Another shot from the 1/19/2013 'Gun Appreciation Day' rally outside the Massachusetts State House. See my previous posts here, here, and here on this subject for more information.
One of the things, as I said in a recent note to Jason (jcpix), that I've disliked the most about the gun debate is the presence - on both sides, but primarily on the anti-regulation side - of truly specious and horrible historical analogies that tend to either be wholly or partly false. Today's shot is a perfect example of this.
Thomas Jefferson holds a special place in American history. As a revolutionary, he wrote words that have inspired generations of Americans, have spurred on civil rights struggles, and which have been held up as the ideals America tries (and, sadly, often fails) to live up to. As a President, he embodied the ongoing struggle over the proper role of government - a small government advocate, he actually dramatically expanded the power of the government and the presidency, redefining the United States in the process with the Louisiana Purchase. And, of course, he was famously a slavery skeptic who in the 1700s was often quoted as saying that slavery was an evil, but who continued to own slaves and who, after 1800 and the expansion of the practice, became an entrenched and violent protector of it. He is also an eminently quotable man; someone who wrote as voluminously as Jefferson is bound to be quoted heavily.
What I found fascinating at this rally was the incredibly common practice of misquoting Jefferson on a regular basis. I saw at least three different quotes attributed to Jefferson at the rally that were not in fact ever said by him; they are attributed to him, I think, because Jefferson has become the 'patron saint of freedom' in the United States, despite his own spotty record on the subject.
The quote on this particular sign is an actual Jefferson quote, though badly translated from Latin, in which it actually reads "I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude" - a translation that, I think, makes it a somewhat less strident and useful quote for the anti-regulation crowd. In any event, its equation here with gun ownership should give people a sense of what I mentioned yesterday - this strange equation of gun ownership with liberty, as though the latter flows explicitly from the former. Of course, Jefferson never said nor meant any such thing (a bit more on misattributed Jefferson quotes tomorrow) but let's not let that deter us from a good sign, shall we?
This gentleman was one of only two people I couldn't resist getting into a conversation with at the event. I pointed out to him, subtly at first but then more pointedly, that Jefferson, being a slaveowner himself, certainly was intimately aware of the difference between freedom and slavery. All I got was the phrase 'it was a different time'. Yes - it was a time when people were allowed to own other human beings, and a time when many felt the legitimate need to own firearms in the face of potentially tyrannical government. Both times, thankfully, are now passed; it's just that we only acknowledge the passage of one.
Critiques | Translate
Noel_Byrne (7352) 2013-02-09 8:40
The first thing that grabs me here is the quality of the image on that placard! Someone has put a lot of work and effort into that, and its a long cry away from the black marker on white paper that we normally see at rallys around the world.
In saying that though, reading your once again fascinating note, shows me why you could see this to be a little bit of selective wording. Its certainly a stong image, and it conveys a powerful message on behalf of the guy holding it. Thanks to your note, I understand the whole thing a lot better, thank you.
All the best
kasianowak (2235) 2013-02-09 10:45
This is getting better and better Andrew! I really like your choice of slogans for this series. The expressions on the two guys faces are great.
Have a nice weekend
thebest (3370) 2013-02-09 17:39
Highly informative & interesting notes - I believe Thomas Jefferson had a brilliant philosophical mind & he went on to become President of the United States.
I have visited the Jefferson Memorial... I love visiting America.
Without getting into an area that I am not equipped to handle I will wish you a HAPPY SUNDAY....
pajaran (36224) 2013-02-09 23:05
Vrlo interesantan i dobar tekst sa datim podacima, i secanju na Jeffersona ...
Dobar trenutak snimka, ostrina, kontrast, lepe boje.
Sve se svodi na interes ...
Very interesting and good text with the given data, and the memory of Jefferson ...
A good time recording, sharpness, contrast, beautiful color.
It all comes down to the interest ...
All the best.
jcpix (3285) 2013-02-09 23:13
Another day, another great image in this series. Albeit not overly expressive, I find the facial gestures in this photo to be the most intriguing....a little says a lot! Your timing has been very good in these pictures, capturing the atmosphere of the rally. Noel is right, someone certainly did spend some time putting together this particular sign, that's some good art work regardless of its content. Keep 'em coming, this has been a tantalizing production. I'm not sure that's the best wording, but you know what I mean. :)
macjake (39227) 2013-02-09 23:26
well, here we go again!
we can see even more idots!
man, this guy is stupid.
I have to say, you are doing an excellent job in reporting the daily events in your local area, and showing us the GUN side of the argument.
You have certainly succeeded in your goal to stir up emotion and discussion.
I'm trying to stay away from the discussion aspect of it as i'll probably be banned from TE from the moderators due to foul language! :)
So i'll keep it civil.
Did I mention how stupid this guy is?
Seriously, this man should get his facts straight if you want to show yourself in public holding a sign with a supposed quote from such an integral person in American History.
as for the photo and goal...again, great work Andrew
krzychu30 (8873) 2013-02-10 1:39
Itīs another superb contribution to recent political debate concerning the weapons.
You captured here perfectly the clash of two opposite(at least from their facial expression I think so) views.But also the sentence on the placard give us to think.I donīt know if I get good the sentence,but it has to me much more universal and broad meaning,than just a reference to the debate on the weapon.
You had good intuition for this shot.The timing seems to be perfect to capture the scene.
Have a good sunday
marabu61 (3914) 2013-02-10 3:08
an impressing example of the misuse of historical quotes and how easily words can be transformed to the needs of everybody. I think than Jeffersons original latin quote means some thing completely different and can't be used in this context.
I love your journalistic series of the gun rallies, they give a real insight in the way those people are thinking, so I am looking forward to the rest of them.
have a good sunday
BennyV (12767) 2013-02-10 11:50
Interesting series of shots. Like an accidental reportage. I appreciate the notes with your comments and pov. Like 99% of the rest of the world, I also think the pro-gun attitude in the US is competely crazy.
My country is famous for its relaxed attitude towards beer, waffles and chocolate. I think that's a lot healthier. :)
bukitgolfb301 (30065) 2013-02-10 16:54
Hi dear Andrew
I watch your recent images with much concern as I know that tragedy via TV news before. This image is very nice snap shot in town for all aspects. But this theme is very difficult for us, but should be solvd as soon as possible not to repeat---.
Thanks for your sharing and have a good day!
raszid62 (18200) 2013-02-11 1:24
And I agree with that password to one hundred percent. Freedom is the most important. But why this man has the face of a determined and dangerous. Freedom is the joy. Great street, reportage scene. Excellent image quality.
jhm (122444) 2013-02-11 3:19
A great reporting shot, and something that is very much in topic at the moment.
Here in Belgium, guns are pretty much illegal, and I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live in a society where guns are easily available.
Certainly with the raise in crime in recent times.
I suppose its been a part of life for so long, its going to be hard to change.
Very well image, TFS.
Have a nice Monday,
jemaflor (68913) 2013-02-11 5:06
Interesting report about this day, the photo is well composed with people,good light management, interesting subject ...
batalay (32860) 2013-02-11 14:59
The photograph is excellent, with the combination of expressions on the two individuals' faces. I enjoyed your essay very much (especially since I agreed with it). I wonder whether you were pegged as a friend or a foe of the anti-gun control crowd?
Waylim (22355) 2013-02-11 18:42
A subject that will never go away, I remeber having to write an essay on this in college. For me personally I would want to have one. It scare me just seeing a real gun. I didn't even want to touch it. I have live in a war torn country and don't really wish to see anymore violent in real life.
This is a very good documentary/journalistic type photo.
abmdsudi (26233) 2013-02-11 20:15
The composition is natural and makes a good sense as this gives really nice framing. This has an almost cinematic look and a real feast for the eyes with such a strong message that lead viewers conveying a tense mood. This is an excellent reportage, tx to your lengthy infor note, and well done to your journalist abilities. The details and expressions are fantastic, the greatest influence and strength to this shot. Very well done.
meyerd (1590) 2013-02-12 5:30
great glimpse at the secret cerebral windings of Man. I am particularely grateful for your careful note that goes with the picture.
The sad thing is that we in our neat and tidy little country (Switzerland), we have the same kind of stupidity (and history- abuse) like you show us here, pervading the streets and even the parliament.
We have a famous (now dead) poet singer, Mani Matter, that describes in one of his songs a village theater group performing " William Tell". The attending crowd engages physically in the on-scene dispute between the independence-minded Swiss and the Austrian villain called Gessler. Finally the spectators smash all the furniture and the stage decoration to pieces and declare Swiss victory over the tyrant. The song ends musingly: "They would gain freedom, if freedom could be had this way".
Thanks for this one, best regards Dietrich
ikeharel (37316) 2013-02-16 1:46
From all of your Guns-rally's pictures, I found this most intriguing, Andrew.
Did T.Jefferson was really holding guns to convey his believes, and sure not the M-16 rifle.
The man tough face expression well spotted. The pic. tells how deep is this controversy goe's within diff. people.
Enjoy a nice weekend,
mjw364 (3680) 2013-02-22 9:11
Great reportage shot and great note. I have read several of the comments on several of your shots now and I am a little perplexed by the apparent views of some that it's a very American problem, or 'only in America this wouldn't happen in my country'; 'we have nice things not guns'. The fact is I could say that kind of thing about the UK but even here, where a very different attitude and culture exists when it comes to guns we still get crazies with guns and other weapons killing people. So I have to say incidents like Sandy Bank happen everywhere in the world. No one is immune.
Perhaps we need to look at the issues about funding of welfare and health services and how we care for the mentally ill in all of our societies, or even ask questions about what kinds of societies give rise to the kind of person who engages in a Sandy Bank type killing spree as much as issues around gun control.
I think it's ironic in the US, as you say at the end of your note that liberty is conflated with freedom to bare arms and the basis of such thinking is grounded in the idea of protecting yourself from your own government, that you voted for, just in case it becomes tyrannical. It seems to me that such thinking is actually a smokescreen for the fact that people in the US perhaps, given the kind of virulently capitalist, competitive and unequal society that the US has become, have far more to fear from each other than from their government who they don't trust? Especially guys like the one in the image who you spoke to. As you found out there is no point arguing with an idiot who is ignorant of and selective with the facts.
Strangely the dollar bill shows that they only trust in God, a supernatural being who empirically has never been proven to exist. Go figure as they say in the US!
Wouldn't it be great if when they get to heaven God asks them all to leave their weapons at the pearly gates or go to hell coz God's slogan is "In each other we trust"?!
- Copyright: Andrew Lipsett (ACL1978) (5775)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2013-01-19
- Categories: Event
- Camera: Nikon D3100, AF-S NIKKOR 35 mm 1:1.8G
- Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Historical [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2013-02-09 6:11