this is the text of a letter to the editor I sent to the bradford (pa) era in response to an article they'd printed (and which doesn't show up on their online edition, although this followup headline did). I've been told by my dad it was published the other day, although the era doesn't have a practice of printing their letters to the editor online.
To the Editor: I take exception to the characterization of the story about the impending visit of the Rainbow Family as needing a "warning," although that's probably how officials from Pinedale worded it. I am visiting your area after the death of my mother and will be at the Gathering in another week with several thousand of my family. A veteran of many Rainbow Gatherings and a 50 year old teacher of college english and lay minister, I am likelier the demographic most of your readers will meet at their businesses and on their streets than the people against whom they're warned to "look out [against] for theft, take keys out of cars, lock up houses and anything else of value." Of course there are addicts and thieves among us, just as among any group of 12,000 people. There are approximately 8400 people living in Bradford: don't you have any crime? If the Allegheny National Forest were hosting the Republican National Convention, there would be similar offenses (the difference of course is that for all their rhetoric they're not likely to spend money anywhere around Bradford). We are your kids and grandkids, your aunts and uncles, your cousins and childhood friends. We're coming to celebrate being alive and a number of us will purchase water and chocolate in your towns and fill up our cars and for the most part we will come and go quietly. Just as in the old days of the carnivals and circuses some of your kids might leave with us and some of us might stay around. But what puts the real lie to the need for a "warning" against the Rainbow Family is a story several pages in: the suburb of Chester, population 37,000, has had 11 murders since January. Perhaps the Rainbow Family and others need to be warned against visiting that town. It sounds a lot deadlier.