Parade should celebrate freedom

Parade should celebrate freedom

The Homer Chamber of Commerce denied the Fourth of July parade entry application submitted as “Hunters Against Assault Weapons.” The proposed entry was deemed too controversial, too political and inconsistent with parade themes of patriotism, our history and present culture. The chamber director said that our message was inappropriate for a family-oriented parade and that it would be better suited for a letter to the editor. So here goes:

Hunters Agains Assault Weapons represents folks who own and enjoy guns for legitimate recreational and subsistence activities. Guns have been basic to our history, and none of us would be willing to give them up. However, we see no place in our present culture for automatic and semi-automatic weapons designed solely for killing people in combat, guns now promoted by manufacturers as “America’s Rifles.” Pioneers and homesteaders didn’t need them and neither do we.

Gun control is certainly controversial. But Homer has never shied away from robust controversy, controversy that has manifested itself in a number of previous parade entries. It is our nature. The Fourth of July should be a time to celebrate our freedom to speak out on any public issue at any forum, including the parade.

And as for “family orientation,” the chamber should talk with families who have recently been devasted by bullets sprayed from assault weapons.

John Rate

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