I am back from a lengthy hiatus, hope you’re still with me! I was away camping for two weeks at festivals (Sirius Rising and Summerfest at the Brushwood Folklore Center) and have been getting caught up, and caught up in, all kinds of new and exciting things in my life.
Festival season was very relaxing and fun. There were some challenges as well, and I was forced more than once to ask myself, what on earth is this thing we call the “pagan community” any do these people act like such asshats? But maybe that will be the subject of another column! I actually managed to go to some workshops and have some great times with friends. I got interviewed by Jason Mankey! Jason is obviously a much more conscientious pagan blogger than I am; I was overjoyed not to have to deal with the damn internet for two weeks, and had no thought whatsoever of doing anything I could mine for my blog. I guess I’d better rethink that.
I have many updates on many things in the works, including the two new films on the West Memphis Three soon to be released (Devil’s Knot has just wrapped shooting), as well as the activities of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessis Misskeley, Jr., who have now been free from prison for almost a year now. I’m also looking at some upcoming film and television premieres, so stay tuned!
For now, the only media issue I feel compelled to comment upon is what I’d call one of the saddest news stories of the year: the mass shooting at the Sikh Temple in Milwaukee. Seven people dead, more injured. The shooter, killed by police, was a known white supremacist. It has been theorized that the shooter did not actually know he was shooting Sikhs, that he might have been confused and assumed he was shooting Muslims. As if that was somehow more understandable.
This is horrible and terrifying on many levels. But the thing that keeps standing out for me is the notion that someone shot a group of innocent people at their sacred place of worship, and did not even know what their religion was and was in fact mistaken about who and what they were. Yes, this hateful moronic waste of space took seven lives because he hated their beliefs. It hardly matters if the victims were Sikh or Muslim or Jewish or Catholic or Pagan: we should be horrified because this is a religious war being fought in a random manner, and the “soldiers” are not following orders from leaders, but simply obeying their own sick, hateful urges. Oddly some Christian “religious leaders” are trying to spin this and the recent mass shooting in a Colorado movie theatre as an expected result of our increasingly “secular” society…The main problem with THAT assessment is that most of the shooters in these travesties are themselves Christians.
I have no answers (other than tighter controls for ammunition sales), but I do think we need to really, seriously think about what is happening in this country where we are supposed to respect freedom of religion.