Thoughts on the Aurora Tragedy

Aurora shootings from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo. creator Jeremy Griffith at Jefferson’s house. Thomas wasn’t home.

Jeremy Griffith, contributor to and creator of, comments on the horrible tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.

Hey gang, Jeremy Griffith here. I contribute to the and am the creator of the American Millennium You can follow me on facebook and twitter.

I want to talk to you for a minute about something very important. A couple of weeks ago a psychopath entered a crowed theater carrying one of these, a variant of the AR-15. He shot a bunch of people, killing a few and injuring many others. He wasn’t a soldier, or a cop, he had no training whatsoever. He was just a lonely insignificant man who was unable to circumvent his own problems and took his anger out on the world. The guns he used didn’t leap off the shelf and kill people, he did it. Knowingly, willingly, and he will eventually pay for his crimes, in this life and the next.

I feel nothing but compassion for the victims of this horrible event in Aurora Colorado. We should embrace them with our love and never forget what happened here. But we should also remember who is responsible and why. Murder is illegal, it always has been, yet our laws have never prevented a sociopath from committing a crime. Some may say, OK Jeremy, I get it. The second amendment, I get it. You can own a gun, but why does anybody need an AR-15 or a tactical shotgun.

Good question. I saw a good cartoon this week on the Internet. It says basically that pistols and revolvers meant to prevent robbery or assault, shotguns are for burglars, and automatic rifles are for those in government who want to take our rights to bear arms away.

Case in point: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, my three favorite things. The BATF has murdered more people than James Holmes, the Aurora Theater gunman, and they did it in sight of the press cameras, and nobody has ever held them to account. About 80 people died at the Branch Dravidian communal church in Waco Texas, and several were killed at Ruby Ridge, including a young boy and a dog.

The people at Ruby Ridge and Waco might be different than us, and have different beliefs, but it’s never been proven in a court room that they were ever guilty of a crime that justified their deaths. In Ruby Ridge, the family of the deceased successfully sued the government for damages. Don’t say it can’t happen here, where our government loses control and starts causing suffering amongst the citizenry, it already has, many times.
In many cases the presence of a well trained legal gun owner has thwarted a crime, but the anti-gun left never brings that up. They want to take away all guns, no matter what, and put in place their gun free utopia.

But that won’t work, because creating anti gun zones doesn’t get rid of guns and killers, it makes innocent people more vulnerable to people who don’t care about the laws. These defenseless zones as they are called have been the sites of the most horrendous killings, like Columbine High School and Virginia Tech. Gun bans on those campuses didn’t slow a gunmen, it encouraged them.

American Vision head Gary DeMar says that worldviews have consequences in the real world. When we teach children that they evolved from single celled organisms from the primordial soup, that they’re just animals like every other animal in the animal kingdom, and there is no meaning or purpose to life, when we banish God from the public square, then we deserve the world we live in that we ourselves created.

DeMar had this conversation with an atheist. The atheist said, “Gary, just because I’m an atheist doesn’t make me a monster.” To which DeMar replied, “But being an atheist doesn’t preclude you from being a monster.”

Life is precious and has meaning, and we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, and ultimately accountable to our creator for our own actions. That should be taught to our kids in our schools, but don’t hold your breath. Instead, teach that to your children at home. Teach them the proper use of these dangerous tools, teach them to hold life as sacred, and teach them to defend their own lives only as a last resort.

We have rights, endowed to us by our creator, rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We cannot protect those rights from those who would take them away, if not for the right to keep and bear arms. We cannot have the First Amendment, without the teeth of the second.

So hold the victims of Aurora in your heart, and pray. And then, take hold of your belief, your God and your guns and do the right thing. God bless you, and God Bless America.

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Pipestone Pow Wow 28-29 July 2012

Pipestone Pow Wow from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo.

The Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone Minnesota is sacred ground for all Native American Peoples because it is one of the few places in North America where malleable pipestone is found. This weekend it was also the site of the Annual Pipestone Pow Wow, organized by the Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers.

Pow Wow organizer Rona Johnston says the Pow Wow has been going on at this site for 14 years, but the tradition goes on for centuries. She’s not sure how many different tribes participate every year, but says they come from all over the North American, including Canada.

“We don’t really ask people what their tribal affiliation is,” explained Johnston. “We just know from their stories that they share who they are and where they come from. We’ve had people from the First Nations, Lakota, Dakota, Ojibwa, Cheyenne,  Cherokee, just about everyone from everywhere.”

Bud Johnston, Rona’s husband, explained that story telling is one of the ways the culture is kept alive and the Pow Wow is a way to bring people together to tell those stories.

“Pipestone is a crossroads,” he said. “Many people come here for the pipestone for their pipes and they barter and trade, and they tell their stories. They’ve found pipestone from here in every corner of the continent and they’ve found other valuable trade items here, like North Carolina flint. This place is a major trade hub.”

Native Americans of all ages danced in bright costumes and people of the audience were invited to dance along and participate. Veterans were asked to place flags from every military service of the United States and ringed the circle where the dances took place. An elder blessed the field before the dance to purify it.

“The Pow is a great way to get people together to expose them to the culture,” Rona said. “People come here to see what the art is like, the dance, the different types of beadwork, things like that. Traditions that have been carried on probably for thousands of years.”

It wasn’t all seriousness and tradition. The atmosphere was celebratory and fun. Audience members took time to dance with the dancers, including a traditional “potato dance” where partners balanced a potato between their foreheads. The last couple to retain their potato  without dropping it won a prize.

Pow Wow’s and native dances are not the only ways to preserve tradition. At the Pipestone National Monument, Park Rangers and cultural interpreters work to share Native American history and Culture. The monument’s 75th Anniversary is coming up August 25th.

Pam Tellinghuisen is a pipestone carver and cultural demonstrator at the monument. She teaches pipestone carving and gives demonstrations to curious tourists who visit the site.

“I teach the art of pipestone carving,” she said. “I learned it from my mom, my mom learned it from her mom, so I’m actually a fourth generation pipestone carver. For me it’s a family tradition.”

Pipestone is used in sacred items used in ceremonies, especially the traditional pipestone pipe with it’s distinctive reddish brown stone. Only certified Native Americans can quarry the stone after they’ve submitted the proper permits, Tellinghuisen said. Right now there is a five-year waiting list to get a quarry, and those who are successful in getting a quarry are required to quarry at least twice a year.

While no non-native can quarry the rock, items made from the stone are available for sale at the bookstore, as well as books, music and other items. The Monument’s Interpretive Center has a bookshop, a museum and a theater, and visitors can walk around the grounds on designated paths to see the pipestone quarries for themselves.




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Fair Week 2012

Fair Week from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo.

The Griffith clan, Thorin, Alaina, Isaac and Valerie have fun at the fair. Sort of. There was lots of drama, but we got through it. Way to go guys!

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Tea Party Patriots Get Education on Voter ID Ballot Amendment

Voter ID Amendment Information Meeting from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo.

Earlier we wrote about the constitutional amendment ballot initiative that will require all Minnesotans to carry valid photo ID at the polls. On Thursday, two knowledgeable advocates of the ballot initiative spoke to a group of Tea Party Patriots at Rochester’s Godfather’s Pizza to educate them on the latest news about the amendment and to dispel rumors.

John Rouleau of St. Paul is a political activist and field director of His message is to not believe the hype that the law will disenfranchise voters who can’t afford an ID, the elderly, shut ins, the military serving overseas, college students and the like.

“I got my ID in college” said Rouleau. “I’m kind of insulted that they think that I’m not smart enough to do that! “

Rouleau points out that the military voting laws cover absentee balloting for servicemen and women overseas and that the law when enected by the legislature will include provisional balloting and free photo ID for those who cannot get it any other way.

State Senator Mike Parry-R was on hand at the meeting and spoke to voters on issues currently facing the ballot initiative. He intends to call key government officials into committee hearings Friday to hear why they oppose the ballot initiative properly voted on in the legislature and why they won’t let it go to the people for a vote, campaigning against it with tax-payer dollars. One of the members Parry intends to call before committee is State Secretary of State Mark Ritchie-DFL who has opposed the measure from the beginning and has recently changed the name of the ballot question, which Parry believes is outside his authority.

“Our whole purpose in my committee meeting tomorrow is to show a pattern of (Ritchie) using taxpayer dollars to actually campaign against not only the Voter ID Law but the marriage amendment,” said Parry.

It is likely the Secretary of State will not show, but send a representative, Parry said, in which case, his committee has subpoena power, he said.

Ritchie has said from the beginning that there is no voter fraud in Minnesota, while Rouleau cites statistics saying that Minnesota leads the nation in the number of voter fraud convictions. Information and a history of the ballot initiative is available at the Minnesota Majority website and at

A recent poll conducted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune shows that the majority of Minnesota residents across the spectrum are in favor of some sort of photo ID requirement at the polls. Below you can see an infographic showing the numbers in that poll.

The Star Tribune’s Scott Newman writes Wednesday that the rewording of the ballot initiative by Ritchie is “out of bounds”.

The ballot question comes up for a vote in the November election. An abstention from voting equals a no vote according to constitutional amendment rules in Minnesota.




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Star Tribune Poll in Favor of Voter ID dated May 2011

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Allen Quist Outlines Quest for Congress

Quist4Congress from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo.

Allen Quist, 67, has once again thrown his hat into the political ring, this time in competition with DFL Congressional Incumbent Tim Walz. First however, he will have defeat another political rival, Mike Parry-R, in an upcoming primary election coming up August 14.

Quist and his wife and campaign manager Julie Quist outlined his vision for debt reduction and the repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, in a town hall meeting Friday in front of voters at the Ramada Inn in Rochester, Minnesota .

Quist, armed with a graphic with data from, explained the ballooning of the national debt in his lifetime to almost $16 Trillion in 2012.

“We have to cut this debt down in the next five years or less,” explained Quist, addressing constituents. “I believe in deadlines and if you don’t set a deadline for this, it’s my experience that it will never get done.”

Quist distanced himself from his Republican opponent, Mike Parry, explaining their various stances on the debt and the deficit.

“Mike Parry doesn’t have the same position on the deficit that I do, and I think this is critical,” said Quist. “My position is we have to balance the budget in five years or less. And I believe you have to have a timeline; you have to have a deadline.”

Incumbent Tim Walz’s position on debt and deficit are even further removed from that of his challenger, Quist said.

“Mr. Walz says that the way to deal with the debt is for the government to spend even more! And so he’s following the ‘stimulate the economy’ nonsense,” Quist said. “The fact of the matter is that for 2011, 36 cents out of every federal dollar spent was borrowed. That is mega-stimulus by definition.”

“And so if stimulating the economy is the way to get out of the debt,” Quist continued. “Then we should have a huge surplus. And so what he (Walz) is saying is nonsense.”

The Star Tribune notes that Quist is able to raise $178,230 for his campaign in the second quarter, with $165,000 in the bank. He’s donated over $100,000 of his own money to the campaign as well.

According to The Star Tribune, National Democrats are backing Walz as a part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Frontline” program, which supports potentially vulnerable incumbents. In 2010, they committed over a quarter million dollars to help retain Walz’s seat in Congress.

Quist served four terms as a representative in the Minnesota House since 1982 and has made two unsuccessful runs for governor.

Mike Parry, a marketing company manager and business owner, currently represents Minnesota as a member of the State Senate for district 26.

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Fort Snelling Celebrates Independence Day

Fort Snelling Independence Day Celebration 2012 from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo.

by Jeremy Griffith

Fireworks? Parade? Child’s play! What about real cannons, revolutionary war soldiers in full gear, fifers, drummers and actors in historical period clothing? All of the above were to be found at historic Fort Snelling, near St. Paul Minnesota, July 4th for their annual Independence Day Festival.

The annual event took place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. amidst blistering Minnesota summer heat. But that didn’t deter the hundreds who turned out to see the re-enactors and volunteers from interpreting holiday celebrations old school.

The highlight of the day was a mock battle of the War of 1812, re-enacted by platoons of British and American interpreters in full uniform, complete with cannon, muskets with bayonets, and their colorful blue and red woolen uniforms with shiny brass buttons.

Six pounder cannons shot salutes to the Army of the United States, the President, and the Republic, their roar and smoke awing the crowd. Female volunteers showed how camp followers, wives and girlfriends, kept the camp going by doing the important work of laundry, cooking and other day to day activities that made camp life bearable.

Visitors got a chance to see the historic fort as it would have looked back when it was built in the early 1820s. Although all but one of the historic buildings is gone, the exception being Colonel Snelling’s own home, the buildings and tower that stand on the site today are built over the original foundations to the specifications of the original fort.

Located on the apex of a high cliff overlooking the intersection of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, the Fort occupied an important strategic landmark where the garrison could maintain control of the important water way, the only major transportation hub in a sea of deserted prairie land.

From this position, soldiers garrisoned at the fort played important roles in history: the Civil War, the U.S. – Dakota War, the all important Fur Trade and the shameful and painful history of American Slavery, World War I and II.

Interpreters at the fort help visitors learn about this vibrant past, both good and bad and give perspective to rural life in the young territory. Young and old come to learn and appreciate their history.

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Room 101

Room 101 - photo illustration by Jeremy Griffith

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