Birthplace of Rastafarianism comes under attack

L HOWELLLeonard P. Howell was the founding father of Rastafarianism, a path that blended elements of African spirituality with Judaism and Christianity. Raised in an Anglican family, Howell traveled to New York City in 1932, and when he returned to Jamaica a year later, he announced the anointing of Haile Sellassie as Emperor of Ethiopa represented the return of the true messiah as foretold in the Old Testament.
There were a few other early preachers of this faith, but Howell is considered as the founder and he spent much of his adult life in conflict with the Jamaican authorities.
460xThe community he founded in Sligoville, Jamaica, known as “Pinnacle,” was razed in 1954 when it had nearly 4,500 residents, who endured intense persecution, mostly for their devotion to marijuana. Eventually, in the 1960s, the exportation of marijuana into Florida became the island’s major source of revenue, and once sufficient bribes were paid to the right people, this illicit trade exploded until the DEA forced a shutdown.
Howell died in 1981, and last year his home at Pinnacle (see photo above) was declared an historic site by the Jamaican government. However, a developer now wants to build on land surrounding this home, land considered sacred by Rastas.
Donisha Prendergast, Bob Marley’s oldest granddaughter has joined thousands of Jamaicans who are protesting this proposed development, a story that began unfolding over what would have been Bob Marley’s 69th birthday. The Rastas living on the building site have already been officially evicted, although most are holding their ground in what could become a long and protracted stand-off.

Ban the Bullet?

I will have to avoid the TV news for a few days. I have kids in my house and I certainly don’t want them seeing the endless replays of the grisly facts. Like everyone, I feel tremendous sorrow for the victims and their families, but I also wonder why it takes an event like this for people to even address why violence so prevalent in our society today.

I have some positive suggestions for how to move forward.

First, I don’t think these shootings should be covered on national TV for days on end to the extent that they are. In fact, I think they should barely be mentioned at all, and the shooters should remain as anonymous as possible. Some of them undoubtedly are seeking fame and publicity and the way our media reacts to these tragedies makes that dream come true. I’m interested primarily in one fact: was the shooter taking prescription medication? I realize many popular medications have bizarre side effects that some pill companies may seek to conceal. I know these shootings never happened until we put half the country on pills. So is there a cause and effect? This is a health study we desperately need right now.

The gun lovers are never going to give up their guns and I wouldn’t be so stupid as to ask them. It’s a right they will defend to the death. I get that, but can we make a few changes, like closing the gun show loophole, and restricting mental patients with a history of violence from obtaining weapons? I’d also like to see taxes on some weapons greatly increased so a national fund can be created, a fund that would compensate the families of the victims. Not that any amount of money could replace the life of a single child, but simply that all these gun lovers and violence worshipers should contribute to easing their suffering. I also think violence pornography needs to be better identified and taxed as well. Sponsors of violence pornography should be forced to pay into the fund. And so should consumers. So we need a special tax on violence pornography video games and violence pornography TV shows.

Ken Kesey had a novel idea, inspired by his grand-daughter. Ban the bullet. Make it very hard to get anything but rubber bullets and paint pellets, which are perfect for target practice, which is the only thing most people do with their guns. Lead builets, on the other hand, should be much more closely controlled.

Of course, the gun lovers need guns to protect themselves against the government. As if a civilian population in this country could engage the government in open warfare in the streets? Those days are over. The only revolution that will succeed from here on is a non-violent one. We really need much more respect for the grandmasters of peace, people like Gandhi and Bob Marley, and we need more celebrations of peace, and more respect for peaceful cultures, especially the counterculture, which is as American as rock’n’roll and apple pie.

At the second Whee! festival in Oregon, the Merry Pranksters unveiled plans to take on the gun lobby in the usual Prankster fashion (by tricking the bozos). Check out the video: