Militia’s gunfire at holiday fest sparks complaints

Militia’s gunfire at holiday fest sparks complaints

The Federal Blues lead Santa down Main Street to start the 2012 Warren Holiday Festival.

The Federal Blues lead Santa down Main Street to start the 2012 Warren Holiday Festival.
The Federal Blues lead Santa down Main Street to start the 2012 Warren Holiday Festival.
The sharp report of musketfire has long been one of the most recognizable sounds at the Warren Holiday Festival. But the Warren Town Council will hold a special hearing on that gunfire Tuesday night after complaints came in about the volume of the Federal Blues militia members’ weapons.

The council will hold a special hearing to help come to consensus on the gunfire after several parents complained that the sound of gunfire fired by the Baker Street outfit, organized in 1798, scared their young children.

Holiday festival organizer Marilyn Mathison said she has heard similar reports in the past and last year asked Federal Blues members to reduce the number of shots they fire; she was surprised to hear Monday that council member had called a special meeting (7:45 p.m. at Warren Town Hall) to discuss the issue. She didn’t reach out to the Blues this year but did hear from several members about the issue.

“It shouldn’t have come to this,” she said Monday. “This should have just been me, the Federal Blues and the parent coming to an agreement.”

The Federal Blues’ Ed Hebert could not be reached for comment Monday morning. But Ms. Mathison said she worked out an agreement with militia members last year that, after earlier complaints, they would only fire their weapons once on Water and again on Main Street. She asked that the weapons not be fired adjacent to the portico at town hall, as the concussion can damage audio equipment, and also because it scared members of the high school chorus, who sing at the lighting ceremony on the town hall steps.

“I never said no firing of guns,” she said. “I told them years ago not just to shoot willy nilly on Baker Street. That should have been it.”

Though she agreed that the weapons can be loud, Ms. Mathison said she does not want to restrict the Blues’ tradition and said she’s hopeful an agreement that everyone can live with will be reached in time for the festival, which starts Friday evening.


  1. One suggestion would be to make Ear Plugs available for the Clueless Yuppies and their Fodder! If they spent as much time teaching their children history as the they do with their endless whining this country wouldn’t be the mess that it is today!

  2. Hello All, My name is Steve Curria and I am the current Commander of the Federal Blues. I had no idea that this was so serious an issue. Had the gravity of the situation been brought to my attention sooner, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. This article paints the Blues as a bunch of trigger happy yahoos. It has been a widely held belief that we were entertaining and the crowd enjoyed our show. Clearly this is not the case. Again, had I known, this would not be the issue it is now.

    • Steve , I am a WW2 reenactor and can totally relate to your situation. Keep doing what you are doing. You and your group are not Trigger happy, It’s just another case of one or two Liberals want to ruin it for everybody else. If you are a responsible parent with a child with issues, You explain what is happening to your child and either not bring them to the event or invest in earplugs like I have seen at many Air Shows. It’s the usual “IF a Conservative doesn’t like an album or CD with objectional lyrics, He simply doesn’t buy it . If a Liberal doesnt like the same album, He tries to ban it so no one can buy it. If a Conservative doesn’t want to own a gun……………………….

      • This has nothing to do with Liberal v Conservatives, that’s a ridiculous argument and statement. This is about a few people’s sensitivities and their attempts at controlling something, the vast majority enjoy without issue, of which most are liberals. I’m a “liberal” and have no problem with this event and the musket firings and would never think about trying to stop or control in any way, this type of celebration. I would and have, simply informed my children what it’s about.

        “IF a Conservative doesn’t like an album or CD with objectional lyrics, He simply doesn’t buy it . If a Liberal doesnt like the same album, He tries to ban it so no one can buy it. If a Conservative doesn’t want to own a gun……………………….”

        What an arrogantly stupid and incorrect statement. The Religious Right (Conservatives), have been far more instrumental in getting cd’s and other stuff banned than any other part if this society. Why is it you people have to turn everything into a political argument and make assinine, vitriolic statements about other people?

        While I don’t agree wth people who complain about this sort of thing, they should teach their children what it’s about and knowledge of it might make them less “scared”, they do have a right to complain about something that bother’s them, just like the rest of us have a right to speak out in opposition to their complaints.

        Mr. Curria, as far as I and a lot of other people I know feel, there is no problem. This is something that has been given life where it shouldn’t have. This is a celebration the town enjoys, as well as others that go to the downtown area to see and partake in the celebration. Continuing to allow anyone to arbitrarily restrict the celebration, because of the sensitivities of a very small minority, would be ridiculous.

        What I do agree with Mr Erwin on is allowing constant restrictions over time, will eventually water down the celebration to something people won’t care enough about to visit. Downtown businesses look forward to the extra income and exposure this celebration brings. Giving in to a small minority is simply ludicrous.

        Ms Mathison, already got The Federal Blues to limit their shots before, which I personally disagree with, further limitation would be just another step on the road to eliminating them altogether, which would be a tragedy, in my opinion.

        History should be taught with extreme accuracy, teaching people and reminding them what others have gone through, so they can enjoy the freedoms they have today, should be paramount to the complaints of a few. An awful lot of people that go to see this event, do so in large part because of the Blues and what they represent. I absolutely love watching them load and fire their muskets. They shouldn’t be restricted at all.

        • Spoken like a true Liberal. Why doe I keep hearing the words “Tipper Gore”! And I stand by my “Stupid & Arrogant ” statement about a Conservative vs Liberal not buying something as opposed to banning so no one else can!

          • You are entitled to your opinion, because that’s all that statement is, there is no fact in it. BTW, this liberal is more of an independent, I voted against Gore. Thought he would be way too stiff, boy was I wrong! At least I don’t mind admitting when i’m wrong! I started doing a lot more learning, when I began realizing I might be wrong about something. Being presumptive, is a definite conservative value. That’s what happens when you close your mind and only look at others as objects and have to put them into categories, to justify your own opinions.

  3. I happen to be one of those that enjoys it. I can’t imagine this is a problem for more than a few people. Perhaps those few people could be given earplugs to minimize the aggravation it causes them. I have never heard any complaints, there’s plenty of warning, as you know when they are going to fire the weapons, by watching them prepare them for firing and should be able to cover your ears. These people do realize it’s a blank shot right? There’s nothing actually being discharged from the weapons except for a little smoke. I think it’s ridiculous that the celebration should be restricted because a small amount of people, can’t explain what the historical value of understanding as much as possible, what it was like for people back in those days. It’s important that history be taught unrestricted, at least as far as this is concerned. The celebration is most peoples only chance to see a little of what it was like in those days. Restricting it a little now, will only lead to someone else complaining later and even more restriction, until firing of them is eliminated completely, which would be completely ridiculous. Teach your children, instead of overreacting to a celebration of history. Who is this person to believe she has a right to change or ask privately for a change to a public celebration? This is a public event, any changes to it are of concern to the town, the whole town and the people who organize and donate their time to this celebration. To think one person should expect to be allowed to make a change privately, is ridiculous, in my opinion.

  4. For parents who have children or teens and adults with Autism or other disorders that can significantly impact the sensory sytem, the sounds of gun firing isn’t just loud, it can be physically painful. If the shots are fired in areas where homes are, then it isn’t just a matter of telling their kids it’s going to happen, especially if the child/adult doesn’t understand.
    I’m not saying the Militia shouldn’t fire their as part of this special event, (personally I LOVE events with this type of history) I just wish people wouldn’t jump to conclusions about the reasons why people might have concerns.

    • I know my opinions can be strongly worded, some may think I have no compassion for those with honest disabilities, who might have an issue with this sort of thing. That’s still no reason to limit or stop a certain part of the celebration. I live in a very quiet neighborhood and when the Fire Dept do their food drives and drive up and down the streets, sirens blaring, driving slowly, especially on a Saturday morning, i’m not too happy about it. They drive by about 5 mph and those sirens can be extremely loud. I don’t complain because it’s for a good cause. I just get another cup of coffee, put my headphones on and after their done, it’s quiet again.

      Those people with such serious disabilities know what bothers their children and should be able to make some adjustment for a couple of hrs. The very few that there might be, i’m sure the town would be willing to make a sacrifice for and issue some kind of sound proofing headgear, something like is used in a firing range. The amount of people that would require them is probably in the single digits and i’m sure the police could loan out some.

      Usually people with those kinds of disabilities are responsible people and i’m sure it would be very easy to coordinate a system, to deliver and pickup those types of headgear. Most people with those types of disabilities already have something like that because of their disability. When I was married, I had a stepdaughter with epilepsy and she coudln’t watch fireworks or parades with lights flashing. This was very difficult around the 4th, I lived in downtown Bristol at the time. We made adjustments, never complained, just had to adjust and live with the consequences.

  5. This is a Holiday Parade: how do muskets fit into this celebration of the holidays anyway? I would be happy to see this group on the 4th, Veterans Day and Patriots day amongst others. Though I don’t see much of a difference between them marching in the parade as a celebration and the noise pollution created by the blowing of horns and sirens from the police cars and firetrucks. Are they to be banned next?

    And I think the downtown lighting is tacky…..but thats just me!

  6. Macdadi, Opinions work both ways! I don’t think being presumptive is a Conservative trait. It is the liberals who try to ban everything they dont agree with. I will use the Gun control issue as just 1 shining example and rest on that.

    • Lol, you have made no case to rest! You have stated no facts, just the usual vitriol and name calling you people always resort to, when you have nothing substantive to say. You seem to be something of an anomaly, in my opinion. Trashing liberals, yet you listen to Frank Zappa, who was very outspoken against the Republican\Religious Right and his music generally reflects that.

      Then there’s Warren Zevon (Zivotovsky), who could never decide what politics to follow, he was all over the place just like his life. As well as a serious drug addict and alcoholic whose father, Stumpy Zevon, was a notorious mobster for Mickey Cohen, lol. He was also known for doing hard drugs in front of his young children, unlike Zappa, who may have tried smoking pot, but, claimed he didn’t get anything fom it and was not a drug user, at least as far as I know. Not that those things make any real difference, most popular musical artists and other types of artists did drugs and drank heavily, very few didn’t or don’t. I mean, Frank Sinatra used to snort coke off the belly’s of showdancers in Las Vegas, at least that’s what some reports have said.

      I won’t even go into the Ramones, lolol!

      I happen to enjoy the music of these people myself, on occasion and grew up listening to Zappa and the Ramones. If I were a presumptive person, i’d say having people like this posted on your fb as likes, is a bit of hypocrisy with your indignation of liberals. Zappa may have once said he was a conservative, but, that is generally regarded as a joke, because his music and outspoken views against Religion and Republicans seems to fly in the face of that.

      I do believe the PMRC’s power was diminished severely because of a lack of liberal backing. Just a bunch of rich, bored housewives with nothing better to do than try and limit what people can buy and where, I do agree with you on that, as most liberals would or should. This is what I mean about presumptiveness and labeling people. Just because i’m a liberal, doesn’t automatically mean i’m against the 2nd amendment, i’m not and would never vote to overturn it. Just as i’m against restricting what is put on the shelf for people to buy. Although, i’m not against some kind of warning system for parents to know, without having to actually listen to the music, whether or not it contains material that young kids (minors) should not be listening to, just like we have a movie rating system. If they choose to buy it anyway, so be it, that’s their choice.

      I am seriously against the few, telling the rest of us what to do, you know, like organized Religions do! My choice is mine, yours is yours, as long as neither of us is doing something to hurt another, then we should be allowed to do as we please. In cases such as this story is about, then the vast majority should overrule the tiny minority. In order for freedom to actually mean anything, it has to involve sacrifices. It would be an insult to the memory of those that came before us to do otherwise.