Monday, May 19, 2008

Marching Right Along

After posting yesterday, I continued to think about the Fife & Drum Corps, and also about wanting to get more involved in CW and re-enacting in particular. It started getting late, and the Sunday night cannons started going off, which got me thinking about the "militia" that goes on manoevres in the afternoons. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought about joining. Today I was working at the counter--actually checking out clothes to some of the interpreters--and I got in a coversation with one of the militiamen, who told me they were in fact "recruiting." I'd be marching, carrying a flag, shooting a gun and (eventually) learning how to fire the cannons. It sounded quite exciting.

But I don't particularly believe in war--modern standing armies make me nervous--and now I'm thinking about joining a pretend militia. What is it that is so attractive about marching in formation and shooting a gun? I've never shot a gun in my life, except for my brother's BB gun, and even that was only at targets. (in case you're wondering--I was better at it) Guns make me nervous. I was in the toystore on Saturday, and it surprised me at how the kids would swarm over the display of the toy muskets and pistols, pointing them at each other without a second thought. If I saw a kid of mine doing that, I would have to drag them outside for a very loud lecture about what guns can do to people. The militia, of course, does not drill with real bullets, nor do they point their guns at people. It's a re-enactment equivalent of theatre pyro-effects. But you're aiming (no pun intended) for realism, and the smoke and noise is just enough to conjure up a whiff of a battlefield.

So I don't know how I feel about the fighting part of it. Let's not forget that training also includes how to fix bayonets and stab people to death with them. What's appealing is being involved in a interpretative role that is not necessarily proscriptive for women. The "uniforms" are baggy enough that sometimes you can't tell. All the militiapersons are treated equally. So that would solve the problem of how to be an independent female in the eighteenth century. Hello, my name is Nick.

But there's the other part about being a part of a military-group, albeit one that does not fight, and one that does not even interpret battles or killing other people. The focus is primarily on manoevres and shooting in formation. But can I say I'm anti-war and still willingly participate in a pseudo-military group? Even if all of America agrees that the Revolution was a great idea and that the soldiers who fought in it are heroes? In my mind, I've divided the War for Independence into the "justified and good" pile of conflicts, but does that encompass interpreting? In a nutshell, would I have fought in the Revolutionary War? Do I believe strongly enough in this republican experiement to take up arms for it?


Laura said...

It takes a grown up (or someone who has seen Saving Private Ryan) to understand how truely horrific kids pointing toy guns at each other and pretending to shoot each other is. I mentioned this to my mom and she said that's why I never let you guys have toy guns as kids, and I'm like whatever! We had toy guns all the time? Squirt guns she says, but squirt guns don't need to have water in them to function as toy weaponry. I don't know what the answer to this is - other than shoot someone in the head at close range in front of your children to make them realize guns are horrible. HANDguns are horrible. They are FOR KILLING PEOPLE.
I think you've got a good idea with the questions here. Idon't know the answers but I'm glad you're asking.

Peter said...

Ummmm, I was a better shot and still am. Guns don't kill people, apes with guns kill people. I was shooting with some friends last December, large guns and hand guns, and you know what? Nobody died that day. I think if you want to join a militia then go for it. There is nothing wrong with that.

Laura said...

I thought of a solution. You should join the militia and then - desert. Say you can't handle the horrors of war. Effect a great haunted persona everytime you discuss guns or gun violience with your children. Let them believe you've witnesses terrible unspeakable betrayals of humanity. that will make an impression on them.

I don't think I said Every time a handgun is fired people die. I understand target shooting. I'm talking more about the legality of owning one, carrying it with you and shooting it at people.

Nicki said...

PS: On my blog, I'M the better shot. :)