March for Our Lives

On Friday evening we hosted our film group for dinner and a movie. We watched Ridley Scott’s The Duelist. On Saturday morning I sent the group this message:

Although I drifted off during most of our movie, and you might have thought I was not benefiting from the screening, The Duelist added much to the thinking I had been doing all day about guns and the history of weaponry. It made vivid, the sword and the elegance of the duel – going at it face to face with ones nemesis.

Wanting to make a poster for today for the March for Our Lives, I researched how we got to where we are with Bump Stocks and AR-15s. I wanted to message my anger at the NRA to prevent and Congress to enact gun control.

As I tried to imagine what it must feel like to be shot, I discovered Frances Glessner Lee and her work on forensic science. (had never heard of her before) The National Library of Medicine in Bethesda has many of the specimens she collected including one that shows the impact of gunshots for variety of weapons from a variety of distances.

Renwick Gallery in DC just mounted an exhibition of her dioramas that depicted typical crime scenes. So sorry to learn that we just missed this exhibit Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.

And then there are the words of John Lennon. Imagine all the people living life in peace…..He was speaking about the Vietnam War, but the words are just as relevant today. So here is how the word and image came together.

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Richard thought my message might be mis-interpreted, that someone might imagine the assassination of Trump. OK!  OK!!  OK!!! Back to the drawing board. I remembered our blogpost Some Day about the law that allows loaded firearms in national parks. YIKES! YES! And this post Open Carry about our grandson’s collection of “stick guns.”

How did we ever get from sticks and stones to the civilian use of military style weapons? I asked Google about the evolution of weaponry. As we know people have been killing each other for a very long time — and as we saw in The Duelists sometimes in noble (?) service of defending their honor.

I added an AR-15 to the line up of a historical illustration of the evolution of weapons:

Evolution of weapons

Richard said ” ‘Better’ but keep working it. There are still 18 hours before the march.” By mid-afternoon I was drawing a blank as in blank, guns with blank cartridges. I realized right away that no one would “get” that idea.

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Those of us of a certain age have this photograph indelibly etched:

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and added this recent one:

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Sorting through our collection of Kehoe Beach plastic guns, I found our one and only assault rifle. This diminutive replica (1.25″) along with a few bright splashes of watercolor became the perfect vessel to express my feelings.

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Shot

Today all of these thoughts go with me to the corner of HWY 1 at the Wells Fargo Bank in Point Reyes where we will stand with others to demonstrate against gun violence.

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Live from DC

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OK!  OK!!  OK!!!

It was exactly last minute, just 2 hours before the March, when, in my studio, Richard took note of the little ceramic angel that I was repairing. Usually the guardian angel sits on our garden fence post but days ago it tumbled and was smashed into pieces. I was saddened by the loss and decided to glue it back together again with red paint and some wabi-sabi magic. Richard suggested I mount the figure on a stick and use it instead of a poster. He was so right!!! After my struggles to create an image — unbeknownst to me, it was there, all the while on my worktable. It took Richard’s keen eye to help me see it for what it is — a powerful statement about mending the angel with the blood of those we have lost.

Angel studio

People in Point Reyes, are an activist bunch so they turn out — there is nothing like a hot-button issue to get them to really rally up. I was glad to join with the energetic gathering of sign-carrying friends and lift my angel to the sky.

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Point Reyes Station by Art Rogers