Cory; I agree. I think if you want to change the constitution, you should make an amendment and yes there is a process for that, a peaceful process. I think the Declaration of Independence is still relevant today too. I do think the Declaration of Independence is part of our government. Some legal people argue that the constitution should read, to determine its intent, based on what the people who wrote it were thinking. Their notes on the subject and the Declaraton of Independence itself give us perspective on our constitution. You should read the Declaration of Independense before you pick up the Constitution to read it (at least some argue this).

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  34. Bill Donavan

    The op-ed that started this comment stream does not appear to be driven by the Sheriff's "cryptic half truths" —though it logically references the press release.

    (I believe) the words in the op-ed represent the author's feelings about things happening in our society, and I thought the article was extremely clear. It's odd that one person could be confused by something that is so clear to another?

    You wonder why the author didn't contact you before putting put up her ideas? Are you suggesting it should be protocol to clear societal comments before a person's ideas are hung? ..I mean, posted. If this were "real journalism" you might have a point, but since this is just one person's expression you'd hate to infringe on their right to say what they want—wherever they want, right? You may not like her criticism, but at least you can find her because her name is on her work.

    (FYI I generally frown on the kind of smart ass comment I just wrote, but Jimmy and I are good friends, and we talked about some of these issues over a few beers last week).

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  35. Jimmy Descant

    I didn't sign the poster deliberately to leave it as anonymous so that the brains could work without that identifier, even though I'm proud of the art and effort, and being a 'conceited' artist... want the attention. I was furthering my point, that is the point of the art, of 'reaction' and how that compares to the parroting of info in contrast to the lacking journalism in this valley. Oh I wish Ann Marie Swan had found the poster first!!! There's a new hombre in town, and it looks promising for actual questioning of officials, angles, and intentions... so we'll see if they reset the bar and the other established publications will catch up! Good night and good luck! for the better.

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    • Bill Donavan

      Bill and Ann Marie do great work. Both have editor status access to the Citizen. I consider both to be friends, and am glad to call Merle and Mike Rosso friends as well. Get your information from as many sources as possible.

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  36. Jimmy Descant

    Hey Bill, Keep it up but know that it's not personal here, but professional. It's true that folks around here do good work most of the time, but if the Citizen doesn't step up their stories with more than just reground same ol' same 'ol, then it could just be called Mountain Mail 2. I like the editors at the Mail, and I know exactly what I get when I send a story to let the most folks in town know what wild stuff I've been up to. A story written by ME, and pretty much that's all. I accept it for what it is, but the Citizen.... I have felt it was different... We've had great dialogue between readers here on the gun points, the art, and what happens next; but the original story of how it came to the public's attention has been left to blow in the wind, as others have, and I find that a little shoddy as far as helping the enlightenment of the whole. Just like I said about the scary press release that was meant to hurt not to help in it's halfness, and that should be called out. I went thru some of this with the Mountain Mail about the peace sign episode, that in my eyes, words, and art; writers don't just get a free pass either. It's a disservice to not even ask a single question before going to print. So, it may feel rough at times, but I'm trying to help you help; cuz that's what I did, done, and do. Peace and betterness bruddas and sistas!

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    • Bill Donavan

      Your comments, and everyone else's are vital, they have enlightened the issue, allowed for dialogue and hopefully made us all the better. But, don't confuse her words as reporting.

      Regarding The Citizen being like the Mountain Mail. It's a valid discussion. First, there are no reporters here. Second, an op-ed can inspire many ideas (see Cory, Chuck and Billy discussing the Declaration of Independence). Stories are submitted by anyone, there is no bar for entry—and no cost. For example, I did not know Laura was writing an article.

      Trey and I post "as ourselves" for good reason. We consider the site to be owned by the people of Salida. I see The Citizen as exactly the opposite of The Mountain Mail Jimmy.

      As long as you see The Citizen as professional journalism you will continue to be disappointed. The Citizen and other forum based discussion platforms seek dialogue that gets at the heart of the real issues. Personally, I like hearing directly from our ex-Mayor, our CIty Admin and a United Nation's peace officer, and I like hearing Laura's thoughts on your art and then your response. This collection of ideas is where we all learn.

      Are the op-eds always perfect? Nope. Is the dialogue always well written and thoughtful? That's up to you.

      Whether her critique of your art was "shoddy"—it's a curious question. If she needed to speak with you to get a different impression about your public art, you might be thinking you could've change her opinion (after almost 25 years of marriage you'll have to trust me that you wouldn't have). But, it doesn't mean she didn't understand it, and hopefully it doesn't mean the CItizen is now a bad thing because she didn't like your approach.

      I'm proud of The Citizen. Profits are currently being used to build the school district a new web site while also donating to other non-profit programs. The Mountain Mail 2? Forgive me if I do take it a bit personally.

      If you too want the Citizen to "step up its stories," send your pearls to You'll get a headline, and a story of any length—and it won't cost you a dime. The Citizen is rooted in the idea that, as a community, we can raise the level of dialogue on issues. It's the people's web site, not a newspaper.

      I sincerely hope you'll stay involved. We will continue to support your art. If the goal of your piece was to inspire dialogue, you should reexamine The Citizen.

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      • Jimmy Descant

        Thank you Mr. Donavan for the exemplary retort to my momentary lapse of dignified correspondence. I DO appreciate the Citizen, and have had a great thread of ideas and commentaries to the "Guns Over Brains", which was the intended intent of the art, as well as the unintended result from the variable of Matthew at the school, and me coming out as the artist. I was really trying to circle back around to the very beginning and restate that the fear based gut reaction should be tempered with the obtained intelligence and then reexamined as to the hows, whats, and whys of the local authorities' reaction and then court action. I apologize to Mrs. Donavan, and hope we move on from here. I realize that if I have more questions than most, I should dig more myself and not wait or want from the local press. Though it's difficult, I ride this horse.... and whisper 'drink, drink, please drink...'. There are no breaks in new news that inspires awe or incites, and now it's on to drones and the nonchalant classic attitude of 'if it brings in business, go for it' without the slightest research or nod to implications for the collective or the future. So, I'm leaving here, going there, so look for my (hopefully) positive additions to the whole. Thanks Bill & Laura, and all contributers.

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  37. Chuck Rose

    It was Lincoln who called the Declaration of Independence the statement of ideals for our country. He believed that the Constitution was a document of compromise in a successful attempt to get the slave states to agree to it.

    I am pleased that the Constitution has been amended. The fact that slavery is illegal, that a black person is not worth 3/5ths of a white person, that women can vote and the Civil Rights act was ratified are all positive things and consistent with my beliefs.

    I have recently read that some scholars believe that the Gettysburg Address was the beginning of Lincoln strongly stating his beliefs regarding the subordination of the Constitution to the Declaration. This is a debate Constitutional legal scholars have had for some time. However, if you look at the many times the Constitution has been amended it must be said that we act as if the Constitution is a "rule book" not a statement of ideals.

    PS: Read "Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address" by Garry Wills (This might not be the exact title). I have it. Call 719 221 9511 and I will get it to you.

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  38. Billy Carlisle

    Good stuff, Chuck. I never got interested in Lincoln util the last few years. There is some debate about where he really stood on slavery, in his heart. Some even say he was a racist. I am beginning to think he believed in equality and freedom for all people all the way to his core. It just took him some time and manuevering to make his impact. Also, his untimely death prevented us from knowing him as well as we could have. I think his assasination was real tragedy for the nation. Imagine him completing his last term and perhaps influencing reconstruction in a more positive direction. His legal thinking was good, and he would have influenced how our constituion was applied more had he lived longer.

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  39. Cory Scheffel

    The Constitution is definitely a rule book. It sets term limits, defines the structure of our government and enumerates our rights. The Delcaration of Independence definitely lays out ideals of what we think a good government is and lists grievences against the king. I'm proud of both documents.

    I am curious about these post mortum documents about Lincoln. I wonder if the presidential oath back then included that they would uphold and defend the constitution. If so and if he believed that the Declaration of Independence was subordinate to the Constitution it seems to paint his presidency in a negative light.

    I checked the daily post (my first time). I read Cinda Green's opinion on the drone use in Chaffee County. Much like the citizen, it shares one person's view, but some very important details were left out (most importantly that the time for public comment ended the day before the Mountain Mail article went out, and that John Huguley who was promoting the commercial testing of drones ironcially works for the Air Force.) I think hopes for deeper journalism have simply resulted in what you would refer to as Mountain Mail 3.

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  40. Cory Scheffel

    oops...vice versa... If so and if he believed that the Constitution was subordinate to the Declaration of Independence it seems to paint his presidency in a negative light.

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  41. Jimmy Descant

    Hey Cory, hadn't read that yet, but will. My comments weren't about totally turning on the Citizen, but holding up a candle as not to leave this particular incident in a state of fear based info. While doing art and making people think, part of my job is to kick people and entities in the ass; and try not to kick them in the balls. Hope that all makes sense and I believe this will be all from me on this thread. I'll be reading the Citizen and see what happens. Thanks Bill and Laura for being a part.

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  42. Billy Carlisle

    Reading about Lincoln draws you into some deeper thinking about our constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I find it interesting, but do not have clear view of my own yet. Just off the cuff, I think the Declaration of Independence was a statement of principals. The Constitution was a political and governing document and as such included some compromises that may not have upheld the stated principals in the Declaration. The Constitution is an evolving document, by amendment and interpretation. I believe Lincoln wanted to move us toward a more perfect union, drawing from this and other concepts in the Declaration of Independence, "all men are created equal". Until our government truly treats all men as equal we have not arrived at that more perfect union. Look around you; we have not arrived yet. The folks who speak ill of Lincoln will say he was a racist, and that the emancipation proclamation was just intended to cause disruptions in the south. They are implying that he really did not care whether the slaves were free on not. I am beginning to believe that his heart was in it and that his principals and belief system were informed by our Declaration of Independence.

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  43. Jimmy Descant

    Rocketman, Courthouse, Tues, March 12, 9 am with probably just a motion. Matthew Varnum, Courthouse, March 12, 2 pm, don't know about charges or motions... but I'll be there. If you can't please think about how all this is intertwined. Thanks

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  44. Billy Carlisle

    A friend sent my his photo and he was wearing a ball cap. The cap had a depiction of an AR 15, The caption underneath read modern musket. Think of the history; many of the rifles that our Revolutionary fighters were using were superior in accuracy to the English regular's Muskets. This is a good counter point when the liberals say we don't need assault rifles; those should only be for the military. When the constitution was drafted many colonial Americans and our first citizens had some weapons that were superior to Regular English Military mustkets. The Pennsylvania Rifles our founders used to throw off the yoke of an oppressive British government were superior to Military Muskets the British were using. PS The artwork on the cap was a little nicer than Jimmy's crude cardboard art. Just saying.

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    • Bill Donavan

      I have some very liberal friends who love guns, and some very conservative friends who have strong opinions about common sense gun control. So, I'm wary of "the liberals say...such and such." Hopefully, as a culture we can move beyond broad generalizations, and discuss the issues. With that rant behind me, thanks for the thoughts.

      Those were crazy times. I imagine my teenagers during the revolutionary war, running around as snipers —it's both horrifying and fascinating to think that most boys will say they'd have loved it (!), without thinking it all the way through.

      Those American Revolutionaries were some tough hombres, I'm glad the red coats didn't have stealth drones.


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    • Bill Smith


      It is a cute story, but historically inaccurate. The most common firearm used on both sides in the Revolutionary war was the Brown Bess, a musket. After that was the Charleville, a French Musket that was shipped to the colonists in large quantities by the French. The Pennsylvania rifle (or Kentucky long rifle) was used by some in the war. It was by far more accurate than the musket, but was much slower to load. Also being handmade for the most part, each rifleman had to cast his own bullets as the bullet molds were made individually for each rifle. This made it hard to supply the Rifle Men for battles. No doubt the long rifles made some great shots, and those stories are more fun that six hundred guys blasting away with muskets, but the fact is is the Continental Army relied far more on muskets than rifles.

      By the end of the war Rifle Men's rifles were sometimes replaced with muskets.

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  45. Billy Carlisle

    Thanks for the history lesson Bill and for grudgingly admiting that the people that drafted our constitution owned their own rifles and that in some cases they were superior to the muskets. They were also much more accurate. Still today in this country we have marksmen and gun owners who have rifles and pistols that are superior to those the military furnishes to the regular army. I do not think citizens should be deprived of superior small arms. You also think that the military can easily overwhelm the citizens no matter how well they are armed. Maybe but at what cost. The Russians finally gave up on dominating the Afghans, and so shall we withdraw from their soon. Rebels in Libya overturned its government. The Syrians are still trying to overturn their government. We should not accept that we are powerless or that we should be disarmed.

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  46. Bill Smith


    You are projecting. I didn't grudging admit anything. I know who owned what firearms when and what they were used for. I never said anything that would lead a reader to believe I didn't think the colonists had their own firearms. The first firearm I ever owned was a .32 caliber kentucky long rifle and I am very familiar with them. I am also very familiar with the AR-15 platform.

    You get ahead of yourself often. Stop and think before you throw out blanket unsupported statements. You do the same thing to liberals.

    People have varying views on gun control. Lots of NRA members I know support gun control. it is where you draw the line.

    You never answered my question. Do you agree with justice Scalia when he says that Second amendment rights are not unlimited?

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  47. Billy Carlisle

    You have proved your skills as a lawyer. Ok, I will grudgingly admit that there may be some limitations on 2nd amendment rights. I don't have a nuke in my basement and I don't care to own one. That being said, a good rifleman with an AR can control a 500meter radius around himself. We have sniper level shooters in Colorado who can shoot to 1200 yards and greater. Those types of armaments in the hands of civilians would make it impossible for our government or an invading army to conquer this land. You could destroy the culture and economy, and render the land to unusable dust, but I do not believe you can submit a well armed strong willed people to slavery. We should challenge ourselves; do we have the right stuff. Are we still a strong willed people who will not submit to tyranny. I happen to think the gun control being discussed now in Colorado and in the US congress is tantamont to tyranny.

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  48. Billy Carlisle

    Isoroku Yomamoto said, "I would never invade the United States. There would be a gun behind every blade of grass." The Japnese Navy and Airforce flattened our navy at Pearl Harbor. They could have cruised from Hawaii to our western shore unempeded. One of the reasons they did come for us was they knew our civilians were well armed.

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  49. Jimmy Descant

    When my lawyer suggested an alternative, I was refused a chance at Full Circle Restorative Justice today by the deputy DA Rex Kindall, which in my opinion, and others, would have been the best way to go for all concerned. He said to the public defender, "He's forcing his art on people, and is bringing the community down by placing this art for free around town, and he wasted the police's time." No understanding what the message was, how simple and positive it was, that I came forward of my own accord, that I was protecting Matthew (who will be in court tomorrow at 2), or that everything was fine with the Sheriff and the owner of the building prior to my getting his summons.
    Peace on ya, my friends, I believe the numerator will prevail. See y'all at court if you want, next Tues. 9am. Public Defender qualifying and then plead.
    If you would like to weigh in on this controversial misuse of the justice dept., please call or write our local/regional DA and Sheriff to let them know what you think of this case, and the clogging of the courts system! My case, and that of Matthew Varnum, were resolved and understood by the police and all those involved, but the Deputy DA still pressed charges not because of the trespass and tampering, but because of the art.

    The press release by the Sheriff, and my response letter here.

    Summons # 50118 Chaffee County; Case # 13-0405
    2nd degree tampering, a misdemeanor; 3rd degree trespass, a petty offense

    Colorado District Attorney John Suthers
    Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center1300 Broadway, 10th FloorDenver, Colorado 80203P: 720-508-6000F:

    District Attorney Thom LeDoux, for the surrounding counties
    136 Justice Center Road, Room 203
    Canon City, CO 81212
    Ph: (719) 269-0170

    Deputy District Attorney Rex Kindall - my local case prosecutor
    104 Crestone Avenue
    Salida, CO 81201
    Ph: (719) 539-3563 Fax: (719) 539-3565

    Chaffe County Sheriff Pete Palmer
    641 West 3rd Street PO Box 699 Salida, Colorado 81201

    Letters to the editor, print and online - The Mountain Mail, Salida, CO.
    The Salida Citizen, online -
    The Salida Daily Post, online -
    The Denver Post -

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  50. Jimmy Descant

    Matthew Varnum received 3 years probation today from the court, no jail time, and possible early termination later. Now his family has to pay lawyer and court costs for something that was resolved in the beginning, but forced thru by the deputy DA.

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  51. Lou Drakulich

    You created the issue and cost the taxpayers. No one else is responsible for your bad decisions. You should be required to pay for your own defense.
    Keep your art off public and private property (unless you have been given the authority to display it) and you will have no problems.
    Is it not enough that your are repeatedly given public space, free of charge, to have your shows and exhibit your art?
    This, like Graffiti, is defacing property that is not your own. No matter how cool or positive you may think your message is, what you did is a crime.

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  52. Jimmy Descant

    Hi Lou, like Reagan much? This is exactly the point of zero tolerance, nose in the rule book, no concern for the acts as they played out attitude. Just flat out crime hunh? and no comments about the for profit justice system? You may not think so, but I did my art and made my case for you as well as me and Matthew. Let's see what your tune would be if you were in a situation of trying to evoke some common sense dialogue, and common sense justice on this side of the fence. Thanks for keeping the art and the conscience of the community alive by commenting.

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  53. Jimmy Descant

    THANK YOU all for being there, and here, I really appreciate it. In the end, brains won out. After 2 months of no common sense it's over. The DA agreed with my public defender.... drop the misdemeanor charge of tampering, plead guilty to the petty offense for a $50 fine, and $69 in court costs; so I had to pay a total of $119 and I'm done. There was a last minute mention of restitution for the investigation, which they said would be open for 60 days, but after a phone call, that amounted to $0. AND.... I get the art poster back from the Sheriff, probably before the weekend. I will be displaying the art and some of my Peace-Skis at Feast Of Fools event at the community center on Sunday 6-10, and will have info about it all for the good of the public and citizenry. Feel free to print out the poster, put it in your window, and pass it around!
    My town is sweet as pie! Write a letter to the editor of you like, and anyone else too. Addresses below the previous comments about the Sheriff's scary press release.

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