In 1992, I was living in Southern California. During that time, four LAPD officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King and to make the story short, massive rioting occurred over the verdict. The result was 63 deaths, 2,383 injuries, looting, arson and property destruction. After several days of senseless unrest activity having little to do with the verdict, a contrite Rodney King implored on camera, “can’t we all just get along?” It seemed it was a matter of “I’m mad at you so I’m going to go burn my neighborhood.” This is a simplified description but my point is the destruction only cause further hurt.

I love old westerns and probably watch Gunsmoke a couple of times a week. They are interesting family friendly tales of a genre particular to the western United States. An episode recently focused on some area range wars. Being who I am and doing what I do, I started looking up exactly what range wars were.

A range war is a type of usually violent conflict, most commonly in the 19th and early 20th centuries in the American West. The subject of these conflicts was control of “open range“, or range land which gave the conflict its name. Typically they were disputes over water rights or grazing rights and cattle ownership. Many were killed during these skirmishes.

While in previous centuries violence may have been involved, the term is now applied to nonviolent competition for scarce resources, such as between ranchers and environmentalists or between ranchers and fans of wild horses.

A range war is also a slang term for a turf war or disagreement about proper hierarchy or relationship and is often used in a joking manner. In this sense, the term is found in politics and business.

Where is this leading?

I’ve witnessed several events, discussions and virtual slugfests over the past few days that reminded me of this. In the Elvis World, it’s common. There is name calling, finger pointing, blocking and deletions and general destructive behavior over 40+ year old issues. While I sympathize with the difficulties at hand, just as many did with the Rodney King verdict, how does this unrest help promote the legacy of Elvis Aaron Presley?

Whether your corner is a certain Elvis female or associate or relative is immaterial to me. If you’re my friend, you’re my friend. We can agree to disagree. In the grand scheme, yes I have personal opinions and thoughts but to the point of modern day legacy destruction over past historic differences is sad to me. The entire debate serves no purpose to the main reasoning of why we love and promote Presley.

I can see validity and agendas and perspectives and lies and truth all mixed in one chaotic concoction. I use my brain to weigh the issues and discern my beliefs.

How do you think this looks to those outside what we consider the Elvis World? Enough is enough, in fact, too much. My focus is on the reason we’re here. I don’t have to ascribe to the he’s so handsome shallow camp to be a fan and neither do I have to publicly choose a polarizing agenda. I can be Switzerland and absorb the depth of feeling, music and love and legacy that is the purpose. Period.

I love the passionate nature of Elvis fans. Most are sincerely well meaning, I believe that. Most are rooted in deep, sincere love and the search for truth, justice and the Elvis way, but please make sure we don’t overshadow the purpose and burn our own neighborhood down.

Respect and honesty is extremely important, but find a balance of keeping disagreements in check. Over zealousness detracts from Elvis-ness.

When my children were young, if one fussed and feuded and caused a scene while out in public, I was done. More than once I had three little ducklings wailing loudly behind me as we left the building. It didn’t take long before they learned getting along was to everyone’s benefit.

Always Elvis first, and figure out how to work out the rest. In the grand scheme, decide what is the most important.