Durango High School volleyball takes on Montrose High School on Saturday at DHS.
Bennet remembers Boulder victims on Senate floorIn tearful address, senator shares anecdotes, demands gun controlU.S. Sen. Michael Bennet shared personal anecdotes and urged his colleagues to vote for better gun control legislation Wednesday on the Senate floor in the wake of Monday’s deadly shootings in Boulder.
“My heart goes out to all the families, and the entire community of Boulder,” Bennet said. “We have endured too many tragedies as a state.”
On Monday, less than a week after eight people, mostly of Asian descent, were shot and killed in Atlanta, 10 people were killed in a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder. The suspect has been charged and is in custody.
“It’s long past time for Congress to take meaningful action to keep deadly weapons out of the wrong hands,” Bennet said in a news release issued Monday after the shooting. “There are steps that the overwhelming majority of Americans want us to take. And they have every right to expect us to finally do something about gun violence in our country. Enough is enough.”
On Wednesday, he called for similar action.
“We can’t allow this to become normal,” Bennet said on the Senate floor.
Bennet spent 15 minutes talking about the Boulder shooting. In his speech, he shared information about the 10 victims, lamented how younger people, including his 21-year-old daughter, have grown up “in the shadow of gun violence” and urged his fellow senators to pass legislation to prevent future tragedies.
“My daughter’s generation will always bear the burden of a national government that did nothing to protect them,” he said.
Bennet, D-Colo., shared the names of the victims, their ages, their occupations and some personal anecdotes, quoting their family and friends in his speech as well as some of their own posts on the internet.
He said each of the victims represent “the best of Colorado.”
“I’m just asking us to show an ounce of their courage, by doing whatever we can to keep weapons of war out of our communities; to pass universal background checks; to limit the size of magazines; to address the epidemic crisis of mental health in this country,” Bennet said. “It seems like that would be the least that we could do.”
The senator’s tone and presence was solemn during his speech, and he was visibly choked up at times. He frequently paused to wipe away tears.
“They have grown up with a reasonable fear that they will be shot in their classrooms, or in their schools, or at a movie theater, or in any public place,” Bennet said. “I didn’t grow up in an America with more gun-related deaths than virtually any country in this world. And we can’t accept it for their America.”
He brought up the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas and the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He said the vote taken in the Senate after the Sandy Hook shooting was “one of the darkest moments” of his career, because “the Senate couldn’t even pass universal background checks.”
“Who are we to insist that they live terrified in their own country? Nobody insisted that we live that way,” Bennet said. “But our failure to act has helped create these conditions. And we can’t wait any longer. The Senate needs to act. There’s nobody else to act but the United States Senate.”
Earlier in this month, the U.S. House passed two bills that would increase background checks on people looking to purchase firearms in a partisan vote. Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., opposed the legislation.
Boebert condemned the violence on Monday, but maintained her stance against gun control and said Democrats should “stop focusing on gun control and start focusing on border control,” in a tweet Thursday.
The two gun-control bills have been received in the Senate, but have yet to be scheduled to be debated or voted on. Grace George is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a student at American University in Washington, D.C.
In tearful address, senator shares anecdotes, demands gun control
New Bayfield gym teaches Native American fighting artPine River Valley to be hub for guardian artFlutes, kicks, spins and flips are common features of Bayfield’s newest gym, Nexus Guardian Art.
To the regular bystander, Nexus lessons seem like a mixture of parkour, mixed martial arts and self-defense. But students are learning a Native American ancestral fighting art rooted in the original game of lacrosse – guardian art. And the Pine River Valley plays a leading role in Nexus’ plans to bring guardian art to the Four Corners.
“I guess in modern English words ... it’s kind of like real life ninja training for kids and adults,” said Great Owl Lightning, co-founder of Nexus Guardian Art and a member of the Ojibwe Nation.
Guardian art fighters have competed successfully against other disciplines, like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. But Lightning was careful to distinguish between them: The guardian art philosophy does not focus on martial concepts, such as strike first, strike hard, no mercy, that can be found in other disciplines, he said.
“A guardian is not trying to go to war with life. A guardian is trying to nurture life,” Lightning said. “It’s all about being a guardian for yourself, for your community, for your family. Part of our teaching is how to be a guardian to the Earth.”
Nexus offers virtual and in-person training to kids, starting at age 3, and up to the adult level. A typical class features self-defense moves, climbing, acrobatics, striking, grappling and spirit running, which is comparable to modern-day parkour.
“The cool thing about it is it’s really a diverse skill set that they’re teaching,” said Andrew Trujillo, whose three children train at Nexus. “That’s why I like it. The kids aren’t doing the same thing every time. It’s evolving as they learn, as they grow.”
His kids are building their self-confidence, friendships, agility – and spending more time at home jumping around on the furniture, Trujillo said.
The program is open to everyone. It’s a way for people to share in Native American culture and North American ancestry, Lightning said.
“If you’re going to practice like a Japanese art, you almost have to become Japanese in order to learn it,” he said. “We want people to honor their own ancestry. And that’s a big part of our teachings.”
The guardian art movement and philosophy is based on Native American lacrosse, played across North and South America and even in coastal Asia from time immemorial, Lightning said.
The game did not look anything like the lacrosse known today. Instead of a field, they played on a mountain. Teams would score points by hitting a ball on a totem pole at the top of the mountain.
It was also a full-contact game. Players needed to be skilled in stick fighting, tackling, wrestling, spirit running, kicking and punching in order to reach the totem pole.
“This is how communities used to settle disputes with each other. That’s why you won’t find a lot of communities having big battles and war in North America,” Lightning said. “They would call it ‘little brother of war.’”
Nexus Guardian Art began teaching 20 years ago, primarily in Canada or its headquarters in California.
During the past eight years, the training school held programs with the Navajo and Hopi tribes. Starting in 2018, they held programs, featuring language immersion, with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.
Nexus considered opening a location in Ignacio, but progress froze when the COVID-19 pandemic began. It opened up with Bayfield Gymnastics and moved into its new location in January. Nexus opened doors to the public at the end of February, Lightning said.
Nexus also purchased a property near Forest Lakes to host summer camps in the Four Corners, part of the organization’s nonprofit arm, called Guardian Saga.
Guardian Saga holds camps and training programs that attract Indigenous, rural and underprivileged youths from across North America.
“It’s about really investing out here. We think this place is just beautiful and magical,” Lightning said. firstname.lastname@example.org