March 10, 2013

Bill Nemitz: A gun in every home? Proposal 'makes point'

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Bruce Simmons, who proposed Byron’s gun question, Article 27

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And what executive order was that?

"I don't know which one," Simmons said. "He's written hundreds of them in the last year."

Asked a short time later how a guy in a peaceful paradise like Byron can live in such constant fear of faraway Washington, D.C., Simmons got up from his kitchen table and returned with a black wooden box. From it he extracted a small gold coin, a silver dollar and a crumpled dollar bill.

"I'm going to give you a little history lesson," he said. "When I was a kid, these three things were all equal."

Tapping the gold coin, he continued, "Today, this is worth 200 loaves of bread."

Tapping the silver dollar, he said, "And this is worth 20 loaves of bread."

Picking up the dollar bill, Simmons concluded, "And this is worth three slices of bread."

Got it. We need to arm ourselves against inflation.

But we digress.

On to Simmons' daughter, who told the Lewiston Sun Journal last week that she and her two fellow selectmen all support her father's initiative and would recommend its passage at Monday's town meeting.

"It's time to tell the government, 'Enough's enough. Quit micromanaging us,'" Simmons-Edmunds told the newspaper.

Hold on a minute. She wants "the government" to stop "micromanaging" people -- yet she has no problem as an elected municipal official forcing people to keep a firearm in the front hall closet?

"I know I sound like a hypocrite," Simmons-Edmunds conceded. "But we were asked (by her father, mind you) to present it that way. So we did."

Next up we have Selectman Patrick Knapp-Veilleux, who flies a white flag in his yard depicting a coiled snake surrounded by the words: "Liberty or Death. Don't Tread on Me."

His thoughts on Article 27?

"I think it's a good idea," Knapp-Veilleux said. "All we're saying is enough is enough."

Any predictions for Monday?

"I think it will be close," he replied. "I'm hearing a little bit of yea and a little bit of nay -- not overwhelmingly one way or the other."

That could soon change.

David Noyes, the third selectman, saw in the paper Friday that Simmons-Edmunds had him fully supporting Article 27.

Not true.

"I don't like someone else putting words in my mouth," said a clearly irritated Noyes in a telephone interview from his home. "I'm going to go down there (to Monday's meeting) and get done."

Get done? Dare we ask what he means by that?

"I'm going to resign," Noyes said. "I'm not a politician."

Neither is Phil Paquette, a merchant marine who lives across the road from the Simmons clan.

Paquette spent much of Friday researching Maine law to see whether Article 27, if passed, would even be legal (it wouldn't). He also chatted with several like-minded locals who don't appreciate seeing their town turned into a punchline.

"I'm a life member of the NRA -- I've got more guns than God," said Paquette as he fed his horses Friday afternoon. "I've got a trophy room in the back of my barn that's got every animal in friggin' North America in it. But I'm so against this it's not even funny."

You see, Paquette also has a neighbor -- a kindly older gentleman who minds his own business, doesn't own a weapon and has zero interest in getting his hands on one.

"So why should he have to have one?" Paquette asked.

Umm ... to send a message to Washington?

"These people are insane," he muttered.

Paquette plans to deliver a short speech about leadership -- or in Byron's case, the lack thereof -- at the start of Monday's town meeting. He'll also remind his fellow citizens that as Article 27 goes, so goes Byron's reputation.

And if it passes anyway? What then?

Paquette just shook his head.

"This isn't even Redneckville," he said. "It's Stupidville."

Columnist Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at:


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