Rainbow Family, a “pacifist hippie group” in the Apalachicola National Forest in Florida, turned bloody when one man was shot dead and two other members were wounded.
Jacob Cardwell, known as Smiley, to his friends, was shot to death around the campfire during a gathering in the heavily-wooded area. Wesley Jones, known as Dice, was also injured when Clark Mayers allegedly opened fire on the group and then stabbed the men.
The Rainbow Family Gathering shooting occurred during an annual gathering of the hippie group. Clark Mayers was reportedly stabbed multiple times after he shot Jacob Cardwell. Mayers is in the hospital in critical condition and being monitored by Florida law enforcement officers in Franklin County.
Hundreds of members of the Rainbow Family were camping in the Apalachicola National Forest when the murder and attempted murder occurred.
Hundreds of members had assembled in the woods for the group’s annual Rainbow Family Gathering. It was supposed to last several weeks, but was shut down after the killing. Witnesses to the Florida shooting said that Clark Mayers, of Georgia, was driving down a dirt pathway in the woods and opened fire from his vehicle window. A staffer at the campground said Mayers tossed away his gun during the pandemonium which ensued after the violence occurred.
Here’s an excerpt from the Rainbow Family website.
“Some say we’re the largest non-organization of non-members in the world. We have no leaders, and no organization. To be honest, the Rainbow Family means different things to different people. I think it’s safe to say we’re into intentional community building, non-violence, and alternative lifestyles. We also believe that peace and love are a great thing, and there isn’t enough of that in this world. Many of our traditions are based on Native American traditions, and we have a strong orientation to take care of the Earth. We gather in the national forests yearly to pray for peace on this planet.”
The pacifist hippie group was founded in the 1970s. The group reportedly took its name from a Native American prophecy which proclaimed that a band of “rainbow warriors” will come to earth and make it “green” again.
“When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the Rainbow,” the Rainbow Family website says.
Here are some comments from alleged Rainbow Family members via the group’s Facebook page.
“Jacob Cardwell aka Smiley, threw himself on top of Dice to protect him from further gunfire. This brave and selfless act of sacrifice likely saved Dice’s life. His Mother posted this morning a plea for help. I know that Dice was the one shot several times. It has been reported that if he recovers he will be quadriplegic, paralyzed from neck down. At least 60 rounds were fired. ” – Tok
“Zen tells me there was a fight at front gate. Someone’s phone was thrown in the fire. He went ballistic and started firing a gun wildly. Those who took him down knifed him numerous times.This was an alcohol inspired event.” – Little Wing
Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the Rainbow Family Gathering shooting. It is unclear if Clark Mayers had any prior contact with the pacifist group.
[Image via: Rainbow Gatherings]