Marshfield, Vermont Against Arts, History and Fun


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The "officials" in Marshfield, Vermont in conjunction with a few bigots who are against the celebration of a distinctly American culture are wantonly treading on the freedom and liberties of some of the citizens of the town. If you are a theater buff... look out! If the intolerable prescident that has been established in Marshfield survives, you will have to get a building permit for every scene and backdrop. Get ready for paperwork and fees!

Some of my ancestors were among the first settlers in Marshfield. We passed by the old cemetaries this weekend, and I believe I heard them twirling in their graves. They were of a freedom loving culture, and firearms were an integral part of that culture, used for supplying food, defense and recreation. Yes - recreation! From the 1700s in Vermont all the way up to the 1960s when friends and relatives got together for a reunion or other such gathering it was very common for everyone to bring their guns. They would set up targets for plinking, hold informal contests and even do some trick and fancy shooting. As families and friends moved greater distances away, this recreation sort of fell by the wayside.

Fortunately there is a group helping to bring back this important part of our culture by holding "Cowboy Shoots". Unfortunately there are bigots in the area who are probably all for "multi-culturism" as long as cultures fit their narrow minded views. They have no tolerance of any culture, no matter how rooted in history and society it is, that falls the slightest outside their narrow views and interests.

These intolerant, narrow minded bigots have used every twisted governmental device to deprive their fellow Americans of their civil rights. They have for all intents and purposes destroyed this celebration of history and culture in Marshfield. Act 250 and local zoning laws have been twisted in terrifying ways that should send chills down the back of anyone in any club, theater group or non profit organization.

If the prescidents stand, building permits and property taxation will hit all theater backdrops, dunking booths, and displays of any kind that involve donations, tickets or fees.

Cowboy shoots are a great family activity involving practice and skill. Over 35% of the shooters are women and more are getting involved all the time. Antique and reproduction guns are used with very light powder loads to hit stationary and moveable targets in various scenarios. Many folks really get into the historical and acting part of it with historically accurate costumes, guns and very convincing acting. Others are into the competition part, trying for high scores relating to time and accuracy.

Cowboy shoots could be a welcome addition to the income of a depressed area such as the Northeast Kingdom. When you consider the lodging and dining alone, not to mention local shopping that a group of folks with discretionary income could bring to the area, you would think they would be welcomed with open arms.

I write this as an 8th generation Vermonter, now a refugee in New Hampshire. It is sad to see a formerly freedom loving state swallowed up in bureaucracy, intolerance and taxation. Some of us are working to bring the cowboy shoots, and the potential thousands of spectators (as you see elsewhere in the nation) to New Hampshire. We will be glad to have the extra visitors and income as well as some good clean fun. I kind of hate to see Vermont and Vermonters lose such a gem, but we will gladly move it to the "Live Free or Die" state. May New Hampshire never share the unhappy mess Vermont is in!

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Copyright 1997 by Ed Sanders.