A Newbie in Graham – the guns of Graham

Editor’s Note:

This is the second installment in an on-going series by a “newbie” to Graham,  Paula Morris.


Tall cedars, wooded land, open space, rural setting….quiet and tranquil, no busy highway noise, Mt. Rainier in the distance; were these the reasons I moved to Graham WA?  No.

I moved here because I wanted to retire, and my daughter offered me a way to do that.

I liquidated all my meager assets and my daughter and her fiancée’ let me build a one-bedroom apartment connected to their house.  So, I didn’t actually look over the area and make an informed decision about where I wanted to live here in Washington state.

I am living where my daughter lives.  All the rest of it is icing on the cake.

Hearing artillery and machine gun fire in a rural wooded area was a shock to my system, and knowing that it is ongoing and I would have to live with this for a number of years was unsettling.

At least now, I realize that we are not under attack nor has Mt. Rainier blown her lid.

What formed my perception of the military?  Gunfire?  War?

My father was a Sergeant in the Army during World War II.  He was a medic who drove an ambulance over the fields after battles; picking up body parts. 

When I was a young girl, I heard his stories about the smell that would permeate his hands and nose.

He couldn’t get the smell out of his nose.

My father was a sensitive sort of man.  He could not ever reconcile what he saw and did during the war with any kind of reality.  I believe that is why my father became an alcoholic, as did many men from that war.  It was a way to deaden the smell.

For me, as a little girl, images of war were colored by blood and body parts, not by hero’s and patriotism.  There is no idealism in war.  The reality of war is obscene.

For me, war was the reason my father never was a “normal” person.  He was mostly vacant and absent….unless he was drunk; then, he was jovial.

My father finally committed suicide.  He never received help from anyone.

Today we might say he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)…untreated.

Early recollections tend to form the “sub-basement” of a person’s world-view.  By the time I became a feminist in the 70’s, I had decided that male dominance was the cause of wars, rape, aggression, and a hierarchical structure that places men on top and women under.

The “Power Over” model of life is only one reality.  This is called Patriarchy.

Another one is a “Side by Side” model, which is the way I see life in the future; the feminine in balance with the masculine.

War.  Just the word brings to mind death and destruction.  But do we sometimes need to go to war?

Yes.  I believe if our soil is attacked, we need to defend it.  How we do that, depends on the attack.

Am I against guns?  No.  In fact, I have held guns and shot them off at targets.

I do believe however, that the present power structure in our world has gone crazy!  The military budget is way out of control in our country, and Google research shows it is somewhere between 56 and 64% of our gross national product.  This is more than all other countries combined!

In my opinion, war and catering to fear, which just further feeds the Military Industrial Complex – of which President Eisenhower warned us long ago – is eating up and destroying our environment, the future of our children, and the future of the planet.

I believe in a “Warrior Spirit.”  This kind of warrior is passionate about protecting and fighting for a moral cause.  This warrior would die for that cause.  But this warrior is non-violent.

Violence breeds violence.  A Warrior Spirit is what motivates a rescue worker.  It is what motivates an activist to fight for justice.  It is what motivates a firefighter to enter a burning inferno and rescue someone trapped inside.

A warrior spirit stands proud, not because of a sense of false patriotism, i.e., the waving of flags just because we think we are the “good guys” all the time; but because by standing up, that warrior realizes that the good of the people – all people – is threatened, and that warrior will move to stand in the gap.

For me, a warrior would turn and face this Corporatized government and say:  “No.  I will no longer fight for your right to occupy the globe and kill the native populations for you.”

My biggest fear is that one day soon, our young soldiers will be ordered to turn on their own people.

There is great unrest in the Nation right now.  Perhaps a revolution is forming.  Will our soldiers kill their own?  Will the propaganda fed to their minds prevent them from seeing what is really happening in the world?  Will we all become just “domestic terrorists” to them?

This is the end result of War…self destruction?

But it can all be different.  We need to transcend the old paradigms of power, money, war, violence.

I don’t have the answer.  I only have the idea and vision that all things are possible.


©  2011  Paula Morris

All Rights Reserved

This entry was posted in Culture, Graham News, Politics, Spirituality, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Newbie in Graham – the guns of Graham

  1. Harriott says:

    Well thought out, but my first reaction was disbelief! When I was growing up out here in Graham, it was during the Korean War and the Fort’s noise was just a reality of life. That’s when they shot off the really big guns and it shook houses to the east side of Graham. These small guns are pretty insignificant in comparison, and only rarely, like last week during night maneuvers do I even hear them. I am bothered, however, by the target practice I hear around our home with semi-automatic weapons. When I grew up guns were in every house and most of the men hunted, adding venison to the larder. I have never been able to figure out anything legal men would be hunting with the semi-automatic guns we hear any week near the railroad track crossing on Orting Kapowsin Hwy. When the sheriff is called, we are told it is a public nuisance and they won’t go to check on it. Now that’s annoying!

    • Paula Morris says:

      Hi Harriet. Thanks for commenting. The key here is that you “grew up” in this area. I didn’t. To me, even those “small guns” sound huge! An explosion that makes my ear drums vibrate, is unsettling when one is not used to that. And yes, I too hear machine gun fire into the woods. Where are these people getting such weapons?

  2. Bill Owen says:

    Your first post got under my skin. However I recognize you for a sincere, engaged and thoughtful person, but we’d probably disagree even on the weather.

    I am an East Coast transplant. The Military Industrial Complex gave me an all expense paid trip to Ft Lewis for a 3 year tour in the ’70s. I was homesick for about a year until I fell in love with the NW. I hope you will enjoy your time here as much as I have. Welcome to the neighborhood.

    Bill Owen

    • Paula Morris says:

      Thanks Bill. You’re probably right, maybe we wouldn’t agree on much, but we can still be civil. One of my best friends from the Midwest, is a Republican!

  3. Bill Owen says:


    One of my best friends is an African-American. Are you Black?

    Bill Owen

  4. Bill Owen says:

    Oh, well this all now makes sense.



  5. Paula Morris says:

    Now Bill….Careful not to bite that tongue poking out the side of your cheek.

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