Paul’s sister, Claire, gives us this fine and warm view of him.
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Paul deArmond, Republican-at-Large
February 24, 1953 to April 20, 2013
Paul deArmond was always up to something. He came by it honestly. Our parents instilled a love of democracy, a passion for information, a recognition of the role history, a sense of civic responsibility and the public good. Yet all this was just so much talk unless it was backed up by action. Fred and Kathryn deArmond set a good example. Dad’s activism in response to the John Birch Society’s presence in our 1960’s suburban development earned him front-page treatment in the Seattle Times as “a Moscow directed agent.” A lawsuit brought a retraction.
For as long as I can remember, Paul was a devotee of science, reading, pirates, cats, corn, the Medieval world, Rocky and Bullwinkle, science fiction and Sherlock Holmes. His first motorcycle arrived when he was 16 and he had motorcycles all his life. He was most proud of his Norton Commando. Even now, an electric scooter sits in his basement. Nikola Tesla was a hero. A Tesla coil was often running in his living room and later, when he moved to the York neighborhood, it was in the basement. He was instantly fascinated by computers and had a Radio Shack TRS 80 as soon as they became available. Computers rendered his lifelong interest in, and application of, statistical analysis more accessible. The Internet and Web enabled connections and information access that fueled his research, writing and activism, Netwar captured and held his attention. Always fascinated with technology, he avidly supported Bellingham’s hacker space movement.
Paul loved the movies. Working with his father’s independent documentary film production companies, Paul was a cast and crew member from an early age and later worked as a film editor. He was an avid and informed movie fan as well as a skilled photographer. His Fairhaven College degree project joined mathematics and film making with a video of fractal studies. A still from that video hung in his study.
Embracing the 1960s, he began giving light shows in 1966 with his lightshow company, Alternating Realities, using projectors he built. Bellingham got a taste of his artistry during the July 6, 2007 Art Walk with his lightshow, Museum of the Sixties, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the Summer of Love with light and music. One set of his basement shelves is filled with light show equipment. Even now, stained glass for new color wheels sits in boxes waiting to spring to psychedelic life.
Paul was a craft and tradesman—a tile layer par excellence, carpenter, mechanic, welder, plumber, electrician, calligrapher, brewer of beer, candy maker, builder of cider presses and apple grinders. He hoped to build a forge in his garage. An incomparable mixologist, his cocktails were a frequent treat. With a wonderful eye for the aesthetic, he could suggest the placement of a tree in the landscape, a picture on a wall and have it exactly right. Devotee of the Samurai Way, student of Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings, he folded origami cranes to get his strength back after the first round of chemotherapy in 2012.
His research and public activism started with a run for Bellingham City Council in 1989. For more than 30 years his attention was captured by the Wise Use, county secession, posse comitatus, sovereign citizens, militias, anti-Indian movement, Christian Identity and Patriot movement, anti-Pro-Choice movement, domestic terrorism, racism, the Iraq wars, support for democracy, treaty rights and the public good. His groundbreaking analyses of the Oklahoma City bombing, Wise Use in northern Puget Sound, the Seattle WTO Protests, county succession movements and gun rights as a business opportunity are significant contributions he made to the body of research and analysis surrounding these issues. The work of Luther Gerlach informed his understanding of movements and networks. He gave his time, energy, intellect and passion to support democracy through research, informed discourse and activism. Fearless and tireless, he was instrumental in building and maintaining a national network of pro-democracy researchers and activists. He founded the Public Good website still in operation today in defense of democracy. Paul was always ready to knowledgeably refute the use of the public arena as stage for racism, theft, murder, assault, greed, and the denial of equal rights. He cherished his 2001 Whatcom County Human Rights Task Force award. Most recently, the Occupy and Anonymous movements held his attention.
In November 2002, Paul published a pamphlet reprinting what he considered, “the timeless essay on war, freedom and democracy”—Eleven Propositions about Justice, Consent and Guilt by Scott Buchanan, 1962. Paul’s introduction concludes with the following paragraph:
“The reader should be warned that full acceptance of the ideas presented here will require action. The full expression of a life of liberty demands asserting those liberties, even at considerable risk and sacrifice. This is what Benjamin Franklin meant when asked what form of government was being created at the Constitutional Convention. He told the citizens, ‘It is a republic, if you can keep it.’”
Please join Paul’s friends and family for a gathering in the garden at Nelson’s Market at the corner of Humboldt and Potter on Saturday, May 11, 6 - 9 pm. Beverages, hamburgers and garden burgers provided. Appetizers, side dishes and desserts are welcome. Rain will not cause cancellation.
In grateful and loving memory