The photo on the left, provided on Wednesday, November 17, 2010, by the Dane County Sheriff's Department shows Steven Cowan, and the one on the right is a publicity image of the target of Mr. Cowan's rage, Bristol Palin.
The man with an extremely Masonic name, Cowan* (meaning an intruder, a pretender, and an eavesdropper), has now popped up on the twilight language radar screen linked with a member of Sarah Palin's family. (The surname Palin is a name of English or Welsh origin. Possible derivations include an anglicization of the Welsh patronymic ap Heilyn ~ "son of Heilyn" ~ or a reference to the English placenames Poling, West Sussex or Sea Palling, Norfolk. In the Mabinogi of Branwen ferch Llŷr Heilyn fab Gwyn Hen is one of the seven men who escape the conflict in Ireland. With his fellows he accompanies the severed head of Bendigaidd Frân on its journey to the White Mount in London.)
Prosecutors say this rural Wisconsin man blasted his television with a shotgun after watching Bristol Palin's "Dancing with the Stars" routine.
According to court documents, 67-year-old Steven Cowan of the small town of Vermont in Dane County, Wisconsin, became enraged while watching Palin dance on Monday evening, November 15, 2010. He felt Palin was not a good dancer and he was fed up with politics. He went to his bedroom and returned to the living room with a shotgun and blasted his television, then reportedly pointed the gun at his wife, who managed to escape and call police. A SWAT team surrounded the couple's Wisconsin farmhouse and officers were able to talk Cowan out Tuesday, after an all-night standoff.
Cowan has been charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. It was unclear whether Cowan has retained an attorney.
Bristol Palin is shown holding her brother Trig, August 2008.
Sarah Palin, as Miss Wasilla, 1984, when she was 20, Bristol's present age.
Bristol Sheeran Marie Palin was born on October 18, 1990, and raised in Wasilla, Alaska. Her mother, Sarah Louise Palin
(née Heath; born February 11, 1964), has explained that Bristol Palin's first name was chosen for the Bristol Inn where she (her mother) had been employed; Bristol, Connecticut, the headquarters city of ESPN, where Sarah Palin had hoped to work as a sportscaster; and the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, where Bristol's father, Todd Mitchell Palin (born September 6, 1964), grew up. Todd's mother Blanche Palin (née Kallstrom) is one-quarter Yup'ik, and his maternal grandmother, Helena (Bartman) Andree, is a member of the Curyung tribe. Besides working for BP oil in Alaska, Todd is also a commercial salmon fisherman at Bristol Bay on the Nushugak River.
Starting in 2005, Bristol Palin (right) attended Juneau-Douglas High School and began dating Levi Johnston (above, left). In 2008 she moved to Anchorage to live with her aunt and uncle and attended West Anchorage High School. She returned to Wasilla and graduated from Wasilla High School in May 2009.
Palin and Johnston's son, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston, was born on December 27, 2008. The couple, which had become engaged during the 2008 presidential campaign, broke off their engagement in March 2009.
Palin joined the Fall 2010 season of "Dancing with the Stars." Her partner is professional Mark Ballas, who is a two-time champion on the show, having won with Kristi Yamaguchi, in season 6, and with Shawn Johnson in season 8. Palin's first dance was a cha-cha to "Mama Told Me Not to Come" by Three Dog Night, seen as a humorous reference to Sarah Palin.
Her successful run on the show has not been without controversy. For example, there was widespread media coverage of her failure to turn in her absentee ballot for the November 2010 general election, which she said was due to her dancing rehearsal schedule.
There has been speculation regarding her unexpected success on the show from public voting, when the judges have frequently given her lower scores than opponents. This speculation has included allegations of fraudulent online voting using multiple e-mail addresses. Executives at ABC and the show's executive producer, Conrad Green, have stated that "checks and balances" in the system, including IP address verification, prevent such voting practices, and that "[t]here's nothing in the voting that looks dissimilar to previous seasons."
Green has speculated that Palin received votes for political reasons by backers of Sarah Palin in the Tea Party movement. In addition to support from older viewers who felt maternal toward Palin and empathized with her lack of prior experience. Palin herself credited her success to the support of her fans who were tuning in each week to see her improvement.
*Definition of COWAN:
This is a purely Masonic term, and signifies in its technical meaning an intruder, whence it is always coupled with the word eavesdropper. It is not found in any of the old manuscripts of the English Freemasons anterior to the eighteenth century, unless we suppose that lowen, met with in many of them, is a clerical error of the copyists. It occurs in the Schaw Manuscript, a Scotch record which bears the date of 1598, in the following passage: "That no Master or Fellow of Craft receive any cowans to work in his society or company, nor send none of his servants to work with cowans." In the second edition of Anderson's Constitutions, published in 1738 (page 146), we find the word in use among the English Freemasons, thus : ''But Free and Accepted Masons shall not allow cowans to work with them ; nor shall they be employed by cowans without an urgent necessity; and even in that case they must not reach cowans, but must have a separate communication." There can be but little doubt that the word, as a Masonic term, comes to us from Scotland, and it is therefore in the Scotch language that we must look for its signification. Now, Jamieson, in his Scottish Dictionary, gives us the following meanings of the word: Cowans.
A term of contempt ; applied to one who does the work of a mason, but has not been regularly bred.
Also used to denote one who builds dry walls, otherwise denominated a dry diker.
One unacquainted with the secrets of Freemasonry.
And he gives the following examples as his authorities:
A boat-carpenter, joiner, cowan (or builder of stone without mortar), get ls. at the minimum and good maintenance. P. Morven, Argyles. Statistic, Acct., X, 267. N.
Cowans. Masons who build dry-stone dikes or walls. P. Halkirk, Carthn, Statistic. Acct., XIX, 24. N. In the Rob Roy of Scott, the word is used by Allan Inverach, who says:
She does not value a Cawmill mair as a cowan.
The word has therefore, in the opinion of Brother Mackey, come to the English Fraternity directly from the Operative Freemasons of Scotland, among whom it was used to denote a pretender, in the exact sense of the first meaning of Jamieson.
There is no word that has given Masonic scholars more trouble than this in tracing its derivation. By some it has been considered to come from the Greek meaning a dog; and referred to the fact that in the early ages of the Church, when the mysteries of the new religion were communicated only to initiates under the veil of secrecy, infidels were called dogs, a term probably suggested by such passages as (Matthew vii 6), "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs"; or (Philippians iii 2), "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision'' (see also Revelations xxii 15). This derivation has been adopted by Oliver, and many other writers.
Jamieson's derivations are from the old Swedish kujon, kuzhjohn, meaning a silly fellow, and the French coion, coyon, signifying a coward, a base fellow. No matter how we get the word, it seems always to convey an idea of contempt. .The attempt to derive it from the chouans of the French Revolution is manifestly absurd, for it has been shown that the word was in use long before the French Revolution was even meditated.
However, Brother Hawkins points out that Doctor Murray in the New English Dictionary says that the derivation of the word is unknown.
Notwithstanding the above reference by Brother Hawkins we may venture to consider another objective.
- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.
For a related posting about a "cowan-synchronicity," please see here.
[Hat tip to Adam Parfrey of Feral House for alerting me to the original news item.]