Over the weekend my daughters and I bought some chain at a local farm-supply store in town. The store is not necessarily cheaper than Home Depot, but it is a fifth the distance, and the people who work there are amicable enough; even when confronted by some of my more bizarre answers to “what are you going to do with this stuff?” The chain and cold forged links were for a rather mundane task of hanging a heavy bag in my garage so the checker’s banter turned to more interesting possibilities.
“Who you going to chain up with that?” She asked.
“I had not really thought about chaining anyone up… Perhaps it would help keep my daughters in line!?” I replied while turning to them implying the question.
“I wish I had chained up my son” The checker added. “He got drunk and started fighting up at Country Explosion. Now he is in jail. I guess that will keep him out of trouble.”
Monday morning saw the last steady trickle of camper-trailers leaking out of what had, over the weekend, been “Country Explosion”. Organizers of the three-day music festival claim to have brought “thousands” to Tooele for “Utah’s largest music festival”.
It is hard to find coverage of any problems associated with the participants of “Country Explosion”. Fights, shots fired, at least one death, and a woman with severe head injuries who leapt out of a car that was traveling at 40 mph. Local law enforcement is quoted as saying that “There is always 10 percent who make trouble”, which would make for a couple hundred offenders given the reported number of participants. There appears to be no desire to publically catalog the offenses, or to identify the offenders.
Facebook is awash with “Country Explosion” pictures of duck faced girls boasting large cans of beer, but the duck-faced selfie is not a legal crime.
About two weeks ago a similar trickle of trailers was passing through Heber; another small rural Utah town. Every news channel in the state had been providing nightly coverage of the event leading up to that exodus. The Rainbow Family of Peace and Light had been gathering in the Uinta foothills outside of Heber. One local station even created a mosaic picture comprised of a couple dozen mugshots they had gathered from local police. Police spoke with concern about potentially overflowing jails in interviews.
There were problems. There was a fight a few days before the event started that involved a knife, and one person died of “Natural Causes”, and several marijuana possession citations.
Overall the number of criminal problems with the Rainbow Family gathering appears to have been similar to, or less than, the Country Explosion gathering just two weeks later. The level of media coverage of the problems was very different.
Facebook also suffered a tide of pictures from the Rainbow Family gathering. Instead of girls and boys posing with beer in the hopes of appearing to be underage drinkers the Rainbow Family pictures feature people from many generations who appear to smile at nothing in particular. I saw several pictures featuring people with wind teased hair smiling right out of the pictures at me; they could have been mouthing the words “welcome home”.
I had wanted to take my daughters to the Rainbow Family gathering. Unfortunately the media did its job, and scared me off. I was afraid of open drug use, and what tales of open drug use might do to the strained parenting relationship I have with my daughters’ mother. Some days I feel like I have a huge custodial parent target painted on my chest at which is aimed any number of threadbare accusations of misconduct. I second-and third- guess the spontaneity out of most days.
I did, however, get myself a new pair of sandals.
Sandals that I may or may not wear with socks.