Stories of Peace and Justice: Peace Witness at the OK Corral

by Steve Carcaterra, Engle, Colorado

For the last couple of years, our small town, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, has held a reenactment of the gunfight at the OK Corral, which actually occurred in Tombstone, Arizona. Complete with old west music playing in the background, the Good Guys (Earp, Holliday, etc.) ride into town on horseback and square off against the Bad Guys (the Clanton Gang) and proceed to blow each other away in front of bleachers full of people (lots of children). Doc Holliday died in Glenwood Springs, a tuberculotic alcoholic.

I find it strange that in this age of daily shootings on our streets that such an enactment would be called family entertainment. So I staged a one-man peace witness with a folding chair and some homemade posters saying things like, “Real guns kill Real people,” and “14,000 Americans died as a result of handgun violence.”

My peace witness did not go unnoticed. It triggered a barrage of letters to the editor in our local paper both pro and con. I received many positive comments and a few negative ones. I saw one merchant come to my defense when another merchant was ruthless in his criticism of my peace position and my personhood in general.

My intent was to make people think about the appropriateness of this event and especially the promotion of it as a form of entertainment. I was successful.

Next year I will ask the organizers of the event to cease promoting a violent, murderous act as a form of entertainment. If they insist on holding the event, I will return, I hope with more people who would like to participate in this peace vigil.

On a personal level, I might add that this was a difficult thing to do. However, I feel I really had little choice, as my conscience allowed me no other option.

Stories of Peace and Justice is a weekly PeaceSigns column which draws from the writings and experiences of peacemakers found in the PeaceSigns archives.

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