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Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance
The Six-P Rule
by Steve McManus

If you have been paying attention to the news in general, then you know that we are not living in as enlightened a time as we would desire.

Violence is a very real problem today and Pagans, especially Witches, are particularly at risk of harm. I have been asked to speak to you for several reasons, not the least of which is the propensity by some groups to adopt a mindset of "us and them".

Although there are many of us here and Witchcraft is enjoying an unprecedented positive exposure (it's the fastest-growing aspect in religion today), we are still among the very smallest of minorities in the context of all religions.

The vast majority of us, while almost always known to someone else in the "community" are closeted from society at large out of fear. This fear is not paranoia because it is reasonable to expect that it IS possible someone could cause you harm when they find out who you are. Their actions are born out of THEIR OWN fear manifested as ignorance and/or hatred. History has proven this as fact and it continues into the present day.

There is a two-sided coin of philosophy on the next point: To BE visible or NOT BE visible. Some in the Witch community feel that if you are visible and involved in the local affairs of your neighborhood, school or town and you participate in non-witchcraft activities with your neighbors so as to illustrate that you are just another neighbor, when the subject of "Witchcraft" comes up in your absence people will not be as likely to react with fear because they can reference it all to you, their "friend and neighbor" as opposed to you, the "weird one down the street who dresses funny and never talks to anyone". This advice is as coherent and valuable today as it would have been in 1497 or at any point during the "Burning Times" of old.

The truth of the matter is that the problems of Witches in those times started in a very innocuous manner. The Old Ways were still very much a part of everyday life but as more and more "norming" and "conforming" programs were launched from the pulpits of the mainstream "Big Three" (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) the people who were increasingly seen as being "different" were not conforming fast enough.

Independent thinkers could not be tolerated. Anyone not conforming would be ostracized and ridiculed by neighbors, threatened by local agents of government, pressured by family members and attacked by any or all of the above. This last paragraph should sound very familiar to you because nothing has changed.
Now let me get to the point.

I have observed that a great many Pagans (or at least the ones I have met) are by and large very open people. Some of them are quite trusting and ready to give help and support to others. Many of you have not had any major problems with harassment or attacks on the basis of your religion but a growing number of you are unfortunately experiencing just such a problem. In many cases it is the positive qualities listed above which make some people, Pagans included, such easy targets for aggressors.

Sometimes an attack on a Witch is the result of unchecked xenophobic momentum in the community. Sometimes Witches are the target of a concerted, premeditated and insidious campaign. I realize that statement sounds dangerously close to a mindset of conspiratorial paranoia but please remember that there are real victims of real attacks every year and it is only now, with the advent of the internet and sites like The Witches Voice, that you are able to be informed of them.

It is important that you ask yourself some questions.
Please consider the following:

    Are you always aware of your surroundings?
    • People in your immediate area.
    • Vehicles parked nearby
    • Body language and vocal patterns of those within earshot
    • Things which are out of the ordinary and vary from a set pattern.
    • Phone calls that stand out in some way for you.
    • People asking you for some of your time without a stated agenda who seem evasive and intense.
    Do you give out information about yourself freely?
    • Your physical address-Is it accessible on your web site?
    • Do you mention things about yourself in conversations with strangers which can later be assembled into a profile?
    • Have you discussed with other household members who answer the phone not to give out where you are at the time of the call, etc.?
    Do you use your locks?
    • Do you lock your car doors (even when you are in it?)
    • Do you lock your doors and windows at home?
    • Do you firewall and/or password protect your computer files?
    • Do you secure your ritual implements and Book of Shadows adequately?
    Who are you dealing with?
    • When someone approaches you, do you know who they are?
    • If a stranger(s) comes to your door to discuss something, do you let them in?
    • Even into an outer area and not "all the way in"?
    • Can anyone easily see you once you're inside that outer door?
    In your mind, do you see people as being mostly devoid of agendas?
    • Ask yourself what the motivation would have to be for someone to harass you or attack you.
    • How outrageous would it have to be for someone to actually undertake the expenditure of energy, time and possibly money to target you for an untoward, overt act?

Pretty outrageous, right? Right... That is exactly my point.

There are innumerable individuals and groups in the United States today who are more than willing to impose their will on you by violent means. Some of them are sociopaths who don't need any ideology to couch their actions in. For them it is simply the violent crime which they wish to perpetrate. Sociopaths have no conscience, no sense of right and wrong as defined by society. They will target only those who pose the least amount of resistance. If you are confident, prepared, self-assured and clearly exhibit these traits, someone looking for an easy target will pass you by.

Others are somewhat more difficult to deal with. They are not easily dissuaded by your confidence. Instead they are incensed by it. They find it irritating and arrogant. They have a myriad of reasons for feeling the way they do. Many of them are extremely intense and focused in their beliefs. Very often their intense feelings regarding what you "represent" to them are knitted firmly into the fabric of a hard-line conservative religious background. They may feel as though it is their societal duty to "change your ways" or even expunge "your kind" from among them. Violence in the name of righteousness is acceptable to them. It is a collective mindset from such people that you are a cancer on all society and must be cut out by any means.

I have personally met such individuals and infiltrated a right-wing group to observe first-hand what is said and felt and conspired regarding "your kind" and although the great majority of these people are barkers and not biters, there are some of us being bitten even today... If you are not convinced, simply cruise over to the hot issues section of this site.

If you become paranoid it will decrease the quality of your life, but if you are aware of the occasional risks of being a Witch and use resources available to you, you'll probably be just fine. Good luck.

Blessed Be Well the Witches of the World,

Steve McManus
(c) 3/24/97

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