Thousands Gather For Rainbow Family in Arkansas
Posted by jeremiasx on June 24, 2007
Rainbow Family Camped In Fallsville, AR Through July…here is a MAP to the campsite.
(reposted in entirety courtesy of the Harrison Daily Times…lampoons in bolds are my commentary, unless otherwise noted…)
FALLSVILLE – If you have a bellybutton (I do!) you could be a member of the Rainbow Family. Members of the group are camped in the Ozark National Forest near Fallsville for their annual gathering and they say all people are welcome in the Family. (or at least those with belly buttons…innies or outies…it’s cool)
Although rumors abound in Newton County about habits of drug and alcohol use (quit it!) and abuse (is all use abuse?) , civil disobedience (damn skippy) and public nudity (woohoo!), an unofficial spokesman for the group said most members of the Family have only one goal: peace. And almost no one will disagree with that (who has a shred of moral fiber in their soul) But not everyone agrees either.(most notably, the current administration in our countries and their red-state diehard neocon dimwitted drooling fanatics)
Warriors of the Rainbow (original emphasis)
The Rainbow Family has a Web site, http://www.welcomehome.org, but it’s called “unofficial.”
“It is longstanding Rainbow Family consensus that nobody has ever, or ever will represent the Rainbow Family,” the site says. (We don’t talk about fight club.)
The site continues by saying the Rainbow Family is the “largest non-organization of non-members in the world,” and that members are “into intentional community building, non-violence, and alternative lifestyles.”
Many of their traditions are based on Native American traditions and members have committed themselves to caring for the planet.
“We also believe that peace and love are a great thing, and there isn’t enough of that in this world,” the Web site proclaims. (Undoubtedly…)
The Family gathers annually in a national forest to pray for peace, the site says, but it also quotes a Native American prophecy that states:
“When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the Rainbow.”
‘They’re just doing routine stops’ (original emphasis)
Rainbow Family members began arriving in the Ozark National Forest within the last few days. Wednesday, a Daily Times reporter went to where they were camped.
Numerous (a shit-ton) law enforcement officials stood by on Highway 16/21 outside Fallsville and for miles in either direction to make sure everything was going well, officials said.
Denise Ottaviano, U.S. Forest Service information officer out of Albuquerque, N.M., spoke to the Daily Times from Fort Smith where she is stationed during the Rainbow gathering. (just think of her as your local Ranger Dana Perino)
She said Rainbow events often attract as many as 10,000 to 25,000 members from all parts of the country.
Those members can have “a large impact” on the forest and surrounding communities, she said. (notably not mentioning the larger impact of thousands of acres of controlled burns in the county, and the ever popular local sport *and honest living, it cuts both ways* of slinging mini-logs at top speed onto a truck) So, the Forest Service developed the National Incident Management Team (NIMT) to “manage the impacts of Rainbow Family national gatherings,” a press release said. (These are your tax dollars at work.)
Ottaviano said officers come from all over the country to follow Rainbow Family gatherings. (They’re like groupies too, man…but they, like…bust you. Uncool.)
Drivers in the area are stopped often, (everyone is stopped and searched, it’s a roadblock manned by constant teams of Forestry Feds and our County boys who are putting in large amounts of overtime, on our tax dollars) especially ones who drive on or off the Forest Service road that leads the two miles to the main camping area. (if you’re driving in, this is the only way to go…DUH.)
Drivers who ask why they were stopped are told that officers are making sure everything is all right (it was till you stopped me without any reasonable cause of suspicion and then took out all the luggage, made the baby cry, scared us half to death and tried to bully us into an unlawful search and seizure, sir…duh) and to make sure law enforcement officers aren’t under surveillance themselves. (SCRREEEECHHHH…HALT. FULL STOP…WTF MATE…to make sure that “law enforcement officers aren’t under surveillance themselves? Did I JUST post about this??? Is there a law against surveilling and reporting upon the public duties of law enforcement??? When did that become a CRIME? OK let us continue.)
“They’re just doing routine stops,” Ottaviano said, adding that officers are making sure all attendees are safe (it’s always about safety…our safety…isn’t it Ranger Perino?) and for general public safety.
Some (most, most likely) officers have dogs trained to search for drugs (false positives, anyone?), she said.
Wednesday, at the beginning of the road to the campsite, a young man sat on the side of the highway while a Forest Service officer talked to him and another videotaped the scene. (They are videotaping you…but you can’t videotape them…unless there was a typo in the article earlier…I’m writing the author to ask him about this…or possibly calling Monday. I want to know if they are making this a national issue. We can make it one, for sure.)
Just ahead, three other young people stood beside a vehicle with New Jersey license plates talking with two more officers and a third officer searched baggage apparently pulled from the car. (Your bags, sir…THUMP…CRASH…)
An officer on the scene Wednesday afternoon said one reason for such tight security is because the “Rainbows” hadn’t secured a permit from the government to hold a large gathering of people on public land. (It’s all about the MONEY AND THE POWER, ISN’T IT…spontaneous freedom erupting around you is a pain in your collective asses isn’t it?)
Ottaviano confirmed that, saying groups of 75 or more are required to secure a permit for a gathering of any kind so Forestry officials can help them find a proper campsite while not disturbing “archaeological sites.” (uh…huh? if there is an archeological site at your campground…shouldn’t it be marked? or is this all speculative bullshit to try to come up with a special reason to waste more of our federal tax dollars?)
But the Rainbows, “as is customary,” haven’t gotten such a permit, Ottaviano said, although Forestry officials are still trying to work with them on locations.
But it might be too late.
‘It’s a workshop’ (original emphasis)
Rain had been falling at Fallsville for a couple of days (must have rain for Buffalo and to quench the land’s mighty thirst…sorry guys) and more than a hundred Rainbows were already setting up camp this week struggling through mud and standing water. (dedicated…)
Pitching tents and warming food over campfires, most of the Rainbows declined to be photographed due to the mud and muck. One man named Val said the pictures wouldn’t translate well. (I will get pictures for you in upcoming blogs as I intend to cover the story extensively…quite possibly a little more in depth than this article)
But Val was willing to talk about the Family.
For one thing, Val explained that the Family isn’t just one large group. He said members of like-minded groups comprise what is collectively known as the Rainbow Family.
What they share in common is being outcasts in the cities (and to some in the countryside as well, judging what I’ve heard from some highly opinionated locals), as well as a love of nature, acting as “stewards of the woods,” he said.
They come from all walks of life. Some are addicts coming to get away from the temptations that might cause them to use. (ok we must be only talking about the hard schtuff here cause you aren’t going to get AWAY from drugs by going to this gathering…lol…) Some are seeking spirituality. (as well we all should)
Val, who also studies sociology and is a woodworker, said, “I don’t know why most of them come.” (does it REALLY matter? of course… )
But he continued by explaining the main purpose is to pray for peace. The actual gathering is July 1-7, with the main day of prayer set for July 4. On that morning, he said, the entire camp will be silent as members pray.
The remainder of the time will be spent studying nature. They will have a chance to use woodland experts to explain what is growing in the woods can and can’t be eaten. There will be other people studying spirituality and any other matters that surround such a topic.
“It’s a lesson,” Val said. “It’s a workshop.”
Some people have estimated as many as 25,000 Rainbows might attend. Val calls that unrealistic and puts the estimate closer to 7,000 at most, 5,000 at least.
Val said some people think the Family is gathering to relive the flower power days of the 1960s, but that’s not the case. (kind of…)
He pointed out that many of those attending were young, born in the late ’70s or early ’80s, and were bringing their children with them. (pioneer days doesn’t distance itself from the cowboys…why should the peace/love/light movement distance itself from it’s ancestors/heritage??? be real about this and don’t deny it, folks…it only makes you look ineffectual and waffle-y)
Some of the men have long hair and beards, while others are clean shaven and have short hair. Dread locks are popular among both men and women. Many carry guitars, violins or musical instruments of other kinds. (OOOH I so hope that someone has a cello out there….most likely not though…)
But not all of them are young.
Ed “Dogman” Slook of Taos, N.M., had just arrived at the campsite Wednesday afternoon. He explained that he went on his first peace march in Washington, D.C., as the war in Vietnam raged.
He said the Family is almost exclusively peaceful. But even at that, there are some members, as in any large group, that come to the gathering for other reasons.
For instance, “Camp A” is largely segregated from the main group. Those people, he said, are the drinkers among the Family and they stay where they are.
But the rumors surrounding the gathering are a partial concern to Family members and law enforcement as well.
Some people have said Rainbows are known for raiding gardens and stealing and slaughtering cattle for food. But the Forest Service’s Ottaviano says that’s not accurate. (they are dopers, nudists, and didn’t give us our money for a permit…but they aren’t going to raid your tomatoe patch…settle down locals…seriously)
Ottaviano did say there are isolated incidents with certain Rainbows when they interact with local residents. (OH NO…INTERACTION!!!)
She said there is a vast cultural difference between many of the Rainbows and other people, so some confrontations can occur.
In addition, there have been some isolated incidents of loitering or trespassing, but they aren’t that common. (at least…not commonly reported on yet…but I have heard serious and credible rumors of a massive campaign of ticketing for hitchhiking and loitering in Jasper proper)
Val said there is an alleged incident from a 1984 Rainbow gathering in which one of the Family members got into an altercation with people in a grocery store. The Rainbow was accused of urinating on the fresh produce in the store. (Is this there favorite tactic or WHAT? The authorities and spin masters are both fascinated and horrified by “the power’ of URINE. I’m convinced of it. G. Gordon Liddy paying people to piss in hotel lobbies to discredit the Vietnam peace protestors? Anyone? Anyone? Some things never change apparently.)
Val said he isn’t even sure that happened, but it’s one of the incidents authorities bring up to locals every time the Family gathers.
He said one high-ranking law enforcement official from Washington, D.C., visited a community where the Rainbows were set to gather and told the people there they should lock up their doors and hide their children. (Was it Cheney?)
Val said that was totally inaccurate, but it’s the kind of thing that follows the Rainbows wherever they go. (Well if it was the big DICK Cheney…it WAS probably inaccurate…so we’ll go with Dick Cheney FTW.) [for the win]
Still, not everyone is scared to have the Rainbow Family around.
‘They don’t understand them’ (original emphasis)
Elizabeth Moak lives at Fallsville. She said the Family hasn’t been any trouble for her.
“I’m enjoying watching them go by,” Moak said. “Some of the buses are artwork.”
Some of the Rainbows stop and ask for directions and have been easy to get along with. (every one I’ve encountered has been more generally congenial than I can say for many of the LOCALS…and this is after a year of personal observation…but don’t get me wrong…many of my favorite folks in the world are from here or live here currently, my own family included)
“I haven’t seen any of them who are rude or anything,” Moak said.
What she fears is that there might be trouble with local people who might want to start trouble with the Rainbows. (NCSO)
She said a group of loggers came into the Fallsville store one day last week when it was raining and they couldn’t work.
One of the loggers said something vulgar to a group of Rainbows sitting together. The Rainbows all stood together, although they made no threatening gestures and the logger took notice. (I’m sorry, but I just have this vision of a tie-dyed Village of the Damned scene…it’s kinda funny and creepy at the same time)
“And he left,” Moak said. (I would have too. LOL)
Added law enforcement presence doesn’t bother Moak either.
(deep…deep inside she really secretly believe that they are coming for her veggies late at night…lol j/k)
She said one woman was complaining that she didn’t dare carry her customary cooler of beer in her pickup to drink while she was driving because she was afraid of getting stopped. And she could no longer let her 5-year-old daughter ride in the bed of the truck. (This is Newton County. Nuff said.)
Moak also said the people who drive vehicles without license plate or those who have suspended driver’s licenses are now getting rides from other people or allowing someone else to drive. (I know someone who got one of these lovely tickets just today…from teh Ranger Squad…)
She also said she knows of one individual who has taken to walking everywhere by going through the woods, not on the highway. (Come and see how oppressive the powers are that be when good and ordinary folks are compelled not to travel on the highways or biways for fear of “official treachery”…)
Moak admits there are people around the area who don’t welcome the Rainbows, but she has a couple of ideas on that subject.
For instance, many locals go to the forest where the Rainbows are camped to “drink and party,” so there could be some animosity there. (This is a dry county, and the old and wrinkled ones who made it this way and their pets in the pulpit will keep it so as long as humanly possible…)
In addition, “because they are hippies and a lot of people are scared of them,” there is automatic suspicion, Moak said.
And some people could mistake the Rainbows for “tree huggers” or environmentalists that are coming to the area to disrupt the logging industry or disturb the local way of life. (Nope…Al Gore won’t be stopping by.)
“I think it’s that they don’t understand them and they’re expecting trouble,” Moak said. “But I am really enjoying them.”
Shirley Sims is owner/proprietor of the store at Compton. She said some of the Rainbows had been passing through and had stopped.
“The one’s that were here were nice,” Sims said. (and gave her business, thus contributing to the local economy and probably increasing her profits astronomically for the day…this is the Compton General Store, and we ain’t talking South Central LA here.)
Emma Griffith was at the store last Wednesday. She said one young man was extremely polite when he came through.
“And he rode his bicycle all the way from Kansas to get here,” Griffith said.
Sims said she expects no trouble out of the gathering.
“I feel like the Sheriff’s Office is going to take care of us,” she said. (this is a nice way of the local business association, though unorganized and unofficial like the Rainbows themselves, saying…HEY Sheriff SLAPE…let us make some money off this deal dude)
‘Taking all precautions’ (original emphasis)
Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape said his department is working with the Forest Service to patrol the area as much as possible.
And, given Fallsville’s location near the border of both Johnson and Madison counties, those two departments are helping out as well. (More roadblocks, probably.)
He said they will soon set up a command post near the forest and man it 24 hours a day, adding that his officers probably will be able to work all the overtime they want. (YEEHAW…let’s drain those treasuries and try to refill them with ticket revenue…I bet they can pull off that budget balancing trick…or can they? We’ll do more research into this.)
Slape admits there hasn’t been much trouble out of the Rainbows.
“Right now, there’s been some isolated incidents, but we’re trying to safeguard to keep anything from happening,” Slape said. “We’re just taking all precautions.”
Slape said that although there are three individual camps that authorities keep an eye on, he thinks it should be fairly peaceful.
“The majority of them are good people,” Slape said. (Well Sheriff, most folks are good people.)
-original article written by James L. White